American Women/American Womanhood, Colonial Times to 1870 (HIUS156)

  • Time and place: T/TR, 8-9:20 a.m. in CSB 005
  • Prof. Plant’s office: HSS 4062
  • Office hours: M, 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m.
  • email: rjp@ucsd.edu

Course description: This course examines the history of American women from colonial times through Reconstruction. We will explore women’s changing status and experiences from a range of perspectives — political, economic, legal, social and cultural. Major areas of inquiry will include: the strategies women pursued in attempting to attain political power; their roles as producers and consumers in an evolving economy; cultural attitudes toward female sexuality and motherhood; and the relationship between gender ideologies and divisions based on race and class.

Ground rules: This is a no-electronics course, meaning that the use of laptops or other electronic devices, including phones, is not permitted in class. We all love our computers, but I have found that a significant percentage of students cannot refrain from going online during class. Moreover, studies have shown that even those students who use laptops only for note taking perform worse on conceptual questions—in other words, the most important questions—than students who take notes by hand. (This is because when you take notes on a laptop, you are more inclined to simply transcribe rather than processing information as you write). See: “To Remember a Lecture Better, Take Notes by Hand” 

Course requirements: A short document analysis (15%), a midterm (25%), a 5-page paper (30%), and a final examination (30%). The midterm will consist of a series of short answer questions. The final will have identifications, short answer questions, and two essay questions. Answers to the identifications should be roughly two sentences and should identify the person, event, or term and briefly explain its significance. Short answer questions require a long paragraph response. Essay responses should have a short introductory and concluding paragraphs, and at minimum three supporting paragraphs.

Teaching + Learning Commons offers the following services to help you with your writing:

  • One-on-one writing tutoring by appointment, 6 days/week
  • Supportive, in-depth conversations about writing, the writing process, and writing skills
  • Help with every stage in the writing process
  • Walk-in tutoring (Mon-Thurs 5pm-7pm, and by availability)

Policy regarding late papers: I will accept late papers without penalty only if an extension is requested by email at least seven days in advance of the due date. Otherwise, a letter grade will be deducted for each day beyond the due date.

Grading scale: 97-100 = A+; 94-96 = A; 90-93 = A-; 87-89 = B+; 84-86 = B; 80-83 = B-; 77-79 C+; 74-76 = C; 70-73 = C-; etc. Grading for this class will not be on a scale.

Academic integrity: I take the issue of academic integrity very seriously, and I will report suspected cases of cheating or plagiarism. Indeed, as a UCSD professor, if I suspect evidence of cheating or plagiarism in my class, I am required by the Office of the Academic Integrity Coordinator to file a report. (See the “Instructors’ Responsibility” and “Students’ Responsibility” sections of the University’s Academic Integrity Statement.) Please do not make me take this step.

The problem of plagiarism has become more pervasive since the rise of the internet. Obviously, purchasing a paper or taking a paper (or any part of paper) off of a website violates the principles of academic integrity. But plagiarism is not limited to these flagrant examples. Any time you take a sentence, or even a phrase, from another person’s work without using quotation marks and providing proper attribution, you are plagiarizing. When you write a paper, the best way to avoid plagiarism is to do all the necessary reading, including on-line reading, in advance. Once you begin to write, you should not go on-line again until the paper is done. If you have any questions as to what is or is not plagiarism, please review the attached MLA statement. If you still have questions, please contact me.

Books

  • Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750, New York: Random House, 1991 (orig. 1980)
  • Hannah W. Foster, The Coquette (1797), ed. Cathy N. Davidson, New York: Oxford University Press, 1986
  • Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), ed. L. Maria Child, New York: Dover Publications, 2001
  • Kathryn Kish Sklar, Women’s Rights Emerges within the Anti-Slavery Movement, 1830-1870: A Short History with Documents, Boston: Bedford/St. Martin, 2000
  • Hannah Ropes, Civil War Nurse: The Diary and Letters of Hannah Ropers, ed. John R. Brumgardt (Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1993)

Course reserves: Access through Geisel website. Password: rp156.

Week 1: Introduction

9/28 Why Women’s History?

Week 2: Women’s Status in the British Colonies

10/3 Early Modern Views of Gender and Social Order

10/5 Slavery and Gender in New England and the Chesapeake

  • Lois Green Carr and Lorena S. Walsh, “The Planter’s Wife: The Experience of White Women in Seventeenth-Century Maryland,” William and Mary Quarterly 34.4 (1977): 542-71 (e-reserves)
  • Wendy Warren, “‘The Cause of Her Grief’: The Rape of a Slave in Early New England, The Journal of American History 93:4  (March 2007): 1031-49 (e-reserves)

Week 2: “Heathens” and “Disorderly” Women

10/10 Native Americans and Anglo-American Colonists: Contact and Conflict

  • Theda Perdue, “Columbus Meets Pocahontas in the American South,” Southern Cultures 3.1 (1997): 211-24 (e-reserves)

10/12 Dissenters and Witches

  • Ulrich, Goodwives, 89-105, 167-83, 202-35
  • Reis, “The Devil, the Body, and the Feminine Soul” (e-reserves)

Week 3: Gender, Society and Politics in the Eighteenth Century

10/17 Women and the Social Change in the Eighteenth Century

  • Cornelia Dayton, “Taking the Trade: Abortion and Gender Relations in an 18th-Century New England Village,” William and Mary Quarterly, 48 (1991): 19-49 (e-reserves)

10/19 Women and the American Revolution

WRITING ASSIGNMENT #1 DUE: PRIMARY SOURCE ANALYSIS

Week 4: The Post-Revolutionary Era

10/24 Progress and Reaction

10/26 The Rise of Literacy and the Novel

  • Foster, The Coquette, vii-169

Questions for discussion: The Coquette

Week 5: Biological Reproduction and Women’s Lives

10/31 Pregnancy and Childbearing

  • Lewis and Lockridge, “‘Sally Has Been Sick’” (e-reserves)

11/2 MIDTERM: REMEMBER TO BRING A BLUE BOOK

Week 6: Domesticity and Labor in the Antebellum North and the West

11/7 True Women and Moral Mothers

11/9 Poor Women and Wage Laborers

Week 7: Race and Gender in the South

11/14 The Cherokee, Indian Removal and Women’s Activism

  • Theda Perdue, “Cherokee Women and the Trail of Tears,” Journal of Women’s History 1.1 (1989): 14-30 (e-reserves)
  • Mary Hershberger, “Mobilizing Women, Anticipating Abolition: Anticipating Abolition: The Struggle against Indian Removal in the 1830s,” Journal of American History 86.1 (1999): 15-40 (e-reserves)

11/16 Enslaved Women

  • Jacqueline Jones, “‘My Mother Was Much of a Woman’: Black Women, Work, and the Family under Slavery,” Feminist Studies 8.2 (1982): 235-69 (e-reserves)
  • Annette Gordon-Reed, “Celia’s Case” in Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002), 48-60 (e-reserves)

Week 8: The Female Slave Narrative

11/21 Harriet Jacobs and Women’s History

  • Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, chaps. 1-19 and 41

11/23 NO CLASS

Week 9: Woman’s Rights and Suffrage

11/28 Women and the Anti-Slavery Cause

11/30 The Woman’s Rights Movement

  • Sklar, 1-76, docs. 3-5, 7, 14, 16, 31, 34, 39-43, 49-54

Week 10: The Civil War and Its Aftermath

12/5 The Civil War, Gender Ideology, and Women’s Experiences

WRITING ASSIGNMENT #2 DUE: PAPER

12/7 Postwar Disappointments

Ropes, Civil War Diary of Hannah Ropes, 47-129

12/18, 7 – 10 p.m.: FINAL EXAM: REMEMBER TO BRING A BLUE BOOK