American Women/American Womanhood, 1870-present

HIUS157, Spring 2017

Prof. Rebecca Jo Plant

Class time: T/TR 12:30-1:50 p.m.
Room: PCYNH 120

Office hours: 9-11 a.m. Thurdays, HSS 4062

Course description: This course examines the history of women in the United States from roughly 1870 to the present. We will explore the status and experiences of diverse groups of American women from a range of perspectives — social, cultural, political, economic and legal. A central concern will be the relationship between gender ideologies and divisions based on class and race within America society. Major areas of inquiry will include: strategies that women have employed to attain political influence and power; changing conceptions of women’s rights and duties as citizens; women’s roles as producers and consumers in an industrial and post-industrial economy; and attitudes and policies that have served to regulate female sexuality, reproduction and motherhood.

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.”

Academic integrity: I take the issue of academic integrity very seriously and will report all suspected cases of cheating or plagiarism. Indeed, as a UCSD professor, I am required by the Office of the Academic Integrity Coordinator to file a report if I suspected such activity has occurred. Please do not make me take this step. (See the “Instructors’ Responsibility” and “Students’ Responsibility” sections of the University’s Academic Integrity Statement.) Plagiarism is not limited to the most flagrant examples of cutting and pasting material from the web. 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 online reading, before you begin to write. Once you start, you should not go online 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.

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)

Late paper policy: 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.

Reading: Please have the day’s reading completed before you come to class. All course readings either have active links below or can be accessed through e-reserves. Unless you do all of your reading on-campus, you must establish a connection to the library’s proxy server — please do this immediately. The people at the library will help you if you encounter problems.

Course requirements:  

  • Short writing assignment (3-5 pages) (25%).
  • In-class midterm (25%). The midterm will consist of a series of mini essay questions. (Answers consist of a long paragraph or two.)
  • Final examination OR final paper (5-6 pages) (35%). 
  • In-class quizzes (15%; 5% each). This is essentially your attendance/participation grade. Over the course of the quarter, we will have a total of 4 quizzes on the weekly reading. At the end of the quarter, I will take your top 3 quizzes and disregard the lowest. As with my no-electronics policy, my use of quizzes has a two-fold purpose. First, I of course want to reward people for coming to class and doing the reading. But I also want to help you master the material and prepare for the final, and it turns out that being tested significantly enhances people’s ability to remember material that they study. (See “How Tests Make Us Smarter.”)

Grading: 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.

Required Books

  • Jacqueline Jones Royster, ed., Southern Horrors and Other Writings: The Anti-Lynching Campaign of Ida B. Wells, 1892-1900, Boston: Bedford Books, 1997
  • Leisa Meyer, Creating GI Jane: Sexuality and Power in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps during World War II, New York: Columbia Press, 1996
  • Jade Snow Wong, Fifth Chinese Daughter, University of Washington, 2000 (orig. 1950)
  • Allison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 2005

WEEKLY SCHEDULE

Week 1: Gender Ideology in the Gilded Age

April 4: Introductions and Overview

April 6: Debates over Access to Higher Education

Week 2: Women and Progressive Era Reform

April 11: Industrialization, Immigration, and Progressive Era Reformers

In class: View segment of New York: A Documentary

April 13: Women and the Anti-Lynching Campaign in Jim Crow America

  • Royster, ed. Southern Horrors and Other Writings, 14-19, 27-41, 50-72, 75-82, 117-30, 138-48

Week 3: Women and Politics: The Fight for Suffrage and Its Aftermath

April 18: Feminism and the Suffrage Movement

April 20: Women’s Politics in the 1920s

Week 4: Reproduction, Motherhood and Modernity: 1920s and 1930s

April 25: The Birth Control Movement 

April 27: Gender and the Rise of Consumer Culture in the 1920s

Short writing assignment due in class or in my mailbox by 4 p.m., 5th floor HSS

Week 5: The Depression, the New Deal, and Gender Roles

May 2: Familial Life and State Policies in the 1930s

  • Elaine Abelson, “Women Who Have No Men to Work for Them: Gender and Homelessness in the Great Depression, 1930-34,” Feminist Studies 29: 1 (Spring 2003), 104-27 (dropbox)
  • Annelise Orleck, “‘We Are That Mythical Thing Called the Public’: Militant Housewives during the Great Depression,” Feminist Studies 19 (1993): 147-72 (dropbox)

In class: View segment of Eleanor Roosevelt

May 4: Midterm (Please be sure to bring a blue book.)

Week 6: World War II: A Watershed?

May 9: Women’s Experiences and Gender Ideology during World War

  • Meyer, Creating GI Jane, 11-70, 100-21

May 11:  Women, the Left, and Anti-Communism in Cold War America

Week 7: Race and Family in the Midcentury U.S.

May 16:  Sexual Politics in Cold War America

  • Jade Snow Wong, Fifth Chinese Daughter

May 18: Women in the Civil Rights Movement

Week 8: Feminist Movements in the 1960s and 1970s

May 23: Reemergence of Feminism

May  25: The Rise of the New Right: The Backlash Against the ERA and Abortion Rights

Week 9: Progress and Reaction: Work and Sexual Politics, 1970s-1990s

May 30: Women and a Changing Workplace

  • Dorothy Sue Cobble, “‘A Spontaneous Loss of Enthusiasm’: Workplace Feminism and the Transformation of Women’s Service Jobs in the 1970s,” International Labor and Working Class History 56 (1999): 23-44 (dropbox)
  • Kimberley Morgan, “A Child of the Sixties: The Great Society, the New Right, and the Politics of Federal Care,” Journal of Policy History 13:2 (2001): 215-50 (dropbox)
  • View movie trailer for “Nine to Five” (1980) on YouTube

June 1: NO CLASS

Week 10: Contemporary Issues, Unresolved Conflicts 

June 6: Gay rights, queer identities

  • Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

June 8: American Women in the 21st Century

“Clinton’s Most Powerful Ad Yet Pits Trump’s Misogyny Against Young Women,” Vanity Fair, September 15, 2016

“Behind Trump’s Victory: Divisions by Race, Gender, Education,” Pew Research Center, November 9, 2016

Michelle Goldberg, “2016 Was the Year the Feminist Bubble Burst,” Slate

Luke O’Neil, “Trump Voters Live in a Bubble, Too,” Esquire, January 19, 2017

Oral history project due in class or in my mailbox by 4 p.m., 6th floor HSS

June 12, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.:  FINAL (Remember to bring a blue book)