History 261: Women in American History

Prof. Paula A. Treckel

Fall, 2012

11:00-12:15 MW

Arter 205

Course Description:

This course is a survey of the social, political and economic history of women in America from the colonial period to the present. The family as a force in American history, the impact of the feminist movement on the major institutions of American life, the working lives of women, women’s sexuality, and the emergence of women on the political stage are among the issues that will be explored. Special attention will be paid to the effects of race, religion and ethnicity on women's experience in America.

Learning Outcomes:

Students enrolled in this class will:

  • Understand key themes underlying American women’s history from the colonial period to the present.
  • Identify and be able to articulate historians’ interpretations of major events in American women’s past.
  • Lead their classmates in discussion about important works in the field of American women’s history.
  • Develop their own arguments about women’s experience in American history
  • Conduct primary and secondary research about the life of an American woman whose story interests them.
  • Write a research paper on their chosen subject using the Chicago Manual of Style as their citation guide.

Required Readings:

Douglas, Susan. The Rise of Enlightened Sexism.

Ewen, Elizabeth. Immigrant Women in the Land of Dollars.

Faderman, Lillian. Odd Girls and Twilight Lovers.

Griffith, Elizabeth. In Her Own Right.

Peril, Lynn. College Girls.

White, Deborah Gray. Ar'n't I A Woman?

Discussion Topics and Reading Assignments:

8/29 Introduction to American Women's History Begin White.

9/3Good Wives in Colonial America

9/5 The Revolution and Women’s Lives

9/10 The Plantation Mistress .

9/12Race, Gender & Class in early America

9/17 African-American Women in Slavery & Freedom Finish White.

9/19 The “Cult of True Womanhood” Begin Griffith.

9/24Women, Abolition and Reform

9/26 The Campaign for Women’s Rights

10/1 In Her Own Right: ECS Finish Griffith.

10/3 The Gilded Age & Women(Exam #1 due) Begin Ewan.

10/8 Fall Break (No Class.)

10/10Women and Industry

10/15Women and the City

10/17“Coming to America” Finish Ewan.

10/22 The Revolution in Manners and MoralsBegin Peril.

10/24 The Depression and WWII

10/29“Rosie the Riveter (in class video)

10/31The Fifties in America: The Feminine Mystique

11/5 “Mad Men” or “Mad Housewives?”

11/7 College Girls Finish Peril.

11/12 Civil Rights and Women(Exam #2 due) Begin Faderman.

11/14The Second Wave

11/19 Radical Feminism

11/21 Thanksgiving Break no class

11/26 “Odd Girls & Twilight Lovers” Finish Faderman.

11/28 Backlash! (paper due)Begin Douglas.

12/3 PostFeminist America?

12/5 Popular Culture and Women

12/10 Englightened Sexism?Finish Douglas.

12/18 Take-Home Final Exam due by noon on December 18, 2012 in Arter 202.

Course Requirements:

You are required to attend all classes, read all assigned works by the dates indicated, participate in and facilitate class discussions, take all exams, and write a research paper for this course. Attendance will be taken. Students with more than two unexcused absences in the course will be penalized when their final grade in the course is determined.

All exams must be submitted on the dates indicated. The two take-home exams and the take-home final exam are each worth 1/5 of your final course grade.

You are required to write an8-10 page research paper about a woman in American history whose life story interests you. Guidelines for this paper will be discussed in class. The paper is due in class on 11/28. No late papers will be accepted. The research paper is worth 1/5 of your final course grade.

All students are expected to participate in class discussions. You are also required to facilitate class discussion on one of the assigned monographs during the semester. Class participation and discussion facilitation are worth 1/5 of your final course grade.

No incompletes will be awarded in this course without the permission of the Dean.

Office Hours:

203 Arter HallOffice Phone: 332-4309

M: 1:00-3:00Cell Phone: 330-606-5006

T: 8:00-9:30Home Phone: 330-677-2323 (OH) Th-Sun.

W: 8:00-11:00email:

Th: 8:00-9:30 & by appointment