Spring 1998

Professor Margaret Susan Thompson		      Elizabeth S. (Beth) Berila, T.A.
Office: 526 Eggers Hall, x. 5882, 2210 (messages)	       Office: 208 Bowne Hall, x. 3707
e-mail: msthom1@ibm.net				       e-mail: esberila@mailbox.syr.edu
Office hours^◊TuTh: 2:45-4 p.m., & by appt.		       Office hours^◊MW: 1-2, & by appt.

HST/WSP331: Women in American History


What^“s It All About? While this is not a course on the history of feminism, it is a course that will be taught from a feminist perspective. What does this mean? Stated simply, this perspective assumes the full personhood of women, the reality of discrimination against women, and the intrinsic significance of women's experience. Beyond that, it is not assumed that students in the course will share the instructors^“ points of view on all matters (indeed, with any luck, the class will contain a healthy diversity of backgrounds and outlooks!). And since the course will encourage discussion and other forms of active engagement with the material, it is hoped that this diversity of perspectives will both enliven and enrich our experience.

This course also assumes the seriousness with which women's history needs to be considered^◊therefore, know from the outset that HST/WSP331 is designed to be both demanding and challenging. There is a lot of assigned reading (after all, we are dealing with a lot of long-neglected material). Though it may be impossible for you to do it all, the more you read, the more you will get out of the class. And you are expected to do most of it! As we go along, certain readings will be noted as deserving special emphasis.

Finally, it should be understood from the outset that "American women's history" is not monolithic. Therefore, we will pay considerable attention to the diversity of woman's experiences over time. This diversity adds to the complexity of what we will be studying^◊but it also will add to the richness of understanding that I hope you will take away from this class.

Required Books (available at the Orange Bookstore):

READINGS, ATTENDANCE, AND PARTICIPATION. Students are expected to attend class regularly, and are responsible for all material covered and for any handouts and announcements that are made. It should be noted that lectures will include material not contained in the readings, so if you must miss a class you should borrow notes from a classmate. Students are encouraged to participate in discussions, and should feel free to ask questions at any time during class. You should also be aware that all class meetings will assume prior familiarity with pertinent readings; therefore, you should try to complete the readings before the date for which they are assigned. IMPORTANT: Readings in this course are unequally distributed. DON'T GET DISCOURAGED^◊ but do try to plan ahead. Besides, the readings for this course are interesting

OFFICE HOURS/CONFERENCES. Both of us will be available during regular office hours to meet with you about specific questions you might have or about matters of more general relevance. If you cannot meet during those hours, we will be happy to schedule appointments at other, mutually convenient, times. IMPORTANT: Drop-ins are welcome. But if you have arranged a specific appointment and find that you cannot make it, please call to cancel; if you can't reach us directly by phone or e-mail, call the History Department (x. 2210, for MST) or Women^“s Studies (x.3707, for ESB) and leave a message! And, of course, you are always free to contact us via e-mail; both of us check our e-mail at least once a day.

PAPERS. There will be two short papers in this course. Each is to be 5-7 double-spaced, typewritten pages in length. The due dates are Febuary 12 and April 16. Topics will be distributed and discussed well in advance of due dates, as will general guidelines for writing papers. You'll have plenty of room for originality!

TESTS. There will be two exams in this course. The midterm will be on March 5 (during the regular class time), and the final will be take-home and due on May 4. The final will stress material covered after the midterm, but at least one section will be cumulative. All questions will be in essay form, and the emphasis will be on your ability to integrate and analyze general themes and ideas (not on regurgitation of facts!). In virtually all cases, you will have a choice among questions to answer.

"WMSTORY". To facilitate discussion of course-related material and other relevant issues, an internet discussion group has been created for this course. All students are strongly encouraged to participate in WMSTORY--to pursue discussions begun in class, to raise questions brought to mind by either the readings or related current events, and to announce events of potential interest to class members. We will collect your e-mail addresses during the first days of class; once you receive a message that you're "on," you're able to participate by sending messages to: wmstory@listserv.syr.edu

WEBSITE: A special website has been created for this class. The URL is: http://www.geocities.com/Wellesley/1116/331home.html In addition to course-related materials and announcements, check this site for useful links to other women's studies and feminist sites. Suggestions for sites (or other information) to add here will be received gratefully at any time.

DEADLINES AND EXTENSIONS. To forestall problems and misunderstandings later on, here is the policy: Since you are receiving due dates and so on at the beginning of the term, it is assumed that you will plan accordingly, and will consider potential conflicts with other courses and extracurricular commitments. Therefore, extensions will be granted only in extraordinary or emergency circumstances, and (except in dire emergencies), only if specific circumstances are explained in advance to MST or ESB. Grades on papers that are turned in after the beginning of class on the due date (without prior permission) will automatically be lowered at least one letter in grade (more, if tardiness is extended). NO unexcused late papers will be accepted more than one week after the original due date. Similarly, if you absolutely can't take the midterm or final on the scheduled date, please make arrangements with the professor well before its date. If you have an accident, or are suddenly ill, etc., and cannot make advance provision, you must present written explanation, signed by either physician or dean, as soon as you can. It is my hope that this covers all contingencies, and that it helps to have things in writing...

GRADES. The relative weight of each component of this course is as follows. In addition, improvement over time, and/or extraordinary performance (good or bad!) in one or more areas, will be considered--especially in borderline cases.

     Paper I-------------------------------------------------------------- 20% 
     Paper II------------------------------------------------------------- 20% 
     Midterm Test--------------------------------------------------------- 20% 
     Final Exam----------------------------------------------------------- 30% 
     Attendance/Participation (quality, not quantity!)-------------------- 10%

DAILY SCHEDULE

TU 1/13 Introduction to the Course: What Is "Women's History"?

TH 1/15 Setting the Scene, I: The Cultural Heritage(s) of Women's America.
 Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 3-23.
                   Gerda Lerner, ^”Differences Among Women^‘ (handout)

TU 1/20 Setting the Scene, II: Alternative Visions.
 Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 28-67.
                   Baxandall & Gordon : pp. xxi-xxvii, 3-27. 

TH 1/22 Sex Roles in Early America: Can Separate Be Equal?
 Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 68-89.
                   READER: pp. 23-33.
  		      Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 27-35.

TU 1/27 "Separate Spheres" and the Cult of Domesticity.
 Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 142-183.
              	      READER: pp. 1-22.
                                Alcott: chaps. 1-8.

TH 1/29 Growing Up Female in Antebellum America.
 Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 129-142.
             	      Alcott: chaps. 9-17.
		      Giddings: chaps. 1-2.

TU  2/3 Women's Work in Antebellum America.
             Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 89-129.
                	     Alcott: chaps. 18-32.
		     Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 39-62.

TH  2/5 The World of "True Womanhood": Myth and Reality.
Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 184-203.
                  Alcott: finish.
   		     Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 63-80.

TU 2/10 Seneca Falls & Suffrage: The "Charismatic" Woman Question.
             Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 203-219, 567-570.
                  READER: pp. 34-53

TH 2/12 FIRST PAPER DUE.
             The "Yoke of Grace": Another Vision of Sisterhood.
              Readings--READER: pp. 70-115.

TU 2/17 Civil War and the Paradox of "Freedom."
              Readings--Giddings: chaps. 3-4.
                               Kerber & DeHart: pp. 220-225.
                  READER: pp. 54-69.
                  Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 103-106, 130-131.

TH 2/19 The "Woman Question" in Industrializing America.
 Readings--Giddings: chap. 5.
	   	      Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 106-123.

TU 2/24 The "New Working Woman."
              Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 227-257.
      Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 127-151.

TH 2/26 Sexuality and the Shame of the Cities.
              Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 257-285.
      Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 152-159.

TU  3/3 Progressivism and the "New Reformers."
             Readings--Giddings: chap. 6.
                  Kerber & DeHart: pp. 285-303.
     Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 160-190.

TH  3/5 MIDTERM TEST.

[Spring Break is March 8-15.  No classes on March 10 & 12.]

TU 3/17 Suffrage Won--But at What Cost?
              Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 303-334.
                	      READER: pp. 116-136.
                   Giddings: chaps. 7-8.
      Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 193-204.

TH 3/19 Sexual Politics in the 1920s--Both Ends Against the Middle.
              Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 335-343.
                	      READER: pp. 137-143.
      Giddings: chaps. 9-11.
      Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 205-210.

TU 3/24 Alternative Visions in a Multicultural America.
             Readings--Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 226-241.
              	     Giddings: chaps. 12-13.

TH 3/26 Before the Crash....
             Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 351-406.
     Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 216-226


TU 3/31 The ^”Great^‘(?) Depression.
             Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 407-456.
               	     READER: pp. 144-165.
                               Giddings: chap. 14.
     Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 210-216.

TH  4/2 World War II: "We" Won--or Did "We"? 
             Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 457-493.
     Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 245-260.

TU  4/7 The Not-So-Quiet 1950s.
             Readings^◊Kerber & DeHart: pp. 493-506.
              	      Douglas: Introduction, chaps. 1-2.
                                Giddings: chap. 15.
                	      READER: pp. 166-181.
      Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 261-270.

TH 4/9 The Feminine Mystique, or World of Our (Grand)Mothers.
            Readings--Douglas: chaps. 3-6.
               	    READER: pp. 182-200.
    Giddings: chap. 16.
    Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 270-281.

TU 4/14 The "Emergence" of Modern Feminism.
              Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 507-518.
             	      Douglas: chaps. 7-9.
      Giddings: chap. 17.
      Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 282-303.

TH 4/16 SECOND PAPER DUE.
             Abortion and the Politics of Motherhood.
             Readings--Douglas: chap. 10.
     Kerber & DeHart: pp. 523-537.
     Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 304-314.

TU 4/21 Is "Politics" Enough?
             Readings--Douglas: chap. 11.
                	     READER: pp. 201-212.
     Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 314-327.
                  Giddings: chap. 18.

TH 4/23 "I'm Not a Feminist, But...."
             Readings--Douglas: finish.
              	     Giddings: chaps. 19-20.
     Baxandall & Gordon : pp. 327-341.

TU 4/28 Is There REALLY a "Post-Feminist" America?
              Readings--Kerber & DeHart: pp. 539-560.

NOTE: The final exam is take-home, and will be due on Monday, May 4, at 11 a.m.


HIS/WSP331: Women in American History
Table of Contents:
HIS/WSP331 "READER"

                                             

     Barbara Welter, "The Cult of True Womanhood, 1820-1860" ...................................... 1 
     Gerda Lerner, "The Lady and the Mill Girl: Changes in the Status of Women
     in the Age of Jackson" ............................................................................................ 23 
     Aileen S. Kraditor, "The Woman Question" ........................................................... 34 
     The Fourteenth Amendment (U.S. Constitution) .................................................... 54 
     Ellen Carol DuBois, "The Fourteenth Amendment and the American Equal
     Rights Association" .................................................................................................. 55 
     Letter by Frederick Douglass, 27 September 1868 ................................................ 69 
     Margaret Susan Thompson, "Women and American Catholicism, 1789-1989" ......... 70 
     Margaret Susan Thompson, "Sisterhood and Power: Class, Culture, and
     Ethnicity in the American Convent" ............................................................................ 81 
     Margaret Susan Thompson, "The Validation of Sisterhood: Canonical Status
     and Liberation in the History of American Nuns" .......................................................... 95 
     Emma Goldman, "The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation" ................................... 116 
     Emma Goldman, "Woman Suffrage" ................................................................... 122 
     Emma Goldman, "The Traffic in Women" ............................................................. 129 
     Mary Siegel, "'Crossing the Bar': A 'She' Lawyer in 1917" ...................................... 137 
     G. I. Roundtable, Do You Want Your Wife to Work After the War? ...................... 144 
     Ella Thompson vs. J. C. Aldredge, Louisiana vs. Mary Young
     and Dawn DeBlanc................................................................................................ 166 
     Barbara Gittings, "Founding the New York Daughters of Bilitis: 'It was a long,
     hard journey'" .......................................................................................................... 168 
     Joan Nestle, "The Fem Question" ....................................................................... 182 
     Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique (excerpt) ................................................ 186 
     Anne Koedt, "The Myth of the Vaginal Orgasm" .................................................... 201 
     Jesse L. Jackson, "Don't Forget About Racism" ................................................... 206 
     Naomi Weisstein, "Woman as Nigger" ................................................................ 208 
     General Comments & Suggestions for Writing Papers ....................................... 213