Fall 2012 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Throughout U.S. history, debates about women's place in society have been at the forefront of public consciousness. This course is organized around the major turning points in that history when women's status was brought into question.
Through class discussions, lectures, readings and several documentary films, we will examine the history of women, gender relations, and notions of sex difference in the United States from the colonial era to present times. We will analyze both the forces that maintained gendered order in American society and the aspirations and agency of those who sought to change it.
In so doing, we will pay careful attention to women's varied experiences and ideologies across divisions of class, race, and region. Key themes will include work, citizenship, reproduction, sociability, and sexuality.
Preliminary Reading List:
Christine Stansell, City of Women: Sex and Class in New York, 1798-1860 (University of Illinois Press, 1986).
Tera Hunter, To `Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women's Lives and Labors After the Civil War (Harvard University Press, 1997).
Leslie Reagan, When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine and Law in the United States, 1867-1973 (University of Illinois Press, 1998).
Susan Porter Benson, Counter Cultures: Saleswomen, Managers, and Customers in American Department Stores, 1890-1940. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986.
Anne Enke, Finding the Movement: Sexuality, Contested Space and Feminist Activism (Duke University Press, 2007).
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Course assignments will consist of one in-class midterm, two short papers, one take-home final examination, and dedicated course attendance and participation.