Studies: Women in American Intellectual History of the Twentieth Century

Course Description - The course is an exploration of the history of American women intellectuals and their legacy. By intellectual history, I mean the history of ideas, the life-cycles of ideas, and the inquiry of why some ideas work (i.e. are enacted into policy, or embraced buy the public at large) and why some don't. This course is reading intensive, and it demands a familiarity with major events in American history of the twentieth century, as well as historical theories and structures. The course's reading list stems from a diverse source of arguments, and the authors come from equally varied backgrounds in American society. We will discuss the content and merit of these ideas, as a part of an investigation of why they succeeded or failed.

Course requirements - two papers, one five to six page paper on any issue presented in the readings; and one eight-to-ten page paper any issue of your choice which directly relates to women in American intellectual history. Since much of the reading comprises one or two chapters from several works, I will reserve as many copies as possible in the library.

Week 1 - Organization and Introduction: On Intellectual History; the New Woman of the 20th Century. Rosalind Rosenberg, Divided Lives: American Women in the
Twentieth Century , Chapter 1 (hereafter Divided Lives)

Week 2 - The 1910s - Womanhood and Femininity Before WWI; Heterodoxy :Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Women and Economics Henrietta Rodman: An Interview with a Feminist Linda Gordon, Birth Control and Social Revolution, from Women¦s Body, Women¦s Rights.

Week 3 - The Suffragists and Activists, 1914-1920 Documentary viewing, One Woman-One Vote; Nancy Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism, Chapter 6-7,

Week 4 - The 1920s: After WWI and Suffrage; the Harlem Renaissance; Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

Week 5 - The 1930s: Depression and Cultural Relativism Margaret Mead, Sex and Temperament

Week 6 - The 1940s: WWII Documentary viewing, Rosie the Riveter; 5-7 Page paper due

Week 7 - The 1950s, Post War and the Pull toward Conformity Betty Friedan, Excerpt from It Changed My Life, pp241-244; Charlotte Perkins Gilman, The Yellow
Wallpaper; Lundberg and Farhnam, Modern Woman: The Lost Sex (excerpts to be announced)

Week 8 - The 1960s, Part 1: Radical Calls and Responses Shulamith Firestone, The Dialectic of Sex, Chapter 1 and Conclusion; Mary Mebane, Mary, Wayfarer,

Week 9 - The 1960s, Part 2: The Response Grows Louder Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, Chapter 1, 13_Now Statement of Purpose_

Week 10 - The 1970s: the Diverging Paths of Feminism Combahee River Collective, _A Black Feminist Statement_; Gloria Steinem, _If Men Could Menstruate; Mary Crow Dog, Lakota Woman, Chapters 8,16, and Epilogue; Elaine Brown, A Taste of Power, Chapter 1

Week 11 - The 1980s: Regrouping towards Empowerment bell hooks, Feminist Theory from Margin to Center, Chapter 2

Week 12 - The 1990s, The Current Period Susan Faludi, Backlash, Chapter 9 and 10;Camille Paglia, Vamps and Tramps (excerpts to be announced)

Week 13 - Conclusion