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In humanities, the studies focus on how individuals have interpreted and recorded the experience of humans, or just a focus on human culture. Some of the study areas include literature, languages, religion, philosophy, musicology, religion, archaeology, art and history among others. As women have been seen in the field of sciences, they have also contributed to the history of humanities. Women have played a role and contributed to the economy, history, art, family life, literature and science. The contributions vary from conducting scholarly researchers, participating in remarkable events politically or relating to the historical men, in one way or another. For instances, as women played their roles and contributed to the history of humanities, they faced challenges, specifically in the United States (for example) and even globally, in areas such as professional careers, poverty, violence, racism, body image, and motherhood among others. That is the summary of women’s contribution to the history of humanity from antiquity to the modern period.
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A good example of a woman who contributed to the history of humanities (antiquity) is Ban Zhao who completed the work of her brother after when the brother wad on execution is owing to his engagement in Empress Dowager Duo (Bod 28). She was the first historian who was a female. She also wrote a book called, ‘Lessons for women.’ In the book, she advised women to be obedient and submissive to the men. In the medieval period, Christine de Pizan is identifiable among the women who contributed to the history of humanities in the middle ages. She was a writer of issues related to women. For instance, ‘Book of the City of Ladies,’ that she wrote was an attack on misogyny. She firmly advocated for skills that could enhance prevention of war. In the early modern world, Dr. Lilian B. Miller is among the women who contributed to the history of humanities, in her lifetime. She was engaged in the history of the American culture, which was manly studies at Smithsonian in the year 1970s. She published some books, and the commonly known as ‘The Peal Family: Creation of Legacy, 1770-1870′. This involved incorporation of Peale Family members’ works which had been produced almost a century earlier.
Significance of Reconstructing the Feminist History of the Humanities
This relates to rereading history from the perspective of a woman, with the aim of exploring and illuminating the female’s point of view of history via the discovery of the female heroines. This then enhances recovery and motivation that women have emerged to be identified amidst several discriminations.
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The intensity of gender discrimination, which did not favor women, and is currently evident, was even higher in the discussed periods. However, it is quite encouraging to learn that still, other women could participate in positive activities that make their history be of importance today. Therefore, it is important that the feminist history of the humanities be reconstructed, so that it be an encouragement to several women in the current generation, who may fear to move ahead due to gender hindrances. The fact that the women in the past emerged and became heroines amidst the intensified gender discrimination by then should make them current females realize that they can achieve even more, now that gender equality is relatively more enhanced.
- Bod, Rens. A New History of Humanities. Oxford University Press, 2013.