Twenty years ago, Phyllis Palmer published Domesticity and Dirt: Housewives and Domestic Servants in the United States, 1920-1945. The book recounts how white middle-class housewives focused on what were seen as more refined aspects of keeping house, relegating the hard physical work and demeaning service tasks to servants—mainly women of color. It has now been reissued in a freely available online format by Temple University Press. In celebration of its return, please join us for a talk by historian Premilla Nadasen.
Using Domesticity and Dirt as a launching pad, Nadasen will discuss the women of color who took over domestic responsibilities in white homes in the 1960s and 1970s. During that time, African American household workers formed the first-ever national organization to represent them. They developed innovative strategies to mobilize workers who had historically been considered outside the boundaries of "legitimate" labor.
Premilla Nadasen is a Professor of History at Barnard College, a 2018-2019 Fulbright Scholar, and President of the National Women’s Studies Association. She is the author of two award-winning books Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States (Routledge 2005) and Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement (Beacon 2015).
Registration is encouraged.
This event has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.
Domesticity and Dirt, by Phyllis Palmer, was reissued by Temple University Press in 2018 and is now freely available online.
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