The late Enlightenment saw an acute transformation of gender definitions in the German cultural areas of Europe, leading to a "polarization" of the sexes. Where early modern norms affirmed a multitude of social differences, modernity's reliance on a rhetoric of equality created an enormous disparity between rhetoric and practice, with implications for all Germans. Law and science inscribed a new set of morals with gendered virtues and social spheres. Masculinity and femininity came to be understood as opposites based in nature. The transformed gender system fueled an epochal social reordering. "Gender in Transition's" fourteen case studies recount the ways in which this drama played out in German-speaking Europe during the transitional period from 1750 to 1830. A cast of accomplished scholars examine the effects of gender in numerous realms of German life, including law, urban politics, marriage, religion, literature, natural science, fashion, and personal relationships. The volume is an invaluable contribution to the study of connections between normative values, discourses of difference, and socio-political and -economic practices in German history.
Publisher: The University of Michigan Press