Rosemary A. Joyce
Studies on the development of fat stigma in the United States often consider gender, but not race. This chapter adds to the literature on the significance of race in the propagation of fat phobia. I investigate representations of voluptuousness among “white” Anglo-Saxon and German women, as well as “black” Irish women between 1830 and 1890—a time period during which the value of a curvy physique was hotly contested—performing a discourse analysis of thirty-three articles from top newspapers and magazines. I found that the rounded forms of Anglo-Saxon and German women were generally praised as signs of health and beauty. The fat Irish, by contrast, were depicted as grotesque. Building on the work of Stuart Hall, I conclude that fat was a “floating signifier” of race and national belonging. That is, rather than being universally lauded or condemned, the value attached to fatness was related to the race of its possessor.
Caroline Dodds Pennock
Aztec culture has often been regarded as patriarchal but, although men controlled many traditional markers of influence in Tenochtitlan, women were powerful and effective figures, possessing tangible rights and responsibilities that were recognized as essential to society’s collective success. Two alternative models now dominate analyses of Aztec gender: parallelism or complementarity duality and fluidity. Although arguably women’s influence was gradually reduced by an increasing focus on military issues, scholars are now largely agreed that male and female roles were arranged into a binary system, each with its own sphere of responsibility and activity. Gender was socially conditioned from birth in Aztec culture and throughout the life cycle, while masculine/feminine pairings strongly shaped social, political, and religious structures. In a practical sense Aztec gender systems probably combined parallelism with a degree of hierarchy within which men and women were structurally equivalent rather than equal.
Although often understood as frivolous, women’s shopping was anything but. By the late nineteenth century, almost all households had to purchase daily necessities. Women’s paid work was often in retail or consumer goods manufacturing. Thus, even as men also bought goods and services, women’s responsibilities as purchasers and wage earners made consumption particularly crucial to their daily labor. Thus, consumption reinforced gender ideology. Fashions, food, and public performance helped to “make” gender. In so doing, they also reinforced racial and class hierarchies. From the first advertisements, “mass” consumption equated real women with white, young, slender, and middle-class bodies. However, specialized products, commercial districts, and fashions also made consumption important to nonwhite, queer, and working-class identities. Moreover, both policymakers and everyday consumers increasingly sought economic stability and also political change in stores and shopping; “consumer” movements and less organized, recurrent protests raised the possibility, and the threat, of women’s political authority.
This chapter examines the relationship between Iron Age gender and society, viewed from the mortuary evidence. It distinguishes an early Iron Age masculine west, an increasingly female-authored salt trade, and a generation of mobility (620–580 BC) ushering in new social forms. Discussing recent work on gender identities, the relationship between daggers and swords is examined. Linked, gendered lineages are identified—increasingly male-authored, and opulent, with Greek connections, in south-west Germany; alongside female authority in eastern France. Beginning in Germany, male-authored violence is attested (550–450 BC, aligning with Livy), followed by radical social change (400–350 BC), as disproportionate deposition signifies the ritual end to Hallstatt traditions; alongside development of martial, ‘egalitarian’ La Tène communities. Sex was a common, divergent, structuring principle in regional Hallstatt C–D societies. Further, a reading for gender in the texts reveals differences between western European Iron Age and late classical Mediterranean gender norms.
This article traces approaches to social space back to the 1950s and the subsequent pursuit of the ‘rise of privacy’. It then delivers a historiography of late medieval gender and space since the 1990s under three main themes: sacred spaces (churches, nunneries, and monasteries), vernacular architecture, and high-status residences including gardens and deer parks. It is noted that from the mid-1990s the impulse to make women ‘visible’ was largely replaced by an emphasis on differences—and similarities—among and between women, men, and other social categories and contexts, such as urban and rural, and that recent studies have moved on to explore the transgression of gendered boundaries. Methodologies such as access analysis are discussed and suggestions are made for future research, including the opportunities afforded by GIS.
Kathleen M. Brown
Gender frontiers are but one starting point for comparing cultural contact zones and analyzing imperialism and racial formation in the early modern Atlantic. Recent scholarship on Native American and African encounters with Europeans suggests a need for a more complex analytical framework. Africans and Native Americans participated actively in creating this cultural frontier—by persisting in, adjusting, or transforming precontact practices or by assuming that the uninvited newcomers might share enough core beliefs and desires to be incorporated or vanquished. Europeans who participated in producing colonialism engaged in creative and destructive processes, but they remained connected to elite people in imperial centers that were buffered—by distance, money, and power—from such changes. The significance of gender frontiers is best understood as one phase in the longer historical processes they gave rise to: the emergence of new, syncretic cultures and populations, and the racialized and reactive cultures that quickly followed.
Dayo F. Gore
“Cold War” traditionally refers to the foreign policy, military, and ideological contestation between the power blocks of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and the Western powers of Europe and the United States. This chapter examines the ways women’s experiences and debates over gender, race, and sexuality were central to the US Cold War anticommunist policies and practices on the homefront and globally. This perspective reveals the ways the global Cold War reshaped decolonizing struggles in the Global South as well as domestic culture, social relations, and ideals of the family through domestic containment. The chapter charts the roots of civil rights politics and social movements of the 1960s in sustained resistance to Cold War anticommunism and its politics of conformity. Centering women’s experiences negotiating Cold War strategies of domestic containment, the chapter reveals the US Cold War as a multifaceted period of contestation as much as conformity.
This chapter brings together the histories of American beauty culture and disability to identify overlaps between the fields and encourage women’s and gender historians to engage disability studies in their scholarship. “Unruly bodies,” bodies that fall outside the norm because of race, ethnicity, or disability, became the object of social and cultural derision and labeled ugly, abnormal and disabled. The techniques women, surgeons, fashion designers, and beauty culturists used to manage, fix and discipline these “unruly bodies” through cosmetics, diet, exercise, surgery, and rehabilitation contain striking similarities, which this chapter explores in historical context. Although experts projected beauty ideals and medical standards onto women’s bodies, American women embraced body modifications on their own terms and imbued them with their own meanings.
Robert Jarvenpa and Hetty Jo Brumbach
Genetic and archaeological evidence indicates that South Asia was one of the world's most densely populated geographic regions in the Late Pleistocene. Genetic coalescence ages point to the colonization of the region by Homo sapiens between 70,000 and 50,000 years ago, corresponding with the Middle Palaeolithic stone tool industry. Middle Palaeolithic occupations occur prior to the Toba volcanic super-eruption of 74,000 years ago, suggesting Homo sapiens may have reached South Asia earlier. Populations emerging from Africa may have used coasts and transcontinental routes to disperse across the Indian Ocean rim. Indigenous South Asian hunter-gatherers survived the Toba super-eruption, and adapted to environmental changes across the Late Pleistocene. About 35,000-30,000 years ago, new cultural innovations appear that correspond with environmental deterioration, habitat fragmentation, and demographic increase. Lifestyles of foraging populations became increasingly heterogeneous during the Holocene. During the Middle and Late Holocene, foraging populations coexisted alongside complex urbanized state-level societies
There is a burgeoning interest in the variable ways in which past and present societies construct the notion of foetal and infant entities and the beginnings of personhood. The newborn baby has often been conceptualized as a tabular rasa, a blank slate, which progressively becomes moulded by biological, environmental, and social forces. Within this construct the infant is likened to clay and indeed this analogy is made explicit in early medical writings. However, infants are conceived and born into social worlds and these impact on their nascent identities whilst still in utero. Likewise, cultural beliefs concerning gender identity, reproduction, and the pregnant body may have biological repercussions for the developing foetus. This chapter aims to explore the interplay between the body and society in the formation and conceptualization of infant bodies in the past.
Mary Ting Yi Lui
This article traces the long history of legal regulations around interracial sex and marriage as tied to important changes in the territorial consolidation and political formation of the American nation and its polity. These regulations stabilized ambiguous racial categories and gender roles as well as patriarchy and heteronormativity. The article begins in the colonial era to survey the range of local practices of interracial sex, marriage, and family formation that took place across different imperial contexts across the North American continent and moves into the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as the United States spanned the continent and pursued its own imperial ambitions globally. In addition, the article chronicles histories of resistance and mixed-race family formation that both challenged and worked within the limits of the law.
Man the Hunter, Woman the Gatherer? The Impact of Gender Studies on Hunter-Gatherer Research (A Retrospective)
The ‘Man the Hunter’ conference marked the beginning of hunter-gatherer studies as an area of inquiry across subfields of anthropology. The published volume appeared in the late 1960s during the second wave of feminism and inspired an immediate backlash against the sexist language and omission of women’s roles in hunting and gathering groups. A survey of publications beginning with Man the Hunter and the immediate responses through the publications from the Conferences on Hunting and Gathering Societies (CHAGS) and selected book-length works traces the increasing, if uneven, influence of gender studies in hunter-gatherer research.
Toby L. Ditz
This chapter shows how republican and imperial grammars of manhood, and the gender order in which they were embedded, defined boundaries of civic and political inclusion in three areas of United States law and policy: the military, land and labor, and immigration. In each, specific models of labor, marriage, and domestic life defined manliness, conferring full privileges of citizenship on some men but denying it to others. Even as they generated racial and class distinctions, grammars of manhood also created openings for challenges by subordinate and marginal men. These dynamics included bids to create an egalitarian interracial republic followed by racist backlash, competition between yeoman ideals and liberal political economy’s manly wage-earning domestic provider, and alternative marriage practices among immigrants and their policing—all in the context of the nation’s colonial past, its aggressive territorial expansionism, and patterns of global labor migration shared with other former slave-based regimes.
Patricia Cline Cohen
The explosion of print culture and the advent of female authors and readers created the foundation for important changes in sexual practices and sexual mores across the long nineteenth century, influencing attitudes toward female pleasure, romantic love, courtship, marriage, and same-sex eroticism. This chapter focuses on female creators of sexual knowledge who worked to change legal practices and social customs by posing alternatives to indissoluble heterosexual marriage. It places women’s writings in their historical context of circulation—across state and national lines, and from pamphlets to newspapers to courtroom testimonies—revealing the ways that print offered possibilities for new authorities to emerge on the subject of women’s bodies and experiences.
This chapter considers, through a biracial lens, some essential complexities of antebellum women’s reform. The emphasis is on antislavery and a socioreligious ethos based on the intersectionality of spiritual egalitarianism, civil liberty, and the jeremiad tradition. Black women’s double burden, slavery and race, automatically channeled them as reformers into more expansive visions than whites, already jeopardizing their privileged True Woman status. For disparate reasons, convergence of abolition and equal rights was not a calling that white reform women embraced monolithically. As “doers of the word,” some upheld apostolic tenets of Christian unity. Others chose what eventually became republican individualism and a “segregated sisterhood.” Nonetheless, women of both races were mainsprings in the ultimate success of antebellum reform, the training ground for future struggles for equal rights.
The history of reproductive politics in the United States incorporates several centuries of struggle and resistance and virtually no periods of quiescence. The state and other institutions have frequently clashed within and against each other and with girls and women, over who has primary power to govern female sexuality, fertility, and maternity: institutions, or women themselves. These struggles have always been racialized. From the eighteenth century forward, authorities have promulgated laws and public policies embedding population-control aims, investing some groups with greater reproductive value than others. In the modern era, “choice” emerged as the mark of reproductive freedom, chiefly defined as the right to limit and terminate pregnancy. More recently, “reproductive justice” contends that all people have the human right to be a parent; to forgo parenting; and to access the resources required to exercise the first two rights with dignity and safety.
Sexual violence has a surprisingly static history, whether regarding methods of sexual assault, the relationship of sexual vulnerability to economic and social vulnerability, an underlying suspicion of women’s claims of sexual force, or an emphasis on physical violence as the only believable means of coercion. This chapter explores the legal, social, and cultural meanings of rape throughout US history from the seventeenth to the twenty-first century. It includes discussions of feminist activism, rape culture, racism, and the overall relationships between social power and sexual power. While legal treatment of sexual violence has changed over time, the ability for powerful men to coerce less powerful women into sexual acts remains a remarkably consistent feature of America’s social, economic, and cultural past and present.
Marcia M. Gallo
The creation of specific terminologies and identities that define people based on their sexual desires can be traced to the late nineteenth century. As researchers and medical experts popularized binary categories in the early decades of the twentieth century, some women who loved other women challenged the norms and began to organize. They made connections between women’s defiance of gender norms and their ability to secure equal rights, including sexual rights. Activists in the mid-twentieth century challenged restrictions on sexual expression and behavior. While LGBTQI movements continue to emphasize the significance of gender nonconformity, activists also insist on the primacy of sexual fluidity and the complex global connections of bodies, genders, and sexualities due to race and ethnicity, language, religion, and age, as well as socioeconomic, carceral, and citizenship statuses.
Accounts of people who crossed genders, either temporarily or for a lifetime, are well known to historians. The emerging field of transgender studies has raised a new set of questions for scholars intent on unpacking more fully the meaning of the lives of people who were never neatly contained by the categories of “man” or “woman.” A historic approach to this subject is invaluable since particular historic periods signaled significant changes in how such people were perceived and treated by institutions, including the state and the medical establishment. Another crucial axis of difference exists between dominant understandings of those who were assigned the female sex at birth and those who were assigned the male sex at birth.