The heritage of women represents one-half of the history of the United States; for that reason alone it is worthy of closer scrutiny than it has received in standard history courses. The movement of women for social, political, and economic equality represents the longest and most far-reaching civil rights movement in U.S. history, yet it is a movement that has received minimal space and attention in standard history courses. This class is an attempt to bring to the foreground a history that we all share but perhaps have until now lacked the opportunity or information to focus on. It is a history that I find both maddening and inspiring, and one whose study is challenging, difficult, and ultimately so rewarding that it is worth every bit of effort, and then some.
To get at the truth of history – any history – is challenging. We are constantly restrained by a lack of information, or by biased information. The documentation that is available to us does not necessarily always represent a perspective that we share, but may be useful information for reconstructing the missing piece of women’s contributions to the formation and continued endurance of this country. One of the things we will learn is how to recognize and interpret biases in the material at our disposal.
This course will begin with populations native to what becomes the United States: the First Nation peoples. We proceed chronologically and thematically through the major eras of women’s history in the U.S. using a combination of text readings and primary source materials, some short video clips, and websites constructed specifically for the study of women’s history.
Unless otherwise specified, this HIST 215 – Women in US History course is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.