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Infidel feminismSecularism, religion and women's emancipation, England 1830–1914$
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Laura Schwartz

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719085826

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719085826.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Infidel feminism

Laura Schwartz

Manchester University Press

This chapter introduces the issue of women's rights in relation to the creation of modern definitions of ‘religion’ and ‘secularism’ in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when feminists and anti-feminists, Christians and Freethinkers battled over who had women's best interests at heart. These debates were fundamental to the development of feminist thought in England, but have been almost entirely passed over in the historiography of the women's movement. The study treats the subjects not simply as ideologues of infidel feminism but as activists within a movement, whose ideas emerged out of the messy reality of public meetings, arguments, encounters with the enemy and attempts to carve out a space for themselves in a male-dominated world.

Keywords:   secularist movement, Freethinkers, Christianity, infidel feminism, England feminist thought, women's rights

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