Domesticating universal brotherhood: Feminine values and the construction of utopia, Point Loma Homestead, 1897-1920.
AuthorWaterstone, Penny Brown.
KeywordsPoint Loma (Calif.)
Theosophy -- California -- Point Loma -- History.
Utopias -- California.
Committee ChairAnderson, Karen
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe Point Loma Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society Homestead, a utopian experiment established near San Diego, California, in 1897, created a distinctly feminine version of the "perfect community" by drawing on aspects of Theosophy that emphasized values that during the 19th century were closely identified with women--selflessness, connectedness, morality, and purity of body and mind, while deemphasizing those generally associated with male character--intellectualism, rationality, individualism, and aggression. Bolstered by the almost limitless authority of the community's founder, Katherine Tingley, the women of Point Loma Colony embraced an ideology of woman's morally superior nature, and used that ideology to expand woman's "natural" sphere of influence. Point Loma's emphasis on selfless service to others required a material base that freed women from the demands of narrow, isolated family units by providing communal childcare and kitchens, economic security, and access to education regardless of gender. This limited feminine commonwealth created a space for improvisation in which brotherhood was equated with sisterhood, fictive family bonds replaced blood ties, and childless mothers took the place of real ones.