Making Home Work

Making Home Work

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During the westward expansion of America, white middle-class ideals of home and domestic work were used to measure differences between white and Native American women. Yet the vision of America as qhomeq was more than a metaphor for women's stake in the process of conquest--it took deliberate work to create and uphold. Treating white and indigenous women's struggles as part of the same history, Jane E. Simonsen argues that as both cultural workers and domestic laborers insisted upon the value of their work to qcivilization, q they exposed the inequalities integral to both the nation and the household. Simonsen illuminates discussions about the value of women's work through analysis of texts and images created by writers, women's rights activists, reformers, anthropologists, photographers, field matrons, and Native American women. She argues that women such as Caroline Soule, Alice Fletcher, E. Jane Gay, Anna Dawson Wilde, and Angel DeCora called upon the rhetoric of sentimental domesticity, ethnographic science, public display, and indigenous knowledge as they sought to make the gendered and racial order of the nation visible through homes and the work performed in them. Focusing on the range of materials through which domesticity was produced in the West, Simonsen integrates new voices into the study of domesticity's imperial manifestations.Its interior, hung with pictures and draped with a€œexotica€ blankets, resembled popular images of artistsa#39; studios, only with ... The floor was covered with colorful blankets in the Navajo style, and cases held student photography developed in the ... Her students made belts, slippers, chains, and purses; they decorated furniture and wagons; and they designed a€œinterior decorations for walls, ceilings, and panels.

Title:Making Home Work
Author: Jane E. Simonsen
Publisher:Univ of North Carolina Press - 2006-12-08

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