World history and the history
of women and gender have both developed over the last thirty years as
essential teaching and research fields in history. The articles presented
in this special issue of World History Connected offer exciting examples
of ways in which these two fields are beginning to interact more fully.
Many of these articles began as presentations at the 2006 World History
Association conference held at Cal State Long Beach. That conference offered
more presentations on women's and gender history than had any previous
WHA, including several whole sessions and many papers. Building on the
WHA presentations, we solicited additional contributions that would be
helpful to teachers and researchers.
For many students, the world
history classroom may be the initial place they encounter discussions
of gender and the roles that women and men play on the historical stage.
This issue of World History Connected offers the world history educator
a broad array of teaching strategies and resources to enhance this classroom
experience and to encourage student thinking from a global perspective.
For those of you just beginning to explore gender with your students,
Marjorie Bingham's article, which challenges us to a conversation about
"which women" to include in world history, would be a good place to start.
Lyn Reese discusses available electronic sources for the study of women's
role in the family. Laura Ryan and Devon Hansen provide multiple teaching
strategies to explore women in the Zapatista movement, and Carlos Contreras
suggests ways to use a hundred-year-old Peruvian novel to teach current
issues involving gender and class. Ulrike Strasser and Heidi Tinsman discuss
the challenges and benefits of their team-taught college-level world history
survey course in which gender was a central theme. Jacquelyn Miller describes
the way she is using motherhood as a lens to examine "big history" that
reaches beyond the human species. Candice Goucher expands our knowledge
of African society through an analysis of women, family, and household
in West Africa; and Marc Gilbert discusses changing historical perspectives
on women warriors in Vietnam. Both of these articles provide suggestions
about the rich resources available on the web for you and your students.
Several of the articles are
oriented more toward research than teaching, but we wanted to include
them to give a sense of the breadth of the field. Heidi Keller-Lapp analyzes
the role of seventeenth-century women in the Ursuline order in several
colonial settings, while Cristian Harris explores the changing situation
of women workers in nineteenth-century Argentina. Julia Miller's analysis
of the gendering of science, weather, and El Niúo asks us to examine global
historical processes through the critical lens of gender, providing historical
and intellectual context for an issue of great concern today. Finally,
book reviews by Kathy Callahan and Sharon Cohen make suggestions about
books that could be used in the classroom or for furthering your own knowledge.
Taken together, the articles represent only some of the many approaches
that world history educators are currently developing to explore gender
from a global perspective.