F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts will host a book signing by Dr. Mary A. Evins on Friday, November 14 from 1-5 p.m. and Saturday, November 15 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Evins' new book is titled "Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era, Toward the Public Sphere in the New South". It examines the work of Tennessee women progressives at the turn of the last century as agents of social change in their communities across the state.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Discussions of Tennessee women’s history during the Progressive Era tend to focus narrowly on the critical issue of suffrage and the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment. While the achievement of Tennessee’s suffragists remains a feather in the state’s historic cap—pushing the legislature to cast the votes that settled the issue for the nation—reform-minded Tennessee women in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries participated in a wide range of other public-sphere activities. The first exploration of the work and lives of Progressive Era Tennessee women beyond their involvement in the battle for the right to vote, this pioneering compilation provides a fuller portrait of the work undertaken by these bold activists to improve the lives of their fellow citizens.
Ranging in subject matter from the role of women’s missionary organizations and efforts to end lynching to the challenges of agricultural reform and the development of stronger educational institutions, these essays consider a wide variety of reform efforts that engaged progressive women in Tennessee before, during, and after the suffrage movement. Throughout, the contributors emphasize the influence of religion on women’s reform efforts and examine the ways in which these women expanded their public roles while at the same time professing loyalty to more traditional models of womanhood. In demonstrating Tennessee women’s engagement with politics long before they had the vote, ran for office, or served on juries, these essays also support the argument that a broader definition of “politics” permits a fuller incorporation of women’s public activities into U.S. political history.
By focusing on the actual work reform-minded women performed, whether paid employment or volunteer efforts, this anthology illustrates myriad ways in which these individuals engaged their communities and reveals the motivations that drove them to improve society. Marshaling precise and detailed evidence that illuminates the meanings of progressivism to Tennessee’s female activists, the essays in this valuable compendium connect Tennessee women to the larger movements for reform that dominated the early-twentieth-century American experience.
Dr. Evins is a research professor with the Center for Historic Preservation and teaches history in the MTSU Department of History, University Honors College, and College of Graduate Studies. She received her B.A. in history and anthropology and M.A.T. in history and sociology from Vanderbilt University, and A.M. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in anthropology with an emphasis on culture history, regional landscape studies, and material culture. Her dissertation research on urbanization and exchange economies along the Euphrates river developed from multinational field work projects in Kurdish communities in southeastern Turkey, near the Syrian border. During graduate school, Evins worked in research fellowship capacities at the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., among other museums and research institutions in the U.S. and internationally.
For Middle Tennessee State University, Evins coordinates the American Democracy Project (ADP), a national initiative of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. The American Democracy Project promotes civic learning across academic disciplines, intentional development and practice of citizenship skills as fundamental charges of higher education, and university student engagement as critical to lifelong active citizenship. As head of ADP MTSU, Evins works with civic groups and present-day diversity and social justice organizations, to integrate broader understandings and cross-cultural experiences and opportunities into student life, to strengthen MTSU student citizenship and students’ growth in awareness of American heritage and their personal responsibilities in a participatory democracy.