HIST 253 - History of Women in the United States: Colonial America to 1890 001


Day & Time: TR 12:30-1:45

Social Sciences 222


Academic Year: 


Course ID and Name: 

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Course Syllabus

Course Description: 

This is a social history course that evaluates how women shaped the development of colonial and nineteenth century American societies, political ideas, religions, and economies.  You will learn how women’s roles were socially constructed by diverse groups and remained fluid.  You will also learn about the influence of religious and intellectual trends on popular perceptions of sexuality, reproduction and motherhood.  We will also consider varied understandings of femininity, women’s labor (paid and unpaid), civic activism and wartime contributions.  You will identify moments when American women forged bonds that transcended differences in class, race, sexuality, ethnicity and/or religion, as well as instances of conflict.  Students will examine how women replicated, shaped and furthered the goals of empires, governments, and tribal societies, sometimes with negative consequences for particular groups of women.  Lastly, students will consider how early America was shaped by gendered and global encounters between Europeans, indigenous peoples, Africans/African-Americans, Latina/os, Asians and mixed peoples resulting in the emergence of racial and ethnic stereotypes.


Course Objective: 

Students will learn the difference between gender and women’s history and consider the benefits of each.  Students will learn the meaning of intersectionality and how different social categories such as race, class, and gender shaped women’s options.  Students will learn to read primary documents with a critical eye, mindful of bias they may contain due to a time lapse between the event and a document’s publication, cultural prejudice, assymetrical power, language difficulties, or literacy and education issues which impeded or facilitated the production of sources by certain groups of women.  Finally, students will develop a critical perspective of history and its writing traditions to understand how the absence of women’s experiences or the lack of female-authored sources limited early narratives of American history.


Course Requirements: 

Each student is required to attend weekly lectures and participate in weekly discussions about the assigned readings.  Students should be aware that mandatory discussions about the readings are heavily emphasized in this course.  Discussions may take place during lecture meetings, or in separately scheduled sections (depending on enrollments).  Students must complete all assigned readings by their syllabus due dates, view films in-class and possibly outside of class online, and complete all course exams and written assignments as scheduled.  Should class discussions lag due to a lack of student preparation, students may expect graded pop quizzes or assigned presentations.


Course Grading: 

(The values assigned are subject to change):

  • Attendance/Discussion                       15%
  • 5 Short Essays (3-4 pages)                20%
  • Midterm                                                   20%
  • Analytical Paper (8-10 pages)            15%
  • Final Exam                                              30%
College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Contact Us

Department of History
Cesar E. Chavez Bldg.
Main Office, Room 415 
1110 James E. Rogers Way
Tucson, AZ 85721

Email: history@email.arizona.edu
Tel: (520) 621-1586
Fax: (520) 621-2422