Mothers, Wives, Housekeepers and More? Maria Feodorovna and Women's Education in Russia, 1796-1828

  • Author / Creator
    Fairholm, Meagan
  • The purpose of this study is to challenge the commonly-held notion that Empress Maria Feodorovna’s (1759-1828) girls’ schools in Russia were meant to raise nothing more than wives, mothers, and housekeepers. Taking Maria Feodorovna’s social conservatism into account, it explores the curricula of her educational establishments (1) for noble girls (like Smol’nyi), (2) for girls from the meshchanstvo, and (3) the Foundling Homes, and argues that the programs offered, which included training courses for governesses and midwives, were vocational and pragmatic in nature, given the stratified estate system in place in the Russian Empire at that time. Incorporating the persona of the “pedagogical mother” into her “scenario of power,” Maria Feodorovna used a mixture of motherly compassion and iron willpower to reinforce her authority. Furthermore, despite the inherent inequality of the estate-divisions in her institutes, Maria Feodorovna, a vigilant micromanager, tried to enforce the concepts of justice and impartiality in her schools.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
    • Department of History and Classics
  • Specialization
    • History
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Coleman, Heather (History and Classics)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Marples, David (History and Classics)
    • Carter, Sarah (History and Classics)
    • Pogosjan, Jelena (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)