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    Women and Economics and Other Writing / Charlotte Perkins Gilman

    Nolan, Rachel Elin (Ed.) (2023) Women and Economics and Other Writing / Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Broadview Editions . Broadview Press. ISBN 9781554814978

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    Abstract

    My Broadview Press critical edition of Charlotte Perkins Gilman's Women and Economics offers scholars working in diverse fields—from English to Economics, from History to Gender Studies—a fully annotated volume that situates Gilman’s ideas in relation to a selection of historical documents from the period. My 10,000 word introduction and choice of historical documents illuminate turn-of-the-century debates concerning transformations in U.S. gender relations. My contextual notes illuminate the arguments of Gilman’s contemporaries, focusing specifically on questions of economic and political organization and women’s relation to waged labor. Appendices include short essays by figures such as feminist educator M. Carey Thomas, who addressed equal suffrage as the “logical consequence” of the higher education of women. In short, the historical documentation provided in my edition will lead readers to a first-hand appreciation of how early twentieth century debates addressed the economic, political, social, historical, and experiential aspects of gender. My edition also draws attention to Gilman’s major theoretical contributions to these debates. Specifically, my appendices include works by Progressive Era scholars, critics, and activists whom Gilman directly engaged during and after the period in which she wrote Women and Economics. Readers have access to selected writing by Lester Frank Ward, whose career as a sociologist included research into the historical subjugation of women. Gilman and Ward were both founding members of the American Sociological Association (ASA) and both advanced scientific explanations for women’s low status. Gilman was impressed by and sought the approval of the man who would become the first President of the ASA and, later, Brown University’s first Chair of Sociology. But examining Women and Economics alongside Ward’s theoretical works reveals that Gilman’s arguments about the economic basis of women’s disempowerment were her own.

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