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U.S. Women's History

HST 386  Women in the United States                           
Professor Kuhl  
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh                                  
Office:  Clow Faculty 307                    
Fall 2007                                                                      
Office Hours:  Tues/Thurs 1-2



This course will explore women as historical actors in the development of the United States.  We will examine how women of different races and ethnicities were integral to the goals, actions, and fabric of our country.  Particular attention will be paid to women’s relationship to power and social activism, especially the recurring connection between African American liberation movements and women’s rights movements.



Available at the Campus Bookstore

  • Ellen Carol DuBois, ed.  Through Women’s Eyes:  An American History with Documents  hereafter referred to as DB
  • Ruth Rosen  The World Split Open
  • various document projects from the Women and Social Movements website at hereafter referred to as WASM
  • E-reserve readings listed by syllabus



  • Students are expected to attend class.  See attendance policy for more details.
  • Students should complete the day’s reading before class, and come prepared to discuss it.
  • There will be one 3-5 page paper on representations of women.
  • There will be one 3-5 page paper on scholarly comparison.
  • There will be one 6-8 page paper on an archive project.
  • There will be one project, either a presentation or a debate.
  • There will be one midterm and one final exam.
  • Late work will be docked one letter grade per day, with missing work factored as a zero.



Attendance records will be kept in this class.  I understand that occasionally uncontrollable events happen, and am willing to excuse them.  To facilitate that process, you must write down your name, the date of class you missed, and attach appropriate documentation.  Bring those items to the next class period, and turn them in to me after class.  Only the following reasons and documents will be accepted:

  1. Medical illness.  A Doctor’s note testifying to the date and seriousness of incident.
  2. Family death.  I must receive:  the name of the deceased, the name of the funeral parlor, and your parent’s address so that I may send condolences.
  3. Religious holiday.  You must have a note by Sept. 20 with all the dates of conflict in the semester.
  4. University related event such as soccer game, debate tournament, etc.  Bring in the schedule at the beginning of the semester.
  • If one of these categories applies to you, bring your documentation to your next class.  No conversation is necessary.  I will return the pages to you with your next assignment marked “approved” or “disapproved.”
  • Please note that any responsibilities related to an outside job do not count as an excuse for missing class.  School cannot work around your job, but many jobs can work around school.



Professor Kuhl holds office hours every week.  Please feel free to drop by to ask questions about the readings, clarify points from lecture, challenge my interpretation of history, or hold other sorts of intellectual conversations.



Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from The University. Since such dishonesty harms the individual, all students and the integrity of The University; policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced.   For more information on The University policy see



Course grades will be determined as follows

  • Class Participation                                 15%
  • Representations of Women Paper          10%
  • Scholarly Comparison Paper                  10%
  • Archive Paper                                       20%
  • Project                                                  15%
  • Midterm Exam                                      15%
  • Final Exam                                            15%




Week 2 9/10              Colonial Life:  The Golden Era?

Read:  DuBois ch.1; Video The Midwife’s Tale

Week 3 9/17              American Revolution and Antebellum Slavery:

Did Women Benefit from the American Revolution?

Could Slaves Love?

Read:  DB ch.2, DB 154-167, 175-181, Chapters V, VI, VII, and X in Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl online at

Presentation:  Feminism in the Atlantic World; Women and the Underground Railroad

Week 4 9/24              Antebellum Era:  Did the Cult of True Womanhood Limit Women?

Read:  DB ch.3;

Debates:  “Oberlin Women Challenged Men’s Dominance”; “Bible Communism of Oneida Liberated Women”

Week 5 10/1              Reform and Civil War:

Were Women’s Contributions Crucial to National Change?

Read:  DB ch. 4

Presentations:  Sarah Bagley, Labor Activism and Reform; Dress Reform

Week 6 10/8              Reconstruction and Westward Expansion:

How did Women Become More Active in Public Life?

Read:  DB ch. 5-6

Presentations:  White Women and Slaves; Anti-Lynching Campaign

Week 7 10/15                        The Progressive Era:  How did Women Expand their Power?

Read:  DB ch.7

Presentation:  Jewish Women’s Movement

Midterm Exam

Week 8 10/22                        Prosperity, Depression, and War:  How far did Women Advance?

Read:  DB ch.8

Debate:  “The Equal Rights Amendment Will Benefit Women”

*Week 9 10/29          Post-War:

Read:  DB ch.9, Rosen Part I, and Herbst article “Waking Sleeping Beauty” available at

*Week 10 11/5          Women in Fifties Media

No reading – In class viewing of fifties media texts

Week 11 11/12          Library Archive Project – Meet in the ARC

Read:  Rosen Part III

Week 12 11/19          Library Archive Project – Meet in the ARC

Read:  DB ch.10

Week 13 11/26          Presentations of Archive Project

Archive Papers Due

Week 14 12/3                        Legacies of Feminism

Read:  Rosen Part. IV, Additional readings TBA

Week 15 12/10          Current Events and the Shadow of the Past

Readings TBA

Final Exam

*These weeks might be interchanged

by linnm37 — last modified Jun 08, 2012 01:51 PM