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A History of Their Own

Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present

Revised Edition

Bonnie S. Anderson and Judith P. Zinsser

Publication Date - September 1999

ISBN: 9780195128383

654 pages
5-5/16 x 8 inches

Unique organization focuses on developments and changes in women's roles in society rather than on historical chronology


This classic two-volume history is an exciting and revolutionary look at women's history from prehistoric times to the present. Its unique organization focuses on the developments, achievements, and changes in women's roles in society. Rather than examining women's history as an inevitable progression of events along a strict timeline, this text is organized within a loose chronology, with chapters focusing on women's place and function in society. This revised edition provides a new introduction, an updated epilogue on women's lives in Europe since 1988, and a completely revised bibliography that includes recent scholarship. A History of Their Own restores women to the historical record, brings their history into focus, and provides models of female action and heroism. Lively and engaging, this new edition takes readers on a fascinating journey through women's history and the changing roles they have played. In addition it is an ideal text for general courses in women's studies and women's history and more specialized courses focusing on women in European history.
Volume One covers women's history from the prehistoric period to the seventeenth century. It includes topics such as the treatment of and attitudes about women during earliest recorded history; the alternating forces of empowerment and subordination imposed on women by ancient religions and the emergence of Christianity; peasant women's daily experiences of childbirth, family life, and field labor; women's religious lives; and the contrast between the lives of noblewomen and the lives of townswomen in early modern Europe.

Previous Publication Date(s)

May 1990

Table of Contents

    I. Traditions Inherited: Attitudes About Women From the Centuries Before 800 A.D.
    1. Buried Traditions: The Question of Origins
    2. Inherited Traditions: The Principal Influences
    3. Traditions Subordinating Women
    4. Traditions Empowering Women
    5. The Effects of Christianity
    II. Women of the Fields: Sustaining the Generations
    1. The Constants of the Peasant Women's World: The Ninth to the Twentieth Centuries
    2. Sustaining the Generations
    3. The Extraordinary
    4. What Remains of the Peasant Woman's World
    III. Women of the Churches: The Power of the Faithful
    1. The Patterns of Power and Limitation: The Tenth to the Seventeenth Centuries:
    2. Authority Within the Institutional Church
    3. Authority Outside the Institutional Church
    4. Authority Given and Taken Away: The Protestant and Catholic Reformations
    5. Traditional Images Redrawn
    6. The Legacy of the Protestant Reformation
    IV. Women of the Castles and Manors: Custodians of Land and Lineage
    1. From Warrior's Life to Noblewomen: The Ninth to the Seventeenth Centuries
    2. Constants of the Noblewoman's Life
    3. Power and Vulnerability
    4. The New Flowering of Ancient Traditions
    V. Women of the Walled Towns: Providers and Partners
    1. The Townswoman's Daily Life: The Twelfth to the Seventeenth Centuries
    2. Dangers and Remedies
    3. The World of Commercial Capitalism: The Thirteenth to Seventeenth Centuries
    4. The Invisible and Visible Bonds of Misogyny