Faculty Seminar Advisor

Dr. David Doellinger

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

History

Document Type

Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2014

Abstract

This thesis will examine the life of one European immigrant, Isabelle Eberhardt, and how she challenged the expectations to which European women were held. Eberhardt was born in Geneva in 1877 and died in Algeria in 1904, her life and writings are important because they demonstrate the ways in which she and other Europeans interacted within the context of gender and race in the colonies. These expectations were both formally and informally expressed in the colonies and Europe itself, and include traditional dress, creating a traditional European household which included marrying another European, keeping the social hierarchy, and promoting European moral codes. The lifestyles of women, like Isabelle Eberhardt, came as a result of a new liberation. For many women the colonies provided many freedoms that were not available to women in Europe. These liberations included access to the new religion, culture, and a new social freedom which can be seen in the mobility both socioeconomically and physically that the colonies permitted. For Eberhardt, her complicated family life allowed her to act however she wished to in Algeria and other European women could travel throughout the country without being stopped and have access to different cultures and religions that the women in Europe did not enjoy.

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