Every American city had a small, self-aware, and active black elite, who felt it was their duty to set the standard for the less fortunate members of their race and to lead their communities by example. Rank within this black upper class rested on such issues as the status of one’s forebears as either house servants or field hands, the darkness of one’s skin, and the level of one’s manners and education.
Professor Gatewood’s study examines this class of African Americans by looking at the genealogies and occupations of specific families and individuals throughout the United States and their roles in their various communities. The resulting narrative is a full and illuminating account of a most influential segment of the African-American population. It explores fully the distinctive background, prestige, attitudes, behavior, power, and culture of this class. The Black Community Studies series from the University of Arkansas Press, edited by Professor Gatewood, continues to examine many of the same themes first explored in this important study.
Manisha Roy University of Chicago Press, 1992 Library of Congress HQ1744.B47R68 1992 | Dewey Decimal 305.42095414
Drawing on personal experiences and interviews with others, Roy explores the frustrations and rewards in the lives of Hindu Bengali women in upper and upper-middle class families in India. Roy traces the psychological dimensions of these women as they play their specific roles, including daughter, wife, mother, and sister-in-law.
In a new Afterword, Roy discusses changes in Bengali society and culture over the last two decades which have direct bearings on women's lives: divorce and the breakup of the joint family, education, increasing Westernization via television and women's magazines, and the erosion of traditional religious practices.
Stories abound about the lengths to which middle- and upper-middle-class parents will go to ensure a spot for their child at a prestigious university. From the Suzuki method to calculus-based physics, from AP tests all the way back to early-learning Kumon courses, students are increasingly pushed to excel with that Harvard or Yale acceptance letter held tantalizingly in front of them. And nowhere is this drive more apparent than in our elite secondary schools. In Class Warfare, Lois Weis, Kristin Cipollone, and Heather Jenkins go inside the ivy-yearning halls of three such schools to offer a day-to-day, week-by-week look at this remarkable drive toward college admissions and one of its most salient purposes: to determine class.
Drawing on deep and sustained contact with students, parents, teachers, and administrators at three iconic secondary schools in the United States, the authors unveil a formidable process of class positioning at the heart of the college admissions process. They detail the ways students and parents exploit every opportunity and employ every bit of cultural, social, and economic capital they can in order to gain admission into a “Most Competitive” or “Highly Competitive Plus” university. Moreover, they show how admissions into these schools—with their attendant rankings—are used to lock in or improve class standing for the next generation. It’s a story of class warfare within a given class, the substrata of which—whether economically, racially, or socially determined—are fiercely negotiated through the college admissions process.
In a historic moment marked by deep economic uncertainty, anxieties over socioeconomic standing are at their highest. Class, as this book shows, must be won, and the collateral damage of this aggressive pursuit may just be education itself, flattened into a mere victory banner.
Eliza Frances “Fanny” Andrews (1840–1931) was born into south-ern aristocracy in Washington, Georgia. The acclaimed author of Journal of a Georgia Girl: 1864–1865, she was an exceptional woman who went on to become a journalist, writer, teacher, and world-renowned botanist. In 1870, as Andrews was working on her first novel, she embarked on a visit to wealthy “Yankee kin” in Newark, New Jersey. The trip had a profound effect on her life, as she was astonished by the contrasts between North and South. This previously unpublished segment of Andrews’s writings begins with her New Jersey sojourn and ends with her mother’s death in 1872. It is remarkable for the light it sheds on the social and economic transformations of the Reconstruction era, particularly as they were perceived and experienced by a southern woman.
Andrews was an intelligent, sharp-witted, and skilled observer, and these qualities shine through her engaging memoir. She records her reactions to Newark society and the economic base on which it stood, comparing southern gentility and agriculture to northern brusqueness and industry. Moreover, while the diary reveals clearly the social and cultural attitudes of aristocratic southerners of the period, it also foreshadows the beginning of change as, for example, a visit to a factory opens Andrews’s eyes to the advantages of the new economy. She also recounts her frustrations with the role of southern women, exalted on the one hand but severely restricted on the other. These stark contrasts and Andrews’s own mixed feelings give the diary much of its power.
Also included in this volume are six of Andrews’s magazine and newspaper articles that appeared in the national press around the time she was keeping this journal. Taken together, her private and public writings from this period show a maturing nineteenth-century woman confronting a culture turned upside down in the new world of the Reconstruction-era South.
Andrews’s memoir, with accompanying introduction and commentary by Kit Rushing, will appeal to general readers with an interest in the nineteenth-century South as well as to historians of women, the Civil War era, and nineteenth-century America.
The Editor: S. Kittrell Rushing is head of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga.
Adelaide Cromwell’s pioneering work explores race and the social caste system in an atypical northern environment over a period of two centuries. Based on scholarly sources, interviews, and questionnaires, the study identifies those blacks in Boston who exercised political, economic, and social leadership from the end of the eighteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. The central focus is a comparison of black and white upper-class women in the 1940s.
This rare look at a black social microcosm not located in the South is seminal and timely. Because it concludes at a critical period in American history, The Other Brahmins paints a colorful backdrop for evaluating subsequent changes in urban sociology and stratification. In a groundbreaking study, Cromwell effectively challenges the simplistic notions of hierarchy as they pertain to race.
Peter Brown, perhaps the greatest living authority on Mediterranean civilization in late antiquity, traces the growing power of Christian bishops as they wrested influence from philosophers, who had traditionally advised the rulers of Graeco-Roman society. In the new “Christian empire,” the ancient bonds of citizen to citizen and of each city to its benefactors were replaced by a common Christianity and common loyalty to a distant, Christian autocrat. This transformation of the Roman empire from an ancient to a medieval society, he argues, is among the most far-reaching consequences of the rise of Christianity.
In 1834 Harvard dropout Richard Henry Dana Jr. became a common seaman, and soon his Two Years Before the Mast became a classic. Literary acclaim did not erase the young lawyer’s memory of floggings he witnessed aboard ship or undermine his vow to combat injustice. Jeffrey Amestoy tells the story of Dana’s determination to keep that vow.
The Spirits of the Earth
Catherine Colomb Seagull Books, 2016 Library of Congress PQ2605.O34813E813 2016 | Dewey Decimal 843.912
Swiss novelist Catherine Colomb is known as one of the most unusual and inventive francophone novelists of the twentieth century. Fascinated by the processes of memory and consciousness, she has been compared to that of Virginia Woolf and Marcel Proust. The Spirits of the Earth is the first English translation of Colomb’s work and its arrival will introduce new readers to an iconic novel.
The Spirits of the Earth is at heart a family drama, set at the Fraidaigue château, along the shores of Lake Geneva, and in the Maison d’en Haut country mansion, located in the hills above the lake. In these luxe locales, readers encounter upper-class characters with faltering incomes, parvenues, and even ghosts. Throughout, Colomb builds a psychologically penetrating and bold story in which the living and the dead intermingle and in which time itself is a mystery.
When Tennessee became the thirty-sixth and final state needed to ratify the Nineteenth Amendment in August 1920, giving women the right to vote, one group of women expressed bitter disappointment and vowed to fight against “this feminist disease.” Why this fierce and extended opposition? In Splintered Sisterhood, Susan Marshall argues that the women of the antisuffrage movement mobilized not as threatened homemakers but as influential political strategists.
Drawing on surviving records of major antisuffrage organizations, Marshall makes clear that antisuffrage women organized to protect gendered class interests. She shows that many of the most vocal antisuffragists were wealthy, educated women who exercised considerable political influence through their personal ties to men in politics as well as by their own positions as leaders of social service committees. Under the guise of defending an ideal of “true womanhood,” these powerful women sought to keep the vote from lower-class women, fearing it would result in an increase in the “ignorant vote” and in their own displacement from positions of influence. This book reveals the increasingly militant style of antisuffrage protest as the conflict over female voting rights escalated. Splintered Sisterhood adds a missing piece to the history of women’s rights activism in the United States and illuminates current issues of antifeminism.