Lectures: Tuesdays & Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. to 8:50 a.m., 124 Ross


Fridays, 8 a.m. to 8:50 a.m., 27 Ross Hall

Tuesdays, 11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., 27 Ross Hall

Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., 272 Heady Hall

Thursdays, 12:10 p.m. to 1 p.m., 27 Ross Hall

Amy Bix:

Office hours: Tuesdays, 11-noon and 1-4 p.m.; plus other times by


Office: 633 Ross Hall, 294-0122

E-mail: abix@iastate.edu

T.A.- Alexandra Kindell



This course will survey social, economic, intellectual, and political aspects of women’s changing place in American life from the colonial era to the present. Issues covered include women’s employment, education, political position, concepts of sexuality and gender roles, family life and the changing nature of the home.



This course includes two full-group meetings per week, plus one weekly small-group discussion section, attendance at which is mandatory. Sections will include discussions of assigned reading, viewing of films, and reviews for examinations, among other activities. Sections are also opportunities to ask questions about course procedures and about readings or lecture material.

There will be two short writing assignments and three exams in this course (two during the semester itself, plus a final). All students, including graduating seniors, are required to take all exams, including the final. Exams cover material presented in lectures, discussions, readings, and audio-visual material. Students must bring blue books and a pen to use on exams - points will be deducted for exams written in pencil or not in blue books! Standard ISU policies on academic dishonesty will be applied. Students are responsible for ensuring they complete all exams by the proper dates. Any exam not completed by semester's end will automatically convert to a zero, and failure to take the final risks course failure. Students experiencing difficulties should first consult the professor and T.A., but may also wish to use ISU's Academic Learning Lab or Tutoring Services. Before the first exam, we will distribute handouts explaining the exam format and giving helpful hints on how to study for both identification and essay questions.

You will notice that each week’s lecture includes overhead transparencies listing key concepts, names and dates, quotations, and other material. To save you frantic scribbling during class, we plan to post copies of this material on the web, through the ISU website (exact web address to be announced). We will try to post each lecture’s overhead material on the web ahead of time (barring computer problems, etc.); some students find it useful to print out copies and bring them along to lecture, as an aid in taking notes. Please remember: having these webnotes is no substitute for attending lecture yourself — they contain essential facts, but are NOT a full transcript of a lecture’s information and ideas!


1. Class participation - 10% of final grade:

a. Attendance;

b. Constructive participation in class discussion and weekly

section meetings; evidence of having completed reading

assignments; and other section activities;

2. Two short take-home writing assignments, dates below — 15% each.

3. Two examinations (dates below) - 20% each:

Each exam will be in two parts:

Part I: in-class, short-identification section;

Part II: take-home, open-book essay question;

4. Final examination - 20% of final grade:

Combination of identification and essay questions, in-class.


These books can be purchased in paperback (some available used) at university bookstores. Copies should also be available through library reserve.

1. Woloch, Nancy; Women and the American Experience, THIRD EDITION;

(McGraw Hill, 2000)

2. Kerber, Linda and Jane Sherron De Hart, eds., Women’s America:

Refocusing the Past, FIFTH EDITION; (Oxford, 2000)

Short additional readings may occasionally be handed out in class.




Tuesday, August 27 and Thursday, August 29 -

Course introduction; women in early colonial society;

Tuesday, September 3 and Thursday, September 5

Women in the Revolutionary era;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 9/3:

- Woloch, p. 1-47; Kerber, p. 3-62;

Tuesday, September 10 and Thursday, September 12 -

Women and economic life in the early 1800s: farms and factories;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 9/10:

- Woloch, p. 52-96; Kerber, p.62-120;

Tuesday, September 17 and Thursday, September 19 -

Legal rights and social reform;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 9/17:

- Woloch, p. 103-153; Kerber, p.121-180;


Tuesday, September 24 and Thursday, September 26 -

Women in the Civil War era;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 9/24:

- Woloch, p. 159-230; Kerber, p. 193-229;

EXAMINATION #1 coming up on Tuesday, October 1 !


Tuesday, October 1 and Thursday, October 3 -

Separate spheres?: women’s education, work, and organizations;

EXAMINATION #1 on Tuesday, October 1;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 10/1:

- Woloch, p. 230-306; Kerber, p. 183-191 and 229-238;

Tuesday, October 8 and Thursday, October 10 -

The fight for suffrage;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 10/8:

- readings to be handed out in class in connection with

WRITING ASSIGNMENT #1 (due the week of Oct. 22).

Tuesday, October 15 and Thursday, October 17 -

Suffrage, radicalism, and WWI;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 10/15:

- Woloch, p. 314-349; Kerber, p. 241-292;


Tuesday, October 22 and Thursday, October 24 -

1920s: Taking the flapper seriously;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 10/22:

- Woloch, p. 349-387; Kerber, p. 294-343;

Tuesday, October 29 and Thursday, October 31 -

Women in the Great Depression and New Deal political life;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 10/29:

- Woloch, p. 388-426; Kerber, p. 343-399;

Tuesday, November 5 and Thursday, November 7 -

Rosie the Riveter: WWII women overseas and on the homefront;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 11/5:

- Woloch, p. 432-485; Kerber, p. 401-447;

EXAMINATION #2 coming up on Tuesday, November 12!


Tuesday, November 12 and Thursday, November 14 -

1950s: Cold War domestic ideals;

EXAMINATION #2 on Tuesday, November 12;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 11/12:

- Woloch, p. 492-519; Kerber, p. 448-506;


Tuesday, November 19 and Thursday, November 21 —

1960s: youth culture, civil rights, and activism;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 11/19:

- readings to be handed out in class in connection with

WRITING ASSIGNMENT #2 (due the week of Dec. 3).


Tuesday, November 26 and Thursday, November 28 — no class

Tuesday, December 3 and Thursday, December 5 -

1970s: feminism and women at work;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 12/3:

- Woloch, p. 519-543; Kerber, p. 508-563;


Tuesday, December 10 and Thursday, December 12 -

1980s and 1990s: backlash? and century’s end;

ASSIGNMENT for week of 12/10:

- Woloch, p. 550-597; Kerber, p. 564-615;


Week of December 16 -

FINAL EXAMINATION WEEK — FINAL EXAM at time to be announced.