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Gender: A World History

Susan Kingsley Kent

Publication Date - 07 December 2020

ISBN: 9780190621988

192 pages
6 1/8 x 9 1/4 inches

In Stock


Gender exists in almost every society as a way of organizing its people. Gender is used to assign certain responsibilities, obligations, and privileges to some, and to deny them to others. In Gender: A World History, Susan Kingsley Kent tells the story of this seemingly simple but in fact quite complex concept. With historical perspective she critically examines our everyday understandings of women and men, masculinity and femininity, and sexual difference in general. Central to this account is the conviction that gender is neither natural nor innocent. What passes for masculinity and femininity in one society might not do so in another. Even the passing of time can change what gender looks like in a particular culture. Thinking about the history of gender can also shed light on other types of relations, such as those between a government and its people, between different social classes, and between a colony and its colonizer.

Ranging from prehistory to the present, this book presents a chronological picture of gender across the globe. From Hatshepsut and the rise of patriarchy in the ancient world, to the Bushido code of the samurai in wartime, to Susan B. Anthony and the women's rights movement in the United States, to the gay and trans rights movements of today, the force of gender in world history cannot be denied.


  • A unique historical survey of an increasingly important topic, gender
  • Presents a history that is global in scope
  • Chronological organization allows readers to see how gender changes over time, affecting historical events, ideologies, and people

About the Author(s)

Susan Kingsley Kent is an Arts & Sciences Professor of Distinction in the Department of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is the author of The Global 1930s (2017) with Marc Matera, A New History of Britain: Four Nations and an Empire (2016), and Queen Victoria: Gender and Empire (2016), among others.


"Its chronological breadth, diverse choice of topics, and affordable price make it a useful volume for those seeking a supplemental text for a world history survey course." -- Melissa Franklin-Harkrider, Fides et Historia

"Like other books in the "New Oxford World History" series, this volume packs a lot of content into a few highly readable, short chapters ... scholars, teachers, and students of world history will no doubt find many insights to augment lectures or inspire research projects." -- P. B. Guingona, CHOICE

Table of Contents

    Introduction: What is Gender?

    Chapter 1: Patriarchy in the Ancient World, 3000 BCE - 300 CE

    Chapter 2: The Gender Rules of New Universal Religions, 200-1000 CE

    Chapter 3: Gender and War in the Age of Global Interactions, 1000 - 1500

    Chapter 4: Gender and Slavery in the Age of Global Expansion, 1450-1750

    Chapter 5: Gender and the State in the Age of Revolution, 1750-1850

    Chapter 6: Gender in the Age of Empires, 1815-1914

    Chapter 7: Gender Politics in the Twentieth Century

    Epilogue: Challenging Gender Identities



    Further Reading




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