From the time of birth, children in Aztec, or Nahua, society were socialized into gender roles. In the birth ritual introducing the infant to society, symbolic objects clearly differentiated. Boys were to be warriors and craftsmen, and girls were to tend to domestic chores. Articles of clothing—loincloth and cape for the boy, shift and skirt for the girl—were given to the child. The umbilical... Read More »
De Staël was the daughter of Jacques Necker, Louis XVI’s Swiss Protestant finance minister. She published novels, literary tracts, and memoirs and became one of the best-known writers of the early nineteenth century. Napoleon exiled her in 1803. In the following excerpts, she describes her first meetings with him in 1797 and her judgment of the man.
Pierre Guyomar wrote the pamphlet excerpted here during the war–torn and hungry spring of 1793, at the height of popular political mobilization that restated arguments made by Condorcet three years earlier. A political moderate, Guyomar supported equal political rights for women and compares the question of women’s rights to that of the rights of black slaves.
Eugenics, defined as controlled human reproduction based on notions of desirable and undesirable populations or genotypes, have gained attention predominantly in the context of European fascist regimes that aimed at eliminating or controlling populations. Hitler’s campaign to eliminate Jews is perhaps the best known case in recent history. The concept of eugenics, however, has (re-)appeared in... Read More »
As a topic of discussion in the United States, abortion has long raised red flags. Not surprisingly, it is hardly a neutral subject in other national settings. Yet, apart from questions about the origin of life and legal questions about abortion rights, there are other dimensions to the history of abortion that relate to the lives of individual people on the local level.
The following... Read More »
In the 1950s, when the first contraceptive pills were tested in Puerto Rico, politicians, health administrators, and Church officials worldwide began to discuss human reproduction in new ways. The understanding that pregnancy could be prevented by “scientific” means stimulated debates on the regulation and control of human reproduction. After World War II, Neo-Malthusian views and the fear of... Read More »
Violence against women may take place within families as well as in settings outside of the domestic environment. Policy makers, academics, and activists have long sought to identify root causes of violence. These efforts have included strategies to help the victims of violence and to terminate violent behavior. Police stations staffed by women have been innovative testing grounds in some... Read More »