Reconsidering Dichotomies

Joan Sangster
1996 Left history  
My article obviously touched a nerve, judging by the responses, both on and offthe record, that I have received. I want to reply here with brevity. My original piece was shorter than one of the replies; never intended as historiography, it was an opinion piece shaped by some alienations, discouragements and questions with the field as I saw it. Although short on footnotes, it was based on considerable reading, I reflection and anxiety -the latter because in a field which has often lacked open
more » ... often lacked open and vigorous debate, it is sometimes difficult to offer even mild criticisms of work done by colleagues whom one respects. I would stand by the three original aims I had in writing this polemic. First and foremost, I objected to the privileging ofgender history OVER women's history, with the corollary assumption that the former offers a sharp break with existing feminist history and is methodologically and theoretically superior. Second, I wanted people to think critically about the political perspectives underlying the new gender history being written. Third, I tried to suggest that the existing Canadian women's history, though not immune to critique and sometimes limited (like all history) by the context in which it was written, should not be summarily dismissed. I make special mention of 'reading' for one anonymous assessor of my rejected SSHRC grant who took special care to single out this article as evidence of "poor research." Given the other comments about me in the assessment, the SSHRC committee noted it did not endorse the "tone" ofthe assessor. The other assessor was more generous and positive.
doi:10.25071/1913-9632.6970 fatcat:2tf4kb3f5fbenjo2kuqrvqkvwe