A Shoppers’ Paradise: How the Ladies of Chicago Claimed Power and Pleasure in the New Downtown (Hardback)
  • A Shoppers’ Paradise: How the Ladies of Chicago Claimed Power and Pleasure in the New Downtown (Hardback)
zoom

A Shoppers’ Paradise: How the Ladies of Chicago Claimed Power and Pleasure in the New Downtown (Hardback)

(author)
£36.95
Hardback 304 Pages
Published: 15/04/2019
  • We can order this from the publisher

UK delivery within 4-5 weeks

  • This item has been added to your basket

How women in turn-of-the-century Chicago used their consumer power to challenge male domination of public spaces and stake their own claim to downtown.

Popular culture assumes that women are born to shop and that cities welcome their trade. But for a long time America’s downtowns were hardly welcoming to women. Emily Remus turns to Chicago at the turn of the twentieth century to chronicle a largely unheralded revolution in women’s rights that took place not at the ballot box but in the streets and stores of the business district.

After the city’s Great Fire, Chicago’s downtown rose like a phoenix to become a center of urban capitalism. Moneyed women explored the newly built department stores, theaters, and restaurants that invited their patronage and encouraged them to indulge their fancies. Yet their presence and purchasing power were not universally appreciated. City officials, clergymen, and influential industrialists condemned these women’s conspicuous new habits as they took their place on crowded streets in a business district once dominated by men.

A Shoppers’ Paradise reveals crucial points of conflict as consuming women accessed the city center: the nature of urban commerce, the place of women, the morality of consumer pleasure. The social, economic, and legal clashes that ensued, and their outcome, reshaped the downtown environment for everyone and established women’s new rights to consumption, mobility, and freedom.

Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674987272
Number of pages: 304
Dimensions: 235 x 156 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

As suburban shopping malls and more recently e-commerce eclipse commercial downtowns, the department stores and theaters that once anchored them are disappearing. Remus’s wonderful book has much to teach us about the past, present, and future of downtown. Not only did rising consumption reshape the built environment of central cities in the late nineteenth century, but so too did battles over who belonged—or did not—in this new public space. As the metropolitan landscape shifts again today, Remus’s fascinating insights into the past remind us that much more is at stake than simply where we shop. - Lizabeth Cohen, author of A Consumers’ Republic: The Politics of Mass Consumption in Postwar America

A Shoppers’ Paradise creatively reframes our understanding of consumer culture. Through a series of brilliantly executed case studies of women in commercial public spaces in Chicago, Emily Remus highlights the interaction of pleasure, power, and danger. Drawing on forgotten conflicts over hats, hoop skirts, drinking, and other subjects, Remus highlights the political nature of debates about the right to consume. With special attention to legal cases, this book brings to life a rich and original archive. There is no book on consumer culture quite like this delightful and erudite study. - Lawrence B. Glickman, author of Buying Power: A History of Consumer Activism in America

A Shoppers’ Paradise is an original and convincing contribution to our understanding of gender and public space in American cities. Remus argues that elite and middle-class women’s use of the public downtown landscape of theaters, cafes, shops, and the street as sites of consumption and pleasure over time transformed common awareness about the purpose of the downtown and women’s rights to the city as citizens. - Jessica Ellen Sewell, author of Women and the Everyday City: Public Space in San Francisco, 1890–1915

Helps to demonstrate how women participated in the transformation of Chicago’s culture simply by establishing their presence in public spaces. - Linda Levitt, PopMatters

An engrossing and interdisciplinary study…Remus makes a compelling argument about affluent women’s impact on public space and vividly describes how they were central to the development of a thriving culture of consumption. With perceptive attention to the physical world(s) of moneyed women, the book adds to the literature not only on Chicago and urban history, but gender, the built environment, and material culture. - Kathleen Daly, New England Journal of History

You may also be interested in...

American Caesars
Added to basket
£16.99
Paperback
The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test
Added to basket
Lost City of the Incas
Added to basket
Battle Cry of Freedom
Added to basket
Friday Night Lights
Added to basket
The Sugar Barons
Added to basket
£12.99
Paperback
The Island at the Center of the World
Added to basket
Che Guevara
Added to basket
£20.00
Paperback
The American Civil War
Added to basket
Bolivar
Added to basket
£14.99
Paperback
Empire of the Summer Moon
Added to basket
The American West
Added to basket
£9.99
Paperback
Not In Your Lifetime
Added to basket
How the Irish Became White
Added to basket
John F. Kennedy
Added to basket
£19.99
Paperback
Conquistadors
Added to basket
£14.99
Paperback

Please sign in to write a review

Your review has been submitted successfully.

env: aptum
branch: