Literary Regionalism and Global Capital: Nineteenth-Century US Women Writers

Marjorie PryseState University of New York, Albany
Vol. 23, No. 1 (Spring 2004), 65-89

This article proposes that adding region to our interest in intersections enhances our understanding of global feminism, and further, that literary works written by United States nineteenth and turn-of-the-twentieth-century women regionalists articulate the subsistence perspective Maria Mies and Vandana Shiva find so useful as an alternative model for feminist globalization theory.  At the same time, the argument draws on Bruno Latour’s vision of nonmodern life to demonstrate how these writers construct a critique of the global modern.  Fictions by Alice Cary, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Rose Terry Cooke, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Grace King, Celia Thaxter, Mary Noailles Murfree, Sarah Orne Jewett, Kate Chopin, Zitkala-Ša, Mary Austin, and Sui Sin Far allow us to trace early patterns of global capital and to investigate from inside United States regions both how an imperialist nation’s subjugation of its own regional people creates the conditions for multinational corporations’ economic exploitation and what economic strategies regional people can adopt that make resistance possible. The essay argues that readers also resist commodifying these writers as local or glocal color, viewing them instead as models of feminist resistance.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]