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dc.contributor.authorWilliams, Keira Vivian
dc.date.accessioned2014-03-04T02:53:21Z
dc.date.available2014-03-04T02:53:21Z
dc.date.issued2007-12
dc.identifier.otherwilliams_keira_v_200712_phd
dc.identifier.urihttp://purl.galileo.usg.edu/uga_etd/williams_keira_v_200712_phd
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10724/24525
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation is an attempt at a feminist reading of the Susan Smith infanticide case of 1994-1995. The various images of Susan Smith that circulated at the time of her trial reveal a subtle discursive change in the way that Americans think about the institution of motherhood. Each of these imagesÑideal, middle-class ÒmomÓ; racist Southern white woman; working-class, single mother; scheming adulteress; abused small-town girl; and psychological victimÑis based on a gendered reading of Smith in relation to the various men in her life. This negative gendered base is, I argue, the key to understanding the enduring cultural obsession with Susan Smith. Using scholarship from many disciplines, as well as primary sources ranging from the extensive media coverage to personal interviews, I place the Susan Smith drama within the cultural context of the ÒbacklashÓ and the rise of conservatism in the 1980s and 1990s. The transformation of the public representations of Smith reveals a cautious retreat from the overwhelming idealization of motherhood that characterized previous decades. I argue that a feminist analysis of this difficult case is one way of tracking changes in dominant American ideas about gender, race, and class, as refracted through the institution of motherhood.
dc.languageeng
dc.publisheruga
dc.rightspublic
dc.subjectMotherhood
dc.subjectInfanticide
dc.subjectFeminism
dc.title"In a lake of fire"
dc.title.alternativecultural constructions of Susan Smith
dc.typeDissertation
dc.description.degreePhD
dc.description.departmentHistory
dc.description.majorHistory
dc.description.advisorBryant Simon
dc.description.committeeBryant Simon
dc.description.committeeBonnie Dow
dc.description.committeeKathleen Clark
dc.description.committeeJames Cobb
dc.description.committeeLaura Mason


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