Active Bodies: A History of Women's Physical Education in Twentieth-Century America by Martha H. VerbruggeActive Bodies: A History of Women's Physical Education in Twentieth-Century America by Martha H. Verbrugge

Active Bodies: A History of Women's Physical Education in Twentieth-Century America

byMartha H. Verbrugge

Paperback | September 15, 2017

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During the twentieth century, opportunities for exercise and sports grew significantly for girls and women in the United States. Among the key figures who influenced this revolution were female physical educators. Drawing on extensive archival research, Active Bodies examines the ideas,experiences, and instructional programs of white and black female physical educators who taught in public schools and diverse colleges and universities, including coed and single-sex, public and private, and predominantly white and historically black institutions. Working primarily with femalestudents, women physical educators had to consider what an active female could and should do in comparison to boys and men. Applying concepts of sex differences, they debated the implications of female anatomy, physiology, reproductive functions, and psychosocial traits for achieving gender parityin the gym. Teachers' interpretations were conditioned by the places where they worked, as well as developments in education, feminism, and the law, society's changing attitudes about gender, race, and sexuality, and scientific controversies over the nature and significance of sex differences. Whiledeliberating fairness for their students, women physical educators also pursued equity for themselves, as their workplaces and nascent profession often marginalized female and minority personnel. Questions of difference and equity divided the field throughout the century; while some teachers favoredmoderate views and incremental change, others promoted justice for their students and themselves by exerting authority at their schools, critiquing traditional concepts of "difference," and devising innovative curricula. Exploring physical education within and beyond the gym, Active Bodies sheds new light on the enduring complexities of difference and equity in American culture.
Martha H. Verbrugge is Presidential Professor in the Department of History at Bucknell University and the author of Able-Bodied Womanhood: Personal Health and Social Change in Nineteenth-Century Boston.
Title:Active Bodies: A History of Women's Physical Education in Twentieth-Century AmericaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:406 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:September 15, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190844132

ISBN - 13:9780190844134

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Editorial Reviews

"[An] insightful and comprehensive survey of the history of women's physical education over the past century. No snickers, please, about gym class and gym teachers. This is cultural and social history at its best, moving the topic of physical education from the margins of historical inquiry tothe center of twentieth-century debates about gender, race, class, and sexuality." --Susan Ware, Reviews in American History