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Gender in Scottish History Since 1700

Edited by Lynn Abrams, Eleanor Gordon, Deborah Simonton, Eileen Yeo

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Scottish history is undergoing a renaissance. Everyone agrees that an understanding of our nation's history is integral to our experience of its present and the shaping of the future.

But the story of Scotland's past is being told with little reference to gendered identities. Not only are women largely missing from these grand narratives, but men's experience has tended to be sublimated in intellectual, political and economic agendas. Neither femininities nor masculinities have been given much of a place in Scotland's past or in the process of nation-making.

Gender in Scottish History offers a new perspective on Scotland's past since around 1700, viewing some of the main themes with a gendered perspective. It starts from the assumption that gender is integral to our understanding of the ways in which societies in the past were organised and that national histories have a tendency to be gender blind.

Each chapter engages with one key theme from Scottish historiography, asking what happens when women are added to the story and how the story changes when the meanings of gendered understandings and assumptions are probed. Addressing politics, culture, religion, science, education, work, the family and identity, Gender in Scottish History proposes an alternative reading of the Scottish past which is both inclusive and recognisable.


Preface and Acknowledgements
1. Introduction: Gendering the Agenda, Lynn Abrams
2. Gender and Scottish Identity, Esther Breitenbach and Lynn Abrams
3. Women, Gender and Politics, Sue Innes and Jane Rendall
4. Religion, Callum G. Brown
5. Education and Learning, Lindy Moore
6. Science, Medicine and the Body, Eileen Janes Yeo
7. Gender, the Arts and Culture, Sîan Reynolds
8. Work, Trade and Commerce, Deborah Simonton
9. The Family, Eleanor Gordon
List of Contributors.

About the Author

Lynn Abrams is Professor of Modern History and Head of the School of Humanities at the University of Glasgow. She has published widely on Scottish gender history and was convenor of Women’s History Scotland 2008-13. Her many publications include Oral History Theory (2010), Myth and Materiality in a Woman’s World: Shetland 1800-2000 (2005) and Gender in Scottish History Since 1700 (2006).

Eleanor Gordon is Professor of Architecture at the Edinburgh College of Art. She is author of numerous books, the most recent of which are Courtyard Housing (2004), Green Architecture (2001), Sustainable Housing (2000) and Green Buildings Pay (1988).

Deborah Simonton is Associate Professor of British History, University of Southern Denmark.

Eileen Yeo is Director of the Strathclyde Centre in Gender Studies.


As this rich collection reveals, there is a great deal of scope for further research in the history of Scottish women, while the ongoing challenge is to integrate them into mainstream studies.
- Jane McDermid, Scottish Affairs
Gender in Scottish History offers both a welcome summation of recent scholarship and an exciting outline for future research... Applying the lens of gender to Scottish history produces a kaleidoscope of narratives, each of which suggests new possibilities in thinking about identity and about our past.
- Gledna Norquay, Liverpool John Moores University, Scottish Studies Review