Thoughts on "Women's Studies" at Barnard, 1971, page 4

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          Complex questions about women's reactions to historical events and the
long-term impact of these reactions on society are likely to be asked only
if one is familiar with at least the broad outlines of women's history. In
English there are no up-to—date studies on the history of women in the Western
world. A recently reissued attempt at a survey was made by the first Dean of
Barnard College. Emily Putnam's book, as its title The Lady indicates, was
a history of the lady understood in a narrow sense as the genteel lady, the
turn-of-the-century ideal. More modern approaches may be found in Mary
Beard's woman as Force in History which is restricted by its topical emphasis,
and in Doris Stenton's Women in English History_which stops in the nineteenth
century and is confined to the history of English women.

As to studies on women in more limited periods, there are serious gaps
in modern scholarship. For example, in medieval history there are scholarly
studies in French and German. However, among historians writing in English
only Alice Kemp-Welch in the 1910's and somewhat more recently Eileen Power
have attempted to give biographical sketches of a few outstanding medieval
women. Eileen Power also wrote a history of English nunneries, beginning her
account in the thirteenth century, omitting thus the history of some seven
hundred years when opportunities for intellectual and spiritual fufillment
were provided to women mainly in the monastic life. Some specialized studies
are available, but for additional information on medieval women one has to go
to primary sources. Social and literary histories may yield a chapter, a few
paragraphs and most frequently nothing on the subject. In brief, the con-
tributions of women to medieval society and culture and their legal and
economic status in the Middle Ages are topics which have been neglected by
modern historians writing in English.

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