Isabella Bird: An Argument for Mobility and a Changed Definition of New Womanhood

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Creator: 

McCloskey, Natalie Sujae

Date: 

2017

Abstract: 

I argue that mobility and ideas of New Womanhood were mutually constitutive by the late nineteenth century onwards. Through Isabella Bird’s writing and biographies, I find that she, and by extension others of the fin-de-siècle, connected mobility with Christianity and modernity in a Western imperialist context. Her biographers are discussed as representatives of each generation’s feminist view of New Women. I focus on Bird’s writing about Korea, where she advocated missionaries and views on race and Orientalism in ways that were not simply echoes of contemporary British jingoist ideas. For example, she concluded that Russia should take over Korea after the First Sino-Japanese War. Studying Bird reevaluates and historicizes the definition of New Womanhood by emphasizing how privileges of mobility and Christian missionizing were assumptions built into fin-de-siècle writing by “New Women,” despite how late thinkers characterized them as secular progressives, like the feminist movement. 

Subject: 

European History
History - Modern
Women's Studies

Language: 

English

Publisher: 

Carleton University

Thesis Degree Name: 

Master of Arts: 
M.A.

Thesis Degree Level: 

Master's

Thesis Degree Discipline: 

History

Parent Collection: 

Theses and Dissertations

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