Communal Formations: Development of Gendered Identities in Early Twentieth-Century Women’s Periodicals
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Women’s periodicals at the start of the twentieth-century were not just recorders but also producers of social and cultural change. They can be considered to both represent and construct gender codes, offering readers constantly evolving communal identities. This dissertation asserts that the periodical genre is a valuable resource in the investigation of communal identity formation and seeks to reclaim for historians of British modernist feminism a neglected publication format of the early twentieth century. I explore the discursive space of three unique women’s periodicals, Bean na hÉireann, the Freewoman, and Indian Ladies Magazine, and argue that these publications exemplify the importance of the early twentieth-century British woman’s magazine-format periodical as a primary vehicle for the communication of feminist opinions. In order to interrogate how the dynamic nature of each periodical is reflected and reinforced in each issue, I rely upon a tradition of critical discourse analysis that evaluates the meaning created within and between printed columns, news articles, serial fiction, poetry, and short sketches within each publication. These items are found to be both representative of a similar value of open and frank discourse on all matters of gender subordination at that time and yet unique to each community of readers, contributors and editors. The dissertation then discusses the disparate physical, political, and social locations of each text, impact of such stressors on the periodical community, and the relationships between these three journals. Ultimately, I argue that each journal offers a unique model of contested feminist identity specific to the society and culture from which the periodical arises, and that is established within editorial columns and articles and practiced within the figurative space of poetry and fiction selections in each journal.
Monteiro, Emily Anne Janda (2013). Communal Formations: Development of Gendered Identities in Early Twentieth-Century Women’s Periodicals. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from