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Le Catholicisme au féminin

Thirty Years of Women's History

Rebecca Rogers

This article evaluates the influence of Claude Langlois's research on female religious congregations in the field of women's history. It explores how his central findings contributed to scholarship on the feminization of religion before generating a strain of revisionist historiography concerning the history of girls' education and the history of the nursing profession and health care. Specifically, Langois's work has led scholars to investigate the archives of religious congregations and evaluate the emergence of a professional ethos among teaching and nursing nuns. The article concludes with an analysis of his more recent writings on missionary congregations and how this also has inspired work on the gendering of religious mission.

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Hélène Périvier and Rebecca Rogers

Abstract

This article considers how women adopted a “scientific” statistical language at the end of the nineteenth century to draw attention to their role in the moral and social economy. It explores in particular the messages contained in La Statistique générale de la femme française, a series of eighteen murals that the moderate feminist Marie Pégard sent for exhibition at the Woman's Building at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893. The article begins by considering the place statistics held in France in the final decades of the century within the context of universal exhibitions. It then examines Pégard's choice of quantified categories of social analysis to convey a sustained argument about the comparative weight of women in a modernizing French economy. The article seeks to understand how contemporaries read and interpreted the graphs, and how this mode of rendering visible the issue of women's work played into the politics of an emerging feminist movement.