The Scientific Housewife: Gender, Material Culture and the Middle-Class Kitchen in England, c. 1870-1914. / Carpenter, Katie.

2019.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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@phdthesis{a293004568bb4217aa8baeffe5ea571c,
title = "The Scientific Housewife: Gender, Material Culture and the Middle-Class Kitchen in England, c. 1870-1914",
abstract = "In the Victorian and Edwardian periods, women were encouraged to embrace science and technology in domestic labour, an ideology which I call {\textquoteleft}scientific housewifery{\textquoteright}. This thesis explores this ideology by looking at the middle-class kitchen in England in the period 1870 to 1914. I examine how scientific knowledge and behaviour was linked to daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and the management of domestic servants, and how this contradicted and challenged gendered norms and traditional ideals of domesticity.I use a range of textual and material primary sources, mainly domestic advice manuals, autobiographies, advertisements, objects and records from schools, to explore the representation and experience of science in housework. I pay particular attention to the material culture of the kitchen and how its depiction was shaped by popular ideas about the kitchen as a scientific space. I also consider how contemporary notions of domesticity were fashioned outside the home, by an examination of schools for middle-class girls. I show that middle-class women were exposed to science and technology through domestic life in the nineteenth century, earlier than previous scholarship has suggested, which has focussed on the twentieth. Although scientific housewifery was a gendered construct, based on the premise that a woman{\textquoteright}s rightful place was home, this thesis demonstrates that it also allowed women some agency in the fashioning and expression of their identities. Thus, an expert, professional femininity was already in formation in the Victorian period. I highlight the importance of the kitchen to the middle-class woman{\textquoteright}s daily life and gender identity, despite concerns about social etiquette and degradation by housework, and establish the importance of the material culture to scientific housewifery. ",
keywords = "material culture, Kitchen, Victorian, Edwardian, marmalade cutter, kitchenalia, science, domesticity, housewife, housework, housewifery, domestic servant, domestic service, cleaning, cooking, scientific management, technology, middle-class home, gender, women, mistress, class, identity, home, middle-class",
author = "Katie Carpenter",
year = "2019",
language = "English",
school = "Royal Holloway, University of London",

}

RIS

TY - THES

T1 - The Scientific Housewife: Gender, Material Culture and the Middle-Class Kitchen in England, c. 1870-1914

AU - Carpenter, Katie

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - In the Victorian and Edwardian periods, women were encouraged to embrace science and technology in domestic labour, an ideology which I call ‘scientific housewifery’. This thesis explores this ideology by looking at the middle-class kitchen in England in the period 1870 to 1914. I examine how scientific knowledge and behaviour was linked to daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and the management of domestic servants, and how this contradicted and challenged gendered norms and traditional ideals of domesticity.I use a range of textual and material primary sources, mainly domestic advice manuals, autobiographies, advertisements, objects and records from schools, to explore the representation and experience of science in housework. I pay particular attention to the material culture of the kitchen and how its depiction was shaped by popular ideas about the kitchen as a scientific space. I also consider how contemporary notions of domesticity were fashioned outside the home, by an examination of schools for middle-class girls. I show that middle-class women were exposed to science and technology through domestic life in the nineteenth century, earlier than previous scholarship has suggested, which has focussed on the twentieth. Although scientific housewifery was a gendered construct, based on the premise that a woman’s rightful place was home, this thesis demonstrates that it also allowed women some agency in the fashioning and expression of their identities. Thus, an expert, professional femininity was already in formation in the Victorian period. I highlight the importance of the kitchen to the middle-class woman’s daily life and gender identity, despite concerns about social etiquette and degradation by housework, and establish the importance of the material culture to scientific housewifery.

AB - In the Victorian and Edwardian periods, women were encouraged to embrace science and technology in domestic labour, an ideology which I call ‘scientific housewifery’. This thesis explores this ideology by looking at the middle-class kitchen in England in the period 1870 to 1914. I examine how scientific knowledge and behaviour was linked to daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning and the management of domestic servants, and how this contradicted and challenged gendered norms and traditional ideals of domesticity.I use a range of textual and material primary sources, mainly domestic advice manuals, autobiographies, advertisements, objects and records from schools, to explore the representation and experience of science in housework. I pay particular attention to the material culture of the kitchen and how its depiction was shaped by popular ideas about the kitchen as a scientific space. I also consider how contemporary notions of domesticity were fashioned outside the home, by an examination of schools for middle-class girls. I show that middle-class women were exposed to science and technology through domestic life in the nineteenth century, earlier than previous scholarship has suggested, which has focussed on the twentieth. Although scientific housewifery was a gendered construct, based on the premise that a woman’s rightful place was home, this thesis demonstrates that it also allowed women some agency in the fashioning and expression of their identities. Thus, an expert, professional femininity was already in formation in the Victorian period. I highlight the importance of the kitchen to the middle-class woman’s daily life and gender identity, despite concerns about social etiquette and degradation by housework, and establish the importance of the material culture to scientific housewifery.

KW - material culture

KW - Kitchen

KW - Victorian

KW - Edwardian

KW - marmalade cutter

KW - kitchenalia

KW - science

KW - domesticity

KW - housewife

KW - housework

KW - housewifery

KW - domestic servant

KW - domestic service

KW - cleaning

KW - cooking

KW - scientific management

KW - technology

KW - middle-class home

KW - gender

KW - women

KW - mistress

KW - class

KW - identity

KW - home

KW - middle-class

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

ER -