Cornell University

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Book talk: Separated by Their Sex: Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World

Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 4:00pm

Amit Bhatia '01 Libe Cafe (Olin Library)
Olin Library, Ithaca, NY 14850, USA

In a Chats in the Stacks book talk in the Libe Cafe, Mary Beth Norton, Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History and Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, will discuss her new book “Separated by Their Sex: Women in Public and Private in the Colonial Atlantic World” (Cornell University Press, 2011).

Norton offers a bold genealogy that shows how gender came to determine the right of access in Britain and America by the middle of the eighteenth century. Earlier, high-status men and women alike had been recognized as appropriate political actors. In her book she traces the profound shift in attitudes toward women’s participation in public affairs to the cultural arbiters who believed women’s participation in politics—even in political dialogues—was absurd. They argued that women should confine themselves to home and family, a position that American women themselves had adopted by the 1760s. On the cusp of the American Revolution, Norton concludes, a newly gendered public-private division was firmly in place.

Norton is the author of many books, including "Liberty's Daughters: The Revolutionary Experience of American Women," "In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692," and "Founding Mothers and Fathers: Gendered Power and the Forming of American Society."

Following the talk, Professor Norton will lead a question and answer session. Light refreshments will be available throughout the event and a book signing will follow. For more information, please call 255-3393.

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Author Appearance


Cornell University Library, Olin Library


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Lynn Bertoia

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Mary Beth Norton

Speaker Affiliation

Department of History

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