Where are women’s experiences in the historical record?
When I was a student not too long ago, experts tended to approach this question in three ways:
- They ignored it because they did not consider women’s history and experience worthy of study.
- They claimed that there was no evidence for ancient women’s lives: only texts by men and about men survive.
- A few regretfully stated that there is little surviving evidence, and at best we can acknowledge the immensity of what has been lost. They emphasized that we can only acknowledge the vast silence that echoes back when we ask questions of the women of the past.
A growing number of feminist scholars, myself among them, are here to add a fourth answer: we’re working on it, there’s much to be excited about, and we invite you to spread the word.
I’m ruminating on the best way to share this scholarship with colleagues, students, and the general public. Let me know if you have ideas!
A few of my favorite things:
Descriptions of a few of my favorite scholars and scholarship, written for the general public, forthcoming.
Bernadette Brooten, Love Between Women: Early Christian Responses to Female Homoeroticism (1996).
This book that should be required reading in history, religion, classics, not to mention Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Brooten presents a tour de force of primary sources on love between women, going back to Sappho’s representation in ancient and modern historiography and analyzing Greco-Roman authors’ literary works, astrological texts, magical texts, medical texts, dream-interpretation texts, and biblical, Jewish, and Christian texts. For my take on this book, click here.
Recovering Female Interpreters of the Bible: A Panel Discussion at the SBL Annual Meeting 2019 in San Diego. Download proceedings here
Kristine Henriksen Garroway: “Digging Up the Past. The History of Women Archaeologists in the Society of Biblical Literature”*
Susanne Scholz: “Reflecting on the Feminist Hebrew Bible Scholarship of Phyllis Trible, Tikva Frymer-Kensky, and Judith McKinlay”*
Sara Parks: “@Bernadette Brooten: Outstanding Among 125 Years of Women in the SBL.”*
Shively Smith: “Reflections on the “Head, Heart, and Hand” Legacy of Dr. Clarice J. Martin through the Social-Conscious Literary Voice of Anna Julia Cooper”*
Carly Daniel-Hughes: “Fantasy Echoes. Critical Reflections on “Women” & the Feminist Historiography of Early Christianity”*
Kay Higuera Smith “Response to the Panel on Recovering Female Interpreters of the Bible”