WOODSIDE, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, June 21, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — In these remarkable times, the news happens so fast you can't even remember a week ago. In truth, history moves very slowly and always has. Historians relish analyzing change – or continuity – over time.
Dr. Karen Offen Ph.D is a historian and independent scholar, affiliated as a Senior Scholar with the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford University. Dr. Offen publishes on the history of Modern Europe, more specifically France and its global influence on thought and politics with reference to family, gender, and the relative status of women.
“History, especially comparative history, offers us a superb perspective on the human condition,” says Dr. Offen. “The history of people in other countries gives us the perspective we need to help us reflect on ourselves as Americans.”
As a historian of Europe, Dr. Offen is particularly interested in the history of women because it was neglected for so long. Her two most recent books The Woman Question in France, 1400-1870 and Debating the Woman Question in the French Third Republic, 1870-1920 explore the struggle regarding the place of women in France and their relationship to men over 600 years.
“In the wake of the #MeToo movement, it's amazing to me that the French have been talking about such issues for 600 years, and in print!” says Dr. Offen. “It's essentially about how the relationships between women and men should be restructured. It started out with questions about whether women were inferior, questions about the laws concerning marriage, questions about women’s education. Then came the economic questions. Should women even be in the paid labor force? The right-to-work and equal pay for equal work, reproductive freedom, protests again male misuse of their power and privilege: those ideas are all on the table by the later 19th century.”
Dr. Offen says as she’s gone further in her analysis, the issues get more and more complex, or difficult to resolve. A case in point is that of achieving reproductive freedom; another is sexual harassment. She argues that in order to take apart and restructure the existing gender system, you have to understand its construction. That's where history comes in.
“Mutual respect is very important to this whole discussion,” says Dr. Offen. “Masculinity and femininity have been constructed in relation to one another in a particular culture, but each sex has been defined by very different functions and very different privileges. My sense is that every generation has to revisit the resulting problems of how men and women relate to one another in the context of the particular time and place. The “woman question” doesn't seem to go away.”
It was once believed women's history couldn’t exist because (some said) there were no sources. Dr. Offen and her colleagues have certainly proved that argument wrong. Sources abound; one just has to know how and where to look for them.
“When you study long periods of history, as opposed to five or ten years, you necessarily develop a long view,” says Dr. Offen. “And the long view is actually rather comforting. As concerns the woman question, the countries of Europe and North America have actually seen considerable progress toward sexual equity, despite many setbacks and periods of severe backlash. Studying the woman question provides deep insights into how societies actually work at the most fundamental level.
CUTV News Radio will feature Dr. Karen Offen in an interview with Jim Masters on June 25th at 2pm EDT.
Listen to the show on BlogTalkRadio.
If you have a question for our guest, call (347) 996-3389.
For more information on Dr. Karen Offen, visit www.karenoffen.com
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Source: EIN Presswire