This book explores the history of African womanhood in colonial Kenya. By focussing on key sociocultural institutions and practices around which the lives of women were organized, and on the protracted debates that surrounded these institutions and practices during the colonial period, it investigates the nature of indigenous, mission, and colonial control of African women.
The pertinent institutions and practices include the legal and cultural status of women, clitoridectomy, dowry, marriage, maternity and motherhood, and formal education. By following the effects of the all-pervasive ideological shifts that colonialism produced in the lives of women, the study investigates the diverse ways in which a woman’s personhood was enhanced, diminished, or placed in ambiguous predicaments by the consequences, intended and unintended, of colonial rule as administered by both the colonizers and the colonized. The study thus tries to historicize the reworkings of women’s lives under colonial rule. The transformations that resulted from these reworkings involved the negotiation and redefinition of the meaning of individual liberties and of women’s agency, along with the reconceptualization of kinship relations and of community.
These changes resulted in—and often resulted from—increased mobility for Kenyan women, who were enabled to cross physical, cultural, economic, social, and psychological frontiers that had been closed to them prior to colonial rule. The conclusion to which the experiences of women in colonial Kenya points again and again is that for these women, the exercise of individual agency, whether it was newly acquired or repeatedly thwarted, depended in large measure on the unleashing of forces over which no one involved had control. Over and over, women found opportunities to act amid the conflicting policies, unintended consequences, and inconsistent compromises that characterized colonial rule.
In the Anglo-Atlantic world of the late nineteenth century, groups of urban residents struggled to reconstruct their cities in the wake of industrialization and to create the modern city. New professional men wanted an orderly city that functioned for economic development. Women’s vision challenged the men’s right to reconstruct the city and resisted the prevailing male idea that women in public caused the city’s disorder.
Constructing the Patriarchal City compares the ideas and activities of men and women in four English-speaking cities that shared similar ideological, professional, and political contexts. Historian Maureen Flanagan investigates how ideas about gender shaped the patriarchal city as men used their expertise in architecture, engineering, and planning to fashion a built environment for male economic enterprise and to confine women in the private home. Women consistently challenged men to produce a more equitable social infrastructure that included housing that would keep people inside the city, public toilets for women as well as men, housing for single, working women, and public spaces that were open and safe for all residents.
Decade after decade, violence against women has gained more attention from scholars, policy makers, and the general public. Social scientists in particular have contributed significant empirical and theoretical understandings to this issue.
Strikingly, scant attention has focused on the victimization of women who want to leave their hostile partners. This groundbreaking work challenges the perception that rural communities are safe havens from the brutality of urban living. Identifying hidden crimes of economic blackmail and psychological mistreatment, and the complex relationship between patriarchy and abuse, Walter S. DeKeseredy and Martin D. Schwartz propose concrete and effective solutions, giving voice to women who have often suffered in silence.
South Korea is home to one of the most vibrant evangelical Protestant communities in the world. This book investigates the meanings of—and the reasons behind—an intriguing aspect of contemporary South Korean evangelicalism: the intense involvement of middle-class women. Drawing upon extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Seoul that explores the relevance of gender and women’s experiences to Korean evangelicalism, Kelly H. Chong not only helps provide a clearer picture of the evangelical movement’s success in South Korea, but interrogates the global question of contemporary women’s attraction to religious traditionalisms.
In highlighting the growing disjunction between the forces of social transformation that are rapidly liberalizing modern Korean society, and a social system that continues to uphold key patriarchal structures on both societal and familial levels, Chong relates women’s religious involvement to the contradictions of South Korea’s recent socio-cultural changes and complex engagement with modernity. By focusing on the ways in which women’s religious participation constitutes—both spiritually and institutionally—an important part of their effort to negotiate the problems and dilemmas of contemporary family and gender relations, this book explores the contradictory significance of evangelical beliefs and practices for women, which simultaneously opens up possibilities for gender negotiation/resistance, and for women’s redomestication.
On the high desert plateau of northern Mexico, outsiders have taken refuge from the secular world. Here three Anglo communities of Mormons and Mennonites have ordered their lives around male supremacy, rigid religious duty, and a rejection of modern technology and culture. In so doing, they have successfully adapted to this harsh desert environment.
Janet Bennion has lived and worked among these people, and in this book she introduces a new paradigm—"desert patriarchy"—to explain their way of life. This perspective sheds light not only on these particular communities but also on the role of the desert environment in the development and maintenance of fundamentalist ideology in other parts of the United States and around the globe.
Making new connections between the arid environment, opposition to technology, and gender ideology, Bennion shows that it is the interplay of the desert and the unique social traditions and gender dynamics embedded in Anglo patriarchal fundamentalism that accounts for the successful longevity of the Mexican colonies. Her model defines the process by which male supremacy, female autonomous networking, and religious fundamentalism all facilitate successful adaptation to the environment.
More than a theoretical analysis, Desert Patriarchy provides an intimate glimpse into the daily lives of these people, showing how they have taken refuge in the desert to escape religious persecution, the forced secular education of their children, and economic and political marginalization. It particularly sheds light on the ironic autonomy of women within a patriarchal system, showing how fundamentalist women in Chihuahua are finding numerous creative ways to access power and satisfaction in a society structured to subordinate and even degrade them.
Desert Patriarchy richly expands the literature on nontraditional religious movements as it enhances our understanding of how environment can shape society. It offers unique insights into women's status in patriarchal communities and provides a new way of looking at similar communities worldwide.
Family forms are changing rapidly in Western society, and with them, the microenvironments within which men, women, and children live together. Stuart Aitken argues that, whether environment is taken as physical space or as a metaphor for the social, economic, and psychological basis of families, there remains a tendency to keep defining the meaning of families and communities in terms of older, traditional, "imagined," and idealized structures of politics, gender, and geography.
Using the stories of several families in San Diego, Aitken describes geographies of everyday life that contest definitions of cities and communities as mosaics reflecting patterns of social relations. He begins inside the family circle, looking at patriarchal power and the subordination of women, men, and children. Moving beyond the household, he then stresses the importance of place in defining the social and political character of communities and families' interplay within them--whether "communities" are viewed as neighborhoods, towns, or organizations that provide space for fellowship and common purpose. In turn, he shows that as the individual child reaches beyond family life to find a place in these communities, political cultures are reproduced through the child.
Aitken suggests ways in which individual and family identities are complexly intertwined with the cultural politics of communities, cities, and regions. He concludes that family and community spaces reproduce and reconstruct themselves daily according to divisions of race, class, gender, and differential access to housing, work, and child-care.
The stories of Indonesian women have often been told by Indonesian men and Dutch men and women. This volume asks how these representations—reproduced, transformed, and circulated in history, ethnography, and literature—have circumscribed feminine behavior in colonial and postcolonial Indonesia. Presenting dialogues between prominent scholars of and from Indonesia and Indonesian women working in professional, activist, religious, and literary domains, the book dissolves essentialist notions of “women” and “Indonesia” that have arisen out of the tensions of empire. The contributors examine the ways in which Indonesian women and men are enmeshed in networks of power and then pursue the stories of those who, sometimes at great political risk, challenge these powers. In this juxtaposition of voices and stories, we see how indigenous patriarchal fantasies of feminine behavior merged with Dutch colonial notions of proper wives and mothers to produce the Indonesian government’s present approach to controlling the images and actions of women. Facing the theoretical challenge of building a truly cross-cultural feminist analysis, Fantasizing the Feminine takes us into an ongoing conversation that reveals the contradictions of postcolonial positionings and the fragility of postmodern identities. This book will be welcomed by readers with interests in contemporary Indonesian politics and society as well as historians, anthropologists, and other scholars concerned with literature, gender, and cultural studies.
Contributors. Benedict R. O’G. Anderson, Sita Aripurnami, Jane Monnig Atkinson, Nancy K. Florida, Daniel S. Lev, Dédé Oetomo, Laurie J. Sears, Ann Laura Stoler, Saraswati Sunindyo, Julia I. Suryakusuma, Jean Gelman Taylor, Sylvia Tiwon, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, Diane L. Wolf
Until recently, few scholars outside of Ecuador studied the country’s history. In the past few years, however, its rising tide of indigenous activism has brought unprecedented attention to this small Andean nation. Even so, until now the significance of gender issues to the development of modern Indian-state relations has not often been addressed. As she digs through Ecuador’s past to find key events and developments that explain the simultaneous importance and marginalization of indigenous women in Ecuador today, Erin O’Connor usefully deploys gender analysis to illuminate broader relationships between nation-states and indigenous communities.
O’Connor begins her investigations by examining the multilayered links between gender and Indian-state relations in nineteenth-century Ecuador. Disentangling issues of class and culture from issues of gender, she uncovers overlapping, conflicting, and ever-evolving patriarchies within both indigenous communities and the nation’s governing bodies. She finds that gender influenced sociopolitical behavior in a variety of ways, mediating interethnic struggles and negotiations that ultimately created the modern nation. Her deep research into primary sources—including congressional debates, ministerial reports, court cases, and hacienda records—allows a richer, more complex, and better informed national history to emerge.
Examining gender during Ecuadorian state building from “above” and “below,” O’Connor uncovers significant processes of interaction and agency during a critical period in the nation’s history. On a larger scale, her work suggests the importance of gender as a shaping force in the formation of nation-states in general while it questions recountings of historical events that fail to demonstrate an awareness of the centrality of gender in the unfolding of those events.
The Gender Knot, Allan Johnson's response to the pain and confusion that men and women experience by living with gender inequality, explains what patriarchy is and isn't, how it works, and what gets in the way of understanding and doing something about it. Johnson's simple yet powerful approach avoids the paralyzing trap of guilt, blame, anger, and defensive denial that often result from conversations about gender. He shows how we all participate in an oppressive system we didn't create and how each of us can contribute towards its dissolution. He argues persuasively that something much better is possible and that our individual choices matter more than we can ever know. This revised, and updated edition features expanded discussions of:
* the core characteristics of patriarchy and its power as a social system
* the relationship between individuals and social systems
* "men's movement" assessments of patriarchy and gender inequality
* key—and controversial—terms such as sexism, privilege, and political correctness
The Gender Knot, Allan Johnson's response to the pain and confusion that men and women experience by living with gender inequality, explains what patriarchy is and isn't, how it works, and what gets in the way of understanding and doing something about it. Johnson's simple yet powerful approach avoids the paralyzing trap of guilt, blame, anger, and defensive denial that often results from conversations about gender.
This edition features:
• Updated references, data, resources, and examples, especially in relation to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity (e.g., gay marriage, transgender/cisgender)
• A glossary of terms
• A new chapter, "What Changes and What Does Not: Manhood and Violence," that provides an extended analysis of the causes of men's violence as a patriarchal phenomenon
Theft, poisoning, affairs, flights home, refusals to work, eat or have sex, threats to divide the joint household, and sly acts of sabotage are some of the domestic warfare tactics employed by Muslim women attempting to resist patriarchy. Gender, Law, and Resistance in India dramatically illustrates how a patriarchal ideology is upheld and reinforced through male-governed social and legal institutions and how women defy that control. Based on anthropological fieldwork in rural Rajasthan in northern India, Erin Moore's book details the life of an extended Muslim family she has known for twenty years. In many ways the plight of the central character, Hunni, is representative of dilemmas experienced by the majority of north Indian peasant women. Ultimately an account of cultural hegemony and defiance, Gender, Law, and Resistance in India reveals how so-called "modern" state institutions and practices reinforce traditional arrangements, resulting in women being silenced, deprived of equal rights before the law, and returned to their male guardians. Still, women resist in overt and covert ways. The first ethnographic work to focus principally on the law and legal institutions of gender and agency in South Asia, this unique volume examines the interpenetrations of north India's pluralistic legal systems. Moore adeptly connects engrossing case histories to national dialogues over women's rights, discussing these issues in terms of Muslim personal laws, secularism, and communal violence. Gender, Law, and Resistance in India is a rich and truly significant contribution to gender studies, South Asian studies, and sociolegal studies.
The essays in Goddesses and Monsters recognize popular culture as a primary repository of ancient mythic energies, images, narratives, personalities, icons, and archetypes. Together, they take on the patriarchal myth, where serial killers are heroes, where goddesses—in the form of great white sharks, femmes fatales, and aliens—are ritually slaughtered, and where pornography is the core story underlying militarism, environmental devastation, and racism. They also point to an alternative imagination of female power that still can be found behind the cult devotion given to Princess Diana and animating all the goddesses disguised as popular monsters, queen bitches, mammies, vamps, cyborgs, and sex bombs.
A photograph of two men, cowboy-hatted and -booted and discreetly holding hands, is the departure point in a groundbreaking study on masculinity and homosexuality in Mexico. Just Between Us, an ethnography of intimacy and affection between men, explores the concept of masculine identity and homoeroticism, expressing the difficulties men face in maintaining their masculinity while expressing intimacy and affection.
Using fieldwork from rural Sonora, Mexico, Guillermo Núñez Noriega posits that men accept this intimacy outside gender categories and stereotypes, despite the traditional patriarchal society. This work contests homophobia and the heterosexual ideal of men and attempts to break down the barriers between genders.
The photograph Núñez Noriega uses to explore the shifting attitudes and perceptions of sexuality and gender provokes more questions than answers. Recognizing the societal regulations at play, the author demonstrates the existence in contemporary Mexico of an invisible regime of power that constructs and regulates the field of possibilities for men’s social actions, especially acts of friendship, affection, and eroticism with other men. The work investigates “modes of speaking” about being a man, on being gay, on the implicit meanings of the words homosexual, masculine, trade, fairy, and others—words that construct possibilities for intimacy, particularly affective and erotic intimacy among men.
Multiple variants of homoeroticism fall outside the dominant model, Núñez Noriega argues, a finding that offers many lessons on men and masculine identities. This book challenges patriarchal definitions of sex, gender, and identity; it promotes the unlearning of dominant conventions of masculinity to allow new ways of being.
Until now the advent of Western romantic love has been seen as a liberation from—or antidote to—ten centuries of misogyny. In this major contribution to gender studies, R. Howard Bloch demonstrates how similar the ubiquitous antifeminism of medieval times and the romantic idealization of woman actually are.
Through analyses of a broad range of patristic and medieval texts, Bloch explores the Christian construction of gender in which the flesh is feminized, the feminine is aestheticized, and aesthetics are condemned in theological terms. Tracing the underlying theme of virginity from the Church Fathers to the courtly poets, Bloch establishes the continuity between early Christian antifeminism and the idealization of woman that emerged in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In conclusion he explains the likely social, economic, and legal causes for the seeming inversion of the terms of misogyny into those of an idealizing tradition of love that exists alongside its earlier avatar until the current era.
This startling study will be of great value to students of medieval literature as well as to historians of culture and gender.
Sharp and thought-provoking, this memoir-meets-cultural criticism upends the romanticism of the Great Plains and the patriarchy at the core of its ideals.
For many Americans, Kansas represents a vision of Midwestern life that is good and wholesome and evokes the American ideals of god, home, and country. But for those like Jessa Crispin who have grown up in Kansas, the realities are much harsher. She argues that the Midwestern values we cling to cover up a long history of oppression and control over Native Americans, women, and the economically disadvantaged.
Blending personal narrative with social commentary, Crispin meditates on why the American Midwest still enjoys an esteemed position in our country's mythic self-image. Ranging from The Wizard of Oz to race, from chastity to rape, from radical militias and recent terrorist plots to Utopian communities, My Three Dads opens on a comic scene in a Kansas rent house the author shares with a (masculine) ghost. This prompts Crispin to think about her intellectual fathers, her spiritual fathers, and her literal fathers. She is curious to understand what she has learned from them and what she needs to unlearn about how a person should be in a family, as a citizen, and as a child of god—ideals, Crispin argues, that have been established and reproduced in service to hierarchy, oppression, and wealth.
Written in Crispin’s well-honed voice—smart, assured, comfortable with darkness—My Three Dads offers a kind of bleak redemption, the insight that no matter where you go, no matter how far from home you roam, the place you came from is always with you, “like it or not.”
In Myths of Modernity, Elizabeth Dore rethinks Nicaragua’s transition to capitalism. Arguing against the idea that the country’s capitalist transformation was ushered in by the coffee boom that extended from 1870 to 1930, she maintains that coffee growing gave rise to systems of landowning and labor exploitation that impeded rather than promoted capitalist development. Dore places gender at the forefront of her analysis, which demonstrates that patriarchy was the organizing principle of the coffee economy’s debt-peonage system until the 1950s. She examines the gendered dynamics of daily life in Diriomo, a township in Nicaragua’s Granada region, tracing the history of the town’s Indian community from its inception in the colonial era to its demise in the early twentieth century.
Dore seamlessly combines archival research, oral history, and an innovative theoretical approach that unites political economy with social history. She recovers the bygone voices of peons, planters, and local officials within documents such as labor contracts, court records, and official correspondence. She juxtaposes these historical perspectives with those of contemporary peasants, landowners, activists, and politicians who share memories passed down to the present. The reconceptualization of the coffee economy that Dore elaborates has far-reaching implications. The Sandinistas mistakenly believed, she contends, that Nicaraguan capitalism was mature and ripe for socialist revolution, and after their victory in 1979 that belief led them to alienate many peasants by ignoring their demands for land. Thus, the Sandinistas’ myths of modernity contributed to their downfall.
Robert B. Parker's detective Spenser. John Rambo, created by David Morrell and played on the silver screen by Sylvester Stallone. Bruce Springsteen. All three, Douglas Robinson claims, are central figures in a new form of popular men’s art: art that explores what it means to be a man in a feminist age. Robinson develops a three-stage transformation myth out of Joseph Campbell’s studies of hero mythology: the road of trials, on which repressive “normality” is tested and found lacking (Spenser); a symbolic death in which defensive rational ego-structures are surrendered (the Rambo of First Blood); and regeneration and return, the gradual rebirth of masculinity in a redemptive transformation (Springsteen).
Arcangela Tarabotti University of Chicago Press, 2004 Library of Congress BX4220.I8T3713 2004 | Dewey Decimal 305.42
Sharp-witted and sharp-tongued, Arcangela Tarabotti (1604-52) yearned to be formally educated and enjoy an independent life in Venetian literary circles. But instead, at sixteen, her father forced her into a Benedictine convent. To protest her confinement, Tarabotti composed polemical works exposing the many injustices perpetrated against women of her day.
Paternal Tyranny, the first of these works, is a fiery but carefully argued manifesto against the oppression of women by the Venetian patriarchy. Denouncing key misogynist texts of the era, Tarabotti shows how despicable it was for Venice, a republic that prided itself on its political liberties, to deprive its women of rights accorded even to foreigners. She accuses parents of treating convents as dumping grounds for disabled, illegitimate, or otherwise unwanted daughters. Finally, through compelling feminist readings of the Bible and other religious works, Tarabotti demonstrates that women are clearly men's equals in God's eyes.
An avenging angel who dared to speak out for the rights of women nearly four centuries ago, Arcangela Tarabotti can now finally be heard.
Rothman, Barbara Katz Rutgers University Press, 2000 Library of Congress HQ759.R68 2000 | Dewey Decimal 306.8743
Selling “genetically gifted” human eggs on the free market for a hefty price. In vitro fertilization. Fetal rights. Prenatal diagnosis. Surrogacy. All are instances of biomedical and social “advancements” with which we have become familiar in recent years. Yet these issues are often regarded as distinct or only loosely related under the rubric of reproduction.
Barbara Katz Rothman demonstrates how they form a complex whole that demands of us in response a woman-centered, class-sensitive way of understanding motherhood. We need a social policy for dealing with mothers and motherhood that is consistent with feminist politics and feminist theory. Her book show how we as a society must first recognize that the real needs of mother, father, and children have been swept aside in an attempt to reduce the complex process of human reproduction to a clinical event that can be controlled by medical technology. Rothman suggests ways to accomplish social and legal change that would allow technological advances to affirm motherhood and the mother-child relationship without cost to women’s identity.
This new edition of Recreating Motherhood contains exciting updates. Rothman shows how this material is key in understanding the family, not just motherhood. And a new chapter, “Reflections on a Decade,” explores how new reproductive technologies combine with new marketing and new genetics to pose troubling social questions.
The dominant trend in pastoralist studies has long assumed that pastoralism and pastoral gender relations are inherently patriarchal. The contributors to this collection, in contrast, use diverse analytic approaches to demonstrate that pastoralist gender relations are dynamic, relational, historical, and produced through complex local-translocal interactions. Combining theoretically sophisticated analysis with detailed case studies, this collection will appeal to those doing research and teaching in African studies, gender studies, anthropology, and history. Among the topics discussed are pastoralism, patriarchy, and history among Maasai in Tanganyika; women’s roles in peacemaking in Somali society; the fertility of houses and herds; gender, aging, and postchildbearing experience in a Tuareg community; and milk selling among Fulani women in Northern Burkina Faso.
Juxtaposing the insights of feminism with those of marxism, psychoanalysis, and deconstruction, this unique collection creates new common ground for women's studies and Renaissance studies. An outstanding array of scholars—literary critics, art critics, and historians—reexamines the role of women and their relations with men during the Renaissance. In the process, the contributors enrich the emerging languages of and about women, gender, and sexual difference.
Throughout, the essays focus on the structures of Renaissance patriarchy that organized power relations both in the state and in the family. They explore the major conequences of patriarchy for women—their marginalization and lack of identity and power—and the ways in which individual women or groups of women broke, or in some cases deliberately circumvented, the rules that defined them as a secondary sex. Topics covered include representations of women in literature and art, the actual work done by women both inside and outside of the home, and the writings of women themselves. In analyzing the rhetorical strategies that "marginalized" historical and fictional women, these essays counter scholarly and critical traditions that continue to exhibit patriarchal biases.
Monica Migliorino Miller articulates a theology that breaks open the essence of ecclesial authority. Authority, if it is authority at all, derives from and exists for authentic Christian worship, namely, the Holy Eucharist.
If authority is derived from Eucharistic worship, then authority is fundamentally the authority of a covenant. This book shows that this covenant is spoken according to a primordial sexual language rooted in creation itself.
Women performers played a vital role in the development of American and transatlantic entertainment, celebrity culture, and gender ideology. Sara E. Lampert examines the lives, careers, and fame of overlooked figures from Europe and the United States whose work in melodrama, ballet, and other stage shows shocked and excited early U.S. audiences. These women lived and performed the tensions and contradictions of nineteenth-century gender roles, sparking debates about women's place in public life. Yet even their unprecedented wealth and prominence failed to break the patriarchal family structures that governed their lives and conditioned their careers. Inevitable contradictions arose. The burgeoning celebrity culture of the time forced women stage stars to don the costumes of domestic femininity even as the unsettled nature of life in the theater defied these ideals.
A revealing foray into a lost time, Starring Women returns a generation of performers to their central place in the early history of American theater.
Even as feminism has become increasingly central to our ideas about institutions, relationships, and everyday life, the term used to diagnose the problem—“patriarchy”—is used so loosely that it has lost its meaning. In Vexy Thing Imani Perry resurrects patriarchy as a target of critique, recentering it to contemporary discussions of feminism through a social and literary analysis of cultural artifacts from the Enlightenment to the present. Drawing on a rich array of sources—from nineteenth-century slavery court cases and historical vignettes to writings by Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde and art by Kara Walker and Wangechi Mutu—Perry shows how the figure of the patriarch emerged as part and parcel of modernity, the nation-state, the Industrial Revolution, and globalization. She also outlines how digital media and technology, neoliberalism, and the security state continue to prop up patriarchy. By exploring the past and present of patriarchy in the world we have inherited and are building for the future, Perry exposes its mechanisms of domination as a necessary precursor to dismantling it.
An inquiry into the phenomenology of “woman” based in the relationship between lived time and sexual violence
Feminist phenomenologists have long understood a woman’s life as inhibited, confined, and constrained by sexual violence. In this important inquiry, author Megan Burke both builds and expands on this legacy by examining the production of normative womanhood through racist tropes and colonial domination. Ultimately, Burke charts a new feminist phenomenology based in the relationship between lived time and sexual violence.
By focusing on time instead of space, When Time Warps places sexualized racism at the center of the way “woman” is lived. Burke transports questions of time and gender outside the realm of the historical, making provocative new insights into how gendered individuals live time, and how their temporal existence is changed through particular experiences.
Providing a potent reexamination of the theory of Simone de Beauvoir—while also bringing to the fore important women of color theorists and engaging in the temporal aspects of #MeToo—When Time Warps makes a necessary, lasting contribution to our understanding of gender, race, and sexual violence.
Wives not Slaves begins with the story of John and Eunice Davis, a colonial American couple who, in 1762, advertised their marital difficulties in the New Hampshire Gazette—a more common practice for the time and place than contemporary readers might think. John Davis began the exchange after Eunice left him, with a notice resembling the ads about runaway slaves and servants that were a common feature of eighteenth-century newspapers. John warned neighbors against “entertaining her or harbouring her. . . or giving her credit.” Eunice defiantly replied, “If I am your wife, I am not your slave.” With this pointed but problematic analogy, Eunice connected her individual challenge to her husband’s authority with the broader critiques of patriarchal power found in the politics, religion, and literature of the British Atlantic world.
Kirsten Sword’s richly researched history reconstructs the stories of wives who fled their husbands between the mid-seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries, comparing their plight with that of other runaway dependents. Wives not Slaves explores the links between local justice, the emerging press, and transatlantic political debates about marriage, slavery and imperial power. Sword traces the relationship between the distress of ordinary households, domestic unrest, and political unrest, shedding new light on the social changes imagined by eighteenth-century revolutionaries, and on the politics that determined which patriarchal forms and customs the new American nation would—and would not—abolish.
Pilar is a capable, energetic merchant in the small, Peruvian highland settlement of Chiuchin. Genovena, an unmarried day laborer in the same town, faces an impoverished old age without children to support her. Carmen is the wife of a prosperous farmer in the agricultural community of Mayobamba, eleven thousand feet above Chiuchin in the Andean sierra. Mariana, a madre soltera—single mother—without a husband or communal land of her own, also resides in Mayobamba.
These lives form part of an interlocking network that the authors carefully examine in Women of the Andes. In doing so, they explore the riddle of women’s structural subordination by analyzing the social, political, and economic realities of life in Peru. They examine theoretical explanations of sexual hierarchies against the backdrop of life histories. The result is a study that pinpoints the mechanisms perpetuating sexual repression and traces the impact of social change and national policy on women’s lives.
In this bold reinterpretation of Women's changing labor status during the late medieval and early modern period, Martha C. Howell argues that women's work was the product of the intersection of two systems, one cultural and one economic. Howell shows forcefully that patriarchal family structure, not capitalist development per se, was a decisive factor in determining women's work. Women could enjoy high labor status if they worked within a family production unit or if their labor did not interfere with their domestic responsibilities or threaten male control of a craft or trade.