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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 373
Course Title: *Women and Gender in American History
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

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):

Junior standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Offered odd Spring.

Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

Most current editions of the following:

- Choose one MAIN TEXT from Texts 1-3 below *
- Choose one Primary Source Reader from Texts 4-6 below
- Choose one text from Texts 7-12 below

* Note:  If Text 1 is selected, a reader is not required because the reader is included in the main text.

Additional primary and secondary sources and appropriate scholarly monographs may be assigned as well.

Through Women's Eyes: An American History with Documents by DuBois & Dumenil
By DuBois & Dumenil
Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT
Inventing the American Woman: An Inclusive History, Volume 1: To 1877 and Volume 2: Since 1877
By Riley
Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT
Women and the Making of America
By Buhle, Murphy & Gerhard
Category/Comments - MAIN TEXT
Documents Collection for Women and the Making of America
By Buhle
Category/Comments - Primary Source Reader
Root of Bitterness: Documents of the Social History of American Women
By Cott
Major Problems in American Women's History
By Norton and Alexander
Category/Comments - Primary Source Reader
Women and Power in American History
By Sklar and Dublin
Category/Comments - Monograph
A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America
By Hine
Category/Comments - Monograph
Sifters: Native American Women's Lives
By Perdue
Category/Comments - Monograph
No Constitutional Right to Be Ladies: Women and the Obligations of Citizenship
By Kerber
Category/Comments - Monograph
Feminism and History
By Scott
Category/Comments - Monograph
The Majority Finds its Past: Placing Women in History
By Lerner
Course Objectives
  • To understand the impact of gender on the development of American society, politics, and economics.
  • To study gender as a system of power relations that manifests itself in many realms of American history.
  • To inquire into women's difference based on race, class, and other factors.
  • To understand how issues of class, race and nation shaped men's and women's lives and how gender differentiates historical experiences.
  • To understand gender relations within the context of men's and women's lives as individuals, as members of groups, and within the larger context of American history.
Measurable Learning
  • Describe major themes within American women's history.
  • Identify and characterize significant historical factors which contribute to patterns of change and continuity.
  • Analyze primary documents within a historical framework.
  • Define and explain the idea of social constructions of gender.
  • Recognize the multiplicity of gendered experiences in American history and analyze the impact that race and class made on women's individual and group experiences.
  • Describe the concept of "separate spheres" in its historical development, and its subsequent effects upon social structure.
  • Describe and analyze the historical lives of Native American women and the changes wrought by contact with European and American society.
  • Describe and analyze the historical lives of African American women and the impact of slavery and race on their experiences.
  • Define and explain the politics of power as it relates to separate spheres and gender constructions.
  • Define and explain the variety of women's movements and the changes they created in American society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
Topical Outline:
  • Gender and the politics of history
  • Social construction of gender
  • Native American women's lives prior to contact with Europeans
  • Republican motherhood
  • The separation of spheres and the cult of domesticity
  • The slave experience for African and African American women
  • Industrialization and gendered work
  • Women and reform movements
  • Gender and narratives of political legitimacy
  • Women and the war experience
  • Gender and race
  • Gender and class
  • Twentieth-century American women's movements


Culminating Experience Statement:

Material from this course may be tested on the Major Field Test (MFT) administered during the Culminating Experience course for the degree. 
During this course the ETS Proficiency Profile may be administered.  This 40-minute standardized test measures learning in general education courses.  The results of the tests are used by faculty to improve the general education curriculum at the College.


Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Tonia Compton Date: September 21, 2009
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 objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. 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.

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