Advanced Seminars in US History

Women's and Gender History

Course Schedule

Your course readings include on-line readings and possible handouts. In addition, we will read Rachel Carson's Silent Spring. There is no required book for this class.
The assignments are DUE on the date they are listed.  



Jan 6/7: Introduction -- what's in store...are we in utopia?

Jan 8/9: Representation of Women and Gender

View Miss Representation


Jan 10/ 13: (approx 15 pgs):

Finish and Discuss Miss Representation and the following articles:

Reading Due:

Laurel Thatcher Ulrich Well Behaved Women Rarely Make History, intro (handout)


Jan 14/15:

Reading due:

Gender As a Category of Analysis -- you may have already read this in one of my courses...please reread it and PRINT it out!




Jan 16/17: "The Woman Question" as a constant in the quest for Utopia

Reading due (approx 20 pgs): Both in this Word Document

Thomas More, Utopia, excerpt in Word Doc above

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Herland, excerpt in Word Doc above

Excerpt from Barbara Risman (emailed -- read pp 1-6)

Jan 21/22:

Writing due:

In a thought paper 4-6 pages in length, consider the material we have covered so far and answer the following the questions:

Is gender necessary? How would a gendered utopia look? Address the following topics:

Economic and labor system, political rights and government system, sexuality and health


America as Political (and Gender?) Utopia

Jan 23/24: The American "Revolution" as utopian?

Reading Due (approx 20 pgs):

John Stuart Mill

Declaration of Independence

the Bill of Rights

Abigail Adams


Jan 27/28 (approx 24 pgs): Seneca Falls and the formal call for gendered political equality

Reading Due: Declaration of Sentiments

1/2: "La Tules" by Deena Gonzales (handout)

1/2: Female Slaves: Deborah Gray White (handout)


The Quest for Political Equality

Jan 29/30: Study the background to Susan B Anthony's Trial and the World's Fair

"The program of the World's Congress Auxiliary at the World's Columbian Exposition opened on 15 May 1893 with a seven-day World's Congress of Representative Women. Drawing some of the largest audiences of any congress and crowding the new Art Memorial Building (now the Art Institute), the program provided hundreds of simultaneous sessions, many of them focused on a particular organization or profession of women. On the evening of May 20, Anthony addressed one session of what was called a general congress on the topic of organization. She shared the stage with several other speakers, all addressing the subject from different vantage points. Three thousand people found space in Washington Hall to hear her." ~ Borrowed from The Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B Anthony Papers Project at Rutgers University

Reading due (approx 20 pgs): SBA's address to the World's Fair

SBA's Biography

14th Amendment

NYT Review of a book about the Woman's Pavilion in the World's Fair

AND the Civil Rights Act of 1870 (The Enforcement Act), 16 Stat. 140 (1870):

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That all citizens of the United States who are or shall be otherwise qualified by law to vote at any election... shall be entitled and allowed to vote at all such elections, without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude....

SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of every person and officer to give to all citizens of the United States the same and equal opportunity to perform [any] prerequisite, and to become qualified to vote without distinction of race, color, or previous condition of servitude; and if any person or officer shall refuse or knowingly omit to give full effect to this section, he shall... be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and shall, on conviction thereof, be fined not less than five hundred dollars, or be imprisoned not less than one month and not more than one year, or both, at the discretion of the court.

SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That if two or more persons shall band or conspire together, or go in disguise upon the public highway, or upon the premises of another, with intent to violate any provision of this act, or to injure, oppress, threaten, or intimidate any citizen with intent to prevent or hinder his free exercise and enjoyment of any right or privilege granted or secured to him by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or because of his having exercised the same, such persons shall be held guilty of felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be fined or imprisoned, or both, at the discretion of the court,-the fine not to exceed five thousand dollars, and the imprisonment not to exceed ten years,- and shall, moreover, be thereafter ineligible to, and disabled from holding, any office or place of honor, profit, or trust created by the Constitution or laws of the United States.

SEC. 17. And be it further enacted, That any person who, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, shall subject, or cause to be subjected, any inhabitant of any State or Territory to the deprivation of any right secured or protected by the last preceding section [giving all persons the same rights as white citizens] of this act, or to different punishment, pains, or penalties on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color or race, than is prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor, and, on conviction, shall be punished by fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, or imprisonment not exceeding one year, or both, in the discretion of the court.


Feb3/Feb 4: The World's Fair -- 20th Anniversary Panel of Susan B Anthony's Trial

Assignment: We will role play a reminiscence panel discussion of Ms. Anthony's trial.

The panel discussion occurs at the World's Fair and includes the following participants (assigned in class):

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Mrs. Lucille Ball, an Anti-Suffragist

The Prosecution Mr. Crowley and Mr. Smith

Defense Attorney Mr. Selden

Witness Inspector of the Elections Beverly Jones

Judge Hunt

Ms. Anthony

9 members of the jury

2-3 members of the press

Useful Source:

The Trial Transcript

Feb 5/6: Writing Due: A formal reaction paper to the trial. 3-5 pages in length, double-spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt font. Analyze the trial. What assumptions about women's and men's nature do you see from the lawyers and the judges? How does Ms. Anthony view her own actions? What surprised you about Ms. Anthony's self-defense? Did Ms. Anthony's radicalism promote the cause of woman's suffrage or not? Why/Why not? Do you agree with the ultimate verdict? Why or why not?


Woman Suffrage Constitutional Quest

Feb 6 (F block): One Woman, One Vote Film

Check out:

Women's Rights Timeline


Feb 10/11: The Results of Suffrage....utopia?


Feb 12/13: ERA, Higher Education, and the Cable Act

Reading Due (approx 15 pgs):

History of the ERA

Women in Higher Education (skim through page 764 and read carefully from there!)

Where We are Now in terms of Women's Participation -- peruse this website

Writing Due: 3-5 page thought paper on whether or not the ERA should be passed. How might it benefit women and men? How might it hurt both? Remember, the amendment would apply ONLY to public insitutions, not private ones.


America as Economic and Educational (and Gender?) Utopia

Feb 14/17: Summarize Political Theme and Begin Economic and Education Theme

Discuss the idea of "work"

Reading Due (approx 30 pgs):

Linda Kerber, "I am just as free and just as good as you are" from No Constitutional Right to be Ladies (handout) -- NOT 2014

Jeanne Boydston "The Pastoralization of Housework" from Women's America, 7th Edition (handout)

Feb 18/19: A Midwife's Tale - film


Feb 24/25: Gilded Age Work and the Changing nature of "woman's sphere"

Optional Reading:

The Emergence of Separate Spheres

Reread/Remember: Women in Higher Education (skim through page 764 and read carefully from there!)



Feb 27/28: In class assignment -- SUB


March 3/4:

Textbook assignment due (see email)

March 5/6: Blue, Pink, or Green -- Utopian Ideas for Progress -- and dytopian fears in the Progressive Era and 1920s

Choose research topic

Go to:

Harvard Open Collection

Choose a type of work (do NOT choose Prostitution!) and read two of sources. Please prepare a paragraph to turn in -- the paragraph should describe:

1) the kinds of sources you looked at

2) the dates of the sources you looked at

3) the author and audience of the sources

4) one thing you learned about that type of work from the source

5) Your sense of the importance of this type of archive...what can it tell us as 21st century workers? What can it tell us about the nature of women's work?

Alex Lesson Plan

When Birds Were Hats

Triangle Shirtwaist

Alice Hamilton

Shop Girls

March 10/11: Chpt from the Book on Boy's Work (I assigned chpts in class!)

and the article by Jaqueline Dowd Hall "DIsorderly Women" (this one is sure to chunk it out)

March 12 D Block: Alex V lesson plan

March 13: F Block: Wrap up 1900-1940s work (see email)

Remind yourselves of women's roles in WWII via the National Women's History Museum exhibit on the subject -- LINK HERE

March 14/17: Film and background lecture on women in Science and Rachel Carson

March 18 D Block: Finish WWII and women in science lecture -- webquest and twitter chat in class (see email)

March 19th F Block: NO CLASS

March 20/21: Work days for STEM research project (see google doc for assignment details!)

March 24/25: Research Workshop (so research is DUE!)

March 26,27,28: Work days on research paper

Optional rough drafts due April 7 -- final drafts due April 14


April 7-10: work days on project -- see google doc for entry document

April 11/14: Project Presentations -- see google doc for entry document

April 16/17: Finish women and work

read: NYT article

Listen to: NPR on Women and Men and Ethics


America as Utopia now?

April 23/24: Masculinity

READ the following (in order):

"Is the Boy Crisis Fictional?"

"Solving the Boy Crisis in Schools"

"How Feminists and Feminism has Destroyed Masculine and Feminine Roles"

Watch this excerpt from the fim "I Am a Man" -- here you should focus on the idea that masculinity is racialized too.

April 28th: Catch up F Block

April 29/30: Gender and Sports

"What Brittney Griner Says About Us"


April May 1/2: Dress, Body Image

READ: Ms. Magazine article about dress codes

"Desireable Dress"

History of Barbie and Dad's and Barbies

The Veil in Arab Countries:

Quick critique of western critiques of the hijab

Feminist take on and history of the veil

WATCH: This video from Joan Blumberg, one of the esteemed scholars on the history of adolescent girls and their body images (approx 50 min)



May 5/6: Pornography and Violence


This Excerpt of Roth v. US -- what is obscenity? should the US ban obscene speech because it is not good for the prurient interest?

Gun Violence as Gendered

Read: Rape Jokes not ok? do they condone rape? then why do some people laugh?

Watch -- Rape Jokes ok? -- all dialog is ok? any joke about anything is good?

Read: Poem about Rape Culture -- does the fear of rape police women's lives and how is it a manifestation of masculinity?

Watch: TedTalk -- Violence Against Women: Why It's a Men's Issue


May 7/8:Friendship and Romantic Expectations...



Slam Poem in response to Nash Grier's "What Guys Look for in Girls" (you can watch that if you haven't seen it, but it's not essential)

May 12-16: Work on final projects (Juniors and seniors have different projects)


For future courses:

Op-eds DUE!

READ and think about the questions:

This Excerpt of Roth v. US -- what is obscenity? should the US ban obscene speech because it is not good for the prurient interest?

Gun Violence as Gendered

Read: Rape Jokes not ok? do they condone rape? then why do some people laugh?

Watch -- Rape Jokes ok? -- all dialog is ok? any joke about anything is good?

Read: Poem about Rape Culture -- does the fear of rape police women's lives and how is it a manifestation of masculinity?

Watch: White House PSA

Watch: TedTalk -- Violence Against Women: Why It's a Men's Issue

May 8/9: FInal Op-Ed Due....write about how all of the op-ed topics we've discussed (as well as the history that preceded them) do or could affect your relationships with each other (so think about your relationships with members of both the same and opposite sexes). Please focus on friendship but you may also write about romantic relationships also.


Final Unit on Contemporary Applications:

You will complete all the reading and write a 1-2 page reaction to one or more of the articles or videos for the day. The response should be single-spaced and written in an opinion/editorial format. It should be formal but casual persuasion that uses your knowledge of gender analysis and history to support or oppose the source's(s') main point(s).

Your colleagues will read your response -- so bring a hard copy to class (you will turn in that copy). A model of this type of writing was shared with via email.


: Puritan Longings

Reading Due (approx 20 pgs):

"Talk Like a Man: Speech, Power, and Masculinity in Colonial New England" from A Shared Experience (handout)

: The Reform Movements -- experiments in sexual utopia

Shakers, Oneida, Mormons

Reading Due: Read each of the following overviews of the Second Great Awakening

An Explosion of New Ideas

Reform Movements as Gendered Utopias

Research the Shakers, the Rappites, the Oneida community, and the Mormons -- pay attention to their utopian visions for the best type of relations between the sexes (esp. marriage, sex, and policial and economic equality)


: Gilded Age Racial Utopia -- The Thread-Bare Lie and Racial Purity as shoring up American utopia -- and modern effeminency as dystopia


April 17-19: Creating the final exams -- COMPLETE exams and test prep review sheets due by the end of class on the 19th!


(approx 24 pgs):

"A Real Boy and Not a 'Sissy'" (handout pp 830-835)

"Men's Responses to Feminism" (handout thru pp 277)

Women in Combat

"The Truth About Women in Combat" -- please note that I am not assigning this because I think it is "the truth"... and be sure to watch the 3 min video in the middle of the article

a comparative look at the UK and Israeli Defense Force

May 5/6: Introduce Global Comparative unit


Violence and Sex Trafficking



Health and Reproductive Freedom

Political Power and Decision-Making

To begin -- please read and watch the following:

The Executive Summary of the UN Report on the World's Women

Intro to Women and Food in Afghanistan

May 7-13: Creating our projects

Entry Doc

May 13/14: Project presentations and begin final essay