Cassandra Good

  • Fellowship year:2011-2012
  • University: University of Pennsylvania
  • Dissertation Topic/Category: United States
  • Dissertation Title: 'A Golden Mean': Friendship Between Men and Women in the Early American Republic.
  •  This project begins with the simple claim that elite men and women in the early American republic could be friends.  In the era immediately following the Revolution, historians have told us, the structure and meaning of family, friendship, and marriage were changing.  A new language of sensibility and affection suffused all of these relationships.  Men and women who cultivated sensitive feelings became purveyors of virtue who would support the new republican political system.  But little of what we know about the early American's republic's systems of politics, gender, family, or sexuality has been accounted for the possibility of friendships between men and women.  Ultimately, I concluded that men and women who became friends created small ruptures in the social order that suggested both the flexibility and weakness of prescriptions for gender and sexuality in the early republic.  They also created a space in which woman and men entered the civic body on equal footing through a political community built on friendships.