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Karen Offen

Karen Offen

Clayman Institute Senior Scholar
Ph.D, Stanford University

Updates October 2011In late September Senior Scholar Karen Offen presented a paper at the international conference,“Family Law in Early Women’s Rights Debates” at the Leibnitz University in Hanover, Germany.  In early October, she gave two invited lectures at the University of Cyprus in Nicosia.  Her recent publications include: “Founding the International Federation for Research in Women’s History, 1987-2007,” Women’s History Review (Sept. 2011), and contributions (short articles and translated texts) on Hubertine Auclert, G. Avril de Sainte-Croix, Jenny P. d’Héricourt, and May Wright Sewall, in Feminist Writings from Ancient Times to the Modern World (2 vols.  Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood/ABC Clio, 2011), edited by former Institute scholar Tiffany K. Wayne.-------------------- Karen Offen has been affiliated with the Institute since 1977. The recepient of many fellowships and grants, including Rockefeller, Guggenheim, and NEH, she holds an honorary doctorate in humane letters from her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Idaho and was recognized by her alumni association with the Silver and Gold award for distinguished achievement. She is also listed in a number of Who's Who volumes.The author of many works in European and comparative women's & gender history, Karen's latest book is European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History (Stanford University Press, 2000). She is completing a book on the "woman question" debate in modern France and an edited volume, Global Feminisms, 1789-1945. Her landmark article, "Defining Feminism: A Comparative Historical Approach," Signs (1988), has been translated into five languages.Among her recent publications are the following articles:

  • "Aperçus sur un siècle de féminismes," with Christine Bard & Sylvie Chaperon, in "Histoire des femmes," 3rd dossier coordinated by the Mnémosyne Association & Anne-Marie Sohn, Historiens et Géographes, no 394 (April 2006).
  • "Eruptions and Flows: Thoughts on Writing a Comparative History of European Feminisms, 1700-1950," in Comparative Women's History: New Approaches, ed. Anne Cova. (Boulder and New York: Social Science Monographs/Columbia University Press, 2006).
  • "Intrepid Crusader: Ghénia Avril de Sainte-Croix Takes on the Prostitution Issue," Proceedings of the Western Society for French History (2005 conference volume), ed. Carol Harrison et al.
  • "Le gender est-il une invention américaine?" in Clio: Histoire, Femmes et Sociétés, no. 24 (2006).
  • "How (and Why) the Analogy of Marriage with Slavery Provided the Springboard for Women's Rights Demands in France, 1640-1848," in Women's Rights and Transatlantic Antislavery in the Era of Emancipation, ed. Kathryn Kish Sklar & James Brewer Stewart. (New Haven:Yale University Press, 2007).
  • "La Aventura del sufragio femenino en el mundo," in Historia de una conquista; Clara Campoamor y el voto femenino, ed. Rosa Capel Martinez (Madrid: Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Dirección General de Igualdad de Oportunidades, 2007).
  • Review of Judith Surkis, Sexing the Citizen on H-France Forum. May 2007.
  • Review of Judith Bennett, History Matters, for the Women's Review of Books, 24:4 (July/Aug. 2007).

Karen Offen has several new published articles to report: "Thinking Historically about the International Women's Movement," special issue of Sextant (Brussels), nos. 23-24 (2007); "La Aventura del sufragio femenino en el mundo," in Historia de una conquista; Clara Campoamor y el voto femenino, ed. Rosa Capel Martinez (Madrid: Ayuntamiento de Madrid, Dirección General de Igualdad de Oportunidades, 2007); "Madame Ghénia Avril de Sainte-Croix, the Josephine Butler of France," in Women's History Review (London), 17:2 (April 2008); "Erupcoes e Fluxas: Reflexoes Sobre a Escrita de Uma Historia Comparade dos Feminismos Europeus, 1700-1950," in História comparada das mulheres: Novas Abordagens, ed. Anne Cova (Lisbon: Livros Horizonte, 2008); "¿Quién le teme a las mujeres en la pol’tica? ¿Y por qué? on CD-Rom, from the Conference XI Jornadas Nacionales de Historia de la Mujeres y IV Congresso Iberoamericano de Estudios de Género (Rosario, Argentina, August 2008); and "Feminists Campaign in "Public Space:" Civil Society, Gender Justice, and the History of European Feminisms," in Civil Society, Public Space, and Gender Justice, ed. Karen Hagemann, Sonya Michel, & Gunilla Budde (New York: Berghahn, 2008). In addition her entries in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History (ed. Bonnie G. Smith, 2008) include "History of Women," "Ghénia Avril de Sainte-Croix," and "Ellen Key."Her co-authored article, with Elizabeth L. Colton "The International Museum of Women," in UNESCO's Museum International, no. 236 (59:4) Dec. 2007, appeared in a special issue "Gender Perspectives on Cultural Heritage and Museums." She has published a long review, "Dancing with the Patriarchs," of Judith Bennett, History Matters, in the Women's Review of Books, 24:4 (July/Aug. 2007); a long review of Judith Surkis, Sexing the Citizen on the internet site H-France Forum (May 2007); and has a review forthcoming in MS. Magazine's fall issue of Marilyn French's four-volume epic, From Eve to Dawn: A History of Women in the World (Feminist Press, 2008).Karen Offen is a founder and past secretary-treasurer of the International Federation for Research in Women's History. She is past president of the Western Association of Women Historians (USA) and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Museum of Women (San Francisco). Further information is available on Karen's website at She can be contacted at kmoffen AT Karen also writes a blog for the International Museum of Women, "Clio Talks Back"