Gisela Bock

Book Presentation
Women in European History - From the Middle Ages to the Present Day

Gisela Bock describes the political, social, cultural and legal position of women in 400 pages with unbelievable detail and precision. The lives of women in different social classes and societies has been extremely contradictory, which is why the author refuses to summarise, but rather allows for the women and their opponents to have their say through extensive quotations. She exposes the incredibly rich material with practical cases from all over Europe (the USA are also included). It is the comparison of different countries that gives her survey penetrative force and shows that history doesn't provide unique answers, as it is historically impossible to prove that emancipation has progressed in a straight line.
Judgments concluding that women's emancipation is the enemy of the entire nation have by no means been rare, and have endured throughout history from the Middle Ages onward. Yet there are not only women's enemies in this history of women; Bock attempts to discover and bring to mind when and how women in history took the word, what means and goals they used in their struggle to change the gender inequality in society.
European history is filled with such testimonies; they bubbled to the surface during the Renaissance when the topic of the day was whether women were human beings; the author thoroughly documents the French Revolution and the way it failed when it came to the issue of women; there is a comparative analysis of the beginnings of women's movements from the 19th century; an analysis of the First World War and the women who participated in it, not fighting only for their cause, but supporting male goals as vehement patriots. Unusual for this type of historical overview is the author's survey of the social standing of women in 20th century dictatorships (Mussolini, Salazar, Franco, Hitler, Stalin) which employed different methods to mobilise women for themselves and their politics.
Bock documents the fact that committed women were not, and still cannot be united without any reservation. She denounces any overall judgement and tries to give a survey of a course still unfinished today as accurately as possible, taking into account all the contradictions of the longest revolution in European history.
Zoja Skusek

Book presentation
In Slovene

Published by Založba /*cf, Ljubljana, coll. Making of Europe (p. 450, translated by Seta Knop).


Date and time of event: 
Oct 06th 12:00
Place of event: