White Women's Rights: The Racial Origins of Feminism in the United States (Paperback)
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This study reinterprets a crucial 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. By exploring how progressive white women at the turn of the century laid the intellectual groundwork for the feminist social movements that
followed, Louise Michele Newman speaks directly to contemporary debates about the effect of race on current feminist scholarship. White Women's Rights is an important book. It is a fascinating and informative account of the numerous and complex ties which bound feminist thought to the practices and ideas which shaped and gave meaning to America as a racialized society. A compelling read, it moves very gracefully between the
general history of the feminist movement and the particular histories of individual women.--Hazel Carby, Yale University
About the Author
Louise Michele Newman is Assistant Professor of History at the University of Florida.