Professor Margaret Jacobs
New Mexico State University
marjacob@nmsu.edu

History/Women's Studies 351
WOMEN IN AMERICAN HISTORY TO 1848
M,W, F; 10:30-11:20
Milton Hall, Room 189


This course explores the ways in which women in the area of the present-day U.S. have experienced and given meaning to their history from the time of around 1500 to 1848. This course also examines gender as a system of power relations that has been integral to the shaping of American politics and public policy, to the development of the American economy, and to the course of colonialism and imperialism.

COURSE OBJECTIVES:
To explore the meaning of women's status across cultures and historical periods;
To examine how women have attempted to define, maintain, or gain power in changing historical circumstances;
To identify common dilemmas/struggles faced by women; To inquire into women's differences based on race, class, and other factors; To study gender as a system of power relations that manifests itself in many realms of American history;
To improve student's reading, writing, and analytical skills.

READINGS:

  1. Readings on reserve in the library or available at copy center
  2. Selections from Mary Beth Norton and Ruth Alexander, eds., Major Problems in American Women's History
  3. Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife's Tale
  4. Harriet A. Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Readings are integral to the course. You will be expected to have read the assigned material by the class for which it is assigned. Please bring assigned readings to class as we will often refer to and discuss them in class.

DISCUSSION GROUPS
During the first class, we will form small discussion groups. Each Friday, these groups will meet in order to discuss part of the reading and the topic for the week. Each week, a different person within each group will be responsible for preparing and facilitating that week's discussion. Attendance and participation in this group will account for 10% of your grade. We will also hold more informal discussions on other days throughout the class.

READING JOURNALS
You are also expected to keep a reading journal (to be handed in four times during the semester) that briefly summarizes and critically grapples with the readings. Your journal will count for 25% of your grade. (Details to follow)

OTHER ASSIGNMENTS
You will be asked to choose a current high school American history text and critique its treatment of women in history. In an essay of 4-5 pages, analyze how the text incorporates women's history and how it might do a better job. (20% of your grade) (More details later)

EXAMS
There will be a take-home midterm exam (worth 20% of the grade) due on Monday, October 5 and a take-home final exam (worth 25% of the grade) due on December 9.

ACADEMIC POLICIES
Late papers and/or exams will be docked a grade for each day they are late unless you talk to me before the paper or exam is due and can document a real emergency. I will not accept a paper or midterm exam more than one week after the deadline. I will not accept late final exams at all.

No incompletes will be given unless you have passed the first half of the course and can document an illness or family crisis that would preclude you from successfully completing the class.

Work submitted for other classes is unacceptable in this class. All assignments must be your original work this semester. Cheating or intentional plagiarism will result in an F for the class.

I will take attendance on Fridays but strongly encourage you to attend class every day.

Grades will be posted on my office door soon after the semester is over. If you would like to know your grade soon after the course and/or have your final work returned to you, please bring a large, self-addressed stamped envelope to class by the last day, and I will send you your grade and other materials. Students may also ask for their grades via e-mail.


SCHEDULE OF CLASSES

Week 1 INTRODUCTION TO WOMEN'S HISTORY

W Aug 19 Adrienne Rich, "Claiming an Education" (handout)

Fri Aug 21      Defining Women's History
        Gerda Lerner, "Placing Women in History," in Major Problems, 1-8.

Week 2 NATIVE GENDER RELATIONS PRIOR TO EUROPEAN CONTACT

M & W Lectures
Aug 24 & 26

F Aug 28        Ramona Ford, "Native American Women: Changing Statuses,
        Changing Interpretations" (at copy center or on reserve in the

library)

Week 3 THE IMPACT OF EUROPEANS ON NATIVE GENDER RELATIONS

M Aug 31 Lecture

W Sep 2 The Jesuits in New France

        "Father Le Jeune . . ." and "Native Women Resist . . ." and Carol
Devens,         "Resistance to Christianity . . .," in Major Problems,

21-22, 25-33.

F Sep 4 "The Trial of Sarah Ahhaton . . . ," "Experience Mayhew . . .," James Ronda, "The Attractions . . . ," and Ann Marie Plane, "The Adultery

Trial . . ." in Major Problems, 22-24, 34-45.

Week 4 GENDER RELATIONS IN THE SOUTHERN COLONIES

M Sep 7 NO CLASS: LABOR DAY HOLIDAY

W Sep 9 Lecture

F Sep 11        Kathleen Brown, selection from Good Wives, Nasty Wenches
and Anxious     Patriarchs (at copy center or on reserve in the library)

Week 5 Gender Relations in the New England Colonies M Sep 14 Lecture

W Sep 16 Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, selection from Good Wives (at copy center or on reserve in the library)

F Sep 18        Mary Beth Norton, selection from Founding Mothers and
Fathers (at copy        center or on reserve in the library)

Week 6 WITCHCRAFT

M Sep 21 Documents in Major Problems, 47-53.

W Sep 23 Lecture

F Sep 25 John Demos, "The Poor and Powerless Witch" and Carol Karlsen, "The Potentially Powerful Witch," in Major Problems, 54-75.

Week 7 THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY AND THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

M Sep 28 Lecture

W Sep 30 Documents in Major Problems, 77-83.

F Oct 2 Joan Hoff, "The Negative Impact of . . . Revolution on White Women,"

        Mary Beth Norton, "The Positive Impact of . . . Revolution on White
        Women," and Jacqueline Jones, "The Mixed Legacy of . .  .

Revolution for Black Women," in Major Problems, 83-107.

Week 8 WOMEN AND TRADITION IN TRANSITION I

M Oct 5 TAKE HOME MIDTERM DUE

W Oct 7 Lecture

F Oct 9 Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife's Tale, 3-161.

Week 9 WOMEN AND TRADITION IN TRANSITION II

M Oct 12 Lecture

W Oct 14 MOVIE

F Oct 16 Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, A Midwife's Tale, 162-352.

Week 10 THE MARKET REVOLUTION AND THE EMERGENCE OF WORKING-CLASS WOMEN

M Oct 19 Lecture

W Oct 21 "Defence of Factory Girls," "Mary Paul's Letters," and T. Dublin, "Women Workers in the Lowell Mills," in Major Problems, 162-166, 169-177.

F Oct 23 Christine Stansell, selection from City of Women (at copy center or on reserve in the library)

Week 11 THE RISE OF A MIDDLE CLASS AND THE CULT OF DOMESTICITY M Oct 26 Lecture

W Oct 28 Documents in Major Problems, 109-114.

F Oct 30 Barbara Welter, "The Cult of True Womanhood," Carroll Smith- Rosenberg, "The Female World," and Theda Perdue, "Southern Indians

and the Cult of True Womanhood," in Major Problems, 115-137.

Week 12 WOMEN IN THE WEST

M Nov 2 Lecture

W Nov 4 James Brooks, "This Evil Extends Especially to the Feminine Sex" (at copy center or on reserve in the library)

F Nov 6 Albert Hurtado, "When Strangers Met" (at copy center or on reserve in the library)

Week 13 SLAVERY AND GENDER
M & W Lectures
Nov 9 & 11

F Nov 13 Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, entire book
Week 14 19TH-CENTURY WOMEN'S SEXUALITY

M Nov 16 Lectures

W Nov 18        "Dr. William Sanger Questions Women . . . " and Christine
Stansell,       "Working Women and Prostitution," in Major Problems,

219-20, 239-46.

F Nov 20 Thelma Jennings, "The Sexual Exploitation of African-American Slave Women" and Martha Hodes, "A Brief Dialogue on

Illicit Sex Between     White Women and Black Men in the Slave South," in
Major Problems,         155-160, 246-252.

Week 15 INCORPORATING WOMEN'S HISTORY INTO US HISTORY

M Nov 23 TEXTBOOK ASSESSMENT DUE: DISCUSSION

W & F NO CLASS -- THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY Nov 25 & 27

Week 16 WOMEN'S ACTIVISM

M Nov 30 Lecture

W Dec 2 R. Alexander, "The Martha Washingtonians," in Major Problems, 177-183.

F Dec 4 "Declaration of Sentiments" and Steven Buechler, "The Origins of the Women's Rights Movement," in Major Problems, 167-68, 183-188.

TAKE-HOME FINAL EXAM DUE Wednesday, December 9, 10:30-12:30. During our scheduled final time, we will meet to turn in finals and for refreshments.