One of a small group of feminist pioneers in the historical profession, Estelle B. Freedman teaches and writes about women's history with a passion informed by her feminist values. Over the past thirty years, she has produced a body of work in which scholarship and politics have never been mutually exclusive. This collection brings together eleven essays--eight previously published and three new--that document the evolving relationship between academic feminism and political feminism as Freedman has studied and lived it.
Following an introduction that presents a map of the personal and intellectual trajectory of Freedman's work, the first section of essays, on the origins and strategies of women's activism in U.S. history, reiterates the importance of valuing women in a society that has long devalued their contributions. The second section, on the maintenance of sexual boundaries, explores the malleability of both sexual identities and sexual politics. Underlying the collection is an inquiry into the changing meanings of gender, sexuality, and politics during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries along with a concern for applying the insights of women's history broadly, from the classroom to the courthouse.