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WS 341B -- History of American Women, 1865-Present
Professor S. E. Cayleff
Spring 2015
Please note: This syllabus is a contract. You are responsible for knowing its contents and
fulfilling the requirements. Please read it carefully and refer to it constantly throughout the
Required Texts
The following books are for sale at KB Books. The mandatory class Reader is for sale at KB
Books (only) for use in this course.
Chopin – The Awakening
DuBois and Dumenil – Through Women’s Eyes (TWE), 2nd Edition
Ehrenreich and English – For Her Own Good
Houston – Farewell to Manzanar
Plath – The Bell Jar
Yezierska – Bread Givers
Learning Outcomes
By taking this course on “Women in American History” you will be able to:
Situate women’s experiences within specific eras in American history
Bring a feminist and critical gendered analysis to human experience
Differentiate amongst the experiences of diverse women as their positions are affected by
race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, social class and so on.
Understand the cultural institutions that determine the material circumstances of women’s
lives (religion, law, medicine and so on...)
Analyze how cultural and gendered norms and ideals impact diverse women’s lives (e.g.
patriarchy, heteronormativity, shifting expectations of women’s “place” in the private and
public realms and soon.
Understand ways in which women have resisted and rebelled against these cultural
institutions and norms
See how women have formed separate institutions, ways of being and communities
within these historical eras
Advance your critical thinking and writing skills
Enhance your ability to discern and analyze present-day gendered relations
This course fulfills the American Institutions/G.E. requirement. Students are expected to think
critically about the readings and to come to class prepared to have that knowledge supplemented
by lecture material. On discussion/slide/film days, students will be asked to critically analyze a
variety of the ideas, issues and themes that emerge in the readings and lecture material.
Writing skills:
SDSU Writing Center
At the discretion of the professor, you may be asked to go to the Student Writing Center at
SDSU. This is a wonderful place where you can learn writing skills, how to make an argument,
and be a successful student. If asked to do so, you can make an appointment by emailing them at You will be asked to bring proof when your session has been
completed. If no proof is required, meaning that you did not follow through on the instructions,
this will negatively impact your grade.
The Writing Center is a free resource open to any SDSU faculty, staff, or student. The Writing
Center staff consists of peer (student) tutors who assist students in understanding writing
assignments and criteria and can help students with any stage of the writing process, from
brainstorming topics to revision of rough drafts. The Writing Center’s purpose is to teach writers
strategies to navigate complex situations for writing, both in and outside of the University. To
make an appointment, please visit the Writing Center’s webpage,
By accessing the webpage, students can schedule tutoring appointments online at their
convenience, or they can simply stop by for a drop-in appointment. The Writing Center is
located in the Dome, LLA 1103, next to the circulation desk.
Academic Misconduct and Plagiarism:
Academic Misconduct: Cheating
Cheating is not tolerated in this class. Claiming that you “did not know” is not a reasonable
Section 41301 of Title V of the California Code of Regulations defines academic misconduct as
“Cheating or plagiarism in connection with an academic program at a campus.” According to
the SDSU Center for Student Rights and Responsibilities, “Examples of cheating would include
using unauthorized notes or study guides during an exam, unauthorized collaboration on
coursework, stealing course examinations or materials, falsifying records or data, and
intentionally assisting another individual in any of the above.” Some examples of plagiarism
include submitting work that was written by someone else or using someone else’s ideas (verbal
or written) without referencing that source in a footnote or bibliography. When using exact
quotes, be sure put these quotes within quotation marks.
The University of Indiana also has very helpful writing hints for students, including some on
how to cite sources. Please visit for more
Students with Disabilities: If you are a student with a disability and believe you will need
accommodations for this class, it is your responsibility to contact Student Disability Services at
(619) 594-6473. To avoid any delay in the receipt of your accommodations, you should contact
Student Disability Services as soon as possible. Please note that accommodations are not
retroactive, and that I cannot provide accommodations based upon disability until I have received
an accommodation letter from Student Disability Services.
Special Circumstances:
Religious holidays: Anticipated absences for religious holidays must be cleared with the graduate
assistant a minimum of ten days in advance.
•SDSU’s Counseling and Psychological Services: 619-594-5220
•Family Justice Center: 619-533-6000
•San Diego Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault 24-hour Hotline: 1-888-DVLINKS or 1-888-3854657
Women's Studies Major or Minor:
Thinking about a Major or Minor in Women's Studies? The program offers exciting courses, is
committed to women's issues and social justice, and is adaptable to your interests and concerns.
For more information
Contact: Dr. Doreen Mattingly Undergraduate Advisor.
How to Read for this Course:
Read the introductions and conclusions of the essays or books first and read them closely. When
you read, read for argument. Determine the author's main themes and main argument. The
editors of your books give you these in the chapter introductions, but you will learn how to
extract this yourself as you read. Keep the weekly questions in mind as you read: these help you
extract the most important ideas.
Total: 1000 points (plus extra credit points if applicable)
-Attendance and discussion participation
-Historical novel essay, 6 pages (based on one novel you select)
-Primary Source Analysis
-Two community involvement events
Annotated bibliography
This includes a 7 page annotated bibliography and an oral presentation:
(This is NOT a standard narrative paper)
---OR--- Participation in one of the Community-Based Service Learning internships, which
includes a journal, final reflection paper and an oral presentation
•ESSAY: One 6 page analytic essay on ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THREE CHOICES:
Awakening/Breadgivers (due 3/3); Farewell to Manzanar (due 3/24) or Bell Jar (due 3/26).
Historical Method: Primary and Secondary sources:
 A primary source is something from the era. This is a source that has not yet been
interpreted by a scholar or anyone else. It can be a diary entry, demographic table from a
census, medical record, “expert’s” writing at that time, a document from radical thinkers,
poem, music, etc.
 A secondary source is something written by someone who has already interpreted the
original (primary) materials. It is academic scholarship, etc.
Community Involvements and Reflective Essays: 100
You must turn in your reflective essay within one week of the events. No late submissions
will be accepted.
The Women's Studies Department encourages students to explore the connections between
theory and activism by offering students the option to fulfill a percentage of their course
requirements through participation in community events relevant to Women's Studies. This
course requires that you attend TWO such events (to be announced throughout the semester).
After you attend an event you are asked to write a 3-4 page double spaced Reflective Essay.
-----------------------------------------------------------------FINAL PROJECT OPTIONS
All final papers and journals (if you are doing community activism) are due 5/7 at 11:00.
No extensions.
1) Annotated Bibliography
2) Community Based Service Learning internship
Each student will select a topic they think would be a valuable supplement to the existing lecture
material in WS341B. You will locate FOUR secondary (interpretive) and TWO primary sources
("from the era"/first-person accounts). One primary source can be your individual primary source
analysis if it fits with the topic of your paper. No secondary sources can be from the Internet.
Please follow this rule, as points will be deducted otherwise.
Preference will be given to Women's Studies majors and minors.
Students may apply to participate in one of five Community Service Learning internships. If
selected, you are exonerated from the 7 page annotated bibliography assignment. You must be
able to attend one of two scheduled training sessions. You must log 20 hours working with one
of the following, keep a weekly journal, and write a 7 page reflective essay (prompt to be
provided). Both the journal and the essay must be turned in for you to receive full credit.
Your contribution/attendance/efforts will be calculated by your on-site supervisor).
Details will be given the second week of class.
These will be offered throughout the semester. Students may get credit for a maximum of two.
These can only be done AFTER the community engagement assignment is fulfilled.
PROMPT: Please address the following prompt when writing your 2 page reflection: 1) How
did this event further your knowledge about information we have learned in our class? 2) What
information was new to you? (Please give specifics) 3) What questions did you come away with?
How inclusive of diversity was this presentation, event, etc.? How did this event demonstrate
This is the only acceptable format for a response.
2/26 – All primary source analyses are due (EVERYONE must do this)
3/3 – Awakening/Breadgivers essay due (CHOICE)
3/12 Annotated bibliography proposal due (if you are doing CBSL you are exonerated from this)
3/24 – Farewell to Manzanar essay due (CHOICE)
3/26 –The Bell Jar essay due (CHOICE)
4/14 –Students receive list of when they will give their final oral presentation (EVERYONE)
4/23 – Exam study guide distributed
4/28 –Exam
May 7All annotated bibliographies and community-service learning reflections are due by 11:00. No
electronic submissions will be accepted.
April 30 and May I, May 5, May 7, and possibly May 12: Student presentations
CLASS) IT IS LATE. If you cannot present on your scheduled day, we cannot reschedule you;
it will result in a zero for that portion of your grade.
(Note: students are expected to come to class having completed the readings that appear for that
date and ready to participate productively in discussion.)
1/22 Introduction: no readings required for the first class
What is Women’s History? How do its methods differ from “traditional” history?
Unit One: The 19th Century Legacy: Woman's Culture and Transforming the Public Sphere
1/27 19th Century Legacy: Limitations, Rewards and Widening HorizonsTWE:
“Introduction for Students” pp. xxvii-xxxv; “Late Nineteenth-Century Immigration…” pp. 403421.
Unit Two: The New Woman and the Progressive Era
1/29 The Progressive Era and the "New Woman" Defined: The Settlement House
Ehrenreich and English, For Her Own Good, Chapter 4.
** Begin reading The Awakening** Everyone must read this novel whether you choose to write
this essay or not.
2/3 Urban Working Women: Immigrant Women and Their Families
TWE: “Jacob Riis’s Photographs,” pp. 434-440; “Female Wage Labor and the Triumph of
Industrial Capitalism.” pp.337-342; “The Female Labor Force,” pp. 455-462.
2/5 Women's Strikes and Trade Unions; Socialist Women
***Continue reading The Awakening
TWE: “Parades, Picketing…”pp. 490 through the document on Lawrence, Mass.
Ehrenreich and English, For Her Own Good, Chapter 6.
2/10 Women's Organizations: Race and Class Dimensions, 1890-1940
TWE: “The Female Dominion,” pp. 462-469; “Women’s Networks…” pp. 563-569; Visuals,
“Women in Public Space: Uncle Sam Wants You,” pp. 498-502; and “Women’s Networks in the
New Deal,” pp. 563-569.
2/12 Race Activism:
TWE: “African –American Women and the Great Migration,” pp. 509-516; Ida B. Wells, “Race
Woman,” pp. 358-362.
2/17 “Restlessness” and the Middle Class
Discussion: Chopin, The Awakening
Ehrenreich and English, For Her Own Good, “Microbes and the Manufacture of Housework,”
Chapter 5.
**Begin reading: Yezierska, Bread Givers** Everyone must read this novel whether you choose
to write this essay or not.
2/19 New Morality and Feminism: Youth, Flappers and the New “Sex Freedom”
All in the READER: D’Emilio & Freedman, “Morals and Manners in the 1920s;” “Singing the
Blues” lyrics; Peiss, “Charity Girls;” Blee, “The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana.”
2/24 DISCUSSION: Breadgivers
The Birth Control Movement: Margaret Sanger and Reproductive Freedom
TWE: “Modernizing Womanhood,” pp. 503-507; and “Prosperity Decade: The 1920s,” pp. 521535.
Unit Three: Social Class, Ethnicity and Women’s Opportunities and Limitations
3/3 Essay on The Awakening and The Breadgivers due today; prompt will be in your
possession prior to this date
3/3 (CONTINUED) Cross-Class Solidarity: The Struggle to Become Full Citizens by
Gaining the Vote
Film: Iron Jawed Angels (partial)
TWE: “Votes for Women” pp. 469-475; and Visuals, pp. 490-498.
Film: conclude Iron Jawed Angels
3/10 Women in the Great Depression
TWE: “African American Women and the Great Migration,” pp. 509-516; “Depression Decade,”
pp. 535-545.
Unit Four: Individual Milestones and Cultural Demand: Opportunities for Women at MidCentury
3/12 DISCUSSION: Farewell to Manzanar (40 minutes)
“Babe” Didrikson Zaharias: The Modern Woman Personified; Conflict and Opportunity
TWE: “Young Women Speak Out…” pp. 556-562; Visual Sources
3/17 Women and World War II
FILM: The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter
TWE: “Working for Victory: Women and War,” pp. 1941-1945, pp. 545-555;
3/19 The 1950s Toll: A brief insight into “The Feminine Mystique”
DISCUSSION: S. Plath, The Bell Jar
TWE: “The Limits of the Feminine Mystique,” p. 626
Film: Making Sense of the Sixties
Ehrenreich and English, “Motherhood as Pathology,” For Her Own Good, Chapter 7.
TWE: “Family Culture and Gender Roles”
3/26 The 1960s and Cultural Revolution
Film: Seeds of the Sixties
Ehrenreich and English, “The Fall of the Experts,” For Her Own Good, 295-340.
TWE: Visual Sources, “Television’s Prescriptions for Women,” pp. 628-642; “Women's
Liberation and the Sixties Revolution” pp. 670-674.
4/7 Civil Rights and the New Left
TWE: “A Mass Movement for Civil Rights,” pp. 610-622; 653-658
4/9 Women's Liberation: The Problems and Potential for Unity:
TWE: “The Impact of Feminism” pp. 685-694; and “Women and Public Policy,” pp. 694-700.
4/14 Film: Chicano Park
READER: Ruiz, “Out of the Shadows.”
Unit Six: Critical Issues since the Women’s Liberation Movement: Diversity and Struggle
4/16 Daughters of the Earth: Native American Women; the Mashpee Wampanoag
Language reclamation project
Film: We are Still Here
Green, “Women in American Indian Society.” Chapter 7.
4/21 Women-Committed Women: Lesbian Life and Struggles
LGBTQI Speakers
READER: Davis and Kennedy, “Oral History…Lesbian Community,” Faderman, “Lesbians in
the ‘80s”
4/23 Challenges in the 21st Century
Reader: Articles on women’s health- “Women Are Different;” “Minorities Are Underserved,”
“Dying to Win;” and “Who Isn’t on a Diet” Women and Work: Includes Discussion of Female
Headed Households
TWE: “Women's Lives in Modern America and the World” pp. 754-762 and “Feminist Revival
of the 1990s,” pp. 766-777.
4/28 Final Exam
Student presentations: instructions already distributed
May 5, 7 8 and possibly 12th Student presentations: