Prof. Jan Schroeder (Chair of the Department of English) has recently published two essays on the topic of emotional labour in Victorian culture.
“‘A Thousand Petty Troubles’: Margaret Hale’s Emotional Labour in North and South,” which appeared in a 2020 issue of the journal Women’s Writing, examines Margaret Hale’s unpaid emotional labour in Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South (1854). Emotional labour, a term coined in 1983 by sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild, rebrands Victorian keywords such as sympathy, duty, and woman’s mission. The application of the term emotional labour to Gaskell’s novel draws attention to the laborious nature of daily practices of household sympathy. Margaret’s emotional management of the Hale and Higgins households shapes both plot and character; concealing her own emotions in order to generate appropriate feelings in others is a form of work that is both alienating and productive of middle-class domestic competence.
“Clearing the Air: Emotional Labor and Environmental Denial in North and South” was published in the winter 2020 issue of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies. In this essay, Prof. Schroeder asks “what the domestic woman’s hectoring has to do with the many legislative attempts to regulate outdoor smoke emissions generated by both industry and private homes. What does emotional regulation, in other words, have to do with environmental regulation?”