“In American cities today, at practically any moment, one can easily find women enjoying alcohol in public,” writes Emily A. Remus. “But in the nineteenth century, respectable women rarely dined, let alone imbibed spirits, outside of private homes and private clubs. Ladies were denied entry to most saloons and, unless accompanied by a man, refused service in most restaurants. Drinking in public was a male privilege, and women mainly confined their alcohol consumption to the private realm. This gender divide in drinking began to erode in the late nineteenth century, as the expansion of the urban consumer economy drew more women into the city center to purchase pleasure.”
The newest Teaching the Journal of American History offers a teaching supplement for Emily Remus’s December 2014 JAH article “Tippling Ladies and the Making of Consumer Culture: Gender and Public Space in Fin-de-Siècle Chicago.” The article’s full text is available here.
In this installment of Teaching the JAH, Remus provides seven exercises that guide students to analyze a diverse body of sources including postcards, newspaper advertisements, and even contemporary debates over “manspreading.” These sources will encourage students to think about historical issues such as the changing nature of public space, the moral dimensions of capitalist change, and the relationship between consumerism, gender, and class.
Previous Teaching the JAH pieces featuring are available here.