Monday, January 23, 2017

Women in Revolution

I've been thinking about posting this for a long time, but finally have been moved to action in light of the Women's March on Washington, D.C. on 1/21/17.  I thought it was a good time to encourage more inclusion of women in our study of history, especially political history.

For too long, most of the coverage of women in history has been more in the realm of social history, or the simplified narrative: rise of patriarchy with some matrilineal and matriarchal societies, some societies with some women who had more freedoms like the Mongols, some examples of extraordinary women (Joan of Arc, Mulan), Victorian womanhood, and maybe a mention of the Bread riots by women to Versailles, women working in the Industrial Revolution, then they got the right to vote!

For Period 5 and 6 on political revolutions, too often our textbooks look like this:


Yet, if we dig a little more beyond the textbooks, we see women alongside these men.  

Here's a link to the "World's 10 Most Fierce Female Revolutionaries" - (Yes, a problematic source, but gave me names of women I had never heard from before, and with some more research, I could see they were pretty fierce.)

And another link "Amazing Women in History" with the subtitle "kickass women that the history books left out": http://www.amazingwomeninhistory.com/

Here is one of my favorite female revolutionaries, and has been getting a little more attention these days - Qiu Jin, who was martyred in the revolution to overthrow the imperial Chinese government.  
And finally, Soong Chingling, who should be depicted next to her more famous husband, Sun Yixian (Sun Yat-sen) who led the Chinese Revolution of 1911 and could be called the "Mother of Modern China."  She was both a woman of action and a thinker, and is the only revolutionary that was hailed by both the Nationalists (KMD) and Communist.  

soong5.jpg

Finally, here is a presentation I gave at the World History Association in 2015 in Savannah, GA.  The theme of the conference was "Revolutions in World History" so I collaborated with my friend, Linda Black, and put together a presentation entitled: "Revolutionary Women:  Overlooked Leaders in Times of Resistance."   Please find the presentation and the resources for that presentation here:  http://bit.ly/womenrev

I think the title of the presentation was apt for back then, but I do hope that in the (near) future, the revolutionary women who led movements such as the Women's March will no longer be overlooked. 

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