This dissertation is an investigation of bourgeois women educators' complex relationships with space and place in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Germany. These relationships were greatly influenced by the limited mobility and the restricted access to space that bourgeois women faced within the patriarchal order. At the same time, the very success of these women's professional aspirations hinged upon the securing of spaces for their pedagogical endeavors. I argue that attention to the politics of space and to women's spatial practices, that is, women's use of space, can give us valuable insights into women's initiatives and women's agency. In my study, I therefore focus on the ways in which female educators, as portrayed in historical and in fictional texts, were able to use (built and imagined) space subversively to pursue their own interests and on the strategies they employed in order to create places in which to carry out and professionalize their work in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Germany. My study reveals how resourceful women were in their use of space and in turning that space into a place, and it illuminates how women managed to have agency and take control of their lives at a time when the odds were against them. Furthermore, this study uncovers how female authors were using the themes of mobility and women's spatiality as a vehicle for social criticism and as a subversion of hegemonic gender norms. Thus, I integrate readings of literary and other historical documents in order to reach a better understanding of German women and their situation in the late eighteenth and nineteenth century.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. April 2014. Major: Germany Studies. Advisor: Ruth-Ellen B. Joeres. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 203 pages.
Shepela, Anja Schoenberg.
"Meine kühnsten Wünsche und Ideen": women, space, place, and mobility in late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Germany.
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