Women's Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood, and Politics in Britain and France during the First World War [NOOK Book]

Overview

There are few moments in history when the division between the sexes seems as "natural" as during wartime: men go off to the "war front," while women stay behind on the "home front." But the very notion of the home front was an invention of the First World War, when, for the first time, "home" and "domestic" became adjectives that modified the military term "front." Such an innovation acknowledged the significant and presumably new ...
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Women's Identities at War: Gender, Motherhood, and Politics in Britain and France during the First World War

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Overview

There are few moments in history when the division between the sexes seems as "natural" as during wartime: men go off to the "war front," while women stay behind on the "home front." But the very notion of the home front was an invention of the First World War, when, for the first time, "home" and "domestic" became adjectives that modified the military term "front." Such an innovation acknowledged the significant and presumably new contributions of civilians, especially women, to the war effort.

Yet, as Susan Grayzel argues, throughout the war, traditional notions of masculinity and femininity survived, primarily through the maintenance of--and indeed reemphasis on--soldiering and mothering as the core of gender and national identities. Drawing on sources that range from popular fiction and war memorials to newspapers and legislative debates, Grayzel analyzes the effects of World War I on ideas about civic participation, national service, morality, sexuality, and identity in wartime Britain and France. Despite the appearance of enormous challenges to gender roles due to the upheavals of war, the forces of stability prevailed, she says, demonstrating the Western European gender system's remarkable resilience.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
A wide-ranging cultural history of women in Britain and France during the first world war.

Journal of Contemporary History

This is an excellent, well-argued text, and an immensely valuable contribution to the continuing debate about war and society.

History: Journal of the Historical Association

A provocative and worthwhile [book] and a welcome addition to the growing literature on women and war.

Journal of Military History

This engaging book questions how the experience of World War I reshaped women's identities in Britain and France.

Iris

Refreshingly comparative in scope, the book shows how the Great War was inscribed on the bodies and the lives of millions.

Jay Winter, Cambridge University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469620817
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 893,382
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Susan R. Grayzel is associate professor of history at the University of Mississippi.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Brief Chronology of the First World War
Introduction: Women's Identities and Modern War 1
Ch. 1 Defining the Geography of War: Configuring the Boundaries between the Fronts 11
Ch. 2 The Maternal Body as Battlefield: Rape, Gender, and National Identity 50
Ch. 3 Promoting Motherhood and Regulating Women: Women's Labor and the Nation 86
Ch. 4 Women's Wild Oats: Sexuality and the Social Order 121
Ch. 5 Feminism on Trial: Women's Dissent and the Politics of Peace 157
Ch. 6 National Service and National Sacrifice: Civic Participation, Gender, and National Identity 190
Ch. 7 Public Spaces and Private Grief: Assessing the Legacy of War 226
Conclusion 243
Notes 247
Selected Bibliography 297
Index 323
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