Rethinking Home Economics: Women and the History of a Profession

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Sarah Stage, Virginia Bramble Vincenti
Cornell University Press, 1997 - Family & Relationships - 347 pages
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Until recently, historians tended to dismiss home economics as little more than a conspiracy to keep women in the kitchen. This landmark volume initiates collaboration among home economists, family and consumer science professionals, and women's historians. What knits the essays together is a willingness to revisit the subject of home economics with neither indictment nor apology. It includes significant new work that places home economics in the twentieth century within the context of the development of women's professions.

Rethinking Home Economics documents the evolution of a profession from the home economics movement launched by Ellen Richards in the early twentieth century to the modern field renamed Family and Consumer Sciences in 1994. The essays in this volume show the range of activities pursued under the rubric of home economics, from dietetics and parenting, teaching and cooperative extension work, to test kitchen and product development. Exploration of the ways in which gender, race, and class influenced women's options in colleges and universities, hospitals, business, and industry, as well as government has provided a greater understanding of the obstacles women encountered and the strategies they used to gain legitimacy as the field developed.

  

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Contents

Introduction Home Economics Whats in a Name?
1
More Than Glorified Housekeeping
15
Home Economics Education
77
Forging
123
The Impact of the Great
145
Lucy Maltby
163
Hazel Reed
181
Home Economics Race Class and Ethnicity
187
Who Speaks for the Consumer? Home
235
Mary Engle Penningtons
253
Home Economists in the Consumer
271
Satenig St Marie
297
Chronology of Events and Movements Which Have Defined
321
Suggested Reading
331
Index
341
Copyright

Genevieve J Wheeler Thomas
229

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About the author (1997)

SARAH STAGE is professor of women's studies at Arizona State University West. Her books include Female complaints: Lydia Pinkham and the Business of Women's Medicine (1979). Rethinking Women and Home Economics in the Twentieth Century (1997), and Women and the Progressive Impulse in American Politics, 1890-1914 (forthcoming).

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