Dis/membering the Family: Marital Breakdown, Domestic Conflict, and Family Violence in Ontario, 1830-1920 (Studies in Gender and History)
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Marriage was one of the most ideologically and socially revered institutions of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, yet throughout this period marital breakdown, domestic conflict, and family violence existed in its shadows. In Dis/membering the Family, Annalee Lepp explores the little-known history of marital and family breakdown between 1830 and 1920 in Ontario.
Using Legal documents and criminal court records, Lepp probes and reconstructs some of the more obscure dimensions of marital and familial relations, illustrating how conflict, power, betrayal, and resistance exhibited themselves in conjugal relations and became matters for criminal and civil litigation. Lepp?s study explores the complex religious doctrines and shifting legal rules designed to ensure what was constructed as ?appropriate? heterosexual coupling and legitimate family formation. Dis/membering the Family also illustrates how some married woman attempted to negotiate, contest, and even escape the sexual constraints, economic struggles, and physical dangers they confronted.