Karen Offen (Ph.D., Stanford University) is a historian and independent scholar, affiliated as Senior Scholar with the Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Stanford University. She publishes on the history of modern Europe, especially France and its global influence, and on the becoming interested in building of transnational feminist networks, especially the first of those networks, the International Council of Women.
Author of European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History (2000; in French translation, 2012; in Spanish translation, 2015; in Serbian translation, 2016) and editor of Globalizing Feminisms, 1789-1945 (2010) and co-editor (with the late Susan Groag Bell) of the acclaimed documentary,Women, the Family, and Freedom: The Debate in Documents, 2 vols. (1983; still in print), she has also published many articles on feminism and women’s history in various languages. Karen’s two books on the “woman question” debates in France (1400-1870 & 1870-1920) are forthcoming from Cambridge University Press. For further information, visit www.karenoffen.com
Debating the Woman Question in Third Republic France, 1870-1920
Karen Offen offers a magisterial reconstruction and analysis of the debates around relations between women and men, how they are constructed, and how they should be organized that raged in France and its French-speaking neighbors from 1870 to 1920. The “woman question” encompassed subjects from maternity and childbirth, and the upbringing and education of girls to marriage practices and property law, the organization of households, the distribution of work inside and outside the household, intimate sexual relations, religious beliefs and moral concerns, government-sanctioned prostitution, economic and political citizenship, and the politics of population growth. The book shows how the expansion of economic opportunities for women and the drop in the birth rate further exacerbated the debates over their status, roles, and possibilities. With the onset of the First World War, these debates were temporarily placed on hold but they would revive by 1916 and gain momentum during France’s postwar recovery.
The Woman Question in France, 1400-18702017
Globalizing Feminism, 1789-1945, ed. Karen Offen2010
European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A Political History2000
Awards and Recognition
- 1995-96 – John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship. 1989 – (with Mary Beth Norton) Rockefeller Foundation Grant for Bellagio Conference on Women’s History. 1985-86 – Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship. 1980-81 – National Endowment for the Humanities, Fellowship for Independent Study and Research.
- Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, University of Idaho, 2004
- Alumnae Achievement Award, Kappa Kappa Gamma Fraternity, 2012
- Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award (Marquis Who's Who) - 2018