Higher Education for Women and the Formation of Gender, Class and Race Identity in the US, 1840-1875
Margaret Nash

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of California, Riverside

Primary Discipline

This project explores the role of education in the historical formation of gender, class, and race identity. I examine the types of education available to women, and which women pursued higher learning and why. I will analyze catalogues and reports from a wide range of educational institutions, as well as essays, diaries and letters in order to understand how formal schooling contributed to the creation of identities.This project builds on my recent book, in which I argue that education became a marker of class and race as the white middle-class set out to forge and consolidate its identity. My new project asks in what ways the cultural meanings of education changed in the tumultuous decades surrounding the Civil War.My goal is to trace the patterns of shifting alliances of gender, race, and class identities, and the role played by education in these shifts. I want to understand the ways and for whom acquiring an education marked class affiliation regardless of gender and race; the manner in which access to particular types of education marked gender or race, regardless of class; and the extent to which institutional leaders promoted education as a means to mark students’ status.
About Margaret Nash

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