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Girlhood

A Global History

Edited and with an introduction by Jennifer Helgren and Colleen A. Vasconcellos

Publication Year: 2010

Girlhood, interdisciplinary and global in source, scope, and methodology, examines the centrality of girlhood in shaping women's lives. Scholars study how age and gender, along with a multitude of other identities, work together to influence the historical experience.Spanning a broad time frame from 1750 to the present, essays illuminate the various continuities and differences in girls' lives across culture and region--girls on all continents except Antarctica are represented. Case studies and essays are arranged thematically to encourage comparisons between girls' experiences in diverse locales, and to assess how girls were affected by historical developments such as colonialism, political repression, war, modernization, shifts in labor markets, migrations, and the rise of consumer culture.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-ix

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Foreword

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pp. xi-xiii

The copious collection of girls included in Girlhood: A Global History stirred recollections of my girlhood, especially of the exquisitely dressed costume dolls I collected in the early 1960s. That was long before we understood that the clothing sewn onto the dolls’ bodies signified female identities as...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xv-xvi

Creating this book has been a long and winding road, one that began in the summer of 2005 amid conversations at the global-themed conferences of the Society for the History of Children and Youth and the Berkshire Women’s History Conference. It goes without saying that a project of this magnitude...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-13

In response to globalization and the fracturing of nation-states since the end of the Cold War, historians have increasingly turned toward international perspectives and comparisons. No longer are themes of international conflict, ethnic tension, and the migrations of peoples and ideas across borders...

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Toward Political Agency for Girls: Mapping the Discourses of Girlhood Globally

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pp. 14-29

There is an increased interest around the globe in girls and girlhood. Although a tendency to refer to “womenandgirls” still pervades, blurring the specificity of girls’ experiences, there is increased attention to girls as a special group within the study of gender and gendered...

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Part I: Girls' Cultures and Identities

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pp. 31-102

The chapters in this section analyze the intersections of gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and youth through a variety of female subcultures that have operated in relation to, but also separate from, dominant societal and adult values. Girls’ cultures have been distinct both from boys’ cultures and from...

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1. American Jewish Girls and the Politics of Identity, 1860-1920

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pp. 33-48

On a typical day in New Orleans during the Civil War, sixteen-year-old Clara Solomon rose early to go to the Louisiana Normal School. She dawdled over breakfast and left the house reluctantly, complaining of poor health. She would have much preferred to stay home with her mother. After a school...

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2. Growing Up in Colonial Algeria: The Case of Assia Djebar

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pp. 49-64

The work of French francophone novelist and Algerian national Assia Djebar was recognized most recently when she was welcomed into the prestigious Académie française on June 22, 2006, filling the vacant seat of the late Georges Vedel. An accomplished novelist as well as playwright...

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3. Immigrant Girls in Multicultural Amsterdam: Juggling Ambivalent Cultural Messages

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pp. 65-82

These are the words of Davinya, a teenage girl from the Bijlmer, a disadvantaged, culturally diverse neighborhood in the district of Amsterdam South-East. At the time of the interview, Davinya was seventeen and living with her Surinamese mother; her Antillean father had moved back to the...

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4. Feminist Girls, Lesbian Comrades: Performances of Critical Girlhood in Taiwan Pop Music

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pp. 83-102

During the 1990s, the popular concept of the girl––as in girl power, girl bands, girl rock, the Spice Girls, Riot Grrrl, cybergirls, and others––became increasingly prominent not only in Euro-American commercial music cultures but also outside the West. How does the category of girlhood function...

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Part II: The Politics of Girlhood

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pp. 103-213

The chapters in this section explore how girls have responded to global developments such as war and political unrest, as well as how girls operate as global actors and agents. How has girlhood been imagined within the context of the nation-state and international politics? Do girls have unique...

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5. Girlhood Memories and the Politics of Justice in Post-Rosas Argentina: The Restitution Suit of Olalla Alvarez

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pp. 105-123

In 1853, a young woman named Olalla Alvarez returned to the province of Córdoba, Argentina, after a twelve-year forced exile in Chile, demanding to see a judge. She sought to initiate a lawsuit against Pedro Sueldo, who was a provincial judge during the reign of Juan Manuel de Rosas, the Federalist...

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6. "A Case of Peculiar and Unusual Interest": The Egg Inspectors Union, The AFL, and the British Ministry of Food Confront "Negro Girl" Egg Candlers

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pp. 124-141

In autumn of 1918, because of the food shortages brought on by the First World War, the British Food Ministry contracted with the Davies Company, an American company in Chicago, to supply shipments of eggs for hospitals in France. This agreement led to what the U.S. Department of...

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7. "Life is a Succession of Disappointments": A Soviet Girl Contends with the Stalinist Dictatorship

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pp. 142-161

In the spring of 1934, a Soviet teenager, Nina Lugovskaya, recorded the following entry in her diary: "The last few days I’ve sometimes wanted so much to tell someone everything, to open up completely, to shout: “I want to live! Why do you...

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8. Fragilities and Failures, Promises and Patriotism: Elements of Second World War English and American Girlhood, 1939-1945

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pp. 162-178

“How you expect to get married and keep house is beyond me, Alicia,” the cartoon-character mother began her lecture, “you can’t cook and you wouldn’t know the first thing to do about an incendiary bomb on the roof!” In another wartime illustration, a little girl in a pinafore played tea party...

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9. Holy Girl Power Locally and Globally: The Marian Visions of Garabandal, Spain

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pp. 179-194

In a journalistic article on the importance of the 1917 Marian apparitions in Fatima (Portugal) for understanding the history of the Cold War, Joseph Bottum recasts the part of the cold warrior. Bottum speculates that the real shaper of the Cold War is not, in fact, an adult political leader but a young...

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10. Rebels, Robots, and All-American Girls: The Ideological Use of Images of Girl Gymnasts During the Cold War

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pp. 195-213

Gymnastics, a sport that cultivates and rewards agility, grace, and elegance in young women, would, on the face of it, seem unlikely to generate controversy in the international arena. Women’s gymnastics, however, has long had a political dimension to it. Although women’s gymnastics has been...

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Part III: The Education of Girls

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pp. 215-322

“The Education of Girls” brings together six case studies that assess the role of education in girls’ lives and the reasons why education was offered. The authors in this section demonstrate how education can be an agent of the state or a tool of colonialism, while at the same time a way of empowering...

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11. Palestinian Girls and the British Missionary Enterprise, 1847-1948

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pp. 217-233

In the nineteenth century, imperial-minded Britons became increasingly fascinated with the fate of Palestinians, the residents of the “Holy Land,” who came to figure prominently in Orientalist imaginations. Alternately viewed as living examples of biblical characters, decadent...

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12. "The Right Kind of Ambition": Discourses of Feminity at the Huguenot Seminary and College, 1895-1910

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pp. 234-249

The period 1895 to 1910 is a particularly useful window through which to analyze the production of white femininities in the Cape Colony.1 The late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries represent a major turning point in South African history, as the country shifted from being a collection...

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13. Stolen Girlhood: Australia's Assimilation Policies and Aboriginal Girls

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pp. 250-267

In Darlene Johnson’s short film Two Bob Mermaid,1 an Australian Aboriginal mother peers through a wire fence watching her daughter, the two-bob mermaid, as she swims in the whites-only pool in Moree in northern New South Wales. The two-bob mermaid is pale skinned: she can pass as a white...

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14. Fathers, Daughters, and Institutions: Coming of Age in Mombasa's Colonial Schools

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pp. 268-288

The two women quoted here, both of whom attended primary school in Mombasa, Kenya, during the British colonial period (1895–1963), criticize mothers for not promoting the education of their daughters. They see marriage as an interruption of the complete education they believe all girls...

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15. Mothers of Warriors: Girls in a Youth Debate of Interwar Iraq

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pp. 289-303

As I argue in Iraqi Arab Nationalism: Authoritarian, Totalitarian and Pro-Fascist Inclinations, 1932–1941, which examines authoritarian, totalitarian, and pro- Fascist trends in Iraq during the 1930s and early 1940s, the Iraqi nationalist press cast youth in the role of reviving the strength of the Arab nation. Most...

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16. "'Homemaker' Can Include the World": Female Citizenship and Internationalism in the Postwar Camp Fire Girls

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pp. 304-322

Representing the Camp Fire Girls of America, one of the United States’ most popular youth organizations, Eleanore Korman of the national programming department declared in the mid-1950s, “Our girls need to increase their understanding of the word ‘homemaker’ in order to accept...

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Part IV: Girls to Women: Work, Marriage, and Sexuality

The chapters in the final section of this volume explore a variety of “coming of age” experiences around the world, focusing specifically on challenges to the definition of girlhood. By probing this definition of girlhood in light of the seemingly adult experiences of labor, sexual activity, rape...

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17. From Chattel to "Breeding Wenches": Abolitionism, Girlhood, and Jamaican Slavery

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pp. 325-343

In 1745, Governor Edward Trelawney of Jamaica published a controversial pamphlet titled An Essay concerning Slavery. Much to the consternation of his constituents, he wrote, “I cou’d wish with all my Heart, that Slavery was abolish’d entirely, and I hope in time it may be so.” Unlike those who...

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18. Girls, Labor, and Sex in Precolonial Egypt, 1850-1882

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pp. 344-362

On the night of October 8, 1864, a girl named Sariyya was crushed to death in a cotton press factory in Alexandria. The accident took place after dark, in the female section of the factory. The division of labor in the factory was gendered: while the men were responsible for pressing the cotton on the...

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19. Defiant Daughters and the Emancipation of Minors in Nineteenth-Century Mexico

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pp. 363-381

Sixteen-year-old Juana Silva ran off with her sweetheart, Melquiadez Barzalobre, a nineteen-year-old shoemaker, in 1871. Her single mother, María, citing God as her only witness, complained to the court that the young man had seduced her daughter. Court officials initiated an investigation and...

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20. The Shifting Status of Middle-Class Malay Girlhood: From "Sisters" to "Sinners" in One Generation

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pp. 382-402

Twenty-first-century middle-class Malay Muslim girls are often portrayed as “seducers,” “sinners,” and “material girls,” sexualized symbols of global modernity’s dystopia, a place where mothers are working and absent, family is dissolving, and children no longer obey. But a generation ago, their...

Contributors

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pp. 403-406

Index

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pp. 407-422


E-ISBN-13: 9780813549460
E-ISBN-10: 0813549469
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813547046
Print-ISBN-10: 0813547040

Page Count: 448
Publication Year: 2010

Series Title: Series in Childhood Studies
Series Editor Byline: Myra Bluebond-Langner