Forgotten Men and Fallen Women: The Cultural Politics of New Deal Narratives by Holly AllenForgotten Men and Fallen Women: The Cultural Politics of New Deal Narratives by Holly Allen

Forgotten Men and Fallen Women: The Cultural Politics of New Deal Narratives

byHolly Allen

Hardcover | May 12, 2015

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During the Great Depression and into the war years, the Roosevelt administration sought to transform the political, institutional, and social contours of the United States. One result of the New Deal was the emergence and deployment of a novel set of narratives—reflected in social scientific case studies, government documents, and popular media—meant to reorient relationships among gender, race, sexuality, and national political power. In Forgotten Men and Fallen Women, Holly Allen focuses on the interplay of popular and official narratives of forgotten manhood, fallen womanhood, and other social and moral archetypes. In doing so, she explores how federal officials used stories of collective civic identity to enlist popular support for the expansive New Deal state and, later, for the war effort.

These stories, she argues, had practical consequences for federal relief politics. The “forgotten man,” identified by Roosevelt in a fireside chat in 1932, for instance, was a compelling figure of collective civic identity and the counterpart to the white, male breadwinner who was the prime beneficiary of New Deal relief programs. He was also associated with women who were blamed either for not supporting their husbands and family at all (owing to laziness, shrewishness, or infidelity) or for supporting them too well by taking their husbands’ jobs, rather than staying at home and allowing the men to work.

During World War II, Allen finds, federal policies and programs continued to be shaped by specific gendered stories—most centrally, the story of the heroic white civilian defender, which animated the Office of Civilian Defense, and the story of the sacrificial Nisei (Japanese-American) soldier, which was used by the War Relocation Authority. The Roosevelt administration’s engagement with such widely circulating narratives, Allen concludes, highlights the affective dimensions of U.S. citizenship and state formation.

Holly Allen is Assistant Professor of American Studies at Middlebury College.
Title:Forgotten Men and Fallen Women: The Cultural Politics of New Deal NarrativesFormat:HardcoverDimensions:9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:May 12, 2015Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801453577

ISBN - 13:9780801453571

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Table of Contents

Introduction. "More Terrible than the Sword": Emotions, Facts, and Gendered New Deal Narratives

1. The War to Save the Forgotten Man: Gender, Citizenship, and the Politics of Work Relief

2. "Uncle Sam's Wayside Inns": Transient Narratives and the Sexual Politics of the Emergent Welfare State

3. “Builder of Men”: Homosociality and the Nationalist Accents of the Civilian Conservation Corps

4. “To Wallop the Ladies”: Woman Blaming and Nation Saving in the Rhetoric of Emergency Relief

5. Civilian Protectors and Meddlesome Women: Gendering the War Effort through the Office of Civilian Defense

6. The Citizen-Soldier and the Citizen-Internee: Fraternity, Race, and American Nationhood, 1942–46

Conclusion. Stories of Homecoming: Deserving GIs and Faithless Service Wives


Editorial Reviews

"Forgotten Men and Fallen Women is a marvelous book that should become a classic in the field and essential reading in the study of the Great Depression and World War II. Holly Allen's focus on particular government structures seems especially original and welcome insofar as it reveals a chronological trajectory of narratives of dispirited manhood and fallen womanhood within changing American civic culture."—Daniel E. Bender, University of Toronto, author of American Abyss: Savagery and Civilization in the Age of Industry