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By Janet Galligani Casey

Modernity and urbanity have lengthy been thought of at the same time maintaining forces in early twentieth-century the US. yet has the dominance of the city imaginary obscured the significance of the agricultural? How have girls, particularly, appropriated discourses and photographs of rurality to interrogate the issues of modernity? and the way have they imbued the rural-traditionally seen as a locus for conservatism-with a revolutionary political valence?Touching on such various matters as eugenics, reproductive rights, advertisements, the economic climate of literary prizes, and the function of the digital camera, a brand new Heartland demonstrates the value of rurality to the imaginitive development of modernism/modernity; it additionally asserts that ladies, as items of scrutiny in addition to brokers of critique, had a distinct stake in that relation. Casey strains the beliefs informing America's perception of the agricultural throughout a large box of representational domain names, together with social idea, periodical literature, cultural feedback, images, and, such a lot particularly, women's rural fiction ("low" in addition to "high"). Her argument is proficient through archival learn, such a lot crucially via a cautious research of The Farmer's spouse, the only nationally allotted farm magazine for ladies and a bit recognized repository of rural American attitudes. via this vast scope, a brand new Heartland articulates an alternate mode of modernism via demanding orthodox principles approximately gender and geography in twentieth-century the USA.

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Additional resources for A New Heartland: Women, Modernity, and the Agrarian Ideal in America

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On the contrary, like the land itself, the farmer’s wife was understood as an essential, if often unacknowledged, component of the farm, a cornerstone of its culture and economy, so much so that her labor and her roles could be merely assumed rather than considered. )39 Moreover, her absent presence was clearly manifested within the dynamics of both race and class that undergirded discussions about agrarianism. As a mother, the farm woman was the key to perpetuating a traditional agrarian ethic and identity, as well as literally manufacturing the farm’s labor pool; furthermore, as overseer of the household’s consumption practices, it was on her labors that the family’s perceived class status often seemed to hinge.

It also enabled the continuance of reform efforts that were masculinist in focus and content. Thus while the farm woman’s potential disadvantages were much discussed, her criticisms of the gender-based injustices of farm life were, despite their currency, ironically muted. 35 Significantly, the development of rural sociology, coterminous with the unfolding of the Country Life Movement, virtually depended on male practitioners distancing themselves from women and women’s concerns in order to establish professional legitimacy.

Similarly, she uses prevailing terminology to claim separate spheres for the farm wife and her spouse (“she is interested primarily in the problems of consumption, just as her husband is concerned primarily in the problems of production” [29]), but almost immediately equivocates: “It is true that in some instances too much of the work of the farm takes place in the home, and this is very undesirable, but the home and the farm can never be entirely divorced as are the city home and the city man’s business” (35).

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