international historical review - for a gender history of women


March, 2000


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Cover: from "Il giornalino della domenica" magazine, nr. 34, 1910

Pictures Gallery


March, 1999


Cover: Part. from "The Greek woman favorite in the harem", from the book reviewed in our magazine, "Between the Turkish women : letters 1716-1718" (Archinto pub.) by Mary Wortley Montagu.

Abstract | Editorial


During the Twentieth century the relationship with history changes. It's above all the female way of looking at history that changes. Much research and several books have tried to reconstruct the history of women. During this century the expression gender was coined (genders, masculine and feminine, are a historical and cultural element, not only a natural one) and also gender history, which tries to analyse the different relationships between the sexes during the various historical periods, was born. It has become clearer and clearer that this particular way of looking at things which has "discovered" a new subject/object in studying history, has highlighted other aspects of history, too. From Michel Foucault to Carlo Ginzburg the history of outcasts - and women have been throughout the past centuries the biggest group of outcasts - has been included.

We discover the true nature of society through the story of outcasts, historical "truth" can be discovered through the smallest clues (in one of his essays of 1979 Ginzburg called these clues "spies") that are more easily detectable in details or in secondary events than in the general picture.

During the last decades the research and the production of texts about the history of women have been rich - as far as their results, their structure and their quality are concerned. Sherazade wants to make them known because the authors are convinced that one of the factors limiting this rich production is its scanty diffusion.

"Gender history" called is still too little known, especially in Italy. First of all this magazine wants to review interesting works produced during recent years in this field, with particular attention given to texts that - because of their themes and structure - can be used to teach and popularize the history of women. The reviews concern both books recently published and works published from the Seventies onwards, which have sometimes been forgotten and which, at times, cannot be found.

We will wait for, and give great importance to, the works that you will highlight for us, such as the latest products of minor publishers or specialized magazines, apart from works still in progress, especially as far as Sicily is concerned.

by Pina La Villa


The March issue of Sherazade is dedicated, as far as the methodological part is concerned to an extract from the work "Gender, bodies, subjects : new maps for new stories" (Genere, corpi, soggetti : nuove mappe per nuove storie) by Emma Baeri, who researches Modern History at Catania University. She has been working for some time now on historical projects based on gender, facing, in a strongly critical and innovating way, the problems concerning the language, tools and methods of such research. During the last few years her reflections have been enriched by her participation in the Didactic Commission of the Italian Society of Women Historians.

The section Documents contains a document which speaks against the recent war in ex-Jugoslavia, written by the teachers who took part in the teacher training course "New words, new methods" which itself took place in Bacoli (Naples) at the end of March, at the time of the initial NATO bombardment of ex-Jugoslavia.

The review section deals with various books, whose themes range from the Middle Ages (with a series of essays by the English historian Eileen Power collected by the publisher Einaudi) to the Modern Age: letters from the East written by Lady Mary Montagu, an English traveller of the Seventeenth century, with an interesting introduction by Anita Desai; a beautiful book by Bruna Peyrot about the Huguenot women who were kept prisoner in the Tower of Costance in the Eighteenth century; German Feminism and Russian Terrorism in the Nineteenth century; and a book dealing with Twentieth century Feminism and Pacifism "The lamps and the circle" (I lumi e il cerchio, 1992) by Emma Baeri - the word lumi of the title refers to the Enlightenment.

With this work we start dealing with the problem of research and the transmission of gender history, considering also "Generations, transmission of history and traditions of women" (Generazioni, trasmissione della storia e tradizione delle donne), published by Rosenberg and Sellier, and "Teaching a gender difference" (Per una didattica della differenza di genere, Pensa Multimedia).

English texts by Vincenza Leonardi

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