The gender of history: men, women, and historical practice

Bonnie Smith shows how the practices of history, and indeed its very definition, were shaped by gender. Smith resurrects the amateur history written by women in the nineteenth century - a type of history condemned as trivial by "scientific" male historians. She demonstrates the degree to which the profession defined itself in opposition to amateurism, femininity, and alternative ways of writing history. The male historians of the archive and the seminar claimed to be searching for "genderless universal truth," which in reality prioritized men's history over women's, white history over non-white, and the political history of Western governments over any other. Meanwhile, women amateurs wrote vivid histories of queens and accomplished women, of manners and mores, and of everyday life.