History 248 Reading Guide

Utopian Alternatives to Family in the Nineteenth Century

  • Jeanette C. Lauer and Robert H. Lauer, “Sex Roles in Nineteenth-century American Communal Societies,” Communal Societies 3 (1983), 16-28.  (e-reserve)


  • According to the Lauers, what range of alternative visions did communal societies bring to the discussion of contemporary gender roles? What were the limits of their visions??
  • What visions were they able to put into practice?
  • Why was their "intentional" revision of gender roles focused almost exclusively on women's roles?
  • How do the Lauers explain the "real-ideal gap"?