In the late 1800s, as Japanese leaders mulled over the usefulness of religion in modernizing their country, they chose to invite Unitarian missionaries to Japan. This book spotlights one facet of debates sparked by the subsequent encounter between Unitarianism and Buddhism—an intersection that has been largely neglected in the scholarly literature. Focusing on the cascade of events triggered by the missionary presence of the American Unitarian Association on Japanese soil between 1887 and 1922, Michel Mohr’s study sheds new light on this formative time in Japanese religious and intellectual history.
Drawing on the wealth of information contained in correspondence sent and received by Unitarian missionaries in Japan, as well as periodicals, archival materials, and Japanese sources, Mohr shows how this missionary presence elicited unprecedented debates on “universality” and how the ambiguous idea of “universal truth” was utilized by missionaries to promote their own cultural and ethnocentric agendas. At the turn of the twentieth century this notion was appropriated and reformulated by Japanese intellectuals and religious leaders, often to suit new political and nationalistic ambitions.
This book traces changing gender relations in China from the tenth to fourteenth centuries by examining three critical categories of women: courtesans, concubines, and faithful wives. It shows how the intersection and mutual influence of these groups—and of male discourses about them—transformed ideas about family relations and the proper roles of men and women.
Courtesan culture had a profound effect on Song social and family life, as entertainment skills became a defining feature of a new model of concubinage, and as entertainer-concubines increasingly became mothers of literati sons. Neo-Confucianism, the new moral learning of the Song, was significantly shaped by this entertainment culture and by the new markets—in women—that it created. Responding to a broad social consensus, Neo-Confucians called for enhanced recognition of concubine mothers in ritual and expressed increasing concern about wifely jealousy. The book also details the surprising origins of the Late Imperial cult of fidelity, showing that from inception, the drive to celebrate female loyalty was rooted in a complex amalgam of political, social, and moral agendas. By taking women—and men’s relationships with women—seriously, this book makes a case for the centrality of gender relations in the social, political, and intellectual life of the Song and Yuan dynasties.
Plural marriage in the Nauvoo era of LDS Church history has long been a fascinating subject. To understand it fully requires one to look at it from the perspective of the man who introduced it, but just as crucial is a dive into the lives of the women he married, all who have their stories to tell. In his 1997 award-winning study, In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith, Todd Compton focused on the thirty-three women who he could demonstrate that Smith married, providing life stories of many who were well-known and others who have been largely forgotten. In his new work, In Sacred Loneliness: The Documents, Compton returns to his subject and provides the raw materials that helped him create his original study, writings composed by the women themselves.
This volume includes many autobiographical writings, diaries, and letters, with Compton providing annotations and introductory material that illuminates these crucial primary sources. This allows readers to take their understanding of this unique group of women to a new level and to drive home that fact that their lives go far beyond the Nauvoo experiment that forever links them to Mormonism’s founding prophet.
Beginning in the 1830s, at least thirty-three women married Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism. These were passionate relationships which also had some longevity, except in cases such as that of two young sisters, one of whom was discovered by Joseph’s first wife, Emma, in a locked bedroom with the prophet. Emma remained a steadfast opponent of polygamy throughout her life.
The majority of Smith’s wives were younger than he, and one-third were between fourteen and twenty years of age. Another third were already married, and some of the husbands served as witnesses at their own wife’s polyandrous wedding. In addition, some of the wives hinted that they bore Smith children—most notably Sylvia Sessions’s daughter Josephine—although the children carried their stepfather’s surname.
For all of Smith’s wives, the experience of being secretly married was socially isolating, emotionally draining, and sexually frustrating. Despite the spiritual and temporal benefits, which they acknowledged, they found their faith tested to the limit of its endurance. After Smith’s death in 1844, their lives became even more “lonely and desolate.” One even joined a convent. The majority were appropriated by Smith’s successors, based on the Old Testament law of the Levirate, and had children by them, though they considered these guardianships unsatisfying. Others stayed in the Midwest and remarried, while one moved to California. But all considered their lives unhappy, except for the joy they found in their children and grandchildren.
Although the fourteenth-century Italian merchant Francesco Datini has received attention from business historians, there has previously been no full study of his wife, Margherita Datini. Drawing on a sizable trove of Margherita’s correspondence held in the Archivio di Stato di Prato, including hundreds of letters she exchanged with Francesco, Ann Crabb investigates the social and economic importance of women’s roles as wives and mothers, early modern European views on honor, and the practice of letter writing in Margherita’s world.
Margherita’s often colorful comments demonstrate her attitudes toward her rather unhappy marriage and her inability to have children, along with other aspects of her life. Her letters reveal the pride she felt in carrying out her many responsibilities as a wife and, later, a widow: in scribal letter writing, in business, in household management, and in farming. Crabb emphasizes that the role of a wife was a recognized social position, beyond her individual relations with her husband, and provided opportunities beyond what restrictive laws or restrictive views of female honor would suggest. Further, Crabb considers Margherita’s successful efforts, on her own initiative and in her late thirties, to learn to read and write at a literate level.
This book will be of interest to both scholars and general readers of women’s history. In addition, historians of early modern Italy and, more generally, of early modern Europe will find this book valuable.
In Peasants, Warriors, and Wives, Keith Moxey examines woodcut images from the German Reformation that have often been ignored as a crude and inferior form of artistic production. In this richly illustrated study, Moxey argues that while they may not satisfy received notions of "art," they nevertheless constitute an important dimension of the visual culture of the period. Far from being manifestations of universal public opinion, as a cursory acquaintance with their subject matter might suggest, such prints were the means by which the reformed attitudes of the middle and upper classes were disseminated to a broad popular audience.
In Perfect Wives, Other Women Georgina Dopico Black examines the role played by women’s bodies—specifically the bodies of wives—in Spain and Spanish America during the Inquisition. In her quest to show how both the body and soul of the married woman became the site of anxious inquiry, Dopico Black mines a variety of Golden Age texts for instances in which the era’s persistent preoccupation with racial, religious, and cultural otherness was reflected in the depiction of women. Subject to the scrutiny of a remarkable array of gazes—inquisitors, theologians, religious reformers, confessors, poets, playwrights, and, not least among them, husbands—the bodies of perfect and imperfect wives elicited diverse readings. Dopico Black reveals how imperialism, the Inquisition, inflation, and economic decline each contributed to a correspondence between the meanings of these human bodies and “other” bodies, such as those of the Jew, the Moor, the Lutheran, the degenerate, and whoever else departed from a recognized norm. The body of the wife, in other words, became associated with categories separate from anatomy, reflecting the particular hermeneutics employed during the Inquisition regarding the surveillance of otherness. Dopico Black’s compelling argument will engage students of Spanish and Spanish American history and literature, gender studies, women’s studies, social psychology and cultural studies.
In The Sport Marriage, Steven M. Ortiz draws on studies he conducted over nearly three decades that focus on the marital realities confronted by women married to male professional athletes. These women, who are usually portrayed in unflattering and/or unrealistic terms, face enormous challenges in their attempts to establish and maintain functional marital and family lives while the husband routinely puts his career first.
Ortiz defines the traditional sport marriage as a career-dominated marriage, illustrating how it encourages women to contribute to their own subordination through adherence to an unwritten rulebook and a repertoire of self-management strategies. He explains how they make invaluable contributions to their husbands’ careers while adjusting to public life and trying to maintain family privacy, managing power and control issues, and coping with pervasive groupies, overinvolved mothers, a culture of infidelity, and husbands who prioritize team loyalty. He gives these historically silent women a voice, offering readers perceptive and sensitive insight into what it means to be a woman in the male-dominated world of professional sports.
Elizabeth Blair Lee was raised in Washington's political circles, and her husband, Samuel Phillips Lee, third cousin to Robert E. Lee, commanded the North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War. When they married, Elizabeth promised to write every day they were apart. Of the hundreds of letters with which she kept her promise, Virginia Jeans Laas has edited a choice selection that illuminates the functioning of a nineteenth-century family and the Mrs. Lee's unique perspective on the political and military affairs of the nation's beleaguered capital.
In Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace, Mary Brennan examines conservative women's anti-communist activism in the years immediately after World War II.
Brennan details the actions and experiences of prominent anti-communists Jean Kerr McCarthy, Margaret Chase Smith, Freda Utley, Doloris Thauwald Bridges, Elizabeth Churchill Brown, and Phyllis Stewart Schlafly. She describes the Cold War context in which these women functioned and the ways in which women saw communism as a very real danger to domestic security and American families. Millions of women, Brennan notes, expanded their notions of household responsibilities to include the crusade against communism. From writing letters and hosting teas to publishing books and running for political office, they campaigned against communism and, incidentally, discovered the power they had to effect change through activism.
Brennan reveals how the willingness of these deeply conservative women to leave the domestic sphere and engage publicly in politics evinces the depth of America's postwar fear of communism. She further argues that these conservative, anti-communist women pushed the boundaries of traditional gender roles and challenged assumptions about women as political players by entering political life to publicly promote their ideals.Wives, Mothers, and the Red Menace offers a fascinating analysis of gender and politics at a critical point in American history. Brennan's work will instigate discussions among historians, political scientists, and scholars of women's studies.
A Surprising Source of Information About a Largely Forgotten Segment of the Colonial Population
In an age when individuals could be owned by others, people were lost and found just like other property. Indentured servants and slaves absconded from the custody of their masters, and their value prompted the masters to seek their return. Wives ran from abusive husbands or into the arms of another. Newspapers in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries carried large numbers of advertisements offering rewards for the return of runaways or announcing the detention of fugitives. Each ad provided a description of the individual and often included some circumstances of their elopement. The overall effectiveness of these advertisements cannot be measured, but the sheer number of ads suggests they were perceived as useful tools by those who placed them. What could not have been known at the time was the substantial contribution to history that these ads make. The descriptive advertisements provide textual snapshots of thousands of individuals who would otherwise be lost to history, people whose names might not otherwise be recorded. In Wives, Slaves, and Servant Girls: Advertisements for Female Runaways in American Newspapers, 1770–1783, historian Don N. Hagist focuses on the American Revolutionary period to provide a striking portrait of a substantial but largely forgotten segment of the population. Comprised of four hundred advertisements presented chronologically, the volume provides invaluable descriptions of women’s clothes, footwear, jewelry, physical appearances, education, nationalities, occupations, and other details.
Women Who Stay Behind examines the social, educational, and cultural resources rural Mexican women employ to creatively survive the conditions created by the migration of loved ones. Using narrative, research, and theory, Ruth Trinidad Galván presents a hopeful picture of what is traditionally viewed as the abject circumstances of poor and working-class people in Mexico who are forced to migrate to survive.
The book studies women’s and families’ use of cultural knowledge, community activism, and teaching and learning spaces. Throughout, Trinidad Galván provides answers to these questions: How does the migration of loved ones alter community, familial, and gender dynamics? And what social relations (convivencia), cultural knowledge, and women-centered pedagogies sustain women’s survival (supervivencia)?
Researchers, educators, and students interested in migration studies, gender studies, education, Latin American studies, and Mexican American studies will benefit from the ethnographic approach and theoretical insight of this groundbreaking work.