Reconstructing the Household
In Reconstructing the Household, Peter Bardaglio examines the connections between race, gender, sexuality, and the law in the nineteenth-century South. He focuses on miscegenation, rape, incest, child custody, and adoption laws to show how southerners struggled with the conflicts and stresses that surfaced within their households and in the larger society during the tumultuous Civil War era. Slavery, war, emancipation, and Reconstruction not only shaped relations between blacks and whites but also between women and men, parents and children, and rich and poor. Based on literary as well as legal sources, Bardaglio’s analysis reveals how legal contests involving these groups led to a rethinking of families, sexuality, and the social order.