Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Hartman Ch.1

I'm still a little iffy as to how to do this, but here goes.

First of all, the primary chapter in Hartman's book could be classified as quite a few of the given themes (like most readings), but I think the best fit is marriage and family. Hartman is essentially proposing a new way of writing, reading and processing not only historiography of women, but primary sources of women. This involves reevaluating what it is we as historians (and general public) assign importance to. Perhaps this is naive or just stupid of me, but many of her points I read with the impression that they would be difficult, if not impossible, to contest. For example, I think its pretty clear that the household is overlooked in history. I'd like to see someone who could prove it to be equally represented, as "substantially" represented is partial and easier to fudge. Although what I've said thus far has made the book and ideology out to be aggressive and radical, what is  most interesting and appealing to me was the nature of the influence. Hartman states clearly that her objective is more soft, though just as strong. She is not trying to revamp the entire would as through rebellion or anger, rather she hopes to essentially fine-tune the lens through which gender and happenings are assigned significance.
As the table of contents hinted at, a vastly important point in Hartman's argument deals with the subject of age and marriage, specifically in women. It seems that trends of later marriages are linked to many other societal details. For me, the first chapter gave credibility to her ideology. There's something very empowering in beginning to reevaluate or at least realize the significance and capability of studying the household and women's contributions. To pull in Ulrich's article, for some there is something intimidating about the prospect of attaining value in society and history only through rebellion or shocking displays. Hartman's thought process really has potential to change that notion, and it'll be nice to get deeper into the solid argument with the following chapters.

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