Volume 38 (Winter 2004) Issue 2
Article Abstracts

Abstract: Muncy, Robyn, "Cooperative Motherhood and Democratic Civic Culture in Postwar Suburbia, 1940-1965"

This essay explores the meaning of local associations in America's postwar suburbs. It asks especially whether local associations tended to distract members from larger issues of public concern or to draw them out of the purely local into movements of wider significance. Using the cooperative nursery school movement in Montgomery County, Maryland as a case study, the essay argues that these associations tended to pull members into larger public issues and networks; enmeshed members in communities devoted to democratic values and practices; and prefigured the participatory democracy to which so many social movements of the 1960s claimed commitment. It also shows that women in the cooperative nursery school movement created a new form of motherhood, here called cooperative motherhood, which aimed both to embed families in larger communities and to allow suburban mothers the freedom to pursue lives beyond domesticity.

Abstract: Milanich, Nara, "The Casa de Huerfanos and Child Circulation in Late-Nineteenth-Century Chile"

This essay examines the Casa de Huérfanos, the largest and most important orphanage in Santiago, Chile in the late nineteenth century, through the lens of child circulation. By child circulation, I refer to a diverse constellation of practices, from apprenticeship to adoption, in which minors were reared outside their natal households by unrelated caretakers. Child circulation has been a ubiquitous practice in Latin American and Caribbean societies from the colonial period into the twentieth century. Using notarial and judicial records, I attempt to reconstruct the basic cultural contours of child circulation in Chile. I then explore how the orphanage, which may be characterized as a "formal" or "institutional" mode of child circulation, interfaced with the "informal" or "extrainstitutional" cultures and practices of circulation described in the first section. The documentation reveals that, rather than displacing "traditional," informal modes of charity, the expanding public welfare apparatus of the late nineteenth century actually reproduced, reinscribed, and in some measure legitimated these practices. This analysis of the Casa de Huérfanos thus sheds light not only on the comparative history of foundling homes and child abandonment but also on the historical evolution of welfare provision in its informal and institutionalized guises.

Abstract: Breen, Michael P, "Addressing La Ville des Dieux: Entry Ceremonies and Urban Audiences in Seventeenth-Century Dijon"

This article re-examines the early modern entrée, a ceremony staged by towns to welcome monarchs and princes. In contrast with the usual interpretation of entrées as "state ceremonials" that articulated the relationship between prince and city, I argue that entrées were also local political rituals used by municipal elites to negotiate their complex and unstable relationships with the city's middling and popular classes. Through an analysis of two entrées into seventeenth-century Dijon, this article shows how the notables of Dijon's city government used entrées to reinforce vertical ties with artisans, shopkeepers, wine-growers and others whose participation in the civic militia and acceptance of the status-quo were indispensable to preserving order. It examines not only the language and symbolism of the entries themselves but also the roles different social groups played in the ceremonies and the local contexts in which they were staged. The article also analyzes how the entrées' messages were reinforced in patois street plays of Dijon's carnivalesque mère folle troupe. These plays, written and staged by many of the same notables responsible for the entries, translated the ceremonies' classical humanist imagery into terms accessible to the broader populace and reaffirmed the latter's place in the larger urban community.

Abstract: Rennella, Mark and Walton, Whitney, "Planned Serendipity: American Travelers and the Transatlantic Voyage in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries"

From 1870 through 1940 numbers of American travelers to Europe increased as the transatlantic voyage became cheaper, safer, and shorter. For many historians of travel this period represents its transformation from an original and individualistic experience of a tiny elite to a more mundane element of capitalist exploitation and mass consumption among middle-class masses. However, writings by two generations of Americans—intellectual elites and university students—reveal that the transatlantic voyage throughout this transformative period offered travelers the opportunity to engage in a constructive questioning and self-examination of previously unquestioned beliefs and habits. Despite their diverse class and regional backgrounds, and their many different goals for transatlantic travel, these American voyagers across the Atlantic shared a sense of wonder, dislocation, excitement, and anticipation during the week or weeks they spent at sea. This study argues that the transatlantic voyage presented new imaginative and creative possibilities for American travelers, and led to a broader appreciation of nationalism and internationalism.

Abstract: Yarbrough, Fay, "Legislating Women's Sexuality: Cherokee Marriage Laws in the Nineteenth Century"

During the first half of the nineteenth century, the Cherokee Nation passed many laws to regulate marriage and sex. This essay first contemplates the gendered aspects of such laws by exploring the importance of Cherokee women's marital choices and official response to those choices. In particular, Cherokee women's choice of non-Cherokee marital partners, most frequently whites, and the concomitant introduction of outsiders into the Nation forced the Cherokee legislative branch to reformulate Cherokee women's relationship to the production of new citizens in the Nation. Then the essay turns more explicitly to the laws' racial implications and examines who could marry in the Cherokee Nation and why by first examining Cherokee laws regulating marriage with people of African descent. Cherokees increasingly excluded people of African descent from membership in the Nation through legislation prohibiting legal marriage between Cherokees and people of African descent. Lastly, this essay considers Cherokee legislative provisions to include whites as marriage partners and citizens in the Cherokee Nation. Ultimately, this essay finds that Cherokee officials were redefining Cherokee Indians racially and used marriage laws to write and reinforce this new definition.

Abstract: Klein, Joanne, "'Moving On,' Men and the Changing Character of Interwar Working-Class Neighborhoods: From the Files of the Manchester and Liverpool City Police"

Investigations of complaints regarding police families made to the Manchester and Liverpool City Police provide insights into working-class neighborhoods not available in standard sources. The files suggest that interwar neighborhoods were losing long-term residents and becoming more diverse and variable. Families tried to find areas with similar standards regarding noise, space and privacy. Formerly stable neighborhoods changed, creating stress if changes were too dramatic. Even minor tensions could unsettle streets since causes of strain tended to reflect on respectability and status. While women remained the main presence due to their domestic responsibilities, men were spending more time with their families. The presence of men exacerbated misunderstandings, adding frictions over masculinity and territoriality. Complaints over noise overlapped with concerns over space which overlapped with anxiety over respectability and masculinity, all aggravated by children and gossip. When differences became too extreme, neighbors started campaigns of arguments, complaints, and harassment. Ultimately, if families were not in harmony with the rest of a street, efforts were made to force them to move. Yet neighborliness had not disappeared. Working-class neighbors generally managed to get along even in the unsettled conditions of interwar Liverpool and Manchester.

Abstract: Zecker, Robert, "'Where Everyone Goes to Meet Everyone Else': The Translocal Creation of a Slovak Immigrant Community"

Around 1910, immigrants were often characterized as living in homogeneous ghettoes. For Slovaks in Philadelphia and elsewhere in industrial America, though, community was not geographically but institutionally bounded. A trans-local community of churches and fraternals served as ethnic magnets, enabling Slovaks living miles apart to be elastic and selective when forming community. Translocal attachments freed immigrants from ghettoes, and a new paradigm for thinking of immigrant communities—translocal and institutional, not geographical—is proposed. Churches and fraternals served, too, as creators of a bi-national identity, for signifiers of Americanness were often adapted to suit immigrant needs, often at variance from native America's. Creative appropriation of Slavic and American culture to meet immigrants' needs also freed them from ghettoes as they negotiated a bi-national identity. This also enabled immigrants to live at peace alongside other ethnic groups with whom they had little contact, but this model of overlapping ethnic communities broke down when Slovaks encountered African-Americans. Through cultural productions such as articles on lynchings in the Slovak press, or minstrel shows at Slovak halls, immigrants learned to think of themselves as "white" people, and thus sadly to make the psychic distance from blacks as America's ultimate outsiders.

Abstract: Koehlinger, Amy, "'Let us live for those who love us': Faith, Family, and the Contours of Manhood Among the Knights of Columbus in Late Nineteenth-Century Connecticut"

In Secret Ritual and Manhood in Victorian America, Mark Carnes contends that the popularity of fraternal secret societies in the late 19th century was a response to the extreme gender divide within Victorian society. Carnes posits that all but the highest fraternal rituals further perpetuated a gendered bifurcation of society, constructing male identities that were predicated upon men's alienation from both women in the household and from religious spheres that also carried the taint of femaleness in Victorian culture. This article explores the ideals of manhood articulated in the records and publications of the first generation of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal organization, arguing that the commitments that followed from being immigrant Catholics muddied the supposed "separateness" of Victorian separate spheres for early Knights, embedding powerful evocations of faith and family in their fraternal rituals and rhetoric. The Knights advocated sensitive and nurturing fatherhood, sentimentalized men's emotional ties to women, and assumed a harmonious relationship between fraternalism and family. Thus, men did not escape bonds of religious and domestic attachment in Columbian fraternity, rather, they gained from it rites, rhetoric, and heroic figures that legitimated and valorized the embedded reality of their lives.

Abstract: Gras, Henk and Vliet, Harry van, "Paradise Lost nor Regained: Social Composition of Theatre Audiences in the Long Nineteenth Century"

The received knowledge about theatre audiences from the late eighteenth to the early twentieth century is a story of Paradise Lost and Regained: a late-eighteenth century elite audience favored neo-classical drama. Due to the Revolution, lower middle classes and even laborers entered the theatre and with them came melodrama. The elite fled to opera. Around 1870 the bourgeois elite began to reconquer the theatre: Paradise was regained. To test this view, we analyzed, by way of prosopgraphy, the social background of the subscribers for drama and opera in Rotterdam, 1773–1912 (14,000 person files). The result of this analysis rejects the dominant narrative: although there is a difference in social standing between drama and opera subscribers, the difference is relative. On the whole, the subscribing audience was trade-based, wealthy, relatively tolerant in religious beliefs, powerful (social and political functions), culturally and socially active (sociability), well educated, and liberal. The participation of women in the audience increased in the course of the century. The social backgrounds of these of these subscribers (father and grandfather generations) show a surprising stability: overall, these generations had the same characteristics. Instead of heroic struggles, the theatre in this period is better characterized as a prison of longue dureé.

 

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