Materializing Transformations In Western Ideologies Of Mothering

Author(s): Suzanne Spencer-Wood

Year: 2020


This is an abstract from the session entitled "Women’s Work: Archaeology and Mothering" , at the 2020 annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology.

Western gender ideology transformed the morally superior childrearer from fathers to mothers over the 18th century because by 1690 women already formed 75% of church congregations as men were pulled out of churches by the conflicting overly-competitive values of capitalism, which promoted the biblical sins of usury, price gouging and labor exploitation. Mothers and their domestic sphere became identified with Christian values of love, fairness, cooperation, community and self-sacrifice for the common good. Mothers became considered the innately pious, morally superior reformers of men and society. In 1869 the Beecher sisters designed a Christian home where mothers ministered and read the bible to their family in the Cult of Home Religion. Then reform women transformed their superior domestic abilities into public professions in a wide variety of cooperative mothering and housekeeping institutions. Women’s mothering abilities led male officials to appoint women to several public positions in the municipal housekeeping movement.

Cite this Record

Materializing Transformations In Western Ideologies Of Mothering. Suzanne Spencer-Wood. 2020 ( tDAR id: 457598)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Gender Ideology Mothering

Geographic Keywords
United States of America

Temporal Keywords
19th - early 20th centuries

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 637