Harper College logo

HST 210: Women: The American Experience

Course Prefix

Course Number

Course Title


Credit Hours



Women: The American Experience



Course Description

History of the status, roles, and contributions of women in America, and a survey of the attitudes and movements that have affected the lives of women in America.

Topical Outline

  1. Introduction: Images of Women
  2. Colonial Women
    1. IConditions and Attitudes
    2. Legal Status
    3. The American Revolution
  3. 19th Century America
    1. Industrialization and Victorian Womanhood
    2. Southern Women in Antebellum America
    3. Sexuality, Gynecology, and Prostitution in 19th Century America
    4. Women and Reform: Education and the Professions
    5. Women’s Rights Movement
    6. The Civil War
    7. Industrialization and the Trade Union Movement
    8. Black Women after Emancipation
  4. 20th Century America
    1. Women and the Family
    2. Women’s Suffrage Movement
    3. Women in Politics in the 20th Century
    4. Economic Status of Women during War and Peace in the 20th Century
    5. Psychology, Sexuality, and Advertising
    6. Legal Status of Women in the 20th Century
    7. Women’s Liberation Movement
    8. The Future

Method of Presentation

  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Films
  4. Guest speakers

Student Outcomes (The student should…)

  1. compare and analyze the past and present political, legal, economic, and social status of American Women. 
  2. identify and evaluate the contributions of particular women in their efforts to effect change.
  3. compare and analyze the paid work experiences of immigrants, American Indians, African-Americans, and native-born white American women at various points in U.S. history.
  4. compare and analyze the past and contemporary movements for political and legal change in the status of American women.
  5. explain and analyze how the major forces of industrialization and war have affected the status and roles of women in the United States.
  6. explain the impact of race, class, and ethnicity or historical attempts to build a sisterhood of interests and goals.
  7. compare the present American attitudes toward women with attitudes of various periods of the past. 
  8. compare and analyze the major issues of contemporary feminists and anti-feminists.

Method of Evaluation

  1. Essay exams
  2. Class participation
  3. Biographical essay


Dubois. Through Women’s Eyes, St. Martins, 2009.

Langley, W. Womens Rights in the U. S. A Documentary History, Praeger, 1998.

Prepared by: Sharon Alter, Fall, 2008