Domesticating Women: "The Female Prisoner" and the 19th Century Home

Monday, March 27, 2017 - 6:00pm

Speaker(s): 
Jess Issacharoff / Respondent: Israel Durham

The paper is taken from Issacharoff's first dissertation chapter which takes up the 19th century emergence of the ideal of the white middle class domestic home and its relation to the creation of the first segregated women's prisons in the US in the 1870s. This piece centers on an 1839 autobiographical pamphlet detailing the life of a woman imprisoned for stealing horses in Kentucky. The author's explanation of the crime as stemming from insufficient discipline from a widower father in her childhood home, and her subsequent 'reform' by way of benevolent women who visit the prison illuminate the linkages between the home and the women's prison as disciplinary institutions - and indeed the mechanisms of discipline developed in the home that come to be used in the women's prison. PLEASE RSVP to maryann.murtagh@duke.edu

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Wynmor, Julie
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