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Sisterly NetworksFifty Years of Southern Women's Histories$
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Catherine Clinton

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780813066615

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813066615.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM FLORIDA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.florida.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Florida, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FLASO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Testing Our Mettle

Testing Our Mettle

Women’s and Gender History in the Battle over the Civil War

(p.34) 2 Testing Our Mettle
Sisterly Networks

Michele Gillespie

University Press of Florida

Women’s and gender historians over the last fifty years have not suffered such physical horrors, they have had to test their mettle on the scholarly battlefield of Civil War history. Theirs has been a dogged fight in the face of strong opposition to gendering a past that traditional historians and popular culture have preferred to see as great battles between great men. Newer narratives that document white and black women’s resistance, agency, and leadership across the Civil War era have been contesting these persistent older accounts for several decades. Recently historians have disputed traditional historical approaches even more rigorously by exposing the cultural meanings of gender during wartime. They have argued that ideas about masculinity and femininity shaped Civil War political discourse, social thought, and economic roles, ultimately affecting the nature and outcome of the war. The Southern Association for Women Historians (SAWH) has long been a critical locus of support for these scholars who are challenging outmoded conceptions of the Civil War that emanate from within the profession and across mainstream American media and culture.

Keywords:   SAWH, civil War history, masculinity, femininity, political discourse, social thought, economic roles

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