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The Education of the Southern Belle : Higher Education and Student Socialization in the Antebellum South - Christie Anne Farnham

The Education of the Southern Belle

Higher Education and Student Socialization in the Antebellum South

Hardcover Published: 1st January 1994
ISBN: 9780814726150
Number Of Pages: 270

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The American South before the Civil War was the site of an unprecedented social experiment in women's education. The South, which ostracized the strong-minded woman, offered women an education explicitly designed to equal that available to men, while maintaining and nurturing the gender conventions epitomized by the ideal of the Southern belle. This groundbreaking work provides us with an intimate picture of the entire social experience provided by antebellum women's colleges and seminaries in the South, analyzing the impact of these colleges upon the cultural construction of femininity among white Southern women, and their legacy for higher education.
Christie Farnham here discusses the relationships between teacher and student, the nature of female friendship, the impact of slavery on faculty and students, and the role of the schools within the larger social community. Further, she investigates the contradictions inherent in appropriating a male-defined curriculum to educate females in this particular society, and explores how educators denied these incongruities.
Through correspondence, journals, and scrapbooks, the author deftly highlights the emotional life of students, the role of sororities, and the significance of the May Day queen ritual and its relationship to evangelical images of the Christian lady. These same original sources yield fascinating insights into the special intimacy that often characterized friendships between female pupils. Farnham closes her work with a discussion of how the end of the Civil War brought with it a failure to maintain the advances that had been achieved in women's education.
The most comprehensive history to date of this brief and special period, The Education of the Southern Belle is welcome reading for anyone interested in women's history, Southern history, women's studies, the history of American education, and female friendship.

Industry Reviews

"Farnham has uncovered a wealth of information about a virtually untouched topic."

-Joan Hoff, Professor of History, Indiana University, Co-editor, The Journal of Women's History

Introductionp. 1
Academic Life
What's in a Name? Antebellum Female Collegesp. 11
From Embroidery to Greek: Raising Academic Levelsp. 33
Educating a Lady: The Formal Curriculump. 68
The World of the Female School
The Yankee Dispersion: Faculty Life in Female Schoolsp. 97
Trying to Look Very Fascinating: The Informal Curriculump. 120
Sisters: The Development of Sororitiesp. 146
Lovers: Romantic Friendshipsp. 155
Queens: May Day Queens as Symbol and Substancep. 168
Epilogue: The Enduring Image of the Southern Bellep. 181
Notesp. 187
Select Bibliographyp. 229
Name Indexp. 247
Subject Indexp. 253
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780814726150
ISBN-10: 0814726151
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 270
Published: 1st January 1994
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.55 x 16.15  x 2.52
Weight (kg): 0.52