Synopses & Reviews
and#160;How did mothers transform from parents of secondary importance in the colonies to having their multiple and complex roles connected to the well-being of the nation? In the first comprehensive history of motherhood in the United States, Jodiand#160;Vandenberg-Davesand#160;explores how tensions over the maternal role have been part and parcel of the development of American society.and#160;
Modern Motherhood travels through redefinitions of motherhood over time, as mothers encountered a growing cadre of medical and psychological experts, increased their labor force participation, gained the right to vote, agitated for more resources to perform their maternal duties, and demonstrated their vast resourcefulness in providing for and nurturing their families. Navigating rigid gender role prescriptions and a crescendo of mother-blame by the middle of the twentieth century, mothers continued to innovate new ways to combine labor force participation and domestic responsibilities. By the 1960s, they were poised to challenge male expertise, in areas ranging from welfare and abortion rights to childbirth practices and the confinement of women to maternal roles. In the twenty-first century, Americans continue to struggle with maternal contradictions, as we pit an idealized role for mothers in childrenandrsquo;s development against the social and economic realities of privatized caregiving, a paltry public policy structure, and mothersandrsquo; extensive employment outside the home.
Building on decades of scholarship and spanning a wide range of topics, Vandenberg-Daves tells an inclusive tale of African American, Native American, Asian American, working class, rural, and other hitherto ignored families, exploring sources ranging from sermons, medical advice, diaries and letters to the speeches of impassioned maternal activists. Chapter topics include: inventing a new role for mothers; contradictions of moral motherhood; medicalizing the maternal body; science, expertise, and advice to mothers; uplifting and controlling mothers; modern reproduction; mothersandrsquo; resilience and adaptation; the middle-class wife and mother; mother power and mother angst; and mothersandrsquo; changing lives and continuous caregiving. While the discussion has been part of all eras of American history, the discussion of the meaning of modern motherhood is far from over.
andquot;Vandenberg-Daves skillfully illustrates the activity and activism of mothers as well as the power of the rhetoric and the role of motherhoodandhellip;an impressive synthesis of some of the most important recent scholarship on the topic.andquot;
andquot;A stimulating book that places mothers at the center of American history, Modern Motherhood highlights the dramatic changes to maternal ideologies, politics, and experiences over 250 years. An impressive achievement.andquot;
andquot;This book is a comprehensive...history of motherhood in the US. Recommended.andquot;
andquot;Jodi Vandenberg-Daves helpfully synthesizes the scholarship on twentieth-century motherhood and its earlier roots. What, she asks, is the history of motherhood as institution and mothering as experience in modern motherhood? Existing scholarship tells most about the former ... Vandenberg-Daves also points to the patterns of social history and the departure of mothering from the institution of motherhood. What happened on the ground is compelling and diverse, if highly elusive in the archives.andquot;
"This volume presents fresh scholarship on the history of girls' cultures and will become an oft-cited, first important collection that helps define the burgeoning field of the history of children and youth."
"Provides the field of girl-centered research with new insights, the most important being that the notion of girlhood is not uniform and fixed, but diverse and dynamic."
andquot;Whatever kind of mother you may be, or whatever kind of mother you had, you will find her, with her problems and her grief, her determination and her pride, somewhere in these pages.andquot;
How did mothers transform from parents of secondary importance in the colonies to having their multiple and complex roles continuously connected to the well-being of the nation? In the first comprehensive history of motherhood in the United States, Jodiand#160;Vandenberg-Davesand#160;explores how tensions over the maternal role have been part and parcel of the development of American society.and#160;and#160;
, interdisciplinary and global in source, scope, and methodology, examines the centrality of girlhood in shaping women's lives. Scholars study how age and gender, along with a multitude of other identities, work together to influence the historical experience.
Spanning a broad time frame from 1750 to the present, essays illuminate the various continuities and differences in girls' lives across culture and region--girls on all continents except Antarctica are represented. Case studies and essays are arranged thematically to encourage comparisons between girls' experiences in diverse locales, and to assess how girls were affected by historical developments such as colonialism, political repression, war, modernization, shifts in labor markets, migrations, and the rise of consumer culture.
About the Author
and#160;JODI VANDENBERG-DAVES is a historian and professor of Womenandrsquo;s Studies at the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.and#160; She is editor and co-author of Making History:and#160; A Guide to Historical Research Through the National History Day Program.