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Other titles in the William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization series:
Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter (William E. Massey Sr. Lectures in the History of American Civilization)by Joan C Williams
Synopses & Reviews
The Heart in the Glass Jar begins with one mans literal heart (that of a prominent statesman in mid-nineteenth-century Mexico) but is truly about the hearts, bodies, legal entanglements, and letters—as both symbols and material objects—of northern Mexicans from the 1860s through the 1930s.
William E. Frenchs innovative study of courtship practice and family formation examines love letters of everyday folk within the framework of literacy studies and explores how love letters functioned culturally and legally. French begins by situating love letters in the context of the legal system, which protected the moral order of families and communities and also perpetuated the gender order—the foundation of power structures in Mexican society. He then examines reading and writing practices in the communities that the letters came from: mining camps, villages, small towns, and the “passionate public sphere” that served as the wider social context for the love letters and crimes of passion. Finally, French considers “sentimental anatomy,” the eyes, hearts, souls, and wills of novios (men and women in courting relationships), that the letters gave voice to and helped bring into being.
In the tradition of Carlo Ginzburgs The Cheese and the Worms and Natalie Zemon Daviss The Return of Martin Guerre, French connects intimate lives to the broader cultural moment, providing a rich and complex cultural history from the intersection of love and law.
The United States has the most family-hostile public policy in the developed world. Despite what is often reported, new mothers don't "opt out" of work. They are pushed out by discriminating and inflexible workplaces. Today's workplaces continue to idealize the worker who has someone other than parents caring for their children.
Conventional wisdom attributes women's decision to leave work to their maternal traits and desires. In this thought-provoking book, Joan Williams shows why that view is misguided and how workplace practice disadvantages men--both those who seek to avoid the breadwinner role and those who embrace it--as well as women. Faced with masculine norms that define the workplace, women must play the tomboy or the femme. Both paths result in a gender bias that is exacerbated when the two groups end up pitted against each other. And although work-family issues long have been seen strictly through a gender lens, we ignore class at our peril. The dysfunctional relationship between the professional-managerial class and the white working class must be addressed before real reform can take root.
Contesting the idea that women need to negotiate better within the family, and redefining the notion of success in the workplace, Williams reinvigorates the work-family debate and offers the first steps to making life manageable for all American families.
About the Author
Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law, 1066 Foundation Chair, and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law.
University of California, Hastings College of the Law
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