• International Activism After the Fair: New South Wales, Utah, and the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition

    James Keating (see profile)
    United States, History, Australia, Transnationalism, Historiography, Utah, Women
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Chicago World's Exposition, International Council of Women, New South Wales, Vida Goldstein, American history, Australian history, Gender history, Transnational history, Women's history
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    Building on detailed research documenting New South Wales’s (NSW) women’s contributions to international exhibitions at the turn of the century, this chapter juxtaposes the Australian Margaret Windeyer’s experiences with the achievements of another soon-to-be enfranchised group of outsiders at the Exposition, Utah’s Mormon women. Emerging from isolation to acclaim at the World’s Congress of Representative Women, these women confounded their fellow delegates’ prejudices. Triumphant in Chicago, Mormons assimilated into the American feminist firmament. National acceptance provided a platform for international collaboration. Over the decade following the World’s Columbian Exposition, the Utahns who excelled in Chicago rose to international prominence. By contrast, rather than heralding a new cosmopolitanism, Windeyer’s tour constituted the apogee of early Australian feminist internationalism. Comparing NSW women’s cross-border forays against those of their American frontier counterparts complicates any straightforward argument for Australian exceptionalism. Beginning in 1893, the chapter traces NSW and Utah women’s participation in the international women’s movement, contending that structural inequalities hindered Australian women’s involvement in cross-border endeavors. Combined, Australia’s distance from the international feminism’s Atlantic nexus, and the vexatious question of “national” representation for the federating Australian colonies, put NSW women at a disadvantage. Whereas Utah delegates received generous support to attend international congresses and exhibitions from the Territory’s secular and religious authorities, the NSW government questioned women’s value as colonial boosters. Read alongside one another, Margaret Windeyer and her Utahn counterparts’ commitment to engage with women outside colonial and state borders, and the uneven fruits of their vision, offer a case study of the dynamics of early transnational feminist organizing at the periphery.
    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
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