Journal of Women's History

Journal of Women's History
Volume 18, Number 2, Summer 2006


    Barlow, Tani E.
  • History and the Border
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    Subject Headings:
    • Women in advertising -- China -- History -- 20th century.
    • Advertising -- Social aspects -- China -- History -- 20th century.
      The article seeks to supplant the idea of the "border" with that of "historical catachresis." The metaphor of the border intimates that space is a given, and that our job as historians is to step beyond prior marked places and reveal the existence of previously undisclosed or better ones. This concept of the border, proposed and discussed at the Berkshire Conference under the title "Sin Fronteras: Women's Histories, Global Conversations" in June 2005, places conceptual limits on thinking. This is most obvious in the case of ambiguous historical entities like colonialism, gender, or specific sign-systems. The concept of the historical catachresis, on the other hand, opens ways to read everyday evidence for experiences of incremental economic change, or commercial revolution, or new categories of sexuality, to name a few. Using the optic of the historical catachresis, and reading anachronistic images like a beautiful Bu'nei'men fertilizer woman image or the Nakayama Taiyodo colonial cosmetics company "girl," historians can enter into a contemporaneous moment. The article finally clarifies why older work on Chinese semicolonialism has been primarily reactive. It suggests that reading banal, ephemeral evidence for the emergence of new singularities or radically unprecedented experiences has the capacity to recast our conventional historians' questions of context, subjectivity, experience, and representation.

Challenging Boundaries

    Lewis, Charlene M. Boyer, 1965-
  • Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte: "Ill-Suitted for the Life of a Columbians Modest Wife"
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    Subject Headings:
    • Bonaparte, Elizabeth Patterson, 1785-1879.
    • Sex role -- United States -- History -- 19th century.
    • Women -- United States -- Social conditions -- 19th century.
      Two centuries ago, Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte (1785–1879) was one of the most famous women in the United States. She had married Napoleon's brother Jerome, borne his child, and seen the marriage annulled by the emperor himself. She was a celebrated figure at a time when much remained unsettled. The Revolution had succeeded, but the shape of U.S. politics and society had not been determined. Americans argued over what their society should look like: how aristocratic or democratic should it be? Gender roles and expectations were also in transition. Elizabeth's imperial connections and her scandalous behavior made her a central figure in these debates, and many American elites regarded her as a threat to the new nation as well as a woman not suited for a republic. In her writing and behavior, Elizabeth offered a different model for American womanhood, thus demonstrating both the contingency of the republican experiment and the active role women took in debates over the nation's culture and society.
    Merithew, Caroline Waldron.
  • "We Were Not Ladies": Gender, Class, and a Women's Auxiliary's Battle for Mining Unionism
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    Subject Headings:
    • Progressive Miners of America. Women's Auxiliary.
    • United Mine Workers of America.
    • Women in politics -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    • Sex role -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
      "We Were Not Ladies" uses the 1930s dual union fight between the United Mine Workers of America and the Progressive Miners to challenge the historiography on women's auxiliaries in the United States. While most labor and women's historians have focused on the traditional and supporting roles that non-wage-earning women played in male unions, I show a more radical side to working-class housewives' activism. Through the Women's Auxiliary of the Progressive Miners, coal miners' daughters and wives recognized that conventional gender roles could neither gain them political and economic power in their communities, nor could these roles encompass their evolving political consciousness. Because the mine union wars of the early 1930s opened up an opportunity for women to understand and rearticulate their identities, the episode provides a critical historical vantage on the gendering of class in the rural industrial multiracial heartland. Auxiliary women were engaged in a new "class struggle" that went beyond the traditional female spheres of home and family. This episode of dual unionism is significant not only because women became active in the movement but also because it exposes the contradictory ways that class and gender intersected and were understood by male and female actors.

Policing Women's Bodies

    Moloney, Deirdre M.
  • Women, Sexual Morality, and Economic Dependency in Early U.S. Deportation Policy
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    Subject Headings:
    • United States -- Emigration and immigration -- Government policy -- History.
    • Sexual ethics for women -- United States -- History.
    • Women immigrants -- United States -- Economic conditions.
      This article examines how U.S. federal immigration policy in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century regulated female immigrants who bore children outside of marriage, had sexual relations outside of marriage, or were suspected of prostitution. The author examines the ways in which immigration officials racialized the application of the moral turpitude clause in immigration law, and how this racialization reflected deeper social concerns about women's shifting economic and political roles and the definitions and expectations of marriage. Although few women were actually deported on moral turpitude grounds, patrolling women's sexuality and economic status at the borders reduced migration opportunities for women in general, subjected them to intense scrutiny by the state, constricted the contours of their personal relationships, and in some cases permanently separated them from their infant children.
    Barrancos, Dora.
  • Problematic Modernity: Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction in Twentieth-Century Argentina
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    Subject Headings:
    • Women's rights -- Argentina -- History -- 20th century.
    • Catholic Church -- Argentina -- Political activity -- History -- 20th century.
    • Argentina -- Politics and government -- 20th century.
      This article examines the limits of twentieth-century Argentine liberalism in light of two important rights for women: divorce and free access to contraceptive methods. Taking into account the liberal impulse of modernity at the beginning of the century and a phase of "neomodernity" upheld by neoliberal forces at the end of the century, the article argues that, while modernizing phenomena often foretell a greater rationality, secularity, and consolidation of private rights, such was not the case in Argentina because of the extreme influence of the Catholic Church. The article concludes with a discussion of how liberalism was inflected by its encounters with the Catholic Church, whose influence managed to delay passage of a divorce law until 1987, forestall free access to contraceptive methods, and block the legalization of abortion.

Book Reviews

    Booth, Karen M., 1962-
  • Conceiving the Nation: The "Politics of the Womb" in Kenya, the United States, Greece, and Ireland
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    Subject Headings:
    • Halkias, Alexandra, 1965- Empty cradle of democracy: sex, abortion, and nationalism in modern Greece.
    • Meyer, Jimmy Elaine Wilkinson. Any friend of the movement: networking for birth control, 1920-1940.
    • Spreng, Jennifer E., 1968- Abortion and divorce law in Ireland.
    • Thomas, Lynn M. Politics of the womb: women, reproduction, and the state in Kenya.
    • Abortion -- Political aspects -- Greece.
    • Birth control -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
    Englander, Susan.
  • Coming to Terms with Women's Suffrage: The British Movement's Significance for Broader Social Change
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    Subject Headings:
    • Pedersen, Susan, 1959- Eleanor Rathbone and the politics of conscience.
    • Mayhall, Laura E. Nym, 1963- Militant suffrage movement: citizenship and resistance in Britain, 1860-1930.
    • Rathbone, Eleanor F. (Eleanor Florence), 1872-1946.
    • Women -- Suffrage -- Great Britain -- History.
    Eliot, Karen, 1957-
  • Dancing the Homeland: The Emergence of American Modern Dance
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    Subject Headings:
    • Daly, Ann, 1959- Done into dance: Isadora Duncan in America.
    • Foulkes, Julia L. Modern bodies: dance and American modernism from Martha Graham to Alvin Ailey.
    • Duncan, Isadora, 1877-1927.
    • Modern dance -- United States -- History.
    Clancy-Smith, Julia Ann.
  • The Intimate, the Familial, and the Local in Transnational Histories of Gender
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    Subject Headings:
    • Buettner, Elizabeth. Empire families: Britons and late imperial India.
    • Levine, Philippa, ed. Gender and empire.
    • Stoler, Ann Laura. Carnal knowledge and imperial power: race and the intimate in colonial rule.
    • British -- India -- History -- 19th century.
    • Great Britain -- Colonies -- History.



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