Gender and technology in the East Midlands boot and shoe industry : 1850-1911
Many scholars now consider that gender is an important category in historical study, but unfortunately many do not practice what they preach. Feminists have recognised for some time the importance of some form of historical analysis to feminism, or at least what Judith Allen calls 'a historically grounded feminism'. The protagonists in the debate disagree considerably, however, over the methodology which feminist historians should adopt. The various positions taken up have led to a schism between those who believe the feminist challenge to mainstream, or what Elizabeth Fox- Genovese calls 'official' history, should be mounted from within the discipline of history or from outside it. Judith Allen claims that the work which has been done in women's history to date serves to raise considerable doubt that accepting the discipline of history as presently constituted is a viable option for feminism. She sees the phallocentric characteristics of history as an obstacle to feminists using history. Allen feels that 'no less than Marxism, feminism is opposed by professional historians as an ahistorical grid of abstraction and prescription, threatening the integrity of the historical evidence.'