Fictions of Western American Domesticity
Indian, Mexican, and Anglo Women in Print Culture, 1850–1950
Published by: University of New Mexico Press
This work provides a compelling explanation of something that has bedeviled a number of feminist scholars: Why did popular authors like Edna Ferber continue to write conventional fiction while living lives that were far from conventional? Amanda J. Zink argues that white writers like Ferber and Willa Cather avoided the subject of their own domestic labor by writing about the performance of domestic labor by "others," showing that American print culture, both in novels and through advertisements, moved away from portraying women as angels in the house and instead sought to persuade other women to be angels in their houses. Zink further explores lesser-known works such as Mexican American cookbooks and essays in Indian boarding school magazines to show how women writers "dialoging domesticity" exemplify the cross-cultural encounters between "colonial domesticity" and "sovereign domesticity." By situating these interpretations of literature within their historical contexts, Zink shows how these writers championed and challenged the ideology of domesticity.
"Zink has amassed an utterly fascinating new archive of literary and extra-literary materials--from virtually undiscussed writers like Elinor Cowan Stone and Cleofas Jaramillo to magazine ads, pamphlets, and even score cards from homemakers' contests--all in the service of showing that American print culture neatly transferred ideologies of domesticity from white women to women of color. The discussions of soap ads and Better Babies campaigns are just riveting (and appalling)."--Siobhan Senier, author of Voices of American Indian Assimilation and Resistance: Helen Hunt Jackson, Sarah Winnemucca, and Victoria Howard
List of Illustrations
Introduction. The Literature of Modern American Domesticity
Chapter One. Delegating Domesticity: White Women Writers and the New American Housekeepers
Chapter Two. Dialoging Domesticity: Resisting and Assimilating "The American Lady" in Early Mexican American Women's Writing
Chapter Three. Regulating Domesticity: Carlisle School's Publications and Children's Books for "American Princesses"
Chapter Four. Practicing Domesticity: From Domestic Outing Programs to Sovereign Domesticity
Epilogue. Fashioning Femininity: "Types of American Girls," "Types of Indian Girls," and the "Wrong Kind of (Mexican) Woman"
Appendix. Advertisements for and Reviews of Evelyn Hunt Raymond Novels