Women’s place in French society has been a subject of controversy for some six centuries. In her two new groundbreaking works, The Woman Question in France, 1400-1870 (Cambridge UP, 2017) and Debating the Woman Question in the French Third Republic, 1870-1920 (Cambridge UP, 2018), Stanford scholar Karen Offen explores and analyzes the public controversies over the relations between women and men, women’s “influence,” and how these debates about women’s (and men’s) roles and highly gendered notions about “the family” and “the state,” were embedded in and slowly reformulated over time in the Francophone world.
The books that we will be celebrating on May 8, cap a long and path-setting career marked by such celebrated works as European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History (Stanford University Press, 2000) and Globalizing Feminisms, 1789-1945 (Routledge, 2010). Karen has also co-edited such essential works as Writing Women's History: International Perspectives (Indiana University Press, 1991); and Victorian Women: A Documentary Account of Women's Lives in Nineteenth-Century England, France, and the United States. (Stanford University Press, 1981). Karen has actively participated in a worldwide group of scholars working not only to write women into history, but to understand the ways that women have played a role in their own historical construction, and to make this history accessible.
Karen Offen (Ph.D., Stanford University) is a historian and independent scholar, affiliated with the Clayman Institute for Gender Research at Stanford since 1977. She publishes on the history of modern Europe, especially France and its global influence, on the building of transnational feminist networks, notably the first of those networks, the International Council of Women, on the historiography of women’s & gender history, and on the sexual politics of knowledge. She has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.