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Les Féminismes en Europe

Les Féminismes en EuropeLes Féminismes en Europe, 1700-1950. Traduction de Geneviève Knibiehler. Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2012.

Globalizing Feminisms

Globalizing Feminisms, 1789–1945

Global FeminismMy objective in editing this collection is to provide a comprehensive, thought-provoking, and teachable collection of pathbreaking articles on the comparative history of feminisms around the world prior to 1945. The volume showcases important second- and third-generation findings, emphases, or reinterpretations that rewrite history in significant ways. These articles place the thought and action of feminists at the center of historical analysis. They deepen our knowledge through comparison and contrast. Globalizing Feminisms before 1945 provides a companion volume to Routledge’s Global Feminism after 1945, edited by Bonnie G. Smith, in the series Rewriting History, edited by Jack Censer.

The history of feminisms is, in fact, women’s political history. Women’s pursuit of citizenship in emerging nations provides the unifying theme for the volume. Although women’s suffrage campaigns figure prominently in this collection, it bears repeating that for feminist women, obtaining the vote–and thus decision-making power– within their countries was never the ultimate objective; in democratizing societies, feminists viewed suffrage as the most efficient means for women to realize a multitude of other dramatic, even revolutionary changes in prevailing laws, institutions, ideas, and practices–and promoting equal opportunity in education, law, the workplace and social services. To them, the vote provided a tool for reframing the connections between, and showing the connections among fields as varied as economics, sexuality, war, and peace. For feminists of either sex (and it bears emphasizing that male feminists existed throughout this period in most countries, though the majority were undoubtedly women), theory and practice were intimately intertwined. Their common goal was to that restore a balance of power between the sexes–a balance lacking in male-dominated societies. In fact, they represented a very small cluster of activists operating in hostile environments. Thus, to tell their stories, discourse analysis is not enough; we need to analyze their actions as well, and place both their arguments and campaigns carefully within their immediate historical context–in nearly every case studied here, the rise of sovereign nation-states–that most powerful form of “imagined community.”

Contributors Include:

Padma Anagol, Marilyn J. Boxer, Jacqueline R. DeVries, Ellen Carol DuBois, Louise Edwards,
Ellen L Fleischmann, Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild, Patricia Grimshaw, Inger Hammar, Nancy Hewitt, Francesca Miller, Barbara Molony, Karen Offen, Florence Rochefort, Leila J. Rupp, Sandra Stanley Holton, Anne Summers, Ann Taylor Allen, Angela Woollacott and Susan Zimmermann.

European Feminisms

European FeminismEuropean Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History.   Stanford University Press, 2000.

From the Enlightenment to the Atomic Age, Karen Offen takes the reader on a voyage of discovery to rescue the amazing story of European women’s (and men’s) campaigns against male domination and to restore its memory to today’s women and men.

European Feminisms was selected by a Portuguese women’s organization as one of 101 important books by women written in the 20th century. The exhibition of selected books, Mulheres Sécolo XX: 101 Livros,  opened on 15 November 2001 at the Palace of Discoveries.  It was organized by Maria Antonia Fiadeiro and sponsored by the Department of Culture of the Municipal Government of Lisbon, under the patronage of the President of the Council of Ministers and the Portuguese Ministry of Culture. 

Other writers honored in the exhibition, and the accompanying catalog and poster, include Virginia Woolf, Isabel Allende, Anais Nin, Marie Curie, Simone de Beauvoir, Gisela Bock, Luce Irigaray, and Toni Morrison.

Praise for European Feminisms

“In an ambitious history, detailed in both depth and breadth, Offen provides a comprehensive account that re-reads European history from developing feminist perspectives . . . .  affordable and interesting enough to appeal to the general reader. . .
—Feminist Academic Press Column, www.litwomen.org/facp/julyo1.html

“The real strength of the book is its comparative work, both in describing the activity of feminist organizations and in debating the differences in theory and practice engendered by different national and regional contexts.  . . .  Offen does not merely pay lip service to the idea of comparative history, she does it.”
- Douglas Cremer, H-NET Book Review (May 2001), www.h-net.org/reviews

“[Offen’s] crowded chronicle offers a rich account of the aspirations, illusions, disillusions, flounderings, achievements, and advances of a compelling cause.” - Eugen Weber, The Key Reporter (Phi Beta Kappa)

“an extraordinary synthesis. . . its lucid style also makes it suitable for advanced undergraduates.”
- Marybeth Carlson, History: Reviews of New Books

“. . . a beautifully composed, intellectually rigorous re-examination and revaluation of the European past . . . provocative and intellectually engaging.  Students in my undergraduate “Women in Modern Europe” class thoroughly enjoyed the text, voting it their favorite of the five books assigned for the course.”
- Carolyn Eichner, University of South Florida

“. . . a truly pathbreaking work. . .rich and informative. . .”
- Ann Taylor Allen, University of Louisville www.amazon.com

“European Feminisms provides the best-documented (more than one-third of its six hundred pages is notes) and most synthetic survey of the European-wide effort to date.”
- Bonnie G. Smith
Journal of Women’s History

“. . . an ambitious and substantially fascinating comparative narrative . . . thoroughly researched, bibliographically impeccable, and interpretatively feisty. . . henceforth essential reading for experts and generalists alike. . .  At the political and economic birth of the new European Union, it is timely for the continent to remember its feminist pasts.”
-Judith A. Allen
American Historical Review

“This book is ‘a must’ for every scholar in women’s/gender studies, for present-day women’s activists and political leaders throughout Europe and the world; it is ‘a must’ for both scholars in the humanities and in the sciences, for every personal and public library collection.”
- Krassimira Daskalova
Divinatio: Studia Cultorologica (Bulgaria)

“Karen Offen’s encyclopedic compendium of European feminisms deserves to be on the bookshelf of all historians interested in feminism, in women’s rights, and in European political and intellectual history. . .  this book is a tour de force; there is none that compares.”
- Rachel G. Fuchs
Journal of Modern History

Paul de Cassagnac and the Authoritarian Tradition in Nineteenth Century France


Women's HistoryPaul de Cassagnac and the Authoritarian Tradition in Nineteenth‑Century France.  
Garland Press, 1991

The life and times of a feisty and notorious Catholic monarchist journalist, legislator, lover, and swords-man who forged a political career in opposition to the French Third Republic.

Writing Women’s History: International Perspectives


Global FeminismWriting Women's History: International Perspectives, co-edited with Ruth Roach Pierson and Jane Rendall, on behalf of the International Federation for Research in Women's History. Macmillan Press, London, and Indiana University Press, 1991.

The first-ever survey of the development of women’s history in twenty-two countries on five continents.

Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, 1750–1950


Women, the Family, and FreedomWomen, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, 1750-1950, co-edited with Susan Groag Bell. 2 volumes. Stanford University Press, 1983.

Reconstitutes and interprets the debate on the “woman question” in Western societies (Europe and in the United States) through contemporary documents.

Victorian Women: A Documentary Account of Women’s Lives in Nineteenth Century England, France, and the United States


Victorian Women

Victorian Women: A Documentary Account of Women's Lives in Nineteenth Century England, France, and the United States, co-edited with Erna Hellerstein and Leslie Hume. Stanford University Press, 1981.

A voyage into the variety and intricacies of women’s lives in three countries during the 19th century, with first-person documents, advice, laws, etc.