Public Works

Theresa Ann Smith

in The Emerging Female Citizen

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245839
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932227 | DOI:
Public Works

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter argues that many women in eighteenth-century Spain conceived of their public activities as part of a uniquely female sphere of action. This was true of many women writers who concerned themselves with issues they considered unique to the female sex and who often addressed their works to a female audience. The conception of this female sphere is clearest in the agenda that the junta de damas established for itself. The members of the women's council saw themselves as mothers to the nation, and, in line with the doctrine of Republican Motherhood that they and other writers espoused, they worked to educate women to fulfill their proper roles as citizens. As did many male intellectuals, the women of the junta de damas adopted a class-based vision of female citizenship, focusing on preparing elite women for their role as mothers and poorer women for their role as workers.

Keywords: Spain; women; women writers; female sex; junta de damas; Republican Motherhood; female citizenship; mothers; workers; elite women

Chapter.  13427 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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