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Christine Ruane examines the issues of gender and class in the teaching profession of late imperial Russia, at a time when the vocation was becoming increasingly feminized in a zealously patriarchal society. Teaching was the first profession open to women in the 1870s, and by the end of the century almost half of all Russian teachers were female. Yet the notion that mothers had a natural affinity for teaching was paradoxically matched by formal and informal bans against married women in the classroom. Ruane reveals not only the patriarchal rationale but also how women teachers viewed their public roles and worked to reverse the marriage ban. Ruane's research and insightful analysis broadens our knowledge of an emerging professional class, especially newly educated and emancipated women, during Russia's transition to a more modern society.
In 1701 Tsar Peter the Great decreed that all residents of Moscow must abandon their traditional dress and wear European fashion. Those who produced or sold Russian clothing would face "dreadful punishment." Peter's dress decree, part of his drive to make Russia more like Western Europe, had a profound impact on the history of Imperial Russia. This engrossing book explores the impact of Westernization on Russia in the 18th and 19th centuries and presents a wealth of photographs of ordinary Russians in all their finery. Christine Ruane draws on memoirs, mail-order catalogues, fashion magazines, and other period sources to demonstrate that Russia's adoption of Western fashion had symbolic, economic, and social ramifications and was inseparably linked to the development of capitalism, industrial production, and new forms of communication. This book shows how the fashion industry became a forum through which Russians debated and formulated a new national identity.
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