Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The women's history movement in the United States: Professional and political roots of the field, 1922-1987
by Tomas, Jennifer Ellen, Ph.D., State University of New York at Binghamton, 2012, 502; 3522835
Abstract (Summary)

In December 1969 at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association in Washington D.C. women historians launched a professional and intellectual movement to improve the status of women in the historical profession and to develop the academic field of women's history. This moment represents a watershed for the field of women's history. This dissertation primarily studies what professional, academically trained historians and archivists did to further the development of women's history before this watershed moment and after within the context of the American historical profession and in relation to the American women's movement in the twentieth century. The dissertation argues that scholars and archivists laid important foundations for the study of women in American history before 1969 but that the field emerged most forcefully only after 1969 when a professional subculture of women's historians developed. These historians organized collectively on behalf of the field and collaborated across the boundaries of their narrower geographic fields of specialization. Activists within this subculture were in dialogue with the mainstream of historians' professional culture as represented by the major professional associations--the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the Southern Historical Association. But the subculture itself was comprised of separate women's history associations and extra-institutional networks of feminist historians that drew on the ideas and strategies of the modern women's movement in their efforts to change their own status within the profession and establish women's history as a legitimate field of academic inquiry.

Most importantly this dissertation argues that the academic field of women of women's history in the United States developed from the efforts of multiple generations of scholars and archivists dating back to the ascendency of progressive and social history within the discipline in the early twentieth century. Scholars and archivist tried to assert an independent identity for the field as early as 1943 but succeeded only after 1969.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sklar, Kathryn Kish
Commitee: Dublin, Thomas L., Roth, Benita, Wheeler, Leigh Ann
School: State University of New York at Binghamton
Department: History
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/12(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: American history, Womens studies, Modern history
Keywords: Historical profession, Historiography, Movements, Women's history
Publication Number: 3522835
ISBN: 978-1-267-55273-0
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