• LeeAnn Whites


The central proposition of this historical work is that gender matters. Gender matters in the lives of individuals. We experience our lives filtered through the lens of gender norms and gender roles. We understand ourselves as gendered beings. Gender matters in our relations to others—whether in our personal or public lives, as mothers, fathers, workers, or employers—and structures our place in relation to others. It provides one lens through which we experience, interpret, appreciate, and judge the nature, the character, and the meaning of our relations to others. While gender matters most obviously in relations between men and women, and many would in fact argue that relations between men and women create gender itself, it is a proposition of this study that gender matters as much across the racial and class lines of the social order as it does between men and women of the same race and class. Altogether, gender matters in the myriad ways that it constructs individuals’ sense of themselves and their place in the social order; in the way that it serves as one frame of social relations across the social landscape, from the most personal and intimate relations of the family to the most public and anonymous relations of the workplace or urban life. Gender matters in the way that society develops, is experienced, is transformed by individuals and groups acting out of their gendered identity, and social relations based on that identity.1


Gender Identity Social Order Gender Relation Race Position Racial Hierarchy 
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  1. 1.
    At this point studies of the role of gender are wide ranging, from the origins of slavery, to the making of the first industrial working class, the role of citizens in democratic societies, the transmigration of peoples, the preservation of the family farm under corporate capitalism to the very writing of history itself. See, e.g., Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy (New York, Oxford University Press, 1986)Google Scholar
  2. Anna Clark, Struggle for the Breeches: The Making of the British Working Class (Berkeley, University of California Press, 1995)Google Scholar
  3. Linda Kerber, No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies (New York, Hill and Wang, 1998)Google Scholar
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  5. Mary Neth, Preserving the Family Farm: Women, Community and the Foundations of Agribusiness in the Midwest, 1900–1940 (Baltimore, Johns Hopkins Press, 1995)Google Scholar
  6. Bonnie Smith, The Gender of History: Men, Women and Historical Practice (Cambridge, MA., Harvard University Press, 1998)Google Scholar
  7. Joan Wallach Scott, Gender and the Politics of History (New York, Columbia University Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  8. 2.
    Barbara Jeanne Fields, “Ideology and Race in American History,” in Region, Race and Reconstruction: Essays in Honor of C. Vann Woodward, J. Morgan Kousser and James McPherson, eds. (New York, Oxford University Press, 1982), 143–178.Google Scholar
  9. 3.
    Stephen Hahn, The Roots of Southern Populism: Yeomen Farmers and the Transformation of Georgias’ Upper Piedmont, 1850–1890 (New York, Oxford University Press, 1983).Google Scholar
  10. Wayne Durrill, War of Another Kind: A Southern Community in the Great Rebellion (New York, Oxford University Press, 1990).Google Scholar
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  12. 4.
    Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  13. 5.
    David Roediger, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (London and New York, Verso, 1991).Google Scholar
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    Stephanie McCurry, Masters of Small Worlds: Yeoman Households, Gender Relations and the Political Culture of the Antebellum South Carolina Low Culture (New York, Oxford University Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  15. 7.
    By seeing men, both white and black, as having gender, historians have been able to address other pivotal issues in nineteenth-century southern political culture, such as the Civil War, Reconstruction, and progressive era reform movements. For example, see Nancy Bercaw, Gendered Freedoms: Race, Rights and the Politics of the Household in the Delta, 1861–1875 (Gainesville, University of Florida Press, 2003)Google Scholar
  16. Laura Edwards, Gendered Strife and Confusion: The Political Culture of Reconstruction (Urbana, University of Illinois, 1987)Google Scholar
  17. Glenda Gilmore, Gender and Jim Crow: Women and the Politics of White Surpremacy in North Carolina, 1896–1920 (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 1996)Google Scholar
  18. Nancy MacLean, Behind the Mask of Chivalry: The Making of the Second Ku Klux Klan (New York, Oxford University Press, 1994)Google Scholar
  19. Rebecca Montgomery, The Politics of Education in the New South: Women and Reform in Georgia, 1890–1930 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press, 2005)Google Scholar
  20. LeeAnn Whites, The Civil War as a Crisis in Gender: Augusta, Georgia, 1860–1890 (Athens, Georgia, University of Georgia Press, 1995).Google Scholar
  21. 8.
    Michael Johnson, Toward a Patriarchal Republic: The Secession of Georgia (Baton Rouge, Louisiana University Press, 1977).Google Scholar

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© LeeAnn Whites 2005

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  • LeeAnn Whites

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