Sawi on Clinton - Olivia Gail Sawi Spring 2010 HIST 210B...

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Olivia Gail Sawi Spring 2010 HIST 210B – Hill Notes – The Plantation Mistress Clinton, Catherine. The Plantation Mistress: Woman’s World in the Old South . New York: Pantheon Books, 1982. Pp. xix + 331. Thesis: By focusing on the southern plantation mistress and her actual experience, Clinton hopes to transform our vision of the Old South and our understanding of the nature of slavery and sex in the American past (xi-xii). Rationale: Clinton aims to provide a female counterpoint to the literature on the southern planter (xiii). She seeks to change preconceptions about the role of females in the Old South and argues that although women were legally free, their political, social, and economic status made them close to the status of the slaves. She challenges traditional and sexist views of southern history and the regional chauvinism of women’s history, what she calls the “New Englandization” of women’s studies (xv), and also explores gender and the concept of “woman” in the Old South (xv). By concentrating on the lives of white women on plantations, the understanding of slavery as a whole will be increased (13) Historiographical position: Women’s studies and feminist literature (between Julia Cherry Spruill and Annie Firor Scott, a counter point to Nancy Cott [xii-xiii]), “great men of slave scholarship” (Kenneth Stampp, Stanley Elkins, Winthrop Jordan, Eugene Genovese, Orlando Patterson, C.L.R. James, Fredrick Law Olmsted, Robert Manson Myers, C. Vann Woodward) Methodology: By focusing on women who lived on plantations of twenty slaves or more, Clinton seeks to tell a story and provide a female counterpoint to the predominantly male literature about the developmental stage in the history of the American south (xiii). Sources/Evidence: Literary sources, primary sources, published diaries and memoirs, travel literature, personal records of planter families (xiii), manuscript collections, planter collections, letters, family correspondence, personal papers – household inventories, papers of female academies, commonplace books, physicians’ records, wills, poems, unpublished diaries and
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2010 for the course HIST 210 at San Jose State University .

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Sawi on Clinton - Olivia Gail Sawi Spring 2010 HIST 210B...

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