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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Michael L. Goldberg
BIS 463
Bothell Campus

U.S. Women's History

Surveys the place of women in the United States from Native American-European contact to the present. Topics include comparative gender norms, women's politics, gender and slavery, alliances and disagreements among women, women and work, courtship, sexuality, and marriage.

Class description

Winter 2012 There are many ways to examine the history of the United States. In this course, we will put women at the center of the story. The course traces a number of different interrelated themes from the early 19th century to the present: the changing conditions and ideas about unpaid housework and paid work; relations between different groups of women and the way relations of power have shaped these interactions; the ongoing political struggle to gain increased civil and political rights; and changing notions of "proper" roles for women, especially regarding sexuality. We will consider which ideas and assumptions within American culture have changed and which have stayed the same, how these cultural factors have related to the material conditions through which people experience their daily lives, and ultimately, who has gained and who has lost from these changes and continuities.

Student learning goals

Comprehend and assess scholarly historical writing.

Identify historical problems and supporting analytical questions based on the scholarly sources.

Construct historical arguments that respond to the analytical questions and help solve the historical problem.

Improve their ability to learn collaboratively.

Use asynchronous communication software to support the above goals.

Understand the key themes, concepts, problems and content of multicultural Women's History covered in the course and demonstrate that understanding in an analytical argumentative essay.

General method of instruction

This "hybrid" course will combine in-class and online instruction. We will not meet on Thursdays, but will instead participate via an online discussion forum that can be accessed throughout the week at the student's convenience. Students will be posting in two steps, one due Friday night and one due Sunday night. Tuesdays will generally be dedicated to an interactive lecture and presentation of the course materials for the week. Students should expect to complete most if not all of the readings, since informed participation in the discussion forum will be difficult without command of the assigned material. The readings have been trimmed somewhat to allow students to meet this expectation.

Recommended preparation

NOTE: THIS IS A 400-LEVEL COURSE. IAS STUDENTS ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO TAKE INTERDISCIPLINARY INQUIRY BEFORE TAKING THIS COURSE. FIRST-QUARTER STUDENTS SHOULD NOT TAKE THIS COURSE UNLESS THEY ARE CONFIDENT OF THEIR READING, WRITING AND ANALYTICAL SKILLS. A previous course on U.S. history is helpful but not required; any social science course covering women's issues and/or gender is helpful but not required. An ability to be able to read a scholarly (history) article or book and understand the basic argument is expected.

Class assignments and grading

Midterm, a 6-8 page paper drawing together different readings from the course, as well as weekly online structured writing, discussion and group work. Part of the group work grade is based on participation in group. Multiple absences from Tuesday class group work will negatively impact group grade.

1) Analytical argumentative essay (40%) 2) Midterm exam (20%) 3) Online writing and cooperative learning (40%). This grade is based on your "learning trajectory," which emphasizes improvement and how much you can demonstrate having learned by the end of the course. This approach supports students who apply themselves and make use of the feedback.


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.
Course site for Winter 2007
Last Update by Michael L. Goldberg
Date: 10/17/2011