University of Utah Women and Education Spring 1999
Office: 118B M.B.H. Audrey Thompson Mailbox in 307 MBH
Office Hours: Ed. St. 6616 (001) Phone: 581-7158
Tu 2:00-3:30 & Th 3:00-4:30
and by appt.
Meets Th 4:30-7:30 p.m.
OSH 238


This class explores the history and philosophy of women’s education in the United States, focusing primarily on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While to some extent the course uses the separation of the public and private spheres as a framework for analysis, it also problematizes that theoretical framework. Drawing on both primary and secondary sources, we will examine the social, economic, and ideological forces that have shaped education for women, investigate how women have struggled to define their own educational experience, and, more generally, ask how an exploration of gender can inform our understanding of the development of American education. Since scholars disagree about these issues, we will also examine how scholars interpret different topics in the history and philosophy of women’s education, how they try to explain events, how they use evidence, and how they present their findings.


The class will meet once a week, each time discussing the readings on the syllabus. To participate actively in class, it is essential that you read carefully, prepare questions, and jot down any issues you wish to discuss. I will make short presentations to provide necessary background information. My primary role, however, will be to ask questions, clarify points raised in our discussions, and summarize the important issues that we discuss.

The readings for the course include both primary and secondary sources (that is, original documents and scholarly interpretations). The readings packet can be purchased from Empire Publishing Services. The following books are available for purchase at the University Bookstore and will be on reserve at the library.

Nancy F. Cott, The Bonds of Womanhood: “Women’s Sphere” in New England, 1780 1835
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1977).

Dolores Hayden, The Grand Domestic Revolution: A History of Feminist Designs for American Homes, Neighborhoods, and Cities
(Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1981).

Darlene Clark Hine, Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890 1950
(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989).

K. Tsianina Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School
(Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1994).

Kathryn Kish Sklar, Catharine Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity
(New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 1973).

Peggy Orenstein, in association with the American Association of University Women,
Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap (New York: Doubleday, 1994).

Course Requirements

In addition to the assigned reading and class discussion, and occasional very short assignments (1 2 pages), there will be two papers due during the semester. The first paper should be 8-10 pages in length, typed and double-spaced. The final paper should be 12-15 pages long, typed and double-spaced. There is no final exam. All written work should not only demonstrate an understanding of class discussion and of the specific texts used in the course, but should also bring to bear students’ own perspectives and insights.

Participation and attendance: 20% of grade Short papers: 20% of grade
Midterm Paper: 25% of grade Final paper: 35% of grade

Schedule of Class Topics and Reading

Thurs. 14 Jan.
Introduction: The Presence of Multiple Absences
Trecker, “Women in U.S. History High School Textbooks”


Thurs. 21 Jan.
Liberalism and the Doctrine of Separate Spheres
Nicholson, Gender and History, pp. 1-66
Pateman, “The Disorder of Women”
Cott, Bonds of Womanhood, ch. 3

Short Assignment: How is liberal ideology dependent on the separation of the public and private spheres? (1-2 pages)

Thurs. 28 Jan.
‘Republican Motherhood’: Women’s Education in the Early Republic
Rush, “Thoughts Upon Female Education”
Murray, “On the Equality of the Sexes”
Kerber, “Daughters of Columbia”
Perdue, “Southern Indians and the Cult of True Womanhood”


Thurs. 4 Feb.
Women’s Education, Women’s Sphere, and the Cult of Domesticity, 1800-1850
Sklar, Catharine Beecher, ch. 1, 6-7
Cott, Bonds of Womanhood, ch. 2
Almeida, “The Hidden Half: A History of Native American Women’s Education”

Short Assignment: How were the newly emerging white, middle-class assumptions about education for women tied to class and race? (1-2 pages)


Thurs. 11 Feb.
The Relation Between the Public and Private Spheres
Willard, “A Plan for Improving Female Education”
Cott, Bonds of Womanhood, ch. 5
Perkins, “The Impact of the Cult of True Womanhood”
Sklar, Catharine Beecher, ch. 9
McCluskey, “‘We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible’: Black Women School Founders and Their Mission”


Thurs. 18 Feb.
The Feminization of Teaching
Sklar, Catharine Beecher, ch. 11-12.
Thompson, “Surrogate Family Values”
Statistics on the feminization of teaching
Murphy, Blackboard Unions, ch. 2.


Thurs. 25 Feb.
Women’s Education in the Twentieth Century:
Women and the Progressive Education Movement
Selections from G. Stanley Hall, Adolescence
Dewey, “Is Coeducation Injurious to Girls?”
Mayhew & Edwards, The Dewey School, The Laboratory School of the University of Chicago, 1896 1936 (1936), preface and ch. 2 & 18.

Midterm Paper Due


Thurs. 4 March
Vocational Education for Women
Hine, Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890-1950 (1989), ch. 1-4
Trennert, “Educating Indian Girls at Nonreservation Boarding Schools, 1878-1920”
Muncy, Creating a Female Dominion in American Reform, 1980-1935, ch. 3 & conclusion.


Thurs. 11 March
Feminization and Professionalization of Service Occupations
Hine, Black Women in White: Racial Conflict and Cooperation in the Nursing Profession, 1890-1950 (1989), ch. 5-conclusion
Brown, “The Fear of Feminization”

Short Assignment: How did the feminization of women’s service occupations affect their professionalization? (1-2 pages)


Thurs. 18 March        Spring Break


Thurs. 25 March
Assimilationist Education
Lomawaima, They Called It Prairie Light: The Story of Chilocco Indian School (1994).

Short Assignment: Reaction paper (1-2 pages)


Thurs. 1 April
Class, Gender, Ethnicity, and Progressive Education
Statistics on high school attendance
Cohen, “Changing Education Strategies among Immigrant Generations”
Sanchez, “‘Go after the Women’: Americanization and the Mexican Immigrant Woman, 1915-1929”
Hayden, The Grand Domestic Revolution, ch. 1 & 2


Thurs. 8 April
The Expansion of the Private Sphere
Hayden, The Grand Domestic Revolution, ch. 7, 8, & 13
Graham, “Expansion and Exclusion: A History of Women in Higher Education”
Cott, The Grounding of Modern Feminism, ch. 5


Thurs. 15 April
Mothers and Education: Problematizing the Private Sphere
Brewer, “Black Women in Poverty”
Romero, “Life as the Maid’s Daughter”
Deyhle & Margonis, “Navajo Mothers and Daughters”


Thurs. 22 April
Feminist Analyses and Theories of Care
No class meeting; please read the following:
Gilligan & Wiggins, “The Origins of Morality in Early Childhood Relationships”
Martin, “Sophie and Emile: A Case Study of Sex Bias in the History of Educational Thought”
Streitmatter, “Justice or Caring: Pedagogical Implications for Gender Equity”
Kissen, “Forbidden to Care: Gay and Lesbian Teachers”


Thurs. 29 April
New Directions: Feminist Pedagogies
Howe, “Sexual Stereotypes Start Early”
Houston, “Gender Freedom and the Subtleties of Sexist Education”
Maher, “Toward a Richer Theory of Feminist Pedagogy: A Comparison of ‘Liberation’ and ‘Gender’ Models for Teaching and Learning”


Thurs. 6 May        Final paper due 4:30 p.m.


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