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Eat My Dust: Early Women Motorists

by Georgine Clarsen Johns Hopkins University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 216 pages
AU$114.00 NZ$117.39
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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The history of the automobile would be incomplete without considering the impact of the car on the lives and careers of women in the earliest decades of the twentieth century. Illuminating the relationship between women and cars with case studies from across the globe, ''Eat My Dust'' challenges the received wisdom that men embraced automobile technology more naturally than did women.

Georgine Clarsen highlights the personal stories of women from the United States, Britain, Australia, and colonial Africa from the early days of motoring until 1930. She notes the different ways in which these women embraced automobile technology in their national and cultural context. As mechanics and taxi drivers - like Australian Alice Anderson and Brit Sheila O'Neil - and long-distance adventurers and political activists - like South Africans Margaret Belcher and Ellen Budgell and American suffragist Sara Bard Field - women sought to define the technology in their own terms and according to their own needs.

They challenged traditional notions of femininity through their love of cars and proved they were articulate, confident, and mechanically savvy motorists in their own right.More than new chapters in automobile history, these stories locate women motorists within twentieth-century debates about class, gender, sexuality, race, and nation.

PrefaceIntroduction1. Movement in a Minor Key: Dilemmas of the Woman Motorist2. A War Product: The British Motoring Girl and Her Garage3. A Car Made by English Ladies for Others of Their Sex: The Feminist Factory and the Lady's Car4. Transcontinental Travel: The Politics of Automobile Consumption in the United States5. Campaigns on Wheels: American Automobiles and a Suffrage of Consumption6. "The Woman Who Does": A Melbourne Women's Motor Garage7. Driving Australian Modernity: Conquering Australia by Car8. Machines as the Measure of Women: Cape-to-Cairo by AutomobileConclusionsNotesEssay on SourcesIndex

"Eat My Dust stands as an impressive account of women's engagement with numerous aspects of automobile culture and thus with the ways that technology shapes and is shaped by concerns of gender, race, and the body."

Georgine Clarsen is a senior lecturer in the School of History and Politics at the University of Wollongong.