Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Uta G. Poiger
HIST 388
Seattle Campus

Colloquium: Introduction to History

Introduction to the discipline of history for new or prospective majors. Emphasizes the basic skills of reading, analysis, and communication (both verbal and written) that are central to the historian's craft. Each seminar discusses a different subject or problem.

Class description


The Modern Girl appeared around the world in cities from Tokyo to Berlin, Beijing to Bombay, Johannesburg to New York City in the early to mid twentieth century. Modern Girls were known by a variety of names including flappers, garçonnes, moga, modeng xiaojie, schoolgirls, vamps, and neue Frauen. By wearing provocative fashions, putting on make-up, pursuing romantic love, and smoking packaged cigarettes, Modern Girls appeared to disregard the roles of dutiful daughter, wife, and mother. Contemporaries were concerned that Modern Girls worked for wages outside their familial household. Numerous critics worried whether Modern Girls were overly sexual, manipulated by consumer culture, and uninterested in politics. This seminar is designed to introduce new and prospective history majors to the critical skills and perspectives integral to reading, researching, and interpreting history. We will explore important forces that shaped modernity and modern girls - and were also shaped by them -including advertising, fashion, and consumer culture; social science research; cinema and fiction; and political manifestos. We will learn about and compare images of the modern girl in different parts of the world. During the quarter, we will analyze a variety of texts by historians, and a range of documents concerning modern girls, including social commentary, novels, and films. Through writing assignments and library work, students will also learn how to develop a proposal for a longer research paper. The course is linked to a faculty research project on the same topic. For more information, on the project, see

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

Weekly readings and discussions; 4 response papers to reading (1-2 pages); book review; research paper prospectus.

The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Uta G. Poiger
Date: 03/06/2004