A Companion to American Women's History

A Companion to American Women's History

Language: English

Pages: 512

ISBN: 140512685X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


This collection of twenty-four original essays by leading scholars in American women's history highlights the most recent important scholarship on the key debates and future directions of this popular and contemporary field.

  • Covers the breadth of American Women's history, including the colonial family, marriage, health, sexuality, education, immigration, work, consumer culture, and feminism.
  • Surveys and evaluates the best scholarship on every important era and topic.
  • Includes expanded bibliography of titles to guide further research.

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even when those possibilities disappeared. Whatever the explanation, both during and after slavery there is little doubt that black women performed extensive amounts of field labor in addition to their domestic responsibilities. Historians know less about the extent to which other women worked in the fields. Some Native American women did so according to their traditional gendered division RURAL WOMEN 153 of labor, a pattern that missionaries and government officials tried hard to break. The

Enghsh minds. David Brion Davis suggests, furthermore, that when people in England began to imagine themselves the world’s first free people and no longer vilified their own poor to the same degree, Africans were scapegoated and made to represent all that was degraded. Interestingly, the notion persists to this day that the “race” of Native Americans was somehow different (and less) than that of European Americans or, more especially, African Americans. Many scholars still describe whiteIndian

coupled with the dismal wages that teachers received, all but guaranteed the early feminization of teaching. Then, too, this profession could be construed as an extension of women’s domestic responsibilities. By 1860, one quarter of the nation’s teachers were female, and in New England that percentage was much, much higher. Indeed, reading the diaries and letters of New England women, teaching registers less as an occupational choice than as a rite of passage. Most teachers were haphazardly

writers and genres. But for all that we have learned about the intersection of gender, reading, and writing, we still know very little about women’s other paid cultural work. After all, publishing was only one sector of the antebellum culture industry, which included the lyceum lecture circuit and the visual arts along with the theater and music hall. And just as small numbers of educated, middle-class women earned money as writers, so too did they earn money lecturing and painting. Anne Laura

experiences, though they affected nonwhite women far more adversely than white women. The Gendered Politics of Conquest One of the major conflicts in the West involved the deployment of a highly gendered politics of conquest that proceeded simultaneously on the eastern and western seaboards. These policies, directed toward “civilizing” and culturally assimilating Indian peoples, attempted to impose new gender norms. Both Anglo-American and Spanish culture and practice demanded a shift away from

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