Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675-1791

Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675-1791

English | 2001 | ISBN: 0822326620 | PDF | 529 Pages | 3.1 mb


Winner of the 2002 Berkshire Prize, presented by the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians
Fabricating Women examines the social institution of the seamstresses' guild in France from the time of Louis XIV to the Revolution. In contrast with previous scholarship on women and gender in the early modern period, Clare Haru Crowston asserts that the rise of the absolute state, with its centralizing and unifying tendencies, could actually increase women's economic, social, and legal opportunities and allow them to thrive in corporate organizations such as the guild. Yet Crowston also reveals paradoxical consequences of the guild's success, such as how its growing membership and visibility ultimately fostered an essentialized femininity that was tied to fashion and appearances.

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