CLIO TALKS BACK: Be Inspired by Clio, the Muse of History

Clio, the Greek muse of history.
In the mythology of the ancient Greeks, Clio is the Muse of History. She was one of the nine daughters born to Mnemosyne, the goddess of Memory, and Zeus, the most powerful of the Olympic Gods.

Of course, Clio's role then was to inspire male historians to record heroic and memorable actions - by kings and warriors. It is doubtful that Greek women played any part in the invention of the Muses, except to personify them. However, we women historians (or in the French feminine form historiennes) can now reappropriate Clio for our own purposes. "Herstory" now challenges "History."

Women historiennes prefer that Clio speak for herself. So I am inaugurating this "blog" where Clio can present what women of the past have said about their own lives, can critique historical accounts that have left women out. Here we can highlight the important things we now know from exploring the past in new ways, worldwide. You are invited to join in - to ask Clio questions (as I will also), to comment, to add what you know, and to show, as the sociologist Jesse Bernard once put it, that "so much of what is happening is at the margin between history and news."

Our International Museum of Women thinks that featuring women's history is a vital component of our mission. For our 2008 theme and on-line exhibit, "Women, Power, and Politics," this blog will highlight women's stories, their overlooked and forgotten deeds, and what women's historians have learned about women's history (some prefer calling it "herstory," but this doesn't work in translation) on this theme. We will explore the notions of women's power and its complicated relationship to women's entry into political decision-making. I find inspiration and draw energy from learning about women's history and I'm sure you will too.