Long relegated to the margins of historical research, the history of women in the American South has rightfully gained prominence as a distinguished discipline. A comprehensive and much-needed tribute to southern women’s history, Half Sisters of History brings together the most important work in this field over the past twenty years.
This collection of essays by pioneering scholars surveys the roots and development of southern women’s history and examines the roles of white women and women of color across the boundaries of class and social status from the founding of the nation to the present. Authors including Anne Firor Scott, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, and Nell Irwin Painter, among others, analyze women’s participation in prewar slavery, their representation in popular fiction, and their involvement in social movements. In no way restricted to views of the plantation South, other essays examine the role of women during the American Revolution, the social status of Native American women, the involvement of Appalachian women in labor struggles, and the significance of women in the battle for civil rights. Because of their indelible impact on gender relations, issues of class, race, and sexuality figure centrally in these analyses.
Half Sisters of History will be important not only to women’s historians, but also to southern historians and women’s studies scholars. It will prove invaluable to anyone in search of a full understanding of the history of women, the South, or the nation itself.
Contributors. Catherine Clinton, Sara Evans, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Jacqueline Jones, Suzanne D. Lebsock, Nell Irwin Painter, Theda Perdue, Anne Firor Scott, Deborah Gray White
When Europeans settled in the early South, they quarreled over many things--but few imbroglios were so fierce as battles over land. Landowners wrangled bitterly over boundaries with neighbors and contested areas became known as "the devil's lane." Violence and bloodshed were but some of the consequences to befall those who ventured into these disputed territories.
The Devil's Lane highlights important new work on sexuality, race, and gender in the South from the seventeenth- to the nineteenth-centuries. Contributors explore legal history by examining race, crime and punishment, sex across the color line, and slander. Emerging stars and established scholars such as Peter Wood and Carol Berkin weave together the fascinating story of competing agendas and clashing cultures on the southern frontier. One chapter focuses on a community's resistance to a hermaphrodite, where the town court conducted a series of "examinations" to determine the individual's gender. Other pieces address topics ranging from resistance to sexual exploitation on the part of slave women to spousal murders, from interpreting women's expressions of religious ecstasy to a pastor's sermons about depraved sinners and graphic depictions of carnage, all in the name of "exposing" evil, and from a case of infanticide to the practice of state-mandated castration.
Several of the authors pay close attention to the social and personal dynamics of interracial women's networks and relationships across place and time. The Devil's Lane illuminates early forms of sexual oppression, inviting comparative questions about authority and violence, social attitudes and sexual tensions, the impact of slavery as well as the twisted course of race relations among blacks, whites, and Indians. Several scholars look particularly at the Gulf South, myopically neglected in traditional literature, and an outstanding feature of this collection.
These eighteen original essays reveal why the intersection of sex and race marks an essential point of departure for understanding southern social relations, and a turning point for the field of colonial history. The rich, varied and distinctive experiences showcased in The Devil's Lane provides an extraordinary opportunity for readers interested in women's history, African American history, southern history, and especially colonial history to explore a wide range of exciting issues.
Until recently, a "womanless" American history was the norm. But in fact, without a history of women we neglect consideration of gender dynamics, sex roles, and family and sexual relations - the very fundamentals of human interaction. In Portraits of American Women, G.J. Barker-Benfield and Catherine Clinton present twenty-four short essays on American women beginning with Pocahontas and ending with Betty Friedan. The essays here locate the histories of women and men together by period and provide a sense of their continuities through the whole gallery of the American past. The editors selected women who made "significant contributions in the public realm," be they in the areas of art, literature, political engagement, educational activities, or reform movements. Included here are portraits of such luminaries as Georgia O'Keeffe, Margaret Mead, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anne Hutchinson, Phillis Wheatley, Margaret Fuller, and Rose Schneiderman, to name a few. Each portrait is fashioned to appeal to a wide range of readers, and all include sound scholarship and accessible prose, and raise provocative issues to illuminate women's lives within a broad range of historical transformations.More info →
Civil War Stories is Catherine Clinton's fresh look at some everyday and extraordinary people whose lives were forever transformed by the impact of war. Two sisters, one a staunch defender of the Union, the other a passionate advocate of the rebel cause, are traumatized by the divide the Civil War imposes. Thousands of orphans, scattered from Maine to New Orleans, learn the hard lessons of the war at an early age. Clinton urges us to reconsider this fatherless generation's devastating losses. The war's outcome was acrimoniously contested after Appomattox. The story of two South Carolina women, one black and one white, illuminates that fires of bitterness raged even after surrender.More info →
Whether it was planter patriarchs struggling to maintain authority, or Jewish families coerced by Christian evangelicalism, or wives and mothers left behind to care for slaves and children, the Civil War took a terrible toll. From the bustling sidewalks of Richmond to the parched plains of the Texas frontier, from the rich Alabama black belt to the Tennessee woodlands, no corner of the South went unscathed. Through the prism of the southern family, this volume of twelve original essays provides fresh insights into this watershed in American history.More info →
When southern women remove their gloves, they speak their minds. The ten timely and provocative essays in Taking Off the White Gloves represent the collective wisdom of some of the finest scholars on women's history in the American South. On the eve of the thirtieth anniversary of the Southern Association for Women Historians, this volume brings together some of the outstanding lectures delivered by distinguished members of the association over the past fifteen years.
Spanning four centuries of women's experiences in the South, the topics featured in Taking Off the White Gloves range from Native American sexuality and European conquest to woman suffrage in the South, from black women's protest history to the status of women in the historical profession at the end of the twentieth century.
Despite diverse subject matter, these rich essays share a number of important qualities. They take an integrative approach, combining literary analysis, social history, cultural interpretation, labor history, popular culture, and oral history. Embracing the distinctiveness of the southern past and women's experiences within that past, they also recognize the inextricability of critical categories such as sexuality and gender, race and gender, and women and work. Finally, these essays emphasize the authors' commitment to the belief that the personal is political; they reveal the subtle and not so subtle ways that women transform theory into practice.
Taking Off the White Gloves invites a new understanding of the complexities that surround the history of southern women across race, class, place, and time. A model of innovative and imaginative scholarly historical writing, this book provides fertile ground for young scholars and is sure to inspire new research. This thought- provoking volume has much to offer scholars and students, as well as the general reader.More info →
The experience of women in the nineteenth century has generated a wealth of interdisciplinary research in recent decades. The Columbia Guide to American Women in the Nineteenth Century presents the best of the recent scholarship available in a concise, "one-stop" resource, providing students of women's history and nineteenth-century American culture with an authoritative source of information and interpretation.
The authors emphasize areas in which scholars have identified important changes (such as suffrage and reform), topics in which researchers are now making great strides (such as racial, ethnic, religious, and regional diversity), and innovative and relatively recent explorations (for example, work on female sexuality). Accessible overview articles and alphabetical encyclopedia-like entries are combined in a comprehensive, easy-to-use volume.
Part 1 contains a historiographical essay followed by a ten-chapter narrative overview. These chapters include discussions of families and households, labor and the workforce, religion and morality, feminism and equal rights, reform and voluntarism, and more.
Part 2 is an A-to-Z listing of concise entries on key terms, notable figures, political movements, social and religious organizations, and legislation.
Part 3 is an annotated chronology placing events in historical context.
Part 4 is a topically organized selection of the best resources for further research, including general historical works, biographies and autobiographies, journals, archives, web sites, novels, and films.More info →