Behind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars

TitleBehind the Lines: Gender and the Two World Wars
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1987
AuthorsHigonnet, Margaret Randolph, Jane Jenson, Sonya Michel, and Margaret Collins Weitz
PublisherYale University Press
CityNew Haven, CT

The multidisciplinary essays that make up this book are the result of a 1984 Workshop on Women and War held at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. The authors seek to answer a challenge issued by Joan Scott in her beginning interpretative essay, "Rewriting History", to apply gender analysis in reconceptualizing the two world wars of the twentieth century. As Scott points out, this would in effect redefine "the terms of traditional historical analysis" (p. 22) and create a very different understanding from the predominant one which, by and large, continues to depict war as a masculine undertaking. The authors ask what effect did the two world wars have on the relations between women and men? Drawing on broad comparative material—from government policy to popular media, poetry and fiction, and personal letters—the volume examines the redefinition of gender that occurred in many Western countries during both world wars.

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