No More Separate Spheres!

A Next Wave American Studies Reader

No More Separate Spheres!

Next Wave: New Directions in Women's Studies

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Book Pages: 448 Illustrations: Published: May 2002

American Studies, Gender and Sexuality > Feminism and Women’s Studies, Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Criticism

No More Separate Spheres! challenges the limitations of thinking about American literature and culture within the narrow rubric of “male public” and “female private” spheres from the founders to the present. With provocative essays by an array of cutting-edge critics with diverse viewpoints, this collection examines the ways that the separate spheres binary has malingered unexamined in feminist criticism, American literary studies, and debates on the public sphere. It exemplifies new ways of analyzing gender, breaks through old paradigms, and offers a primer on feminist thinking for the twenty-first century.
Using American literary studies as a way to talk about changing categories of analysis, these essays discuss the work of such major authors as Catharine Sedgwick, Herman Melville, Pauline E. Hopkins, Frederick Douglass, Catharine Beecher, Ralph Waldo Emerson, W. E. B. Du Bois, Sarah Orne Jewett, Nathaniel Hawthorne, María Ampara Ruiz de Burton, Ann Petry, Gwendolyn Brooks, Cynthia Kadohata, Chang Rae-Lee, and Samuel Delany. No More Separate Spheres! shows scholars and students different ways that gender can be approached and incorporated into literary interpretations. Feisty and provocative, it provides a forceful analysis of the limititations of any theory of gender that applies only to women, and urges suspicion of any argument that posits “woman” as a universal or uniform category.
By bringing together essays from the influential special issue of American Literature of the same name, a number of classic essays, and several new pieces commissioned for this volume, No More Separate Spheres! will be an ideal teaching tool, providing a key supplementary text in the American literature classroom.

Contributors. José F. Aranda, Lauren Berlant, Cathy N. Davidson, Judith Fetterley, Jessamyn Hatcher, Amy Kaplan, Dana D. Nelson, Christopher Newfield, You-me Park, Marjorie Pryse, Elizabeth Renker, Ryan Schneider, Melissa Solomon, Siobhan Somerville, Gayle Wald , Maurice Wallace


"[T]he anthology offers both a critical repository and long-needed challenge for scholars of nineteenth-century America. . . . Because the anthology is so well organized and comprehensive, it strikes me as a perfect compendium text for theorizing the nineteenth century in both undergraduate and graduate literature and history classes. Its usefulness is underscored by the evenness of the submissions, all of which stand as thought provoking and well researched arguments, but when grouped together successfully challenge the separate spheres paradigm that has governed much of scholarship for the past fifty years. . . . If future analyses are as compelling and interesting as those found in this anthology, we have a rich area of study ahead." — Brenda R. Weber, Feminist Teacher

"Drawing on a wealth of interdisciplinary scholarship that rethinks feminist approaches to gender, this valuable collection of essays brings together a wide range of feminists and Americanists on the gendered history of public and private worlds. . . . [A] timely volume. . . ." — Carla Kaplan, American Literature

“This groundbreaking collection of essays by a group of extraordinary scholars and critics treats a wide range of key American writers and presents the most important arguments of the last twenty years on gender and sexuality and on class, race, and nationalism in American cultural expression. The book demonstrates clearly how far we have come, what we have learned, and what is at stake today in our reading, in the classroom, and in our lives. It asks, finally, if we will accept the continuation of separate spheres or if we will keep striving to resist them. A major achievement!” — Emory Elliott, University of California, Riverside


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Cathy N. Davidson is Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Studies and Ruth F. Devarney Professor of English at Duke University.

Jessamyn Hatcher is a faculty member in the General Studies Program at New York University.

Table of Contents Back to Top

Introduction / Cathy N. Davidson and Jessamyn Hatcher

Part 1: Canons

Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman’s Place: The Rhetoric of Women’s History / Linda K. Kerber

“My Sister! My Sister!”: The Rhetoric of Catherine Sedgwick’s Hope Leslie / Judith Fetterley

Herman Melville, Wife Beating, and the Written Page / Elizabeth Renker

Contradictory Impulses: Maria Ampara Ruiz de Burton, Resistance Theory, and the Politics of Chicano/a Studies / Jose F. Aranda Jr.

Sex, Class, and “Category Crisis”: Reading Jewett’s Transitivity / Marjorie Pryse

Part 2: Domesticity Undone: Case Studies

Manifest Domesticity / Amy Kaplan

Passing through the Closet in Pauline E. Hopkins’s Contending Forces / Siobhan Somerville

Constructing the Black Masculine: Frederick Douglas, Booker T. Washington, and the Sublimits of African American Autobiography / Maurice Wallace

Native Daughters in the Promised Land: Gender, Race, and the Question of Separate Spheres / You-me Park and Gayle Wald

Part 3: Public Sentiment

Poor Eliza / Lauren Berlant

Representative/Democracy: Presidents, Democratic Management, and the Unfinished Business of Male Sentimentalism / Dana D. Nelson

Fathers, Sons, Sentimentality, and the Color Line: The Not-Quite-Separate Spheres of W. E. B. Du Bois and Ralph Waldo Emerson / Ryan Schneider

“Few of Our Seeds Ever Came Up at All”: A Dialogue on Hawthorne, Delany, and the Work of Affect in Visionary Utopias / Christopher Newfield and Melissa Solomon

Selected Bibliography


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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2893-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2878-0
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