GSWS345 - SINNERS, SLAVES AND SEX: Gender and Race in America
From the sixteenth century, when Native American populations flourished on the North American continent, to the Civil War, when North and South collided over the question of slavery, women have played a critical role in American society. This course traces the history of women and gender in America during this period with special emphasis on the importance of women's reproductive and economic roles to the emergence of ethnic, racial, regional, and socio-economic categories in the United States. Slides, lectures, and readings drawn from primary documents introduce students to the conditions of women's lives during the colonial and revolutionary periods and to the rise of women's activism in the nineteenth century. In addition, we will consider how dramatic changes in housework, wage labor, female access to public forms of power, and ideas about female sexuality make it difficult to generalize about what is commonly thought of as women's "traditional" or "natural" role.