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Editors' Note and Acknowledgements This issue is the second of two special issues (the first was Vol. 1 No. 2, Fall 1989) on women in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East, which we have co-edited. We feel it is both academically and politically important for a journal concerned with women's history to strive to present materials that reflect the various classes, races, ethnicities, religions and nationalities of which women are members. It has been a pleasure to participate in implementing this ideal with the Journal of Women's History. In this issue Janaki Nair examines the constructions of Indian womanhood in the thought of Englishwomen who accompanied officials of the Raj or who were missionaries, employees or travelers in their own right. In asserting that these women (directly or indirectly) enjoyed privilege and power vis-a-vis Indian women she seeks to locate their visions of Indian womanhood at the intersection of two sets of discourses: the growing resistance in India to British imperialism and the changing configuration of forces in the feminist movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Michelle Maskiell also examines gender under the Raj, but as a crucial variable, along with kinship and the state, in the labor relationships of colonial Punjab. She argues that economic changes accelerated by the policies of the colonial government and the activities of indigenous elites contracted wage work opportunities for women at the same time as they were expanding for men. Also evaluating discourse, E. Frances White analyzes the way AfricanAmericans use the African past to construct a counter discourse against racist ideology and oppression. While the political memory of the African past is used to foster pride, she argues that it is also used to shape and judge gender relations among black people in ways that can be confining and conservative even as a radical stance towards racist oppression is maintained . In Latin America René De La Pedraja Toman looks at the expansion of women's roles in organizations in Colombia between 1900-40. From participation in only religious and educational associations in 1900 women became active in a broader spectrum of philanthropic, civic and cultural groups and eventually labor union activity. He credits the Catholic Church with playing an important role in legitimizing female entry into previously male preserves. Also in Latin America Mary Kay Vaughan, utilizing the life histories of three women school teachers, focusses on the interaction between the © 1990 Journal of Women-s History, Vol. 2 No. 1 (Spring) 1990 EDITORS' Note 7 individual, socio-political movements, and state formation during the Mexican Revolution. Moving to Africa, Karen Hansen brings cultural and ideological factors to bear on an explanation of why domestic service was constructed primarily in male gender terms during the colonial period in Zambia, and the legacy of that practice in the present. She delineates historically how and why African women's gender became constructed in sexual terms which made colonial white women reluctant to employ them, but rather prefer African men, as household servants. Important and exciting aspects of women's history, particularly in the nonwestern world but also among certain classes of women in the western world, is often based on and /or incorporates oral evidence. Susan Geiger discusses the relationship between doing women's oral history and a feminist understanding and approach. She argues that many issues must be addressed for oral history research with women to be considered a feminist methodology. Embedded in her approach to the development of a feminist methodology is a critique of several concepts common in social science research which have tended to undercut the serious consideration of oral accounts and more particularly, women's oral accounts. These two special issues have not been done in the interest of consigning certain women's histories to a "special topics" focus, a cursory glance once in awhile outside the "mainstream." Rather, the attempt has been to highlight the important work being done, both for its own sake, and for comparative purposes. The Journal maintains a serious commitment to the publication of women's history in the entire world. Cheryl Johnson-Odim Margaret Strobel Special issue co-editors ...


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