Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Fall 2014 Women's American to 1865

This Fall, I'm teaching the first half of a two-semester women's history sequence.  Last year, in my previous job, I taught a single semester women's history course -- from the "beginning" to the present -- and let me tell you, that was a challenge!  There is so much to talk about, so many interesting lives and stories to explore, you just can't do it "all" in 15 weeks.  I'm really fortunate that my colleague Molly Rozum has enthusiastically decided to split the task with me.  I'll be taking us through the Civil War this Fall.  Find out more below:

History/English/Women’s Studies 492
Women’s America to 1865

Frontispiece to Phillis Wheatley's
 Poems on Various Subjects (1773) 
Does American history change when we tell the story through women’s eyes? Women’s America to 1865 will explore American history through women's lives and writings. We'll reexamine iconic figures like Pocohontas, Jane Adams, and Sojourner Truth but also explore the stories of lesser-known women like the slave-turned-Union spy Mary Boxer or Thomas/ine Hall, who was brought to court in 1629 to determine whether s/he was man or woman.  We’ll explore how gender roles—the social definition of sexual difference—have changed historically, along with sexuality, family structure, and women's work.  We’ll consider how differences in race and class have also impacted women’s experiences.

This class will prominently feature literature produced by women in early America, such as Anne Bradstreet, Susanna Rowson, Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Wilson, and Catherine Sedgwick.

At the end of the semester, you’ll be able to answer the following questions (and more): Why were women in the 1700s the leading adherents of evangelical religion?  Did Americans in the 1800s really think women were “passionless”? How did enslaved women resist the worst abuses of slavery? What was it like to be the first women to leave rural communities and labor in America’s earliest textile factories?  Was Andrew Jackson’s presidency really almost ruined by a sex scandal?

This is a combined lecture and discussion course. Students will complete short analytical and creative writing assignments and exams.  The class is appropriate for students of all levels and levels of familiarity with American history and history.  

5/9/2014 UPDATE! This course is currently being cross-listed in the English Department as well.  
8/3/2014 Course Syllabus is up!

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