Women and Gender Seminar: Amy Harris, Brigham Young University

Women and Gender Seminar
Friday, April 11, 2008
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Sibling Politics: Birth Order, Gender, and Marital Status in Eighteenth-Century England
Amy Harris, Brigham Young University
Sibling politics occupied a unique space in eighteenth-century England–a space defined by a contradiction: brothers and sisters were described as equal and simultaneously taught to accept the inequalities of their resources and experiences. In other words siblings had to negotiate a hierarchy of equality. Using a case study of the Travell family this paper explores that hierarchy of equality that shaped sibling power and its manifestations within households. Gender, birth order, and marital status were the conduits of sibling power and they were manifested in the governance of households (both real and fictive).