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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Uta G. Poiger
HIST 498
Seattle Campus

Colloquium in History

Each seminar examines a different subject or problem. A quarterly list of the seminars and their instructors is available in the Department of History undergraduate advising office.

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, garÁonnes, 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 capstone seminar will focus on creating original research essays that will engage primary and secondary sources to make historical arguments. We will explore important forces that shaped modernity and modern girls - and were also shaped by them -including advertising; fashion and cosmetics; social science research; cinema and fiction; and political manifestos. We will compare images of the modern girl from different parts of the world in the 20th century. We will discuss the range of political uses to which consumer culture has been put by modern girls and those who have commented on them. Students will complete three 2-paragraph response papers to common readings, two 3-page research and writing assignments, and write EITHER two six-page research papers OR a 13-page research paper. The latter option may be particularly attractive for students who have previously developed a research prospectus related to the Modern Girl in HIST388.

Course materials will include a mix of book chapters, journal articles, and a range of primary sources.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Participation 20% Two short papers 30% Two 6-page or one 13-page research paper 50%

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: 01/22/2006