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"Rise, Columbia's Daughters": Constructing Female Identity in the United States (1900-1920) through Suffrage and Musical Performance

Spinner, Codee (2017) "Rise, Columbia's Daughters": Constructing Female Identity in the United States (1900-1920) through Suffrage and Musical Performance. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Women living in the United States from 1900 to 1920 were faced with an ideological dilemma surrounding the issue of woman suffrage. How could women reconcile the seemingly unbridgeable divide between what it meant to advocate for being a full-fledged, voting citizen while simultaneously upholding the feminine ideals rooted in the Cult of True Womanhood—which by this time had come to dominate the prescription of behavior for middle class women? Depending on a wide variety of factors, women often had disparate experiences navigating issues of femininity and women’s rights. Some, such as those associated with the National Woman Suffrage Association, chose to reconcile traditional ideals of womanhood and domesticity with their quest for suffrage. Other factions, like the Women’s Political Union, distanced themselves from and challenged these standards.
The varying degrees to which women embodied and negotiated the two forces represented in these suffrage factions—femininity and feminism—was not only applicable to women active in protest or other acts of organized social and political advocacy for change, but can be found in the realm of contemporary musical performance. While suffragists’ tactics reflected different ideologies and strategies for creating and shaping identity, female performers made similar decisions pertaining to self-presentation as musicians. These decisions took many forms, from the spaces that the musicians chose (or lacked the choice) to perform to the extent in which feminine ideals were inherent within organizational structure of ensembles. Decisions of this nature were not limited to the concert hall, but materialized within suffrage music. Suffrage music-making entailed contrasting practices of femininity and feminism.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Spinner, Codeecas316@pitt.educas316
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairRoot,
Committee MemberCassaro,
Committee MemberHeller,
Date: 15 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 3 April 2017
Approval Date: 15 June 2017
Submission Date: 10 May 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 69
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Suffrage, Music, women, performance, feminism
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2017 21:33
Last Modified: 15 Jun 2017 21:33


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