Petticoats and White Feathers: Gender Conformity, Race, the Progressive Peace Movement, and the Debate over War, 1895-1919

Petticoats and White Feathers: Gender Conformity, Race, the Progressive Peace Movement, and the Debate over War, 1895-1919

Petticoats and White Feathers: Gender Conformity, Race, the Progressive Peace Movement, and the Debate over War, 1895-1919

Petticoats and White Feathers: Gender Conformity, Race, the Progressive Peace Movement, and the Debate over War, 1895-1919

Synopsis

Kuhlman explores the reasons so many antiwar progressive reformers ended up forming the most vocal faction favoring U.S. intervention in World War I. She argues that conceptualizations of gender and their relations to militarism, democracy, and citizenship were central to creating support for war.

Excerpt

This book developed out of my experiences during the period of the Persian Gulf War. On January 13, 1991, the U.S. Congress voted to approve the use of force against the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. President George Bush sent troops to conduct an air war on January 19. At the time, I was an instructor in humanities at the University of Montana in Missoula. As events surrounding the only "official" war to occur during my adulthood unfolded, I watched as many Missoulians mobilized themselves and others into action.

Decades earlier, another Montanan, Representative Jeannette Rankin, declared that the United States would be better served if it developed the "habit of peace." My colleagues in the University of Montana Humanities Department, especially Michael Kreisberg, Phil Fandozzi, Paul Dietrich, and Roger Dunsmore, had developed those habits: they knew precisely what to do in the face of the war. They cancelled our weekly humanities lecture and instead held a forum on the war, inviting special speakers but also allowing time for students and teachers to voice their attitudes, opinions, and fears regarding the war. Later, when a draft appeared possible, others in the university community scheduled a workshop on conscientious objection. I realized that much of the impetus behind the flurry of activity was older Missoulians' experiences as protesters during the Vietnam War. Seeing firsthand what Rankin meant by "habits of peace" eventually led to this study.

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