Rowman and Littlefield International

Home, Nature, and the Feminine Ideal

Geographies of the Interior and of Empire

By Elaine Stratford

Publication Date: Dec 2018

Pages 448

Hardback 9781783485086
£80.00 €112.00 $150.00
Ebook 9781783485109
£32.99 €44.99 $49.99
Not available for pre-order
Take three things: the home, nature, and the feminine ideal—a notional and perfected femininity. Constitute them as inexorably and universally connected. Enrol them in diverse strategies and tactics that create varied anatomo-politics of the body and biopolitics of the population. Enlist those three things as the “handmaidens” of the government of individuals and groups, places and spaces, and comings and goings. Focus some effort on the periodical press, and on producing and disseminating narratives, discourses, and practices that relate specifically to health and well-being. Deploy those texts and shape those contexts in ways that affect flesh and bone, psychology and social conduct, and the spatial organization and relational dynamics of dwellings and streets, settlements and regions, and states and empires. Stretch these activities over the Anglophone world—from the epicentres of the United Kingdom and the United States to Australia or Canada, New Zealand or India—and extend their reach over the whole of the long nineteenth century. Such are the subjects of this work, in which Elaine Stratford draws from governmentality, the geohumanities, and geocriticism to converse with an extensive archive that profoundly shaped our engagements with home, nature, and the feminine ideal, deeply influenced our collective capacity to flourish, and powerfully constituted diverse geographies of the interior and of empire that still affect us.

(1) ‘Her first duty’ – beauty, morality, and the gilded cage / (2)‘To maintain vigour’ – population, fitness, and race / (3) ‘The song of the skirt’ – raw nature and fashionable conduct / (4) ‘Good breeding’ – combatting the decline of the population / (5) ‘The hand that rocks the cradle’ – scientific mothers and strong babies / (6) ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’ – health, habit, and domestic economy / (7) ‘We do hereby authorise and require’ – contagion, public health, and a return to home. / Synthesis / Bibliography

Professor Elaine Stratford is a member of the Institute for the Study of Social Change at the University of Tasmania. Elaine is also the is the lead editor of Rowman & Littlefield International’s series Rethinking the Island and, with Philip Steinberg and Kimberley Peters, is an editor of and contributor to Territory Beyond Terra, another Rowman & Littlefield International title.

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