25 Feb 2019 12:30pm - 2:00pm CRASSH Meeting Room, Alison Richard Building, Sidgwick Site


“The work in progress seminars were varied, stimulating and of  high intellectual calibre.”
Susanne Hakenbeck (Archaeology), Early Career Fellow, Lent 2017


Part of the CRASSH Fellows Work in Progress Seminar Series.  All welcome but please email  Michelle Maciejewska to book your place and to request readings.  A sandwich lunch and refreshments are provided.

Dr Julia Guarneri

Nineteenth-century newspaper editors never believed women to be their primary audience, but many editors did start running small paragraphs or columns aimed at women readers.  They hoped that women’s material would lead a family to choose their paper over the competition.  In this paper I examine the window of time between editors’ discovery of women readers and newspapers’ evolution into commercial mass media.  It is a study of what happened when a group of readers became desirable not just as subscribers, but as consumers.  I argue that an ad-subsidized business model created physically expansive but intellectually narrow women’s pages.  Once a space in which readers and writers contested stereotypes, the women’s pages became the section of the paper that clung most tightly to those stereotypes.  The commercialized, often mass-produced women’s pages kept broadcasting their retrograde ideas for most of the twentieth century.  The bargain they struck—extensive, lavish coverage of only the topics that advertisers approved of—continues to govern women’s media to this day.  


Dr Julia Guarneri is a University Lecturer in the Faculty of History and a fellow of Fitzwilliam College.  She is a social and cultural historian of the United States, concentrating on the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Her book Newsprint Metropolis: City Papers and the Making of Modern Americans was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2017.  Her essay on Progressive-era news appeared in Media Nation: The Political History of News in Modern America(University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017).  She has also published on the history of popular culture and the history of childhood. 

Guarneri has been an ACLS New Faculty Fellow at the University of Pittsburgh, and has taught at Colgate University and at City College in Manhattan.  She completed her BA at Cornell University, and her MA and PhD at Yale.  She joined the Cambridge Faculty of History in 2015. 

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