In this week episode of “New Books in History,” we’ll discuss Gender and the Great War (Oxford University Press, 2017) with editors Sue Grayzel and Tammy Proctor, focusing on ideas about how to teach using their edited collection.
The centenary of the First World War from 2014 to 2018 offered an opportunity to reflect upon the role of gender history in shaping our understanding of this pivotal international event. From the moment of its outbreak, the gendered experiences of the war have been seen by contemporary observers and postwar commentators and scholars as being especially significant for shaping how the war can and must be understood.
The negotiation regarding concepts of gender by women and men across vast reaches of the globe characterizes this modern, instrumental conflict. Over the past twenty-five years, as the scholarship on gender and this war has grown, there has never been a forum such as the one presented here that placed so many of the varying threads of this complex historiography into conversation with one another in a manner that is at once accessible and provocative.
Given the vast literature on the war itself, scholarship on gender provides students as well as scholars with a chance to think not only about the subject of the war but also the methodological implications of how historians have approached it. While many studies have addressed the national or transnational narrative of women in the war, none address both femininity and masculinity, and the experiences of both women and men across the same geographic scope as the studies presented in this volume.
Susan R. Grayzel is Professor of History at Utah State University, where she researches and teaches the history of modern Europe, gender, and the world wars.
Tammy M. Proctor is Distinguished Professor of History and Department Head at Utah State University.
Julia M. Gossard is Assistant Professor of History at Utah State University where she teaches early modern and modern European history. Her book, Young Subjects, is forthcoming with McGill-Queen’s University Press.