home | syllabus | assignments | images & texts | links

History 468:
Women in the United States, 1890 to Present

Course Syllabus

This course is one of the electives in the Segment III Cluster: "Women--Half the World."


  • Alice Echols, Scars of Sweet Paradise: The LIfe and Times for Janis Joplin
  • Susan Glenn, Daughters of the Shtetl: Life and Labor in the Immigrant Generation
  • Nancy A. Hewitt, ed., Women, Families, and Communities: Readings in American History, Vol. II, From 1865
  • Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston, Farewell to Manzanar
  • Ruth Rosen, The World Split Open: How the Modern Women's Movement Changed America

All of these books are available for purchase in the SFSU bookstore. All are also in the Reserve Book Room of the Leonard Library, on 48-hour reserve.


  1. There will be two required essays, each about 5-7 pages. They will be graded for both content and for style. One of these will be based on research in newspapers; the second will be based on an oral history. Separate hand-outs will explain the details more fully. Each essay will be worth 25 percent of the overall grade for the course. DUE DATES for papers: April 4 and May 16

  2. An in-class midterm on March 14, focusing on the readings and lectures for the class, with account for 20 percent of the grade.

  3. A final exam, on May 21, will be worth 20 percent.

  4. Class participation will make up the remaining 10 percent of the grade.

  5. ALL requirements must be completed in order to pass the class.

Calendar of Topics and Reading Assignments:




Jan. 29



Jan. 31

American Women in the 1890s: An Overview


Feb. 5

New Women, New Workers

Begin Daughters, to 49.

Feb. 7

Where Are the Organized Women Workers?

Daughters, 50-131.

Feb. 12

"Hester Street"

Daughters, 132-66.

Feb. 14

"Hester Street": discuss

Daughters, 167-206.

Feb. 19

Discuss Daughters

Complete Daughters.

Feb. 21

America Learns to Play: Perspectives on Gender and Sexuality


Feb. 26

Newspapers and History


Feb. 28

The Organizational Impulse


Mar. 5

New Roles for Women

Hewitt, 69-98.

Mar. 7

Video: "Women of Summer"

Hewitt, 53-67; 99-114.

Mar. 12

Progressivism in the South


Mar. 14



Mar. 19

Winning the Vote;
Video: "One Woman, One Vote"


Mar. 21

Feminists and Flappers

Hewitt, 137-65.

Apr. 2

The Battle for Birth Control


Apr. 4

Newspaper essays due today


Apr. 9

The 1930s and 1940s: Gains and Losses for Women

Hewitt, 167-203; Begin Farewell to Manzanar.

Apr. 11

"Rosie the Riveter"

Hewitt, 205-23.

Apr. 16

Gender, Race, and "Americanization"
Discuss Farewell to Manzanar

Hewitt, 115-36; Complete Farewell.

Apr. 18

Techniques of Oral History

Hewitt, 224-34; Begin World Split Open, to 59.

Apr. 23

Women in the Civil Rights Movement

World Split Open, 63-140.

Apr. 25

Video: "Fundi': The Story of Ella Baker"

World Split Open, 143-95.

Apr. 30

Women's Rights and Feminism: The Second Wave

World Split Open, 196-294.

May 2

Second Wave, cont.

Begin Scars, to 90.

May 7

Sexual Revolution: The Legal Basis

Scars, 91-190.

May 9

The Failure of ERA Backlash

World Split Open, 295-344; Hewitt, 235-48.

May 14

Sex, Drugs, Rock-n-Roll, and Gender; Discuss Scars of Sweet Paradise

Complete Scars

May 16

Papers due: report on findings


  FINAL EXAM -- MAY 21, 10:45-1:15