Do we need a European Women's History List Disc/Mar 1998


Do we need a European Women's History List Disc/Mar 1998


Query From Bud Burkhard 12 Mar 1998

From both on-line and personal discussions, one common theme that has emerged about H-Women: It is overwhelmingly concerned with US history/studies. The announcement of H-Frauen-L raises the issue of whether we also need to consider a scholarly list on women and gender in Modern Europe.


From Tania M. Di Lisi" 12-MAR-1998

While I feel that the information H-Women provides is interesting and often helpful, it rarely coincides with my own research interests. When I subscribed, I had hoped "women" was an international category.

As a graduate student of Modern European history, I would really enjoy more devotion to Europe. I wonder if other Europeanists bring their gender concerns to regional lists (H-France, H-German, H-Russia, etc.) rather than post them here.

From Mary Storsved 12 Mar 1998

I am thrilled about the new h-net list. I also think that more may be needed in the stream of women's studies. Why not a list on women and gender in Modern Europe? Are other time periods needed too? Most of my research concentrates on women, gender and social history - therefore any lists on women and gender would offer me access to a learning (and teaching) tool that I may not find in other areas as quickly. I look forward to read responses on this question. Way to go Bud!

From Sandra F. VanBurkleo 12 Mar 1998

I think it would be best by far to encourage subscribers to THIS list to talk about women everywhere. We don't need to engage in self-ghettoization.

From Sherri Klassen 12 Mar 1998

While it is true that American history dominates the list, I have found it useful as a Europeanist for broader, comparative issues. The multiplication of lists somewhat bothers me. My mailbox gets pretty full as it is, subscribing to two lists. If we started a European women's history list, I could unsub from this one but then I would lose the broader comparisons. In principle, I wouldn't like to see the h-net culture fragment into sub-specialties more than it has already. Still, it is useful to have a means of communication with others who may have interests in similar fields. Perhaps a web page could be catered to serve these needs.

From Josefin Stramaljv 12 Mar 1998

I can agree with you (Bud Burkhard) and I think that H-Women is overwhelmingly concerned with US history/studies. But not necessary in a bad way. There are so many scholars working with and interested in Gender Studies and Women's Studies that there ought to be various discussion list within the field. I would appreciate more specific 1) topic-oriented discussion list (for example, I'm interested in questions and literature about female suffrage), 2) geographic-oriented discussion list, 3) discussion list with a "time limit". Perhaps such discussion lists already is available? Where can I find them?

From Kriste Lindenmeyer 12 Mar 1998

Bud Burkhard raises a very good question---Do we need a list for Modern European Women's History/Studies?

Why not? H-Women has a unique function---its scope includes all issues of women's history: all regions, time periods, etc.. That is an admirable goal. But, it also means that it is not a list for everyone. Some subscribers prefer a more focused list. That is one reason why we started H-SAWH (the list for the study of women and gender in the U.S. South). The editors of H-FRAUEN-L have a similar goal for the study of women in early European history.

So, as a member of the H-Net Executive committee, I am confident that my colleagues would join with me to encourage other new lists on women and/or gender history. Right now we are working on a proposal to start a list focusing on women and international development. I'm personally working on a new list proposal on the history of childhood and youth.

Please contact me if you are interested in helping with the establishment of these lists or any others. H-Net is a constantly growing community. Thanks. Kriste Lindenmeyer

From Carolyn Eichner (WOS) 12 Mar 1998

I think that a list for European women's history/studies would be a useful and interesting forum. I'm all for it.

From Nancy Reagin 13 Mar 1998

A list for gender in Modern Europe would be much more useful to me than than either H-Women (as it currently stands) or H-Frauen-L. But is there anyone out there who wants to take on the work of editing such such a list?

From Max Dashu 13 Mar 1998

I'm one subscriber who fervently seconds the desire to see more international content on this list, as well as more diversity in historical eras.

From Anne Marie Medcalf 13 Mar 1998

About H-Women and the need for a list on women and gender in modern/contemporary Europe: I could not agree more, especially if this also includes European women in former European colonies.

From Charles W. Houston 13 Mar 1998

What is a Europeanist? Is that a buzz word for something else???

From Patricia Lorcin 13 Mar 1998

I should prefer to have one list, but European women (and indeed women from other areas: Middle East, Africa) feature relatively seldom that one cannot help wondering whether a separate list would not be the only way to stimulate more in-put in these areas. Although US women's history has many points in common with women's history in other parts of the globe, there are also major differences and I think more postings on women from other areas would benefit US women's historians as much as it would Europeanists/Middle East historians,etc. The question is now does one stimulate that in-put without starting a new list? Unless we can achieve this, and we should do everything possible to do so, I think it would be beneficial to those of us researching women in other areas to have a separate list.

From Maura Mackowski 13 Mar 1998

I would vote for a list on European women in the modern era. I'm interested in the history of science and technology, with some work related to gender, and have a hard time over here figuring out where information is "over there." I'd love to be able to post queries somewhere.

From Heather Munro Prescott 13 Mar 1998 H-Women Editor

As an alternative to starting a new list, I would encourage subscribers who are interested in modern European or any other topics to initiate discussions in these areas. After all, much of what appears here is shaped by our subscribers.

From Eileen Boris 13 Mar 1998

As a U.S. historian with broad comparative interests in gender and women's lives, I find the list often diffuse and rarely reaching the kind of pointed scholarly analysis that a more focused list might. But that is fine, because it seems to be used for information and "what works best?" queries. Could we have more interpretative discussions? Only if subscribers so wanted. My impression, however, is of many inquiries on non-US themes, from women explorers to texts in European women's history, for example. This is our list and can be whatever we want it to be. In sisterhood...

From Pamela McVay 13 Mar 1998

As someone whose research and teaching on women encompasses ancient, medieval, and early modern Europe, China in all periods, and the Middle East since the rise of Islam, I wonder where I would then go if we created a separate "Modern European Women's History" list. Would H-Women then devolve into the de facto American women's history list. Will it isolate those of us who do earlier periods and teach "third world" women from the mainstream of women's history? And, pardon me for the suggestion, but aren't historians of modern Europe and the United States already sufficiently isolated from people working on earlier and "other" places?

I urge list members, if they want more content from their own research areas, to write to the list about their area. You might also try suggesting bibliography and av materials for review or suggesting really useful things you've read recently. Here, I'll start.

I just read Whitney Chadwick, _Women, Art, and Society_(NY: Thames and Hudson, 1990, revised 1996). This is a very helpful overview of the ways the process of canonizing art and thinking about art rendered European and American women artists invisible to art critics and art historians. Chapters 1-6 on women artists from the middle ages to the Victorian era are excellent, a huge advance in thinking about art and canon formation since Linda Nochlin started people thinking in 1973 with that article on why there haven't been any great women artists in _Art and Sexual Politics_. I highly recommend it.

From Sherri Klassen 13 Mar 1998

The more I think of this issue, and read other people's responses to it, I am struck by the dilemna. A few of us have voiced concerns over splintering or self-ghettoizing as one person wrote. Many others have claimed the need for more specialized lists. As it stands, the list is supposed to reach people in wide varieties of geographic and chronological fields but it is dominated by issues specific to American history (and often modern American). If we are going to splinter, perhaps we should do it with a plan; let H-Women become almost an umbrella where issues of broader theoretical concern and comparative issues are raised--the recent question on poisoning is a good example of the list's strength, I think, for drawing comparative information from different times and places. But, in addition to this list, we might set up individual lists that are more focused in terms of region and chronology. If we are going to take European women out of H-Women by creating a new list for them, I think we ought to do the same for American women's history so that H-Women doesn't just become H-American Women by default (the few members working outside either of these fields would probably feel even further on the fringes than they probably do already). This would keep the number of posts on H-Women down and allow us to reasonably expect people to continue with membership in two lists, one specific women's history field and the one general, comparative and theoretical one.

From Marianne R. Kamp 13 Mar 1998

As someone who writes about women in Uzbekistan, I subscribe to H-Women not because I expect any discussion of women in Central Asia, but because I want to know about the scholarship of historians who write about women and gender elsewhere in the world. While occasionally I am distressed that queries and postings about US women are uninflected (as if US women are the norm), I would still be disappointed to see fragmentation of this list into regional, continental, period or other sub-groupings. I would much prefer to see a greater variety of discussion on this list, because a mixed-interest list like H-Women gives each of us the opportunity to interact with and learn from scholars whose work might otherwise never come to our attention.

From Irene Guenther 13 Mar 1998

I definitely would vote for a modern European women's history it is right now, my e-mail is filled with items from H-Women, but few pertain to modern European history. So I go through everything I receive, which is time-consuming, and end up with very little that pertains to my area of interest and research. *Yes* to a modern European women's history list!

From Loni Bramson-Lerche 16 Mar 1998

...>also included European women in former European colonies.< Thank you. As an American who did her graduate work in Belgium, I was not sure whether the term "modern" was supposed to be taken in the US sense or in the European sense!

From Julie A. Landweber 16 Mar 1998

As a graduate student of Early Modern European history, I'm very pleased about the new list for early modern European women! But I am still convinced of the value of a general H-Women discussion list; I like to keep the broader perspective in mind.

Like Tania Di Lisi, I also subscribed to H-Women in the hope it would treat "women" as an international category. After several months' membership, my impression is that while list-members don't *ignore* the international dimension, there is nevertheless a persistent focus on US women's history. As a Europeanist, I find the US dimension very interesting, and personally broadening; I am constantly being introduced to new ideas and histories which expand my general knowledge and awareness of women's history. However, I also feel the list could benefit if more Europeanists wrote in with European-specific contributions (not to mention Africanists & Asian-specialists, etc). I imagine that would benefit the Americanists every bit as much as the Ameri-centric discussions currently benefit the non-Americanists. To that end, I heartily agree with Heather Munro Prescott's comments.

From Cynthia Watkins Richardson 16 Mar 1998

I tend to agree with Eileen Boris when she wrote: >...This is our list and can be whatever we want it to be.<

I would be sorry to see this list become splintered for want of more specific discussion on the part of list members. Perhaps it would be wise to refresh ourselves of the objectives of the list, and, if need be, revise them according to the needs of the members, keeping in mind that it is reasonable to expect that needs change over time. For this reason, the broad scope of the list may be better kept in place with an eye toward a more focused discussion on the part of those who desire it. Also in sisterhood...

From Connie Reeves 16 Mar 1998

I would like to add my concurrence to those who would like a separate list for European Women's History/Studies. I don't see it at all as "ghettoizing" women's history. First of all, we can all subscribe to as many lists as we want. It doesn't take that much time to delete messages for which the subject line indicates little use to us. I see no reason why women's history should be viewed as one general topic when traditional history never has been. The new Frauen-L list has generated fascinating introductions from people and information on their research interests and dissertations that are far more similar to mine than H-Women or other lists. But Frauen-L still isn't in a modern enough era for me. I will stay on all these lists because one never knows who one might "meet" of interest and because I think it's better to gather more knowledge than less.

From Marie P. Honan 17 Mar 1998

I would be very interested in a modern european women's history list. What should we do to set one up?

**********Ed. Note: The following post came to H-Women after the discussion re: creating a European Women's History List was completed. We're including it for those of you who may be interested****************

From Wise Secretariat wise.secretariat@fsw.ruu.n1 19 Mar 1998


Every individual or institution involved in women's studies and gender issues, is invited to join the European Women's Studies Association, WISE.

...WISE, founded in 1990, is a European feminist studies organization. We seek to promote feminist critiques of knowledge, support practices and research which will improve the quality of women's lives. WISE is grounded in grass-roots women's studies organizations through out Europe. ...

WISE has developed a considerable number of projects, such as the European Women's Studies Guide, the first European women's studies electronic discussion list and the WISE guide to fundraising. WISE members receive our regular WISE-newsletter and the European Journal of Women's Studies published by SAGE.

...For membership information, pls. contact Sage Publications, Ltd., 6 Bonhil St, London EC2A 4PU, UK or email at ...In addition to WISE-L (Website: WISE also maintains a website ( It also co-sponsors another electronic discussion list, wild-list (