The image of upper-class women chaining themselves to the rails of 10 Downing Street, smashing windows of public buildings, and going on hunger strikes in the cause of "votes for women" have become visually synonomous with the British suffragette movement over the past century. Their story has become lore among feminists, in effect separating women's fight for voting rights from contemporary issues in British political history and disconnecting their militancy from other forms of political militancy in Britain in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Mayhall examines the strategies that suffragettes employed to challenge the definitions of citizenship in Britain. She examines the resistance origins within liberal political tradition, its emergence during
Britain's involvement in the South African War, and its enactment as spectacle. Enlarging the study of the militant campaign for suffrage, Mayhall analyzes not only its implications for the social history of gender but also, and more importantly, its connections to British political and intellectual history. This book is already being touted as a critical revisionist work in the history of suffrage in Britain.
Readership: Scholars and students of modern British history and European women's history.
Laura E. Nym Mayhall, Assistant Professor of History, Catholic University of America
"...[makes] excellent use of archival sources and the extensive secondary literature." - Jill Liddington, History Workshop Journal
"...a timely and convincing book, drawing fruitfully on current research in political theory and suffrage history...opens up new and interesting perspectives." - Janet Howarth, English Historical Review
"There are some tantalising statements here about how citizenship might be configured in this new environment, which should provide themes for further research and discussion. Anyone embarking on such a task can use, as a starting point, the excellent references and bibliography provided in the book." - June Hannam, University of the West of
"Just when it seemed that this field had exhausted itself in terms of both evidence and paradigms, Mayhall's book recaptures suffrage history not just for politics, but for Victorian and Edwardian history broadly conceived" - Antoinette Burton, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"By exploring the very different political ideas, especially those concerning citizenship, and the very different practices evident amongst the several different groups that made up the militant suffrage movement, Laura Mayhall's important work provides a quite new understanding of the phenomenon of militancy—one that will fundamentally change how the history of British feminism is understood." - Barbara Caine, Monash University