By looking at what the Petersburg women did and thought and comparing their behavior with that of men, Lebsock discovers that they placed high value on economic security, on the personal, on the religious, and on the interests of other women. In a society committed to materialism, male dominance, and the maintenance of slavery, their influence was subversive. They operated from an alternative value system, indeed a distinct female culture.
"This is a book that is full of things I have never seen before, and full of new things to say about things I thought I knew well. It is a book about houses and about culture and about how each affects the other, and it must stand as one of the major works on the history of modern housing." - Paul Goldberger, The New York Times Book Review
Long before Betty Friedan wrote about "the problem that had no name" in The Feminine Mystique, a group of American feminists whose leaders included Melusina Fay Peirce, Mary Livermore, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman campaigned against women's isolation in the home and confinement to domestic life as the basic cause of their unequal position in society.The Grand Domestic Revolution reveals the innovative plans and visionary strategies of these persistent women, who developed the theory and practice of what Hayden calls "material feminism" in pursuit of economic independence and social equality. The material feminists' ambitious goals of socialized housework and child care meant revolutionizing the American home and creating community services. They raised fundamental questions about the relationship of men, women, and children in industrial society. Hayden analyzes the utopian and pragmatic sources of the feminists' programs for domestic reorganization and the conflicts over class, race, and gender they encountered. This history of a little-known intellectual tradition challenging patriarchal notions of "women's place" and "women's work" offers a new interpretation of the history of American feminism and a new interpretation of the history of American housing and urban design. Hayden shows how the material feminists' political ideology led them to design physical space to create housewives' cooperatives, kitchenless houses, day-care centers, public kitchens, and community dining halls. In their insistence that women be paid for domestic labor, the material feminists won the support of many suffragists and of novelists such as Edward Bellamy and William Dean Howells, who helped popularize their cause. Ebenezer Howard, Rudolph Schindler, and Lewis Mumford were among the many progressive architects and planners who promoted the reorganization of housing and neighborhoods around the needs of employed women. In reevaluating these early feminist plans for the environmental and economic transformation of American society and in recording the vigorous and many-sided arguments that evolved around the issues they raised, Hayden brings to light basic economic and spacial contradictions which outdated forms of housing and inadequate community services still create for American women and for their families.
For women, for lesbians and gays, for African Americans, for Asians, Native Americans, or any other self-identified and -identifying group, who can speak? Who has the authority to speak for these groups? Is there genuinely such a thing as "objectivity," or can only members of these groups speak, finally, for themselves? And who has the authority to decide who has the authority?
This collection examines how theory and criticism are complicated by
multiple perspectives in an increasingly multicultural society and
faces head on the difficult question of what qualifies a critic to speak from or about a particular position. In different formats and from different perspectives from various disciplines, the contributors to this volume analytically and innovatively work together to define the problems and capture the contradictions and tensions inherent in the issues of authority, epistemology, and discourse.
So begins Sue Bender's story, the captivating and inspiring true story of a harried urban Californian moved by the beauty of a display of quilts to seek out and live with the Amish. Discovering lives shaped by unfamiliar yet comforting ideas about time, work, and community, Bender is gently coaxed to consider, Is there another way to lead a good life?
Her journey begins in a New York men's clothing store. There she is spellbound by the vibrant colors and stunning geometric simplicity of the Amish quilts spoke directly to me, writes Bender. Somehow, they went straight to my heart.
Heeding a persistent inner voice, Bender searches for Amish families willing to allow her to visit and share in there daily lives. Plain and Simple vividly recounts sojourns with two Amish families, visits during which Bender enters a world without television, telephone, electric light, or refrigerators; a world where clutter and hurry are replaced with inner quiet and calm ritual; a world where a sunny kitchen glows and no distinction was made between the sacred and the everyday.
In nine interrelated chapters--as simple and elegant as a classic nine-patch Amish quilt--Bender shares the quiet power she found reflected in lives of joyful simplicity, humanity, and clarity. The fast-paced, opinionated, often frazzled Bender returns home and reworks her crazy-quilt life, integrating the soul-soothing qualities she has observed in the Amish, and celebrating the patterns in the Amish, and celebrating the patterns formed by the distinctive patches of her own life.
Charmingly illustrated and refreshingly spare, Plain and Simple speaks to the seeker in each of us.
Elizabeth Wilson's elegant, provocative, and scholarly study uses fiction, essays, film, and art, as well as history and sociology, to look at some of the world's greatest cities-London, Paris, Moscow, New York, Chicago, Lusaka, and S o Paulo-and presents a powerful critique of utopian planning, anti-urbanism, postmodernism, and traditional architecture. For women the city offers freedom, including sexual freedom, but also new dangers. Planners and reformers have repeatedly attempted to regulate women-and the working class and ethnic minorities-by means of grandiose, utopian plans, nearly destroying the richness of urban culture. City centers have become uninhabited business districts, the countryside suburbanized. There is danger without pleasure, consumerism without choice, safety without stimulation. What is needed is a new understanding of city life and Wilson gives us an intriguing introduction to what this might be.
Deborah Tannen's You Just Don't Understand spent nearly four years (in cloth and paper) on The New York Times Best Seller list and has sold over a million and a half copies. Clearly, Tannen's insights into how and why women and men so often misunderstand each other when they talk has touched a nerve. For years a highly respected scholar in the field of linguistics, she has now become widely known for her work on how conversational style differences associated with gender affect relationships. Her life work has demonstrated how close and intelligent analysis of conversation can reveal the extraordinary complexities of social relationships--including relationships between men and women.
Now, in Gender and Discourse, Tannen has gathered together six of her scholarly essays, including her newest and previously unpublished work in which language and gender are examined through the lens of "sex-class-linked" patterns, rather than "sex-linked" patterns. These essays provide a theoretical backdrop to her best-selling books--and an informative introduction which discusses her field of linguistics, describes the research methods she typically uses, and addresses the controversies surrounding her field as well as some misunderstandings of her work. (She argues, for instance, that her cultural approach to gender differences does not deny that men dominate women in society, nor does it ascribe gender differences to women's "essential nature.") The essays themselves cover a wide range of topics. In one, she analyzes a number of conversational strategies--such as interruption, topic raising, indirection, and silence--and shows that, contrary to much work on language and gender, no strategy exclusively expresses dominance or submissiveness in conversation--interruption (or overlap) can be supportive, silence and indirection can be used to control. It is the interactional context, the participants' individual styles, and the interaction of their styles, Tannen shows, that result in the balance of power. She also provides a fascinating analysis of four groups of males and females (second-, sixth-, and tenth-grade students, and twenty-five year olds) conversing with their best friends, and she includes an early article co-authored with Robin Lakoff that presents a theory of conversational strategy, illustrated by analysis of dialogue in Ingmar Bergman's Scenes from a Marriage.
Readers interested in the theoretical framework behind Tannen's work will find this volume fascinating. It will be sure to interest anyone curious about the crucial yet often unnoticed role that language and gender play in our daily lives.
In a memoir that pierces and delights us, Jill Ker Conway tells the story of her astonishing journey into adulthood--a journey that would ultimately span immense distances and encompass worlds, ideas, and ways of life that seem a century apart.She was seven before she ever saw another girl child. At eight, still too small to mount her horse unaided, she was galloping miles, alone, across Coorain, her parents' thirty thousand windswept, drought-haunted acres in the Australian outback, doing a man's job of helping herd the sheep because World War II had taken away the able-bodied men. She loved (and makes us see and feel) the vast unpeopled landscape, beautiful and hostile, whose uncertain weathers tormented the sheep ranchers with conflicting promises of riches and inescapable disaster. She adored (and makes us know) her large-visioned father and her strong, radiant mother, who had gone willingly with him into a pioneering life of loneliness and bone-breaking toil, who seemed miraculously to succeed in creating a warmly sheltering home in the harsh outback, and who, upon her husband's sudden death when Jill was ten, began to slide--bereft of the partnership of work and love that had so utterly fulfilled her--into depression and dependency. We see Jill, staggered by the loss of her father, catapulted to what seemed another planet--the suburban Sydney of the 1950s and its crowded, noisy, cliquish school life. Then the heady excitement of the University, but with it a yet more demanding course of lessons--Jill embracing new ideas, new possibilities, while at the same time trying to be mother to her mother and resenting it, escaping into drink, pulling herself back, striking a balance. We see her slowly gaining strength, coming into her own emotionally and intellectually and beginning the joyous love affair that gave wings to her newfound self. Worlds away from Coorain, in America, Jill Conway became a historian and the first woman president of Smith College. Her story of Coorain and the road from Coorain startles by its passion and evocative power, by its understanding of the ways in which a total, deep-rooted commitment to place--or to a dream--can at once liberate and imprison. It is a story of childhood as both Eden and anguish, and of growing up as a journey toward the difficult life of the free.