Intimacies of Empires
DOI link for Intimacies of Empires
Intimacies of Empires book
Born to a respected New England family in 1863, Elaine Goodale Eastman functioned within a middle-class Victorian culture that tended to link white women like her with fragility, virtue, tenderness, and gentility and that expected them to safeguard the morality and respectability of their household, community, race, nation, and empire through domesticity. Very much a paragon of Victorian womanhood, Elaine embodied middle-class respectability through her writings and her role as a wife, a mother, and a teacher. She was also one of those numerous settler women who actively partook in the worldwide attempts to transplant the era’s middle-class domesticity to colonized spaces and who used the domestic sphere to civilize the nonwhite world. Yet, in her own way, she also challenged the prevailing notions of propriety, stretched the parameters of white respectability, and contested narrow definitions of civilization and race.