Women and US Social Reform

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Women and US Social Reform
Humanities Course
Course CodeAWOM
Years of Operation2002-2005
Sites OfferedLOU, SAR, STM
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Course Description

From the CTY Course Catalog (2002):

For the United States, the period between 1820-1920 was punctuated by rapid growth and social upheaval. During these 100 years the US population grew from just over 10 million people to well over 100 million. As the nation grew, the social landscape became increasingly crowded with movements devoted to the reformation of American society. From abolitionism to temperance and from labor reforms to pacifism, Americans sought to question the status quo in an effort to reshape the American landscape of the era. It was also a time when women were denied the most fundamental opportunity to affect society: the vote.

This history course examines the social, political, and economic factors behind the rise of many significant US social movements and the reasons for their appeal to women. Students explore the ways in which these movements united or divided women along lines of class and race, as well as how they helped redefine the role of women in American political and social society. As students analyze primary documents and learn to critically evaluate secondary sources, they examine the lives of women, including Lucretia Mott, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and Dorothea Dix, who became deeply involved in movements that attempted to cure perceived social ills.

This class asks students to draw sophisticated connections between historical events and cultural representations. Emphasis is placed on critical reading and writing, as well as developing advanced research skills.

Class History

SAR. 05.1: "Nothing says true womanhood like a dead chicken." -- Kia Valkonen