The Multiplication of Identity, or Women’s Lives and Identities Are Complex, Dynamic, and Multiple
Author(s): Carol Nickolai
It is easy to consider people primarily, or even only, by their dominant identity. If we do this in the present, how much more do we do it with the past? Too often women’s lives are examined only in reference to their most prominent activity or identity, for a women’s suffrage activist that political campaign becomes the focus of question and interpretation leaving aside everything other part of her life. When forming questions about women’s (and men’s) lives, we need to examine all aspects of life -- for example, not just women’s suffrage activist, but also wife, mother, woman’s dress reformer, church member, and so forth. The narratives for women’s lives in the nineteenth century can be especially difficult to see fully because so much of their lives were hidden from public view. However, unless we seek to find and present to the public full complicated three-dimensional lives in the past we are potentially hindering the understanding of culture and life in the present as well.
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The Multiplication of Identity, or Women’s Lives and Identities Are Complex, Dynamic, and Multiple. Carol Nickolai. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437189)