Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth, 1941-2007

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1941-05-28
Death 2007-01-02
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese was a feminist, author, and professor of women's studies and history who was known for her evolution from Marxist-leaning secularist to Roman Catholic and vocal presence in the conservative women's movement. While her early writings focused on French history and translations, Fox-Genovese later wrote extensively on southern women, slavery, and feminism. Fox-Genovese taught at University of Rochester (N.Y.), the State University of New York at Binghamton, and Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., where she founded the Institute for Women's Studies. She was married to Eugene D. Genovese, southern historian and author.

From the description of Elizabeth Fox-Genovese papers, 1966-2007. (Oceanside Free Library). WorldCat record id: 37833033

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese was a feminist, author, and professor of women's studies and history who was known for her evolution from Marxist-leaning secularist to Roman Catholic and vocal presence in the conservative women's movement.

Fox-Genovese, known as Bestey, was born in Boston on 28 May 1941 to prominent historian Edward Whiting Fox and Elizabeth Betty Simon Fox, daughter of real estate mogel Robert Simon. Betsey studied at the Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Paris and attended Bryn Mawr College, receiving a B.A. in French and history in 1963. Pursuing graduate degrees in history at Harvard University, she earned a master's degree in 1966 and a Ph.D. in 1974. In 1969, at the age of 28, Betsey married fellow historian and author Eugene Genovese.

Fox-Genovese taught at University of Rochester (N.Y.), Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris, and the State University of New York at Binghamton prior to her appointment as Eleonore Raoul Professor of the Humanities at Emory University in Atlanta, Ga. In 1986, she founded the Institute for Women's Studies at Emory, acting as its director until 1991.

Fox-Genovese's early writings focused on French history and translations, including The Origins of Physiocracy: Economic Revolution and Social Order in Eighteenth-Century France, published in 1976. She later wrote extensively on southern women, slavery, and feminism. Her book Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South (1988) received the C. Hugh Holman Prize from the Society for Southern Literature and the Julia Cherry Spruill Prize from the Southern Association for Women Historians and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In addition to her own writings, Fox-Genovese collaborated with her husband, a historian of American slavery. They co-authored several articles and two books, Fruits of Merchant Capital: Slavery and Bourgeois Property in the Rise and Expansion of Capitalism (1983) and The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview (2005). In 2003, she was awarded the National Humanities Medal as a pioneer in women's studies. Fox-Genovese also authored Feminism Without Illusions: A Critique of Individualism (1991) and Feminism Is Not the Story of My Life: How Today’s Feminist Elite Has Lost Touch With the Real Concerns of Women (1995).

In 1991, L. Virginia ( Ginger ) Gould, a former student and employee, sued Emory University and Fox-Genovese, sparking a public legal battle. Under Fox-Genovese, Gould served as Associate Director of the Institute for Women's Studies from August to October 1991. Gould sued Emory University and Fox-Genovese for violating her civil rights, accusing Fox-Genovese of sexual harassment and discrimination. In March 1996, Emory University settled the sexual harassment and discrimination case on the day opening statements were scheduled to begin. Fox-Genovese also participated in two other legal cases, serving as an expert witness in court cases involving the all-male admissions policies of two military academies, the Citadel and Virginia Military Institute (VMI).

Fox-Genovese held active memberships in numerous historical associations, including an elected position in the Society of American Historians. She held positions on editorial boards of several scholarly journals and served as founding editor of the Journal of the Historical Society, 1998-2005. Her lecture circuit spanned the United States, and she was frequently solicited by the press for quotes relating to gender issues.

In 1995, Fox-Genovese publicly converted to Roman Catholicism. She criticized the women's movement and rejected secular liberalism in her later speeches, interviews, and writings. In her later years, Fox-Genovese lived with multiple sclerosis. After major surgery in October 2006, her health declined, and she died on 2 January 2007.

From the guide to the Elizabeth Fox-Genovese Papers, 1966-2003, (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.)

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Subjects:

  • Catholic converts
  • Women--Diaries
  • Historians--History--20th century
  • History--Study and teaching (Higher)
  • Catholics
  • Conservatives
  • Feminism--History--20th century
  • Women college teachers--History--20th century
  • Diaries (Blank-books)
  • Sex discrimination in education
  • Feminists--History--20th century
  • Single-sex schools
  • Women historians--History--20th century
  • Conservatism--History--20th century
  • Sexual harassment in universities and colleges

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)