This course is designed to introduce students to the main trends and themes of British and United States women's history from 1820 through World War I and to trace the various "feminisms" that emerge as a result of capitalist development and responding labor movements in each county. We will discuss individual women leaders as well as the movements they led and the ways in which "the woman question" was hotly debated in the press, the university classroom, and the political arena; readings of literary texts such as Bronte's Jane Eyre will complement our analysis of primary historical sources. Throughout the course we will focus on the convergence of gender, sexuality, race, class and politics in Victorian feminist and socialist reform movements. In addition to making oral presentations and writing short papers, students will have the opportunity to conduct primary research on nineteenth-century women's history in local and online archives as a prelude to completing a final research paper.
This course explores the condition of work in the United States from the late nineteenth century through the mid-twentieth century. We will be reading historical essays and monographs, autobiographies and biographies, short stories and novels. Our reading will be supplemented by a weekly labor film screening and we will discuss documentary as a genre of storytelling. We will discuss the various critical approaches to the different narratives forms that workers, historians, fiction writers and filmmakers have chosen to tell their own and labor's varied stories. We will trace how work has changed over time in different regions and how workers responded to those changes. Issues of gender, race and class will be prominently featured in this class. Students will be expected to submit writing each week, to make oral presentations on the reading and to complete a final project.
Constructed as almost a mythic fiction by its own major novelists and historians and stereotyped in the popular media, the US "South" is also a set of multiple stories told by former slaves and slave holders, by women and men working in factories and mines, fields and homes. Through analysis of fiction, autobiography and some films, together with reference to debates in the current historical scholarship, this course introduces you to South(s) of starkly contrasting geographies and economies. We will trace themes that span the period from the 1880's to the 1990's: the aftermath of slavery, war and Reconstruction; the roles of family, religion, memory and myth-making; the tensions of poverty, individualism, and community; the growing split between rural and urban life; the relations among classes, races and sexes; the impact of and reaction to Civil Rights and to other Twentieth Century liberation movements.
This course will explore the questions surrounding the coming of the American Civil War, the war itself and the period of Reconstruction. How we have come to remember the era will also be part of our study. As much a writing seminar as a history class, the course will focus on selections from the voluminous writing the conflict inspired: journals, diaries, journalism and memoir - as well as poetry, short stories and novels. More recent scholarly monographs and articles, biographies and works of fiction will serve as models for student written work. Students will be expected to participate in class regularly and complete four written assignments, three of which will be rewritten. This course satisfies the Division I distribution requirement.
Professor of History and American Studies
Mail Code SS
Franklin Patterson Hall G4
893 West Street
Amherst, MA 01002