White Women's Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States / Edition 1

White Women's Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States / Edition 1

by Louis Newman
     
 

This study reinterprets a crucial period (1870s-1920s) in the history of women's rights, focusing attention on a core contradiction at the heart of early feminist theory. At a time when white elites were concerned with imperialist projects and civilizing missions, progressive white women developed an explicit racial ideology to promote their cause, defending

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Overview

This study reinterprets a crucial period (1870s-1920s) in the history of women's rights, focusing attention on a core contradiction at the heart of early feminist theory. At a time when white elites were concerned with imperialist projects and civilizing missions, progressive white women developed an explicit racial ideology to promote their cause, defending patriarchy for "primitives" while calling for its elimination among the "civilized." By exploring how progressive white women at the turn of the century laid the intellectual groundwork for the feminist social movements that followed, Louise Michele Newman speaks directly to contemporary debates about the effect of race on current feminist scholarship.

"White Women's Rights is an important book. It is a fascinating and informative account of the numerous and complex ties which bound feminist thought to the practices and ideas which shaped and gave meaning to America as a racialized society. A compelling read, it moves very gracefully between the general history of the feminist movement and the particular histories of individual women."—Hazel Carby, Yale University

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195124668
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
11/28/1998
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Woman's Rights, Race, and Imperialism3
1Evolution, Woman's Rights, and Civilizing Missions22
2The Making of a White Female Citizenry: Suffragism, Antisuffragism, and Race56
3The Politics of Patriarchal Protection: Debates over Coeducation and Special Labor Legislation for Women86
4A Feminist Explores Africa: May French-Sheldon's Subversion of Patriarchal Protection102
5Assimilating Primitives: The "Indian Problem" as a "Woman Question"116
6Eliminating Sex Distinctions from Civilization: The Feminist Theories of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Mary Roberts Smith Coolidge132
7Coming of Age, but Not in Samoa: Reflections on Margaret Mead's Legacy to Western Liberal Feminism158
Conclusion: Coming to Terms181
Notes187
Selected Bibliography229
Index253

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