About Women and Social Movements

The Women and Social Movements websites were launched in December 1997 at the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender at the State University of New York, Binghamton, with the online appearance of Women and Social Movements in the United States (WASM). The site published “document projects,” an innovative format for historical study.  Each document project has a title that poses a new historical question, assembles 20-30 primary sources that address the question, and offers a scholarly essay that interprets the documents as a group.  WASM’s collection of document projects grew rapidly until the site became an online database and journal in 2004, co-published twice annually by the Center for the Historical Study of Women and Gender and Alexander Street.  WASM in the US became a peer-reviewed journal and in addition to document projects began publishing 5,000 pages annually of Primary Source Sets, as well as book reviews, news from archives, and occasional scholarly essays.  Resources on the site explore American women’s history since the late 17th century, with a particular focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. See more details about this collection here.

In January 2011 we published the first installment of a companion online archive and database, Women and Social Movements International since 1840. Organized around the publications of women’s international organizations, WASM International includes the proceedings of about 400 women’s international conferences in a database of more than 4,600 documents amounting to 150,000 pages.  Resourced at more than 200 archives and repositories worldwide, the database includes diaries, letters, memoirs, journal articles, government reports, and reports of international voluntary organizations.  The database is also strong in gender-related documents of the League of Nations and the United Nations, with extensive coverage of the UN Women’s Conferences held between 1975 and 1995.  About eight percent of the sources are in German, French or Spanish. See more details about this collection here.

In 2016 we began publication of a third online archive and database, Women and Social Movements in Modern Empires since 1820. Completed in 2018, this resource of 75,000 pages provides rare documentation of the colonial and post-colonial worlds as seen through women's eyes. Curated by an international team of more than fifty scholars, the database provides scholarly essays and primary resources focusing on the British, French, Habsburg, Ottoman, Japanese, Russian, and American Empires.  Giving voice to the colonized as well as the colonizers, the database offers rare published and archival sources exploring colonial histories of Guatemala, Cuba, North Africa, South Africa, the Middle East, Ireland, Central Europe, the Balkans, India, China, and Indonesia.  An especially rich section will explore the lives of Native Women in North America. About 25 percent of the database is in languages other than English; each document not in English is accompanied by an English abstract. See more details about this collection here.

The Women and Social Movements Library brings together these three databases and permits scholars and students to browse and search seamlessly through all the content that their academic library subscribes to. For libraries with access to all three databases, this content comprises more than 13,500 documents containing some 400,000 pages. Database users can track women activists globally and trace particular themes in national, international, or transnational contexts. Cross-cultural comparisons and comparisons across time become much richer when accessing such a large array of primary documents and secondary essays.