The Market Revolution: back when economics was actually interesting.
(I would like to make a video about this, but I don’t have the time, since being the Collins historian is driving me crazy and I have a paper due on Thursday about how wishy-washy JFK was on Vietnam and OH MY GOODNESS WHY AM I NOT WORKING ON THAT.)
About a month ago, I was watching a lesson in John Green’s World History class on Crash Course, when he mentioned that we need to “rewrite” history to better include the contributions of women. This bugged me, so I made a comment on the video, and then moved on with my life.
But today I was reminded of this line of thinking when my American Indian Spirituality class mentioned that it is difficult to study the role of women in society when there is little recorded information on them in the first place. And what is recorded, has to be understood in the context of its time and the intent of the author. (European men could write about Lakota women, but would likely write about them as beasts of burden, slaves, whatever, but still consider Lakota women to be better mannered than European women who are all concerned about their false hopes of women’s equality.)
This is precisely why I do not believe in the argument that we need to rewrite history to include women. First off, due to gender restrictions, women were not likely to be off on adventures (sorry, Atalanta), so stories did not include “true” stories of the exploits of women, mainly because there were no women independently living their lives.
Secondly, history is based upon primary documents (and archaeology, but that is not very dependable, due to environmental conditions and such), and primary documents come from the time period they are describing. And the further back in history you look, the less and less women are likely to appear. And I’m sure you know why - men write history, so they are more likely to write about their own exploits in battle or whatnot. Also, battles are more likely to be exciting to read about, more so perhaps than women raising children. If a woman did write about her life, it would have to either survive the wear of time through luck, or perhaps through someone else finding it interesting and preserving it for the next generation, and so on down the line.
Those are a lot of perhaps. History is all one big perhaps, anyways.
We do not need to rewrite history to include women because we CAN’T. At least not easily. You can’t just make crap up out of nothing and call it history. If its not there, IT’S NOT THERE.
But, don’t loose hope, women of the world, for there are historians out there rereading and reconsidering the information we already have, and always we are looking for a new way of understanding a primary source.
*This is written with the intent of looking at “ancient” or EARLY world history. Yes, I know that the history of the 1960s needs AND has the ability to include women’s worldly perspectives. And, of course, WOMAN-KIND, ARISE!
I hope this made some sort of sense. Now then. Back to JFK and Vietnam.