Penn State Harrisburg am st/wmnst 104: Women and the American Experience Spring 2015 Instructor: Kathryn Holmes



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Penn State Harrisburg
AM ST/WMNST 104: Women and the American Experience
Spring 2015
Instructor: Kathryn Holmes

Time: MWF 1:25-2:15 PM
Class Location: 212E Olmsted
Contact Information:
Telephone: Office: (717) 948-6020 Cell Phone: (801) 792-8533 (calls or texts)
Email: kma250@psu.edu
Office Hours:
MWF 2:30-3:30 PM or by appointment
Required Texts:
Evans, Sarah. Born for Liberty: A History of Women in America. New York: Free Press Paperbacks, 1997. ISBN: 978-684-83498-6.
Jacobs, Harriet. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Dover publications, 2009. ISNB: 978-0486419312. Available in ebook formats.
May, Elaine Tyler. Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era. Basic Books: 1988. ISBN: 978-0465030545. Available in ebook formats.
Course Description:
“For most of history Anonymous was a woman,” Virginia Woolf said. Many times history is told from a white male’s perspective, but in this class we will look at women’s history written by women. We will examine the idea of womanhood in America and how it has changed throughout history by finding answers to the following questions: How have women’s economic, political, and social roles developed over time? What cultural influences played a part in the expectations placed on women? What obstacles did women face in the fight for full citizenship? Students will use primary documents such as literature, art, film, magazines, and become familiar with academic scholarship in American women’s and gender studies. We will also utilize the Alice Marshall Collection in the Library to contextualize our discussions. Classes will be a mixture of lectures, discussions, and group work. Requirements include exams, class participation, and a project on a historical theme in Women’s Studies placed in a contemporary context.
Course Objectives:
By the end of the course, students will


  • develop skills in interpreting and contextualizing primary sources.

  • craft a scholarly argument and support it with textual evidence.

  • to identify major contributions to feminist issues throughout American history.

  • Be familiar with American Studies scholarship on women’s experience in the United States.



Course Requirements 1000 pts:


  • Participation (100 pts, 10%) – Determined from contributions to class discussion and small group participation.

  • Quizzes & Writing Responses (100 pts, 10%) – Five to six quizzes, as well as five to six writing responses will occur throughout the semester based upon assigned reading and previous lecture material.

  • Midterm, combined multiple choice and essay (200 pts, 20%)

  • Final not accumulative, same format as midterm (200 pts, 20%)

Response papers (100 pts, 10%) – Students choose two reading assignments (marked with ★), one before the midterm and one after, to provide a 1-2 page response.

  • Final Project (300 pts, 30%) – Includes written portion and final presentation; a guide is provided on ANGEL


Assignments:
Exams: Will be based off of material covered in the class and the outside readings or viewings. Basically, if you encountered it in class or in your assigned texts, it is fair game. A study guide will be provided.

Response Papers: You will choose two of the assigned readings listed on the syllabus notated with ★ and will respond to the essay/chapter/article through the provided questions. This is not a research paper, but citations are required for any outside source used. Students must notify the instructor of their choices by using the dropbox on ANGEL by January 16th at Midnight. Please include the date of the article, author, and essay title in the dropbox Papers are due within one week of the reading assignment due date at class time (1:25 PM). If the reading is due on Wednesday, the paper is due the following Wednesday. Use the dropbox on ANGEL to turn in the papers. No hard copy will be accepted. Late papers will have 5 points deducted per day late.

Instructions:

Write a 1-2 page double-spaced response that answers these questions:

a. Do you agree or disagree with the author’s conclusions? Please provide 3 reasons why.

(Often, students back themselves into a corner and try to argue both sides. Pick ONE.)

b. What conclusion do you come to about this topic after reading this article? What did you learn from reading this article?



Response Rubric: 50 points per response, total of 100




Thesis/Focus/

Clarity


Supporting/

Reasoning



Organization

Sources

Spelling/

Grammar


0-3 Poor, to below average

The paper has no clear thesis statement or a very weak one. Arguments in the paper are unrelated to thesis.

Students have little to no support for their thesis. They are not able to provide any proof that their argument has merit.

The paper is jumbled and discursive. It is hard to follow what the writer is trying to say.

Uses no to little outside sources. Sources are not cited correctly. Sources are weak and unverifiable.

Frequent errors in spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and/or other writing conventions.

4-6 Below Average to Average, or slightly above average

There is a clear thesis statement. The paper does an adequate job supporting it, but could be stronger. It also might include a small tangent that does not support the thesis and should be cut.

Students are able to adequately support their thesis. Their papers provide the proper support of their main arguments.

The paper follows a logical flow, and makes sense.

Shows competence in finding sources and cited them correctly. Uses three or less sources.

Very minor errors in spelling and grammar. Has been carefully proofread.

7-10

Above Average to Excellent



The thesis statement is very clear and is supported by all of the content in paper.

Students present an indisputable (or close to) argument, bolstered by their arguments as well as outside sources.

The paper flows smoothly. Ideas are presented in a way that helps to highlight the main points.

Shows an understanding of using outside sources. Utilizes academic sources to support argument. Has at least four outside sources.

Completely or close to error-free in regards to mechanics.


Final Project: Students will choose one cultural artifact that they can connect to one of the issues we have studied over the semester. An example could be a magazine ad that promotes a hyper-sexualized image of women. Students must clear their artifact with the instructor by February 23rd. Students will write a 5-page paper explaining how their artifact connects to American women, and analyze its importance in women’s studies. They will also be expected to give a brief (roughly 5 minute) presentation representing their work. Turntin will be used on each paper to ensure against plagerism.
Final Paper:





Thesis/Focus/

Clarity


Supporting/

Reasoning



Organization

Sources

Spelling/

Grammar


0-6 Poor, to below average

The paper has no clear thesis statement or a very weak one. Arguments in the paper are unrelated to thesis.

Students have little to no support for their thesis. They are not able to provide any proof that their argument has merit.

The paper is jumbled and discursive. It is hard to follow what the writer is trying to say.

Uses no to little outside sources. Sources are not cited correctly. Sources are weak and unverifiable.

Frequent errors in spelling, grammar, sentence structure, and/or other writing conventions.

7-14 Below Average to Average, or slightly above average

There is a clear thesis statement. The paper does an adequate job supporting it, but could be stronger. It also might include a small tangent that does not support the thesis and should be cut.

Students are able to adequately support their thesis. Their papers provide the proper support of their main arguments.

The paper follows a logical flow, and thesis is defensible.

Shows competence in finding sources and cited them correctly. Uses three or less sources.

Very minor errors in spelling and grammar. Has been carefully proofread.

15-20 Above Average to Excellent

The thesis statement is very clear and is supported by all of the content in paper.

Students present an indisputable (or close to) argument, bolstered by their arguments as well as outside sources.

The paper flows smoothly. Ideas are presented in a way that helps to highlight the main points.

Shows an understanding of using outside sources. Utilizes academic sources to support argument. Has at least four outside sources.

Completely or close to error-free in regards to mechanics.



Final Presentation:

Paper Proposal: Students are responsible for a one page proposal about the artifact they wish to focus their final project on. They must also provide three scholarly sources (not Wikipedia) that can support how their item is important to women’s studies. This will be worth 25 points.

Rough Draft: A week before the final draft is due, Students are expected to provide a copy of their paper for a writing workshop. Students will also be expected to read through and comment on their peer’s papers. This will be worth 25 points.


Statement of Policies:
Academic Integrity: According to Penn State policy 49-20, “Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception and is an education objective of this institution. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cheating, plagiarizing, fabricating of information or citations, facilitating acts of academic dishonesty by others, having unauthorized possession of examinations, submitting work of another person or work previously used without informing the instructor, or tampering with the academic work of other students. The instructor can fail a student for major infractions.” For more information, see http://www.psu.edu/dept/ufs/policies/47- 00.html#49-20. The instructor reserves the right to use Turnitin as a plagiarism detection tool.
Cancellations Due to Weather: When the Provost and Dean makes the decision to close the Harrisburg campus or delay the start of classes, the regional media will be notified at least two hours prior to the standard 8:00 a.m. reporting time for staff and before the start of the earliest scheduled class. The college will make its announcement in the following ways:

a. The college's web page at www.hbg.psu.edu will carry a message regarding the 36 status of classes.

b. The university's email system will also be used to notify email subscribers about a weather emergency. Additionally, students, faculty, and staff are invited to register for PSUAlert at https://psualert.psu.edu/psualert/. The service will feature enhanced messaging capabilities and robust integration with the University’s other communications platforms.

c. An announcement will be placed on the college's AUDIX telephone system at the 948-6000 and 948-6029 numbers.

d. For information on the campus’s weather emergency policy, including media outlets carrying cancellation notices, see http://www.hbg.psu.edu/hbg/weather.html

Attendance and Participation: Students are expected to be in class, having completed the assigned reading beforehand, and ready to participate. Students will be granted four absences without penalty (provided they do make up work), but students who miss more than four class meetings will lose one letter grade per class. Class will hinge largely on the reading, group work, and discussions, so it is imperative that students do the reading. Participation grades will be largely determined by student’s ability to intelligently contribute to class discussions.
***It is to create an environment where all students feel comfortable. Some topics are of a sensitive nature, so it is increasingly important to treat foster an atmosphere of respect and understanding. Everyone entering this class comes with a different background, and it is important to appreciate their right to their own opinion, even if you do not share it. Students who are disrespectful to others may be asked to leave or face disciplinary action.
Late Work: Students are expected to turn work in on time. Late assignments will be marked down and risk being failed. If there are extenuating circumstances, let the instructor know immediately.
Technology: Technology is a great thing. Students are welcome to take notes on laptops. However, the instructor holds the right to wave this privilege should it become apparent that students are using their laptops for things unrelated to the day’s discussion. Cell phones should be put away and set to silent during class time.
Disability Services and Accessibility: Penn State is committed to providing a positive learning environment for every student. If you have a disability that requires special accommodations please contact the instructor immediately, so that special arrangements can be made.


Schedule

(Subject to change; Revised calendars will be available through ANGEL)


Week 1: January 12-16
1/12 Course syllabus and introduction
1/14 What is American Studies?

Objective: Learn about interdisciplinary approach to studying American culture. Also, know the importance of myth and symbol in discipline.


Read: Encyclopedia of American Studies, “American Studies: Approaches and Concepts”
1/16 What is American Studies cont.

Objective: Become familiar with Women’s theory and how it fits in with American Studies.


*Response Paper Topics Due*
Week 2: January 19-23
1/19 Martin Luther King Day/No Class
1/21 Native American Women

Objective: Identify how Native women’s lives, roles, and expectations were changed with the arrival of European explorers and settlers.


Read: Evans, Ch. 1

★ Ulrich, The Age of Homespun: Objects and Stories in the Creation of the American Myth, Ch. 7 “Molly Ocket’s Pocketbook”


1/23 Colonial Era

Objective: We will examine how marriage and motherhood defined womens’ existences, particularly with regards to class and race.

Read: Evans, Ch. 2
Week 3: January 26-30
1/26 Colonial Era

Objective: We will examine the construction of witches is 17th century America, and what these constructions say about how women were viewed.


★Read: Carol F. Karlsen, The Devil in the Shape of a Woman
1/28 Revolution!

Objective: We will look at how the Revolutionary War shifted home life. We will examine the larger implications for women that came from this shift.


Read: Evans, Ch. 3
1/30 Revolution!

Objectives: We will look at the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and its impact on family life. This class will also demonstrate Abigail Adams’s role as an early feminist.

Read: Charles W. Akers, Abigail Adams: An American Woman
Week 4: February 2-6
2/2 A Young Nation

Objectives: Students will learn about domestic spheres and the four virtues of true womanhood. They will then place these virtues within a contemporary context.

Read: Evan, Ch. 4

★Welter, “The Cult of True Womanhood: 1820-1860”


2/4 A Young Nation: Sarah Joseph Hale and Catherine Beecher: Domestic Feminism

Objective: We will discuss Sarah Joseph Hale and Catherine Beecher and how they promoted the idea of “Domestic Feminism.” Student will need to decide if/how their ideas helped women, and use our texts to support their argument.


2/6 The Civil War Era

Objective: As a class we will decipher the climate of America leading up to the Civil War. We will also discuss the importance of Seneca Falls on the women’s movement.


Read: Evans, Ch. 5

“Seneca Falls,” PBS:

http://www.pbs.org/stantonanthony/resources/index.html?body=seneca_falls.html
Week 5: February 9-13
2/9 The Civil War Era

Objective: Students will use images and videos to see how women were important in the Civil War. They will also learn about how material culture can help give context to history.


Read: “Civil War Women” through the US Army War College, Carlisle Barracks; read online exhibit and view images and video: http://www.carlisle.army.mil/AHEC/AHM/civilwarimagery/Civil_War_Women.cfm
2/11 The Civil War Era

Objective: Students will gain a historical background of Harriet Jacobs. We will identify and examine how stereotypical feminine characteristics are used in this narrative.


Read: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

2/13 The Civil War Era

Objective: Students will be able to describe how slaves use of gender (and the expectations placed on their virtue) was different than that of their white counterparts. They will also be able to accurately describer the “rape-lynch” myth.
Read: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Week 6: February 16-20
2/16 President’s Day/No Class
2/18 Archives

Objective: Students will become familiar with the Alice Marshall collection, and have a chance to examine their cultural artifact.


2/20 Archives

Objective: Students will learn and practice research skills. They will get a more time to work with their artifact.


Week 7: February 23-27
2/23 The Civil War Era

Objective: We will discuss the Morrill Act of 1962 as the democratization of higher education. We will connect domestic feminism to women’s education, and how the Morrill Act was a bridge between the two.


*Paper proposals due*
2/25 The Gilded Age

Objective: Students will be able to identify the connections between reconstruction, Abolition, and women’s rights. They will also understand what the label “The Gilded Age” means and what it says about society a t that time.


Read: Evans, Ch.6
2/27 The Gilded Age

Objective: We will examine how depression and other mental illnesses were treated in women during this time. We will also look at hysteria and it’s use in justifying keeping women in the private sector.


Read:

★ [Short Story] Charlotte Perkins Gillman, “The Yellow Wallpaper,”(1892)


Week 8: March 2-6
3/2 *Midterm*
3/4 The New Woman

Objective: We will look at how the New Woman was defined and her role in women’s suffrage. Students will also learn how this type bucked traditional values, and how various groups responded to her. We will look at how the New Woman was important to feminism at large. Also, students will look at suffragettes and what lead women to gain the vote.


Read: Evans, Ch.7
3/6 Madame X and The Gibson Girl

Objective: Students will interpret images to see evidence of expectations for women of the time and how women were challenging these stereotypes. We will also look at the flapper and how ideas about beauty during the early twentieth century.


Read: Evans, Ch. 8

★Lois Banner, American Beauty


Week 9: March 9-13
Spring Break
Week 10: March 16-20
3/16 Migrant Mother and the Great Depression

Objective: We will explore how the great depression impacted families. We will explore the “migrant mother” as well the New Deal’s relationship with female reform.


Read: Evans, Ch. 9

“Exploring Contexts: Migrant Mother,” American Women, Library of Congress:

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/awpnp6/migrant_mother.html
3/18 World War II

Objective: Students will be able to show how women’s roles changed during the war. We will look at iconic images, such as “Rosie the Riveter,” as well as discuss the importance of victory gardens.


Read: Evans, Ch. 10

Look through: https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/partners/exhibitentrance.html.
3/20 WWII

Objective: We will explore how women were involved on the war front and how it was portrayed in popular media. We will look holistically to how this shaped women’s roles in the long run and what challenges were posed as a response.

★ Yvonne Tasker, Soldiers’ Stories: Military Women in Cinema and Television Since WWII


Week 11: March 23-27
3/23 The Cold War:

Objective: We will look broadly at the Cold War and how it influenced traditional women’s roles at the time. Students will understand the ideology of “containment,” and its effects on women.


Read: Homeward Bound, Intoduction, Ch. 1, 2, & 3
3/25 The Cold War:

Objective: We will look at issues surrounding pregnancy and birth by examining both the rise of birth control and the inception of the baby boomers.


Read: Homeward Bound, Ch. 4, 5, & 6
3/27 The Cold War, Containment, and Consumerism

Objective: We will investigate consumerism in America at that time and how it both reflected and reinforced ideals about traditional families. We will also pull examples from popular culture to demonstrate consumerism’s influence in action.


Read: Homeward Bound Ch. 7, 8, & 9
Week 12: March 30-April 3
3/30 The Feminine Mystique

Objective: To use the chapter as a jumping off point of reality verses perception. We will look at how Friedan articulated issues created by the “American Housewife” figure of the 1950s. We will also discuss why this book was important, the response to it, and how it shaped cultural perceptions about women.


Read: Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, Ch. 1 “The Problem That Has No Name.”
4/1 Women and the Civil Rights Movement

Objective: We will discuss how social movements of the 1960s were identified as well as the factors that lead up to them. We will also discuss important women in the Civil Right’s Movement and how their actions impacted the push for social justice.


Read: Evans, Ch. 12

Choose One of the two readings below:

Mary Fair Burks, “Women and the Montgomery Bus Boycott,”

Anne Standley, and “The Role of Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement.”

★Vicki Crawford, “Beyond the Human Self: Grassroots Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement
4/3 Women’s Strike for Equality

Objective: Students will look holistically at many factors that set the stage for the coming women’s movement. They will be asked to pinpoint what key things occurred in order to prompt the second wave of the feminist movement.


Film: Half the People: 1970

Week 13: April 6-10
4/6 Subversive Women: Women and the Black Panther Party

Objective: We will use social movement theory to examine the Black Panther’s influence on feminine stereotypes. Students will be able to define the theory, as well as cite examples of it.


Read: James, “Framing the Panther: Assata Shakur and Black Female Agency,”

Cleaver, “Women, Power, and Revolution,”

★Linda Lumsden, “Good Mothers with Guns: Framing Black Womanhood in the Black Panther, 1968-1980”
4/8 Women’s Right’s Movement

Objective: We will define important concepts from the second wave of feminism, such as “women’s lib” and “antifeminism.” We will also look at broader factors in order to contextually place this women’s movement. Lastly, we will look at this movement from a contemporary lens to see how supporters and detractors frame it.


Read: Evans, Ch. 13
4/10 Women’s Right’s Movement

Objective: Students will be able to describe the history behind Roe v. Wade, as well as give an overview of the argument that each side makes. Students will not be asked to share their own views on this matter, but must be able to demonstrate an openness to understand the historical significance of this ruling.


Read: “Before and After Roe v. Wade:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/22/health/roe-wade-abortion-timeline/,

Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision:

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/abortionuslegal/p/roe_v_wade.htm


Week 14: April 13-17
4/13 Women Today

Objectives: We will look at Anita Hill and other


Read: Evans Ch. 14
4/15 Women Today: Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin: Women in contemporary politics.

Objective: Student will use these two figures, and the 2008 election, as a jumping off point to discern the state of women in politics today. We will look at how they were promoted and how our culture responded to them.

Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin:

Women in contemporary politics


4/17 Women and Popular Culture

Objective: Students will use articles to demonstrate how the same person can be used to portray different issues such as class, race, and even body image. We will also discuss Oprah as a manifestation of the American Dream, as well as her audience’s demographic makeup.


Read: Choose one from The Oprah Phenomenon, edited by Jennifer Harris and Elwood Watson; located on ANGEL; be prepared to discuss the details of the essay you chose in class.

★Stanley, “The Spector of Oprah Winfrey: Critical Black Female Spectatorship”

★Pereira, “Oprah’s Book Club and the American Dream”

★Howard, “From Fasting toward Self-Acceptance: Oprah Winfrey and Weight Loss in American Culture”


Week 15: April 20-24
4/20 *Writing Workshop*

Bring a rough draft of your paper to class for peer review.


4/22 Women and Popular Culture:

Objective: Explore how corporations portray women. How has the Disney princess epitomized womanhood for large sections of America?


Read From Mouse to Mermaid Introduction
4/24 Woman and Popular Culture

Objective: Examine how the idea of princess has changed throughout American history. What does she say about the larger society?



Princess Culture
Week 16: April 27-May 1
4/27 Presentations

*Papers Due*
4/29 Presentations
5/1 Presentations
Week 16: May 4-8:
Finals Week
Schedule TBD


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