Women in Spiritual and Communitarian Societies in the United States

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
This is a delightful contribution to ``the most recent scholarship on women in spiritual and communal societies.'' Essays explore women's experiences from the 18th century to the present in Shaker, Mormon, Catholic, Hasidic, Owenite, and Hutterite communities as well as at the Woman's Commonwealth, Brook Farm, Oneida, Twin Oaks, and the Farm. The result is a careful study of women's work, sexuality, marriage, child rearing, education, artistic expression, and politics in the context of these diverse experimental communities. The 15 contributors to this collection are feminist scholars primarily from the social sciences and the communities. Recent complementary titles include Lawrence Foster's Women, Family, and Utopia (Syracuse Univ. Pr., 1991) and Carol A. Kolmerten's Women in Utopia (Indiana Univ. Pr., 1990). This book is accessible to informed general readers but is especially appropriate for undergraduate and graduate collections in U.S. and women's history and gender studies.-- Linda Carlisle, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib. at Edwardsville
Combining both scholarly views and autobiographical material, the authors survey women's roles and experiences in a wide range of American religions, secular, and modern interactive-psychology communities from the 18th century to the present. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
WomanSource Catalog & Review: Tools for Connecting the Community for Women
Most people are probably unaware that communitarian lifestyles existed in this country long before the attention they received in the 1960s. In fact, this book looks at women in communitarian and spiritual societies as far back as the 1700s. This is a multi-faceted study of the number of different types of social experiments and women's experiments in them.ome of these communities, considered racial for their time, like The Northhampton Association of Education and Industry, housed the genesis of egalitarian systems and philosophies later accepted into the mainstream. Others were patriachal in the extreme. Some, like the Shakers and the various Catholic sisterhoods, were based on achieving a pure religious vision. This is a fascinating glimpse at a variety of functional communities, their power structures and leadership, what they created and achieved, and the women's personal perceptions.
—Ilene Rosoff
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Product Details

Table of Contents

Introduction 3
Pt. 1 Women's Search for Community: Religious, Secular, Feminist
1 Sojourner Truth: Utopian Vision and Search for Community, 1797-1883 21
2 Women's Experiences in the American Owenite Communities 38
3 Heaven on Earth: The Woman's Commonwealth, 1867-1983 52
Pt. 2 Women's Creativity in Community
4 Creative Women of Brook Farm 75
5 Shaker Fancy Goods: Women's Work and Presentation of Self in the Community Context in the Victorian Era 89
6 "In the Bonds of True Love and Friendship": Some Meanings of "Gospel Affection" and "Gospel Union" in Shaker Sisters' Letters and Poems 104
Pt. 3 Women and Structures of Leadership in Community
7 Sexual Equality and Economic Authority: The Shaker Experience, 1784-1900 119
8 "Tho' of the Weaker Sex": A Reassessment of Gender Equality among the Shakers 133
9 Organizing for Service: Challenges to Community Life and Work Decisions in Catholic Sisterhoods, 1850-1940 150
Pt. 4 Women's Status and Male Power in Community
10 "Diamond Cut Diamond": The Mormon Wife vs. the True Woman, 1840-1890 169
11 Family Love, True Womanliness, Motherhood, and the Socialization of Girls in the Oneida Community, 1848-1880 182
12 Pronatalism, Midwifery, and Synergistic Marriage: Spiritual Enlightenment and Sexual Ideology on The Farm (Tennessee) 201
13 Female Education in the Lubavitcher Community: The Beth Rivkah and Machon Ghana Schools 221
Pt. 5 Women's Voices: Personal Experiences of Community
14 Colony Girl: A Hutterite Childhood 241
15 The Power of Feminism at Twin Oaks Community 256
Index 267
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