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History 375 Women’s Social and Political Movements

History 375   Spring 2013   Barbara Steinson     Wednesday 12:30 to 3:20
(This class will NOT be offered in AY 2013-2014)

Women’s Social and Political Movements explores a variety of women’s reform efforts in the United States from the early Nineteenth through the Twentieth Century. We will examine how historically invisible ordinary women of different races and classes undertake extraordinary tasks and serve as powerful  agents of social and political change.    Most women’s activism had progressive goals, but we will also consider women’s roles in reactionary movements.    Similar to scholarship on the Civil Rights Movement, we will examine  myriad ways in which local movements affected national movements. Our study will include at least two “famous” women: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Ella Baker. These women had diverse life experiences and goals, but each constructed a public persona, struggled against the sexual caste system, and influenced the course of history.

The semi-final/potential reading list for this course reflects the growth of the field of women’s history in the recent decades. None of these materials were available prior to the late 1990s, and many have been published in the past five years.      
Required readings will be drawn from the following list (final choices TBA):
Lori D. Ginzberg, Elizabeth Cady Stanton: An American Life (2009)
Nan Enstad, Ladies of Labor, Girls of Adventure: Working Women, Popular Culture, and  Labor Politics at the Turn of the Twentieth Century  (1999)
Barbara Ransby, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement (2003)
Leslie Reagan, When Abortion was a Crime: Women, Medicine and the Law in the United States, 1867-1973 (2000)
Kim Nielsen, Un-American Womanhood: Antiradicalism, Antifeminism and the First Red Scare (2001)
Danielle McGuire,  The Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance—a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power (Knopf hardback 2010, paperback edition, 2011)
Nancy Hewitt (ed) No Permanent Waves: Recasting Histories of U.S. Feminism (2010)
Beatrix Hofman,  Health Care for SOME:  Rights and Rationing in the United States since 1930s (2012)
We will also use the Women and Social Movements, United States Website
For more information, contact Barbara Steinson,