About “Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires since 1820”

Editors:  Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin

Managing Editor:  Denise Ireton

Historians have recently turned to empire as a compelling category of analysis to aid in their understanding of the global patterns that dominate modern world history.

Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires seeks to enlarge the scope and enhance the significance of the study of empire by creating a 75,000-page database and archive of documents that views the history of modern empires through women’s eyes.  Drawn from libraries, archives, and personal collections around the world, many of these documents are available for the first time.  We hope they will provide scholars and students with new perspectives on imperial history as a process of political, social, economic and cultural interactions involving indigenous and imperial people, family life, social networks and civil society as well as governments and armies.  

The project is a collaborative effort by 56 scholars, distinguished and emerging, who have gathered 41 clusters of documents in their fields of expertise.  The clusters range from a few hundred to a several thousand pages.  Each editor also provides a scholarly essay that explores the documents she/he has assembled and places them in historical context. These sources were generated in a wide range of languages.  Each document not in English (and each image and each handwritten document) is accompanied by an abstract that summarizes its significance and makes it accessible for online searches.  The collection includes audio and video material as well as texts drawn from letters, diaries, newspaper articles and a wide range of publications.  

Editors have gathered documents that represent specific times and places in depth.  Ranging from a particular social movement to an entire historical epoch, each set of sources allows scholars and students to explore the complexities and rich historical content of modern world history and trace micro and macro changes over time.  The collection as a whole offers scholars and students an unprecedented opportunity to study and compare the global processes of empire world-wide from the perspective of people who were not soldiers or diplomats but were nevertheless deeply engaged in the rise and fall of modern empires.       

Women’s voices can be found at all levels of imperial history.  As agents of empire, women were active as missionaries, educators, health-care professionals and women’s rights advocates.   As opponents of empire, women were active in nationalist and social reform movements and as conservers of culture.  As people in the vanguard of cultural interaction, women often forged a middle path of innovation in education, health and family life that drew on both imperial and host cultures.  We do not yet know what our exploration of women’s perspectives will find.  But we do know that this project provides students and scholars with a new, systematic approach to one of the strongest currents in modern history, shedding new light on forces that were global in extent and profoundly local in impact.

Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires is a peer-reviewed project that is supported by a large advisory board of scholars who are actively involved in its progress.  For more information visit the website for the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender at Binghamton University: http://chswg.binghamton.edu/WASM-ModernEmpires/description.html.

This online archive and database is co-published by the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender at the State University of New York, Binghamton, and Alexander Street of Alexandria, Virginia.  Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires is a companion to the 150,000-page online archive, Women and Social Movements, International, completed in 2013, which is now available at over 140 academic libraries, one third of which are outside the United States. The empires project complements but does not duplicate material in Women and Social Movements International. Whereas the empires database focuses on women’s voices in local, national and imperial society and culture, WASM International consists primarily of documents by and about women’s international organizations, especially the proceedings of 400 international women’s conferences. The combined size of Women and Social Movements International and Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires is 225,000 pages. These two archives and databases are the daughters of Women and Social Movements in the United States, an online journal as well as an archive and database.  All three databases in the Women and Social Movements series combine the spaciousness of the Internet with the historians’ craft of preserving and interpreting documents. 

Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires offers clusters of documents in nine categories:  

  • Asian Empires, 1842-2001

  • European Empires, 1820-2005

  • Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Empires in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1860-2015

  • Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Empires in the Balkans, 1820-1990

  • Native Women in North America, 1915-2010

  • Settler Society in North America, 1805-1940

  • South Africa, 1899-1987

  • United States Empire, 1820-2004

  • Women’s Global Networks in Colonial and Post-Colonial Worlds, 1883-2007 


ASIAN EMPIRES, 1842-2001

·       Katharine McGregor (University of Melbourne), and Faye Yik-Wei Chan (University of Melbourne), editors: Anti-Imperialist Activism of Indonesian Women, 1951-1965

·       Barbara Molony (Santa Clara University), Elizabeth Dorn Lublin (Wayne State University), and Taeko Shibahara (Doshisha University), editors: The Japanese Empire in East Asia, 1842-2001

·       Sarah Paddle (Deakin University), editor: Western Women in China, 1928-1980

·       Elisabeth Armstrong (Smith College), editor: Women Define Politics in Post-Colonial India, 1960-2000

·       Marianne R. Kamp (University of Indiana), editor: Russian Empire in Uzbekistan, 1914-1933



·       Julia Clancy-Smith (University of Arizona), and Lucia Carminati (University of Arizona), editors: French Empire in North Africa, 1935-2005

·       Carolyn Eichner (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), editor: French Feminists and Empire, 1880-1900

·       Susan Zimmermann (Central European University), editor: Habsburg Empire, 1820-1918 and Habsburg Secondary, with Michaela Koenigshofer (Independent Scholar, Vienna), Austria; Alexandra Ghit (Central European University), Romania; Sandra Prlenda Perkovac (Central European University), Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia, Italy, Bosnia, Herzegovina; Dietlind Huechtker (University of Leipzig), Poland, Ukraine; Jitka Gelnarova (Charles University, Prague), Czech Republic, Slovakia.

·       Lucia Carminati (University of Arizona), editor: Italians Consider the International Problem of Trafficking in Women, 1928-1936

·       Pamela McKane (York University), editor: Women Unionists in Northern Ireland, 1892-1960



·       Beth Baron (City College and CUNY Graduate Center), Secil Yilmaz (Cornell University), and Nova Robinson (Seattle University), editors: Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Empires in the Eastern Mediterranean, 1860-2015



·       Enriketa Papa-Pandelejmoni (Tirana University), editor: Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Empires in the Balkans, 1820-1990: Albania

·       Krassimira Daskalova (University of Sofia, Bulgaria), editor: Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Empires in the Balkans, 1820-1990: Bulgaria

·       Katerine Dalakoura (University of Crete), editor: Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Empires in the Balkans, 1820-1990: Greece

·       Roxana Lucia Cheschebec (Independent scholar), editor: Ottoman and Post-Ottoman Empires in the Balkans, 1820-1990: Romania



·       Laurie Arnold (Gonzaga University), editor: Finding Mourning Dove's Authentic Voice, Colville Federated Tribes, 1915-1935

·       Dee Garceau (Rhodes College), editor: Women's Leadership in Pow Wow Ritual, 2008-2014, Salish, Blackfeet and Urban Idaho Falls

·       Daniel Rivers (Ohio State University), editor: Women's Leadership in the Choctaw of Oklahoma, 1917-1963

·       Rose Stremlau (Davidson University) and Jaime Martinez (University of North Carolina, Pembroke), editors: Women's Leadership in the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina, 1954-1986

·       Gregory Fields (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville), editor: Women's Leadership in the Lummi Nation, 1880-1942

·       Lucy Eldersveld Murphy (Ohio State University), editor: Selma Sully Walker and Native Women’s Leadership in Ohio, 1975-2015

·       Rowena McClinton (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville), editor: Women's Leadership in the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma

·       Kathryn Magee Labelle (University of Saskatchewan), editor: Women’s Leadership in Wendat/Wyandot/Wyandotte Tribes in Canada, 1985-1992

·       John Low (Ohio State University), editor: Women's Leadership through the Women's Basket Cooperative in Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, 1983-2000



·       Rowena McClinton (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville), editor: A Missionary among the Cherokee before Removal, 1805-1835

·       Susan Schulten (University of Denver), editor: Emma Willard’s Maps of North America, 1829

·       Cathleen D. Cahill (University of New Mexico), editor: Women's National Indian Association, 1880-1940


SOUTH AFRICA, 1899-1994

·       Brandy Thomas Wells (Ohio State University), editor: African American and Black African Women Build Civil Society in South Africa, 1920-1960

·       Elizabeth van Heyningen (University of Cape Town, South Africa), editor:  Dutch and British Women in Warring Empires in South Africa, 1899-1903

·       Katherine Sadler (Clark College, Vancouver WA), editor: Indigenous Women and Anti-Imperialist Activism in South Africa, 1929-1960

·       Teresa A. Barnes (University of Illinois), editor: Women in the Anti-Apartheid Movement in South Africa, 1960-1987



·       Ann Taylor Allen (University of Louisville), editor:  American Women Missionaries in India, 1910-1953

·       Lynn Stoner (Arizona State University), editor: Anti-Imperialist Writings of Cuban Feminists, 1896-1985

·       Febe Pamonag (Western Illinois University), Frances Anthea Redison, and Mary Barby Badayos-Jover (University of the Philippines in the Visayas), and Adrianne Francisco (UC Berkeley), editors: Filipino Women and American Empire, 1904-2004

·       Julie Rancilio (Kapioloni Community College), editor: Korean Women in Hawai'i, 1916-1961

·       Connie Shemo (State University of New York, Plattsburg), Shenglan Li (SUNY Binghamton), and Aihua Zhang (SUNY Stony Brook), editors: Medical Missionaries in China Interact with Chinese Women Physicians, 1894-1991

·       Rachel O’Donnell (York University), editor: Native Women Oppose Colonialism in Guatemala, 1960-2016

·       Katherine Marino (Ohio State University), editor: United States Women Shape Political Culture in the Panama Canal Zone, 1907-1975

·       Jessica B. Elkind (San Francisco State University), editor: U.S. Women Aid Workers in Indochina, 1955 to 1970




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