White Queen

White Queen

May French-Sheldon and the Imperial Origins of American Feminist Identity
Tracey Jean Boisseau
Distribution: World
Publication date: 04/14/2004
Format: Paperback 19 b&w photos, 1 bibliog., 1 index
ISBN: 978-0-253-21669-4
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... Boisseau recontextualizes U.S. feminism in the cinematic 20th century. White Queen challenges the narratives we have told about ourselves and illuminates the imperialism and celebrity worship that lurks within American feminism yet today."
—Lee Quinby, Harter Chair, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

May French-Sheldon’s improbable public career began with an expedition throughout East Africa in 1891. She led a large entourage dressed in a long, flowing white dress and blonde wig, with a sword and pistol strapped to her side. As the "first woman explorer of Africa," she claimed to have inspired both awe and trust in the Africans she encountered, and as her celebrity grew, she reinvented herself as a messenger of civilization and "racial uplift." Tracey Jean Boisseau’s insightful reading of the "White Queen" exposes the intertwined connections between popular notions of American feminism, American national identity, and the reorientation of Euro-American imperialism at the turn of the century.

Author Bio

Tracey Jean Boisseau is currently an assistant professor of cultural and women's history in the Department of History at the University of Akron. She has published articles on May French-Sheldon in Signs and Gender and History and recently edited a new edition of Sultan to Sultan (first published in 1892 by May French-Sheldon).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: A Tale of Imperial Feminism
Part I. First Woman Explorer of Africa: The 1891 Expedition
1. The Caravan Trek to Kilimanjaro
2. Self-Discovery
3. Forging a Feminine Colonial Method
4. Sex and the Sultans
5. Confessions of a White Queen
Part II. Agent for Empire: Interventions in Central and West Africa, 1903<N>1908
6. An Imperial Spy in the Congo
7. A Plantation Mistress in Liberia
Part III. Feminist for a New Generation: Mastering Femininity in 1920s America
8. Taking Feminism on the Road
9. Masquerading as the Subject of Feminism
10. The Queen, the Sheik, the Sultana, and the Female Spectator
Conclusion: The White Queen in the Mirror, or Reflections on the Construction of White Feminist Identity