The dynamics of women's history were in large part confrontational. Women historians and their subjects had to "contend with standards secured by comparisons that are never stated, by points of view that are never expressed as such" (50). The more the knowledge base of women's history grew, the more historians found themselves in the position of "exposing the hierarchy implicit in many historical accounts" (51). As for the discipline itself: "women's history throws open all the questions of mastery and objectivity on which disciplinary norms are built" (51).
Thus does history as a discipline become enmeshed with history as a method of producing knowledge. That also positions "doing" history as a moral, or axiological, enterprise as well as an epistemological one. The feminist critique of historically uninterrogated assumptions about the subjects of history and about what constitutes objective history has the effect of disrupting the norms of the discipline or at minimum, exposing them as inadequate to the task of reaching meaning without scrutinizing the possibility that they have limits. Thus for example historians cognizant of the marginalization of women in political history would not be content with bemusement over Abigail Adams's familiar injunction to husband John that delegates to the Continental Congress should "remember the ladies." Taking Abigail's statement seriously would mean c