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Fluid economies, fluid identities: women, water and work, 1750-1914

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TitleInfo
Title
Fluid economies, fluid identities: women, water and work, 1750-1914
Name (type = personal)
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Booth
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Maria
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1986
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Maria Booth
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author
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Koven
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Seth
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Seth Koven
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chair
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DeVun
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Leah
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Leah DeVun
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Advisory Committee
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co-chair
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Davis
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Belinda
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Belinda Davis
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Advisory Committee
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internal member
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Valenze
NamePart (type = given)
Deborah
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Deborah Valenze
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Advisory Committee
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outside member
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Rutgers University
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degree grantor
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School of Graduate Studies
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school
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theses
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2020
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2020-10
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English
Abstract
This dissertation, “Fluid Economies, Fluid Identities: Gender, Water and Work in Britain, 1750 – 1918,” brings together a social and economic history of women in the fishing industry, with an inquiry into scientific and popular discourses and understandings of sex, gender, and species. Women fish sellers are largely absent from histories of gendered labor and capitalism, yet they literally carried one of Britain’s most historically significant economies on their backs. They were at once a reminder of Britain’s longstanding dependence on the economies of the sea and an indicator of the startling potential of an economy significantly controlled by women, particularly along the eastern coastline of Scotland and England. In a period obsessed with the confines of categorization, fishwives themselves, and contemporary representations of them, dangerously transgressed and crossed borders.

“Fluid Economies, Fluid Identities” reconstructs the socio-economic world and everyday lives of women who worked in Britain's fishing industry from the mideighteenth century through to the start of WWI. Fishwives used both the family economy and capitalism to their advantage, enacting a substantial amount of control within their local sea-based microeconomies. Fishwives also carried with them multiple discursive meanings. Contemporaries constructed identities for women in the fisheries industrybased on taxonomies gleaned from the annals of natural history. Environment –specifically that of the sea and shore – shaped how contemporaries discussed, identified, and interacted with the women who drew their livelihoods from its depths. The women’s supposed affinity with the fish they sold led to contemporary concern over the “fishiness” – or strangeness – of both their gender and sexuality. The conflation of female flesh with fish both produced and disturbed the boundaries between human and animal, female and male, and natural and unnatural in ethnographic accounts, legal cases, and popular visual culture. By tracing the figure of fishwives in British and French satirical prints in the lateeighteenth and early-nineteenth centuries, this dissertation demonstrates how the fluidity of fishwives’ identity seeped into the realm of the political as well.

Fishwives lived and labored at the borders of land and sea. This study underscores that their fluid crossings incited contemporaries to wrestle with and ask hard questions about taxonomies and hierarchies of gender, sex, and species ordering British society. By considering fishwives as complicated and contradictory figures, historians gain an understanding and appreciation for the rhetorical and material work that women undertook along Britain’s shores.
Subject (authority = local)
Topic
Gender history
Subject (authority = RUETD)
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History
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Rutgers University Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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ETD_11278
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application/pdf
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text/xml
Extent
1 online resource (ix, 325 pages)
Note (type = degree)
Ph.D.
Note (type = bibliography)
Includes bibliographical references
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External ETD doctoral
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School of Graduate Studies Electronic Theses and Dissertations
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rucore10001600001
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Identifier (type = doi)
doi:10.7282/t3-gv51-xf91
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The author owns the copyright to this work.
RightsHolder (type = personal)
Name
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Booth
GivenName
Maria
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Permission or license
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2020-10-01 12:13:28
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Maria Booth
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Affiliation
Rutgers University. School of Graduate Studies
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Author Agreement License
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I hereby grant to the Rutgers University Libraries and to my school the non-exclusive right to archive, reproduce and distribute my thesis or dissertation, in whole or in part, and/or my abstract, in whole or in part, in and from an electronic format, subject to the release date subsequently stipulated in this submittal form and approved by my school. I represent and stipulate that the thesis or dissertation and its abstract are my original work, that they do not infringe or violate any rights of others, and that I make these grants as the sole owner of the rights to my thesis or dissertation and its abstract. I represent that I have obtained written permissions, when necessary, from the owner(s) of each third party copyrighted matter to be included in my thesis or dissertation and will supply copies of such upon request by my school. I acknowledge that RU ETD and my school will not distribute my thesis or dissertation or its abstract if, in their reasonable judgment, they believe all such rights have not been secured. I acknowledge that I retain ownership rights to the copyright of my work. I also retain the right to use all or part of this thesis or dissertation in future works, such as articles or books.
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Embargo
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2020-10-31
DateTime (encoding = w3cdtf); (qualifier = exact); (point = end)
2022-10-31
Detail
Access to this PDF has been restricted at the author's request. It will be publicly available after October 31st, 2022.
Copyright
Status
Copyright protected
Availability
Status
Open
Reason
Permission or license
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