HIS 315K - Cott - Reading Guide for Nancy Cotts The Bonds...

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Reading Guide for Nancy Cott’s The Bonds of Womanhood: “Woman’s Sphere” in New England, 1780-1835 : a set of questions to help readers understand the essentials of Cott’s argument. 1. Citing abolitionist and feminist Sarah Grimke’s phrase “Thine in the bonds of womanhood,” Cott writes to explain the dual aspect of womanhood in 19 th century America: womanhood as it bound women down and womanhood as it bound women together. Can you explain this double meaning? 2. Why does Nancy Cott focus on New England? What sources does Nancy Cott use? 3. Cott’s concern is to understand the “social derivation of a concept of ‘womanhood’ rooted in the experience of the Yankee middle-class.” (p. 17, 7 th printing, 1979) Cott describes the evolution of a new concept of womanhood for white middle-class women. When did this change occur? What was this new concept of womanhood, and how did it differ from previous (colonial) beliefs? Why did this change occur when it did?
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HIS 315K - Cott - Reading Guide for Nancy Cotts The Bonds...

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