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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: MAMS 541
Course Title: Women and War in the Twentieth Century
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

An examination of the effects of twentieth-century wars and militarization on the lives of American women. The course considers women's experiences on the home front and the changing roles women play as combatants and non-combatants on the front lines of war. The analysis includes World War I, World War II, the Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, Gulf War and other contingency operations. 

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

Instructors should select 2-3 of the texts from the following groups: texts 1-6; texts 7-11; texts 12-15; and texts 16-20. Additional scholarly articles and monographs may be used as supplemental readings.

War and Gender: How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa
By Goldstein, Joshua (Oxford University Press)
The Women and War Reader
By Lorentzen, Lois & Turpin, Jennifer, editors (NYU Press)
By Enloe, Cynthia (University of California Press)
Rape: Weapon of Terror
By Frederick, Sharon et. al. (World Scientific Pub Co Inc)
War's Dirty Secret: Rape, Prostitution and Other Crimes Against Women
By Barstow, Anne Llewellyn, editor (Pilgrim Press)
A Few Good Women: America's Military Women from World War I to the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan
By Monahan, Evelyn (Knopf)
Women War Workers of World War I
By Stone, Gilbert editor (Mansion Field)
Mobilizing Minerva: American Women in the First World War
By Jensen, Kimberly (University of Illinois Press)
Creating G.I. Jane: Sexuality and Power in the Women's Army Corp During World War II
By Meyer, Leisa D. (Columbia University Press)
Legacies of the Comfort Women of World War II
By Stets, Margaret & Oh, Bonnie B.C. editors (East Gate)
Our Mother's War: American Women at Home and at the Front During World War II
By Yellin, Emily (Free Press)
A Defense Weapon Known to Be of Value: Servicewomen of the Korean War Era
By Witt, Linda et. al. (UPNE)
Beyond the Shadow of Camptown: Korean Military Brides in America
By Yuh, Ji-Yeon (NYU Press)
Officer, Nurse, Woman: The Army Nurse Corps in the Vietnam War
By Vuic, Kara D. (Johns Hopkins University Press)
The Morning After: Sexual Politics at the End of the Cold War
By Enloe, Cynthia (University of California Press)
Women in the Barracks: The VMI Case and Equal Rights
By Strum, Philippa (University of Kansas Press)
Band of Sisters: American Women at War in Iraq
By Holmstedt, Kristen (Stackpole Books)
Women in the Line of Fire: What You Should Know About Women in the Military
By Solaro, Erin (Seal Press)
Women in the Military: Flirting with Disaster
By Mitchell, Brian (Regnery Publishing, Inc.)
One of the Guys: Women as Aggressors and Torturers
By McElvey, Tara editor (Seal Press)
Course Objectives
  • To understand the ways in which war and peace are gendered and analyze the impact that this has on women's war experiences.
  • To explain and analyze the evolving roles of women in the U.S. military from auxillary services to active participation in war as armed combatants.
  • To explore the various roles women play during times of war on the home front and the changing definitions of the home front in the absence of total war.
  • To analyze the various ways in which women participate in war and the range of experiences including peace activism, active participation, patriotic support for war efforts, and the victimization of women as a weapon of war.
Measurable Learning Outcomes:
  • Explain the development of the home front during World War I and the myriad ways in which women facilitated the war effort at home.
  • Consider the emergence of women's active and organized participation in military operations of World War I.
  • Analyze the impact of gender on women's experiences on the home front in World War II.
  • Analyze the increasing involvement of women in war activities on the front during World War II.
  • Evaluate changing gendered expectations for women in the post-World War II era.
  • Analyze women's role in the Vietnam War, as participants and protestors, in light of the American feminist movement of the era.
  • Consider the changing role of women within the US military in the Gulf Wars and Afghan war.
  • Explore the ways in which women's experiences of war differ from those of men, particularly in relation to issues of sex and sexuality.
  • Conduct research in primary source documents and produce an analytical research paper of 20-25 pages on a topic related to the theme of the course.
Topical Outline:
  • Women and the World War I experience abroad
  • Women and the home front in World War I
  • Women and the World War II experience abroad
  • Women and the home front in World War II
  • Women and the Korean and Vietnam Wars
  • Changing status of women in the United States military
  • Women and operations other than war
  • Women and the Iraq wars

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 20

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: October 17, 2011
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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