Catalogue


Unruly women : the politics of social and sexual control in the old South /
Victoria E. Bynum.
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c1992.
description
xiv, 233 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0807820164 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c1992.
isbn
0807820164 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
1883387
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [203]-223) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1992-11:
Although women in the Old South could not vote for the region's lawmakers, Bynum (Southwest Texas) argues that their relationship to the state is still worth examining. Drawing on records of women who appeared in courts in three counties of the North Carolina Piedmont to seek redress against abuse or to answer charges of disorderly behavior, she anlyzes how courts attempted to enforce ideals of domesticity and how deviant women resisted. The study focuses on unmarried but sexually active free black and poor white women. Bynum carefully delineates the varied strands of race, class, kin group, and marital status that shaped a woman's place in the eyes of the patriarchal state. Bynum continues the study through the Civil War, demonstrating how the scarcities of wartime spread unruly behavior and focused women's attention on the protection of livelihood and family. A sophisticated but lively account of the lives of a subset of women whose experiences reflect importantly on the nature of southern society, the book is recommended for undergraduate and graduate collections in southern, women's, and Civil War history. P. F. Field; Ohio University
Reviews
Review Quotes
A fascinating and carefully argued interpretation of southern women.Journal of American History
A fascinating and carefully argued interpretation of southern women. Journal of American History
[An] illuminating and thoughtful book.Southern Cultures
[An] illuminating and thoughtful book. Southern Cultures
A powerful expos_ of the seamy aspects of antebellum southern society.American Historical Review
A powerful expos? of the seamy aspects of antebellum southern society.American Historical Review
A powerful expos of the seamy aspects of antebellum southern society. American Historical Review
A powerful exposŽ of the seamy aspects of antebellum southern society. American Historical Review
A powerful exposŽ of the seamy aspects of antebellum southern society.American Historical Review
A sophisticated but lively account . . . of a subset of women whose experiences reflect importantly on the nature of southern society.Choice
A sophisticated but lively account . . . of a subset of women whose experiences reflect importantly on the nature of southern society. Choice
A welcome and ambitious study.Journal of the History of Sexuality
A welcome and ambitious study. Journal of the History of Sexuality
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, November 1992
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In this richly detailed and imaginatively researched study, Victoria Bynum investigates "unruly" women in central North Carolina before and during the Civil War. Analyzing the complex and interrelated impact of gender, race, class, and region on the lives of black and white women, she shows how their diverse experiences and behavior reflected and influenced the changing social order and political economy of the state and region. Her work expands our knowledge of black and white women by studying them outside the plantation setting. Bynum searched local and state court records, public documents, and manuscript collections to locate and document the lives of these otherwise ordinary, obscure women. Some appeared in court as abused, sometimes abusive, wives, as victims and sometimes perpetrators of violent assaults, or as participants in ilicit, interracial relationships. During the Civil War, women freqently were cited for theft, trespassing, or rioting, usually in an effort to gain goods made scarce by war. Some women were charged with harboring evaders or deserters of the Confederacy, an act that reflected their conviction that the Confederacy was destroying them. These politically powerless unruly women threatened to disrupt the underlying social structure of the Old South, which depended on the services and cooperation of all women. Bynum examines the effects of women's social and sexual behavior on the dominant society and shows the ways in which power flowed between private and public spheres. Whether wives or unmarried, enslaved or free, women were active agents of the society's ordering and dissolution.
Main Description
In this richly detailed and imaginatively researched study, Victoria Bynum investigates "unruly" women in central North Carolina before and during the Civil War. Analyzing the complex and interrelated impact of gender, race, class, and region on the lives of black and white women, she shows how their diverse experiences and behavior reflected and influenced the changing social order and political economy of the state and region. Her work expands our knowledge of black and white women by studying them outside the plantation setting.Bynum searched local and state court records, public documents, and manuscript collections to locate and document the lives of these otherwise ordinary, obscure women. Some appeared in court as abused, sometimes abusive, wives, as victims and sometimes perpetrators of violent assaults, or as participants in ilicit, interracial relationships. During the Civil War, women freqently were cited for theft, trespassing, or rioting, usually in an effort to gain goods made scarce by war. Some women were charged with harboring evaders or deserters of the Confederacy, an act that reflected their conviction that the Confederacy was destroying them.These politically powerless unruly women threatened to disrupt the underlying social structure of the Old South, which depended on the services and cooperation of all women. Bynum examines the effects of women's social and sexual behavior on the dominant society and shows the ways in which power flowed between private and public spheres. Whether wives or unmarried, enslaved or free, women were active agents of the society's ordering and dissolution.
Table of Contents
Gender & American Culturep. ii
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Race, Class, And Gender in Three Piedmont Countiesp. 15
White Womanhood Black Womanhood: Ideals and Realities in a Piedmont Slaveholding Societyp. 35
The Limits of Paternalism: Property, Divorce and Domestic Relationsp. 59
Punishing Deviant Women The State as Patriarchp. 88
The Struggle to Survive: The Lives of Slave Free Black, and Poor White Women during the Civil Warp. 111
""""The Women Is As Bad as the Men"""": Women's Participation in the Inner Civil Warp. 130
Epiloguep. 151
Notesp. 159
Bibliographyp. 203
Indexp. 225
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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