As a PhD student in a World History program and a historian of gender, it is becoming increasingly clear that merging the two fields has presented some major difficulties in the past- whether through animosity between the respective academies or through conflicts in method and methodology. The examples of 'women's world history' or gendered world histories that I have encountered so far have all seemed somewhat thrown together, either being guilty of the 'add and stir' method of women's history or barely qualifying as world history. The best attempt that I have seen is probably Women, Chocolate and Empire by Emma Robertson, but even that borders on a comparative gender history rather than a strict world history within the definition that I have come to accept. This seems to reflect a bigger issue- which is that world history as a discipline is difficult to socialize or personalize. It seems to be by its very nature a top-down, birds-eye view on history, and although I know many recent publications have attempted to shake this trend, it still seems to be difficult to produce a truly social world history that explores the interconnections and trends of a global system but also gives names and voices to the people who these trends affect on a daily basis. Until this issue is addressed it seems women are destined to be under-represented in world historiography. Add on to this the issue of the archival silence of women in many parts of the globe and it seems that writing a truly comprehensive world history from a gender perspective presents a daunting and possibly insurmountable task.
As an early-career academic seeking to integrate gender history and world history on this social scale, I was wondering if anyone in the world history community has ideas on how we can more adequately give voice to women in world history, and more broadly on how we can further socialize world history in a way that explores the global patterns that define the field but also represents the normal, 'unexceptional' people that our field often negelcts.