Women's History Seminars

Capitalism, Carceral Culture, and the Domestication of Working Women in the Early American City

Boston Seminar on the History of Women and Gender

Jen Manion, Connecticut College

Comment: Cornelia Dayton, University of Connecticut

Ideas about race, gender, and sexuality were driving forces in the transformation of both manufacturing and punishment in the nascent years of industrial capitalism. Arrest and imprisonment was an occupational hazard for hucksters, sex workers, and tippling house operators, while the penitentiary imposed ideals of femininity defined by whiteness, domesticity, and submission on the poor working women behind its walls.


The Boston Seminar Series on the History of Women and Gender—cosponsored by the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Schlesinger Library at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study—offers scholars and students an opportunity to discuss new research on any aspect of the history of women and gender in the United States, without chronological limitation.

The seminar series includes four meetings that will take place during the 2015–2016 academic year, each revolving around the discussion of a precirculated paper. Sessions open with remarks from the essayist and an assigned commentator, after which the discussion is opened to the floor.

Registration for the series is required.

Registered participants may access the papers online at the Massachusetts Historical Society website.

For more information, please call 617-495-8647 or e-mail seminars@masshist.org.