Ms. Overhill

Adventures in 299

The New American History Chapter 12

Filed under: Uncategorized October 2, 2007 @ 7:36 pm

Estelle B Freedom in her essay on “The History on the Family and the History of Sexuality” explores the history of women in a chronological as well as a categorical manner.  Estelle takes different cultures of families and traces their sexual history from the colonial era to the twentieth century in
America.  The diversity of the families varies from European descent to Native Americans.  It is Estelle intent to convey that sex and family are “distinctive subjects” even though they “overlap” when it comes to the study of social history.

Estelle writes on how Native Americans dealt with sexuality and family and compares them with the ideals of European sexuality and family.  Then she writes how the sexuality and family of a slave was different from both the European settler and the Native American.  She writes how the colonial family was a “microcosm” that provides a “political function” as well as the basic economic unit for European settlers.”  She explains how these microcosms changed political and economically through the centuries.[2]

Estelle concludes that by “linking…family and sexual history to the political concerns…scholars can show how…private subjects are critical….”  Estelle is able to do this because she has invested much time on research on various aspects of sexuality including not only female and male sexuality but also that of homosexuality.  Her research covers all aspects of family life by referencing books on birth control methods as well as books on a variety of families from different cultures.[3]

[1] Freedman, Estelle B. “The History of Family and the History of Sexuality.” The New American History. ed. Eric Foner, 285. Philadelphia:Temple
University Press.

[2] IBID. 292-293.

[3] IBID. 305.