Languages of Labor and Gender argues that the meaning of women's work radically changed as the German economy transformed from an agrarian to a largely industrial one in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Canning debunks the myth that women constituted a peripheral and transient labor force in Germany during this time period, also arguing that female textile workers were central to the creation of the protective labor policies of the emergent German welfare state. She goes on to explore the rhetoric and imagery of the social issue of female factory labor in Germany, as well as the ways in which the women workers themselves perceived their experience.
Kathleen Canning is Associate Professor of History and Women's Studies at the University of Michigan. She is the author of several books on gender issues.