|Chapter 7: Education and Culture
Links to Original Sources
1. Girls’ and Boys’ Education in the Book of Rites, China, before 500 BCE
The Book of Rites is one of the Confucian classics, and describes proper conduct, forms, and rituals. Among the topics it considers is education, and it sets out very different educational programs for boys and girls. This is the section on education, with a helpful introduction. http://chnm.gmu.edu/cyh/primary-sources/194
2. Sappho, Poems and Poem Fragments, Greece c.600 BCE
Sappho is the Greek female poet from whom the most writing survives. She was born on Lesbos, one of the islands in the Aegean Sea, probably married and had at least one daughter. This site contains examples of her poetry, references to secondary works, and excellent contextualization.
3. Writings of Ban Zhao, China c.100 CE
Ban Zhao took over as court historian for the Han dynasty in China after her brother who had held that position died. She wrote poetry, essays, memorials, and Instructions for Women (Nü-chieh), which became her best-known work. This site contains extracts from many of her works and links to others online and in print, references to secondary works, and excellent contextualization.
4. Women Writer of the Heian Era, Japan 10th–11th Centuries
Japan is the only country in the world where the foundational works of literature were written by women. During the Heian Era, the most esteemed literature in Japan was poetry written by men in Chinese with Chinese characters; women wrote in prose and in kana, a script with Japanese syllabic characters, but these were not valued at the time. Within several centuries, however, women’s prose works in Japanese were regarded as the basis of a national literature, and have been viewed so ever since. This site contains extracts from several works by women, including Sei Shonagon’s diary and The Tale of Genji, with excellent introductions.
5. Writings of Hildegard of Bingen, Germany 12th Century
Hildegard of Bingen (1098–1179) was the founder and abbess of two Christian monastic houses for women, a visionary, and a prolific author. She wrote works of theology, plays, poetry, and scientific works, and was also a talented artist and composer of chants, liturgy, and other types of music. This site contains examples of many of her works, and links to recordings, secondary works, and various specialized websites devoted to Hildegard.
For the International Society of Hildegard von Bingen Studies, see their website:
6. Cassandra Fedele, Orations and Writings, Italy 16th Century
Cassandra Fedele (1465–1558) was taught Latin and Greek by her father, who was interested in the new learning of the Renaissance, and she later studied classical literature and rhetoric with tutors. A child prodigy, she received invitations to present orations to groups of learned men in which she spoke of the value of education. This site has selections from her speeches and links to other materials.
7. Lucrezia Marinella, Polemics and Poetry, Italy 17th Century
Lucrezia Marinella (1571–1653) was a Venetian author who wrote religious biographies, epics, poetry, and secular works. Her best-known work was her only polemic, The Nobility and Excellence of Women together with the Defects and Deficiencies of Men, published in 1600 in answer to a treatise on the defects of women published the previous year by an Italian poet. This site has extracts from many of her works, and links to others, along with contextualization.
8. Mirabai, Poetry, India 16th Century
Mirabai (c.1498–c.1550) was born into a noble family, received an education and married, but after her husband died became a wandering Hindu ascetic, devoted to the god Vishnu in his incarnation as Krishna. More than 1,000 poems are attributed to her, many of which have now been translated into English. This site has a number of these, and provides links to others and to secondary works.
9. Educational Reform in Japan, 19th Century
Beginning in the late eighteenth century, new ideas about the relations between education and the good of the state developed in many parts of the world, which eventually led to mass schooling. Prussia and Sweden were among the first countries to begin mass schooling, and by the mid-19th century Japan had as well. This site provides a series of written and visual sources about the expansion of schooling in Japan, and the impact this had on boys’ and girls’ experiences of childhood.
10. Nana Asma’u, Religious and Educational Works, West Africa 19th Century
Nana Asma’u (1793–1864) was a Muslim woman in West Africa who was a prolific author, popular teacher, and renowned scholar and intellectual. She was active in politics, education, and social reform, and taught many other women. This site has selections from a biography that contains translations of her works, plus good background information.
11. United Nations Millennium Development Goals on Educational Gender Parity, 2007
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight goals related to poverty, education, gender equality, health, environmental sustainability, and development set in the year 2000 at the UN Millennium Summit, and adopted by 189 nations. The three sites below include charts for those relating to gender parity in education, with contextualization.
Suggestions for Further Reading
The books in this list are organized by the topics noted below, and then in alphabetical order by author within each topic. Most of them have descriptions taken from the book jacket or from the publisher’s website. These descriptions are written by the author or the publisher to sell the book as well as to explain its contents. They thus do not necessarily represent my opinion of the book, but I have included them here so that you can get an idea of a book's contents and approach and thus better judge whether it would be useful for your purposes.
Classical and Postclassical Cultures (600 BCE–1450 CE)
The Renaissance and Early Modern Era (1400–1800 CE)
The Modern West (1800–2000 CE)
The Colonial and Postcolonial World (1800–2000 CE)
Adams, Steven and Anna Gruetzner Robins, eds. Gendering Landscape Art. New York: Manchester University, 2000.
While gender has been the subject of extensive critical inquiry, the debate has focused primarily on the human, particularly the female, body. The spaces bodies occupy and the ways in which those spaces are depicted in landscape art has not, however, been subject to investigation. This book is the first sustained attempt to fill this gap in art history. Using approaches informed by cultural studies, feminism, and psychoanalysis, this collection of essays charts the ways in which artists from the late eighteenth century to the present have used notions of femininity and masculinity to understand and interpret the landscape and how it is represented. Various chapters in this volume offer new insights into how issues of gender have impacted on the work of well-known artists such as Monet and Cezanne. Other pieces focus on less familiar examples of landscape art over the past two centuries, from the public displays of monumental landscapes in late-eighteenth-century London to environmental art projects in present-day New York.
Bean, Jennifer M. and Diane Negra, eds. A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema. Durham, NC: Duke University, 2002.
A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema marks a new era of feminist film scholarship. The twenty essays collected here demonstrate how feminist historiographies at once alter and enrich ongoing debates over visuality and identification, authorship, stardom, and nationalist ideologies in cinema and media studies. Drawing extensively on archival research, the collection yields startling accounts of women's multiple roles as early producers, directors, writers, stars, and viewers. It also engages urgent questions about cinema's capacity for presenting a stable visual field, often at the expense of racially, sexually, or class-marked bodies. While fostering new ways of thinking about film history, A Feminist Reader in Early Cinema illuminates the many questions that the concept of "early cinema" itself raises about the relation of gender to modernism, representation, and technologies of the body. The contributors bring a number of disciplinary frameworks to bear-including not only film studies, but also postcolonial studies, dance scholarship, literary analysis, philosophies of the body, and theories regarding modernism and postmodernism. Reflecting the stimulating diversity of early cinematic styles, technologies, and narrative forms, essays address a range of topics--from the dangerous sexuality of the urban flâneuse to the childlike femininity exemplified by Mary Pickford, from the Shanghai film industry to Italian diva films-looking along the way at birth-control sensation films, French crime serials, "war actualities," and the stylistic influence of art deco. Recurring throughout the volume is the protean figure of the New Woman, alternately garbed as childish tomboy, athletic star, enigmatic vamp, languid diva, working girl, kinetic flapper, and primitive exotic.
Bellamy, Joan, Anne Laurence and Gill Perry, eds. Women, Scholarship and Criticism: Gender and Knowledge c. 1790-1900. New York: Manchester University, 2000.
This innovative volume explores a wide range of artistic, critical, and cultural productions by women scholars, critics, and artists between 1790 and 1900, many of whom are little known. The essays question the concepts of “scholarship,” “criticism,” and “artist” across different disciplines, focusing on the gendered associations and exclusions and on structures of sexual difference. Women discussed include Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Sydney Morgan, and Anna Jameson; actresses such as Elizabeth Siddons, Dorothy Jordan, and Mary Robinson; critics such as Margaret Oliphant and Mary Cowden Clarke; historians such as Agnes Strickland, Lucy Aikin, Mary Anne Everett Green, Elizabeth Cooper, and Lucy Toulmin Smith; the writers and readers of women's magazines; educationalists such as the Shirreff sisters, and translators such as Anna Swanwick, as well as many others.
Broude, Norma and Mary D. Garrard, eds. Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
A sequel to the pioneering volume, Feminism and Art History: Questioning the Litany, published in 1982, The Expanding Discourse contains 29 essays on artists and issues from the Renaissance to the present, representing some of the best feminist art-historical writing of the past decade. Chronologically arranged, the essays demonstrate the abundance, diversity, and main conceptual trends in recent feminist scholarship.
Burman, Barbara and Carole Turbin, eds. Material Strategies: Dress and Gender in Historical Perspective. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003.
Material Strategies brings together scholars from different disciplines to explore what dress and textiles can tell us about gender history. The book covers women, men, social groupings and nations from the sixteenth to the twentieth century, incorporates illustrations that provide visual evidence for gendered strategies of dress, combines perspectives from design and textile history, business history, cultural anthropology, social history, art history and cultural history, and considers ‘material strategies’ in relation to production and consumption, the public and the private, the body and sexuality, and national identity.
Chicago, Judy and Edward Lucie-Smith. Women and Art: Contested Territory. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1999.
This is a curiously interesting hybrid with two running commentaries per page. The central space is reserved for a somewhat traditional art historical text on women artists and images of women in art by British art critic/art historian Lucie-Smith. The rest is filled with the writings of one of the most opinionated and surely the most famous U.S.-based feminist artist, Chicago, creator of The Dinner Party. The collaboration is certainly eye-catching, but, despite 200 beautiful color plates, this is no coffee-table decoration. It seems compiled to capture the attention of any browsing reader of college age and above. Many of the ten chapters might startle the average reader-they're explicit about gender issues, bodily functions, and other oddities that are now a part of contemporary art.
Davis, Gwenn and Beverly A. Joyce. Personal Writings by Women to 1900: A Bibliography of American and British Writers. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1989.
A pioneering reference work on the private writings of women, this bibliography provides a list of autobiographical and travel literature, letters and diaries by American and British women published between 1475 and 1900. The works of approximately 3,000 authors are included, and their writings represent many types and genres. This is the first volume of a series of interrelated bibliographies that will encompass women's published works of poetry, drama, fiction, juvenile literature, and a dictionary of pseudonyms and alternative names.
Flores, Yolanda. The Drama of Gender: Feminist Theater by Women of the Americas. New York: P. Lang, 2000.
The Drama of Gender fills the scholarly gap between women's dramaturgy and feminism as women manifest themselves on contemporary stages across the Americas. The plays examined-'Lua nua' by Leilah Assuo, 'Simply Maria or the American Dream' by Josefina Lopez, '...Y a otra cosa mariposa' by Susana Torres Molina, and 'Cocinar hombres' by Carmen Boullosa-exhibit a desire to deconstruct patriarchal notions of gendered roles and behaviors, compulsory heterosexuality, and dramatic forms.
Fisher, Jerilyn and Ellen S. Silber, eds. Women in Literature: Reading through the Lens of Gender. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2003.
Created to "support those who would like to `read like feminist critics,' " this work presents an essential collection of 96 essays that use gender criticism to analyze the most frequently taught literary works. Titles not usually considered part of the canon but that feature positive female characters are also included. Not only do these essays present new insights but they also offer teaching tips for analyzing literature from a feminist perspective. The editors recruited essay writers with different teaching techniques but similar critical viewpoints. Arranged alphabetically by title of analyzed work, these essays include interpretations of Macbeth, Huckleberry Finn, and Jane Eyre and of lesser-known works like Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle. Some essays offer classroom exercises and recommendations for further reading. The editors have included indexes by subject, theme, and literary works by author.
Goodman, Joyce and Jane Martin, eds. Gender, Colonialism and Education: The Politics of Experience. Portland, OR: Woburn, 2002.
An examination of the ways in which gender intersects with informal and formal education in England, Germany, Indonesia, South Africa, USA and the Netherlands. The book looks at various issues including: citizenship; authority; colonialism and education; linkages between rationality and affect, desire and pedagogy; the construction of national identities; and the traversing of "public" and "private" identities by parents, educational reformers and teachers.
Green, Lucy. Music, Gender, Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
This is the first book to focus on the role of education in relation to music and gender. Invoking a concept of musical patriarchy and a theory of the social construction of musical meaning, Lucy Green shows how women's musical practices and gendered musical meanings have been reproduced, hand-in-hand, through history. Dr. Green views the contemporary school music classroom as a microcosm of the wider society, and reveals the participation of music education in the continued production and reproduction of gendered musical practices and meanings.
Gutmann, Matthew C., et al. ed. Perspectives on Las Américas: A Reader in Culture, History, & Representation. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2003.
Perspectives on Las Américas: A Reader in Culture, History, and Representation charts new territory by demonstrating the limits of neatly demarcating the regions of ‘Latin America’ and the ‘United States’. This landmark volume presents key readings that collectively examine the historical, cultural, economic, and political integration of Latina/os across the Americas, thereby challenging the barriers between Latina/o Studies and Latin American/Caribbean Studies.
Harris Ann Sutherland and Linda Nochlin. Women Artists: 1550-1950. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1976.
The study of the life and work of 84 women painters, from 16th century portraiture to modern abstraction.
Hays-Gilpin, Kelley A. Ambiguous Images: Gender and Rock Art. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira, 2004.
A significant contribution to the relatively unexplored field of gender in rock art, this volume contains information for those interested in past gender systems. Hays-Gilpin argues that art is both a product of its physical and social environment and a tool of influence in shaping behavior and ideas within a society. Rock art is often one of the strongest lines of evidence available to scholars in understanding ritual practices, gender roles, and ideological constructs of prehistoric peoples.
Hayes, Patricia. Visual Genders, Visual Histories: A Special Issue of Gender and History. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2006.
Visual Genders, Visual Histories breaks new ground in visual studies by exploring the visual dimensions of gender. Comprising a series of contributions from different continents, the book helps readers to move beyond consideration of gender as a social construct, towards an understanding of the visual constructions of gender. Chapters explore the ways in which the visual shapes meaning, with material ranging from documentary film footage of liberated concentration camps after World War II, contemporary fashion photography in Tehran, to a queer art exhibition with overtones of a nineteenth-century archive. The book is organised thematically under the headings of documenting, trafficking and experimenting. They focus mainly on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, covering not only Europe and North America but also Argentina, Iran and southern Africa. A diverse selection of exceptional and provocative images accompanies the text.
Howe, Florence, ed. The Politics of Women’s Studies: Testimony from Thirty Founding Mothers. New York: Feminist Press, 2000.
In the patriarchal halls of 1970s academe, women who spoke their minds risked their careers. Yet intrepid women--students, faculty, administrators, members of the community--persisted in collaborating to form women's studies. In doing so, they created a movement that altered curricula and teaching styles, and shifted paradigms and content across disciplines. These original essays by "founding mothers" feature a diversity of voices: young graduate students or new Ph.D.s just beginning to teach and untenured; tenured professors in search of ways to improve their students' capacities to learn; older, veteran academics at last witnessing change; and even a few administrators. During the early years, they taught at more than 30 campuses, many changing jobs several times. Some taught at private institutions such as Spelman College and Cornell University, while the majority taught at large state universities such as Berkeley, Michigan, Kentucky, Arizona, and the City University of New York. In all of these programs, founders grappled not only with issues of gender, but with those of class, race, and sexuality, in a decade infused with political unrest and questioning, when civil rights and antiwar activism, as well as feminism, shaped academic worlds. In engaging political memoir, these essays chronicle the exhilaration of building a new kind of institution, of constructing a new curriculum and unearthing a new body of knowledge. They also give voice to the pain of successive defeats in the face of sexist attitudes and structures. Few of these trailblazers were welcomed as agents of change, fewer still applauded for their work. Yet their stories remain both inspiring and instructive. While each of these women's narratives has a life of its own, collectively, they tell an even more powerful story. The first volume in the Women's Studies History series, The Politics of Women's Studies preserves an essential history that is in danger of sinking into obscurity, combating the amnesia afflicting many of those teaching and studying about women today.
Huber, Kristina R. Women in Japanese Society: An Annotated Bibliography of Selected English Language Materials. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992.
This exhaustive bibliography surveys more than 2,300 works on the lives of women in Japan. It provides detailed annotations for books, chapters, scholarly and popular articles, and conference papers published in English from 1841 to the present. The entries are arranged in several broad categories, with sections devoted to home life, politics, education, careers, leisure, religion, and other areas. In addition, the book includes several sections on literary works by Japanese women. These sections provide biographical profiles of the authors and list their works. A concluding section lists reviews and overviews of scholarship on women in Japan.
Kaup, Monika and Debra J. Rosenthal, eds. Mixing Race, Mixing Culture: Inter-American Literary Dialogues. Austin: University of Texas, 2002.
Over the last five centuries, the story of the Americas has been a story of the mixing of races and cultures. Not surprisingly, the issue of miscegenation, with its attendant fears and hopes, has been a pervasive theme in New World literature, as writers from Canada to Argentina confront the legacy of cultural hybridization and fusion. This book takes up the challenge of transforming American literary and cultural studies into a comparative discipline by examining the dynamics of racial and cultural mixture and its opposite tendency, racial and cultural disjunction, in the literatures of the Americas. Editors Kaup and Rosenthal have brought together a distinguished set of scholars who compare the treatment of racial and cultural mixtures in literature from North America, the Caribbean, and Latin America. From various angles, they remap the Americas as a multicultural and multiracial hemisphere, with a common history of colonialism, slavery, racism, and racial and cultural hybridity.
Magrini, Tullia, ed. Music and Gender: Perspectives from the Mediterranean. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago, 2003.
Although scholars have long been aware of the crucial roles that gender plays in music, and vice versa, the contributors to this volume are among the first to systematically examine the interactions between the two. This book is also the first to explore the diverse, yet often strikingly similar, musics of the areas bordering the Mediterranean from comparative anthropological perspectives. From Spanish flamenco to Algerian raï, Greek rebetika to Turkish pop music, Sephardi and Berber songs to Egyptian belly dancers, the contributors cover an exceedingly wide range of geographic and musical territories. Individual essays examine musical behavior as representation, assertion, and sometimes transgression of gender identities; compare men's and women's roles in specific musical practices and their historical evolution; and explore how music and gender relate to such issues as ethnicity, nationality, and religion.