From the first European encounters with Native American women to today's crisis of sexual assault, The Oxford Handbook of American Women's and Gender History boldly interprets the diverse history of women and how ideas about gender shaped their access to political and cultural power in North America. Over twenty-nine chapters, this handbook illustrates how women's and gender history can shape how we view the past, looking at how gender influenced people's lives as they participated in migration, colonialism, trade, warfare, artistic production, and community building. Theoretically cutting edge, each chapter is alive with colorful historical characters, from young Chicanas transforming urban culture, to free women of color forging abolitionist doctrines, Asian migrant women defending the legitimacy of their marriages, and transwomen fleeing incarceration. Together, their lives constitute the history of a continent.
Leading scholars across multiple generations demonstrate the power of innovative research to excavate a history hidden in plain sight. Scrutinizing silences in the historical record, from the inattention to enslaved women's opinions to the suppression of Indian women's involvement in border diplomacy, the authors challenge the nature of historical evidence and remap what counts in our interpretation of the past.
Together and separately, these essays offer readers a deep understanding of the variety and centrality of women's lives to all dimensions of the American past, even as they show that the boundaries of "women," "American," and "history" have shifted across the centuries.
Ellen Hartigan-O'Connor is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of The Ties That Buy: Women and Commerce in Revolutionary America (2009) and co-author of Global Americans (2017). She is a founding and standing editor of Oxford Bibliographies-Atlantic History, a board member of Women and Social Movements, an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer, and a
past elected trustee of the Business History Conference.
Lisa G. Materson is Associate Professor of History at the University of California, Davis. She is the author of For the Freedom of Her Race: Black Women and Electoral Politics in Illinois, 1877-1932 (2009) and articles on Puerto Rican women's independence activism and African American women's internationalism. She is an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer and board member of Women and Social Movements.