Friday 14 April 2023
16.30 - 18.30
Elites in Modernising Societies, 18th to 19th Centuries: Women, Men, Boys
Adam Howard, Kevin Michael O'Boy & Clay Bolster :
Privileged Brotherhoods: Becoming Men at Elite All-Boys Schools in the United States
In the United States, elite all-boys schools resist keeping pace with changes of the larger world but instead, defiantly cling to values and practices of the past. When the vast majority of elite schools became coeducational as a result of the groundswell of support for women’s equal education during the ... (Show more)
In the United States, elite all-boys schools resist keeping pace with changes of the larger world but instead, defiantly cling to values and practices of the past. When the vast majority of elite schools became coeducational as a result of the groundswell of support for women’s equal education during the second wave of feminism, these institutions remained committed to single-sex education. Throughout their histories, elite all-boys schools have remained opposed to change in a world that is always shifting. This constancy is a significant part of their classmaking strategies. This paper draws on a study that explores what lessons 127 alumni of elite all-boys schools learned through their experiences at these schools that influenced their understandings of self and others. This paper explores how the alums’ educational experiences were powerfully influenced by their particular school’s brotherhood.
Brotherhoods are shadow institutions – both a part of and apart from the educational institutions – that do lot of the heavy lifting in upholding the practices and relations that make and remake elites. Brotherhoods are the intermediaries linking implicit (and unregulated) norms to stated goals of the schools. Like a shadow, brotherhoods take the shape of all-boys schools in both purpose and practice. The institutional arrangements of brotherhoods are quite durable, persisting even when changes occur in the schools and particular cohorts of students come and go. And the arrangements of a particular school’s brotherhood connect with arrangements of brotherhoods at other elite all-boys schools. These corresponding arrangements are enduring mechanisms in the production and reproduction of privilege.
These privileged brotherhoods unify the attitudes, values, and traits that together compose what it means to be an elite man. These are the rules that facilitate a sense of belonging. Through these rules, students come to form bonds within, and a collective identity attached to, their brotherhood. But the boundaries that establish who belongs also determine who is excluded. Through these brotherhoods, students come to feel uniquely entitled to act on the privileges that structure their experiences. Left largely unchecked by the norms of the outside world, brotherhoods limit any potential constraints in the enactment of privilege.
At the same time, practices and relations are regulated in brotherhoods to reinforce and regenerate privilege. Hierarchies are created to regulate what happens within these brotherhoods. These hierarchies foster a competitive agency for students to thrive under the hothouse pressures bearing down on them in these elite spaces. Students come together to circumvent and challenge constraints placed on them by their schools and others outside their brotherhoods. The connections in brotherhoods, however, reach far beyond students’ time on campus. Bonds formed within brotherhoods are lasting and continue to advantage them long after they graduate.
Although more scholarly attention has been directed toward elite schooling in the U.S. over the past decade, there has been little focus on elite all-boys schools. The research reported in this paper addresses this gap. It highlights the distinctive role that these institutions play in making and remaking elites in the United States. (Show less)
Rozemarijn Moes :
“An Accurate Account of Everything”: Elite Women’s Accounting Practices in Eighteenth-century Guelders
Early modern elites lived in a precarious equilibrium. Upholding status cost money while most assets were tied up in property or commerce. Estate management was therefore the foundation of elite lifestyle. The contribution of women to this aspect of life has long been underestimated in historiography because of a focus ... (Show more)
Early modern elites lived in a precarious equilibrium. Upholding status cost money while most assets were tied up in property or commerce. Estate management was therefore the foundation of elite lifestyle. The contribution of women to this aspect of life has long been underestimated in historiography because of a focus on titles, functions and landholding, and because of the now criticized ideas regarding ‘separate spheres’. Recent studies, however, have shown the many ways in which elite women were involved in their families’ finances, even beyond their expected role as household managers. Many widows took over management after their husbands' deaths, but married women too were involved in the family fortune. This is not surprising, given their importance in property transfer trough marriage and inheritance.
This paper explores elite women’s accounting practices in eighteenth-century Guelders. Accounting stood at the heart of financial management. It created insight in revenue and expenditure and established realms of control and responsibility. As serial sources resulting from daily practice, accounts reveal how financial transactions were categorized and who was (end-)responsible for what. Accounts are therefore unique sources that enable us to gain a better understanding of the management of elite estates, and, more importantly, the role of women therein.
In the famously commercial Dutch Republic, accounting practices were widespread. Keeping record of finances was considered good routine not only for businesses, but also for households. Moreover, in socio-economic historiography, the high female numeracy rates in the Dutch Republic are considered one of the foundations of the economic success of the region. Did this experience with numbers among women extend to the culturally different landed elites? As an archetypically nobility-dominated and economically varied province, Guelders is the perfect case. The eighteenth century was characterized by oligarchizing of elites and, especially in Guelders, by agricultural changes that made estate management even more imperative.
A mixed sample of accounts attributed to elite women will be analysed. How complex are these accounts? What types of transactions are entered and how are they classified? Is there a relation between type of accounting and content? Next, a first step is made in linking accounting skills to the background of these women. Are the female account owners married? Can we discern certain patters (for example: are all large, estate-wide accounts necessarily attributed to widows)? Part of the project ‘Kitchen or Capital? Elite women’s role in financial household and estate management in eighteenth-century Guelders', which explores ladies’ financial involvement throughout their life courses and in the context of estate wide accounting systems, this study is the first step in structurally understanding female accountabilities at landed estates. (Show less)
Mikkel Venborg Pedersen :
Travelling with the Duke. Early Tourism around 1800-1850
Present-day society is often perceived in terms of mobility. In comparison, early modernity appears stationary. And yet, back then people travelled too as pilgrims, for education or trade. After the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the modern tourist travel, where the purpose was leisure rather than business, took off after some ... (Show more)
Present-day society is often perceived in terms of mobility. In comparison, early modernity appears stationary. And yet, back then people travelled too as pilgrims, for education or trade. After the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, the modern tourist travel, where the purpose was leisure rather than business, took off after some forerunners in the late 18th century. The peace, the reconstruction of comfortable coach routes, new coaches and soon modern steam river boats and rail roads were technic and logistic helpers in this development enabling the new cultural wish for leisurely travel to be fulfilled.
During the same decades, Duke Christian August of Augustenborg in Schleswig together with his brother the prince Frederik had been on the traditional grand tour for princes and nobles through Europe. In the decades from 1820, the Duke made a number of travels through the German States and Habsburg, which seems to have been a mix of modern tourism and increasingly serving the purpose of gaining political support in the 1848 confrontation with Denmark, where the two brothers became leaders of the Schleswig-Holstein insurrection against Denmark 1848-50.
On several of these travels the Duke was accompanied by his family and a reduced court. The accounts of the Court Chamberlain are left in the archives and show both routes, goals – and not least the many logistical challenges arising for him being responsible for bringing the company safe and with comfort through more than thirty states with different currencies, time, infrastructure, security issues etc.
With these travels, the Duke was an early bird. It is striking that his routes and the organization of the travels as well as places visited were the same as prosperity made in to celebrated tourism places too – first for the elite, during the 20th century for most Europeans.
The project presented examines how these travels took place; how the modern tourism is shaped by such early elite travels; and how the basic perceptions and praxis of, for instance, the right places to go, the idea of ‘local culture’ visited, proper hotel culture and manifest memories such as souvenirs were created as cultural ideals. (Show less)
Cristina Ramos Cobano :
Realist Female Writers as Witnesses and Agents of Change in the Process of Reconfiguration of European Elites in the Long 19th Century
The construction of the liberal state and the consolidation of class society followed different rhythms throughout Europe, but the varied national experiences had at least one common factor: the emergence of the figure of the intellectual as a political actor. With few exceptions, these intellectuals came from the socioeconomic elite ... (Show more)
The construction of the liberal state and the consolidation of class society followed different rhythms throughout Europe, but the varied national experiences had at least one common factor: the emergence of the figure of the intellectual as a political actor. With few exceptions, these intellectuals came from the socioeconomic elite of each place because only within it could be combined economic slack and access to education, essential for the cultivation of letters, but their identification with privileged groups did not prevent them from worrying about the social problems of their time, regardless of their personal ideological position, and for this reason they evolved from the formal postulates of Romanticism to a new way of understanding writing, forced in part to represent reality to denounce inequalities and social miseries.
Few women managed to overcome the obstacles of their sex to write and gain a foothold among the intellectuals of their time, but in doing so they contributed to undermining the foundations of the social order that discriminated against them as women and privileged them as members of the elite. Authors such as the Spanish Emilia Pardo Bazán, the Portuguese Júlia Lopes de Almeida, the Italian Grazia Deledda, the French Louise Colet or the British George Elliot, among others, gave themselves to the task of reporting on the vital hustle and bustle of their time in a stark way, looking for the transcendental and eternal aspects of common and ordinary affairs. The true mastery of these authors lies in their extraordinary ability to weave their stories with a thousand details that reflect in all their rawness the everyday aspects of the European reality of the second half of the nineteenth century, including the complicated relationship between conservatism, to which they were often directed by their belonging to the socioeconomic elite, and their claim to a greater role for women in public life.
Elite and gender are therefore presented as two categories of historical analysis differentiated and at the same time closely related to each other, and in this work we propose to combine them to deepen the knowledge of the resignification undergone by the European elites in the process of nation-state building throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. For this we will study some of the main works of these female authors, looking for disruptive elements that account for the changes to which the elites were subject and the relations within social groups and between both sexes, but we will also resort to the study of their life experiences and the context in which they developed their literary work, for only in this way can the historicity of the processes in which they were immersed be truly apprehended.