This course examines the history of women in the United States from the colonial era to the present. This course examines gender as a system of power relations that has been integral to the shaping of American politics and public policy and to the development of the American economy. The class explores the meaning of women's status across cultures and historical periods; examines how women have attempted to define, maintain, or gain power in changing historical circumstances; identifies common dilemmas and struggles faced by women; and considers how changing definitions of gender have intersected with ideas about race and ethnicity throughout American history. Cross-listed as WMST 373. Prerequisite: Junior standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):
Course Rotation for Day Program:
Offered odd Spring.
Most current editions of the following:
The required text must be assigned and supplemented with a primary documents collection. Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well.
Choose one textbook from the following list:
Additional primary and secondary sources and appropriate scholarly monographs may be assigned as well.
Other appropriate scholarly monographs may be assigned.
Through Women's Eyes: An American History with Documents by DuBois & Dumenil
By DuBois & Dumenil Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT Recommended
Inventing the American Woman: An Inclusive History, Volume 1: To 1877 and Volume 2: Since 1877
By Riley Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT Recommended
Women and the Making of America
By Buhle, Murphy & Gerhard Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT Recommended
Documents Collection for Women and the Making of America
By Buhle Category/Comments - Primary Source Reader Recommended
Root of Bitterness: Documents of the Social History of American Women
By Cott Category/Comments - Primary Source Reader Recommended
Major Problems in American Women's History
By Norton and Alexander Category/Comments - Primary Source Reader Recommended
Women and Power in American History
By Sklar and Dublin Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America
By Hine Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
Sifters: Native American Women's Lives
By Perdue Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship
By Kerber Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
Feminism and History
By Scott Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
The Majority Finds its Past: Placing Women in History
By Lerner Category/Comments - Monograph Recommended
Course Learning Outcomes
Explain the impact of gender on the development of American society, politics, and economics using a range of primary sources.
Identify and utilize a range of secondary sources in an analysis of women’s history.
Explain gender as a social construct and how gender differentiates historical experiences.
Explain the intersectionality of race, class, and gender and how it shapes men’s and women’s experiences.
Analyze gender relations within the context of men’s and women’s lives as individuals, as members of groups.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
Because the course represents an upper-level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pp.; the course writing assignments should total 5000 words.
Gender and the politics of history
Social construction of gender
Native American women’s lives prior to contact with Europeans
The separation of spheres and the cult of domesticity
The slave experience for African and African American women
Industrialization and gendered work
Women and nineteenth-century reform movements
The quest for woman suffrage
Gender and narratives of political legitimacy
Women and the war experience
Gender and race
Gender and class
Second and Third Wave feminism
Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by
the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this
course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section.
However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's
subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.