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

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Shirley J. Yee
GWSS 383
Seattle Campus

Social History of American Women to 1890

A multi-racial, multicultural study of women in the United States from the seventeenth century to 1890 emphasizing women's unpaid work, participation in the paid labor force, charitable and reform activities, and nineteenth century social movements. Uses primary materials such as diaries, letters, speeches, and artifacts. Offered: jointly with HSTAA 373; W.

Class description

This course analyzes major themes in the history of women in North America from the 17th century to the about 1900. The themes we will explore include the development of conceptions of womanhood, family and community formation, social activism, education, slavery, war, and migration.

The questions we will address throughout the quarter include but are not limited to the following: 1) How have conceptions of gender, race, ethnicity, and class shaped the daily realities of women’s lives at specific historical moments?

2) How have writings by and about women shaped what we “know” about women, womanhood, and femininity?

3) In what ways can we compare and contrast the historical experiences of men and women and between groups of women?

Student learning goals

Learn the ways in which assumptions of race, gender, class, and nation are implicated in “objective” documents, such as the census.

• Learn the ways in which assumptions of race, gender, class, and nation are implicated in “objective” documents, such as the census.

• Develop competency in basic historical research using primary and secondary sources

• Sharpen critical analytical skills in the evaluation of assigned texts and primary documents

Sharpen effective writing and speaking skills

Develop competency in basic historical research using primary and secondary sources

Sharpen critical analytical skills in the evaluation of assigned texts and primary documents

General method of instruction

The course is designed as a lecture course that integrates class discussions of the assigned readings

Recommended preparation

GWSS 200 or HSTAA 101

Class assignments and grading

In-class essay midterm and final exams; analysis of historical web sites, one 12-15-page research paper

Successful completion of all written assignments & exams and active class participation


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 Shirley J. Yee
Date: 08/23/2012