In this article, Kathleen Weiler reflects on the historiography of Country Schoolwomen, her recent study of women teachers in rural California. Using a broad definition of feminist research, Weiler summarizes some of the most salient issues currently under debate among feminist scholars. She raises questions about the nature of knowledge, the influence of language in the social construction of gender, and the importance of an awareness of subjectivity in the production of historical evidence. Using several cases from Country Schoolwomen, Weiler discusses the importance of considering the conditions under which testimony is given, both in terms of the dominant issues of the day — for example, the way womanliness or teaching is presented in the authoritative discourse — and the relationship between speaker and audience. She concludes that a feminist history that begins with a concern with the constructed quality of evidence moves uneasily between historical narrative and a self-conscious analysis of texts.

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