Lecture Description

Working-class women’s struggle to assemble the ingredients of the postwar
“good life” challenges a still-powerful narrative about American women after
World War II: that they married, moved to the suburbs, had children, and
grew quiet. Although decades of scholarly research has complicated this story,
the notion that the wartime Rosie the Riveter became television’s archetypal
housewife “June Cleaver” persists. In fact, we still know too little about what
happened to urban working-class women between VJ-Day and their much touted
middle class suburban entrenchment, a gap that stems not only from
the difficulties of tracking war’s timelines for women, but also from a wider
scholarly silence on the history of World War II’s demobilization. This lecture will examine white ethnic, African American and Japanese American working-class women in Chicago as they endured the transition from war to peace in the forties and fifties.


Post-1945 Women

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