White Women's Rights The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 1999-02-04
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Louise Newman reinterprets an important period (1870s-1920s) in the history of women's rights, focusing attention on a core contradiction at the heart of early feminist theory. At a time when white elites were concerned with imperialist projects and civilizing missions, progressive white women developed an explicit racial ideology to promote their cause, defending patriarchy for "primitives" while calling for its elimination among the "civilized." Exploring how progressive white women at the turn of the century laid the intellectual groundwork for the feminist social movements that followed, Newman's book thus speaks to contemporary debates concerning the effect of race on current feminist scholarship.

Author Biography

Louise Michele Newman is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Florida.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Woman's Rights, Race, and Imperialism 3(19)
1 Evolution, Woman's Rights, and Civilizing Missions
2 The Making of a White Female Citizenry: Suffragism, Antisuffragism, and Race
3 The Politics of Patriarchal Protection: Debates over Coeducation and Special Labor Legislation for Women
4 A Feminist Explores Africa: May French-Sheldon's Subversion of Patriarchal Protection
5 Assimilating Primitives: The "Indian Problem" as a "Woman Question"
6 Eliminating Sex Distinctions from Civilization: The Feminist Theories of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Mary Roberts Smith Coolidge
7 Coming of Age, but Not in Samoa: Reflections on Margaret Mead's Legacy to Western Liberal Feminism
Conclusion: Coming to Terms 181(6)
Notes 187(42)
Selected Bibliography 229(24)
Index 253

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