Undergraduate Courses

American Civilizations to 1877

American history is one great argument over what it means to be American. The goal of this course is to prepare you to engage intelligently with important aspects of this historical debate: What makes America American? Why are different American regions distinctive? What factors have shaped American race relations? How radical was the American Revolution? What role did religion play in shaping the nation? What caused the Civil War? To help you develop your own answers to questions such as these, this course aims to give you a basic factual knowledge of American history before 1877, to teach you to think critically about historical sources, and to help you analyze and construct historical arguments.

American Civilizations since 1877

American Civilizations since 1877 surveys the course of American history from the end of Reconstruction to the present. It is, then, the story of our times, of the forces, events, ideas, and individuals who have shaped the way the way we live.

The course will focus on three interlocking themes: 1.) In the years since the Civil War, Americans have been shaped by and have attempted to shape the tremendous power of corporate capitalism. 2.) At the same time, they have grappled with the question of whether the promise of equality applies to all Americans or only a portion of society. 3.) Americans have also struggled to define the United States’ response to other nations, often with profound consequences for both domestic conditions and the world’s response to the United States and its citizens. This class seeks to help students make connections between America’s economic development, its position within global politics, and the ongoing struggle to define the obligations and expectations of citizenship.

History of Women in the United States, 1600-present

This course surveys the history of American women from the seventeenth century to the present. We will examine how women’s roles both in the public and private spheres have been constructed; how ideas about motherhood have shaped the public and private roles of women and women’s citizenship; how women’s activism has drawn on arguments for equal rights on the one hand, and arguments for women’s unique obligations to the family on the other hand; and how women have influenced American politics, even before they had the ballot. We will explore continuity in women’s reproductive labor even as women’s working lives have changed.

From White Slavery to Sex Trafficking

This course seeks to historicize the globalized migration of sex workers and the modern-day anti-sex trafficking movement by tracing the origins of the anti-white slavery movement in the late nineteenth to the debates about sex work and sex trafficking of the twenty-first centuries. While this course is focused on the United States, it seeks to place the U.S. in a transnational and comparative context.

Graduate Courses

Gender and Citizenship

History 5345 is designed to introduce students to the literature in United States Women’s history that addresses the relationship of women to the state from the colonial period to the present. During this semester we will examine the historiography of Women and Citizenship, a defining concern for historians of women.

This course considers five historiographical approaches to understanding women’s citizenship that also correspond to five chronological time periods; in other words, the course is structured both thematically and chronologically. The five approaches and periods are as follows:

1. 1608 - 1780s, Liberalism and the Exclusion of Women from the Body Politic
2. 1760s - 1870s, Moral Citizens in Separate Spheres
3. 1861 - 1931, Racial Citizenship
4. 1931 - present, Economic Citizenship (the influence of T.H. Marshall)
5. 1945 - present, Sexual Citizenship, The Queer Turn

Women in Modern America

History 5351F offers graduate students an introduction in the topics, themes, and issues that animate the history of women in modern America. During this semester we will examine the historiography of Women History, as well as analyzing how women’s status as women has defined their opportunities in the United States, while also looking at how women’s experiences diverge from one another.

American Sexualities

This course introduces graduate students to the growing literature on the history of sexualities in the United States from the colonial era to present to shed light on the ways that sexuality has shaped social life, establish conventions, and created spaces to defy norms.

GLBT Histories in the United States

This course examines the histories of different sexual minorities in the Unites States from the colonial era to present, though the majority of the course focuses on the twentieth century, to explore the rise of the modern lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender identities, politics, and cultures in the United States.

Women’s Rights in Comparative Perspective

This course considers the national. transnational, and global development of campaigns for women’s rights since the nineteenth century. By exploring the ways that women have agitated for their rights, framed their grievances, and have petitioned for their interests in different cultural and historical moments, students in this course will develop a well-rounded understanding of comparative feminisms, the gendered nature of liberal movements, and women’s activism in national and international arenas.

Women and Empire

From 1492 until World War II the globe was dominated by imperialism. This course considers the ways that women, in the metropoles of Europe and North America and throughout colonial settings, found their lives shaped by empire.