HISTORY 791B: Seminar in U.S. Women's and Gender History


Spring 2008


Monday 6:00-8:30pm

214 Herter Hall




Professor Laura Lovett

635 Herter Hall



Office Hours: By appointment.


Course Description:

This research seminar encourages research and writing on the history of women and/or gender in America from 1600 to the present.  The course requires the completion of a potentially publishable paper or project, e.g. oral history project.


During the first half of the semester, our focus will be on historical methods, varieties of modes of historical writing, and writing techniques.  We will schedule a visit to the Sophia Smith Center at Neilson Library at Smith College and other local archives.  The second half of the semester is devoted to the first draft of your paper or project and the revision process, culminating with your submission of a final draft by the end of the semester. 


Course Website:  https://spark.oit.umass.edu/webct/entryPageIns.dowebct



Participation  10%

Your active engagement in class discussion is essential, especially as we read and respond to each other's work.

Proposal        10%

1-2 pages.  Statement of your central claim and questions with an outline of your sources and a partial bibliography.  Due March 3rd.

Critiques        10%

You are responsible for leading the critique/ class discussion of one of your peer's drafts.  You should provide written comments for the paper you are assigned to critique as well as class discussion. Critique guidelines will be distributed to the class.  You are responsible for providing comments in class on every paper distributed as par of the course but you will be responsible for organizing the discussion of only one paper.

Research Paper  70%

            Completion of two drafts of a publishable paper.

            Your first draft must be distributed prior to its presentation in the last weeks of the term.  You will sign up for a presentation date in advance.

            Your final draft will be due no later than May 19th.





Recommended Texts for Research and Writing:


Howell, Martha, From Reliable Sources: An Introduction to Historical Methods, A Translation and Adaptation of Uit goede bron by Walter Prevenier. (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001).


Rabiner, Susan and Alfred Fortunato, Thinking Like Your Editor. Norton 2002.


Rael, Patrick.  Reading, Writing, and Researching for History: A Guide for College Students (Brunswick, ME: Bowdoin College, 2004).



Strunk, William, Jr. and White, E.B. The Elements of Style. 3rd ed. (New York, NY: MacMillan, 1979).


Turabian, Kate. A manual for writers of term papers, theses, and dissertations. 6th ed. Revised by John Grossman and Alice Bennett. (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1996).




            If you have a documented disability that may affect your performance in the class, please speak to the instructor as soon as possible so that appropriate arrangements can be made.


Sophia Smith Archive Visit

We will be scheduling a visit to the Sophia Smith Archives at Smith College for our second class (February 4th).  This is one of the premiere collections of women's history material in the world.  We'll organize transportation at our first meeting.


Lisa Baskin Women's Literature Collection Visit

We will try to schedule a visit to Lisa Baskin's library in Leeds for March or April.  We'll discuss this possibility as everyone develops research topics.


Schedule: (subject to change)


1/28     Introduction: Research Ideas

Assignment:  Post on SPARK Discussions Blog site your proposed topic. Begin preparing “Inspiration Piece” for  class reading.


2/4       Sophia Smith Collection Visit.

Either meet at the Smith College Library or meet at UMass to carpool to Northampton.         


2/11     W.E.B. DuBois  Archive Visit

Meet at the Special Collections Department at DuBois Library, UMass for a tour of material in the UMass archives, 25th floor.


2/18     Holiday. No Class.


2/19     TUESDAY: Meets on Monday Schedule: Anatomy of an Article


Martha Hodes, "The Mercurial Nature and Abiding Power of Race: A Transnational Family Story," American Historical Review 108:1 (February 2003): 84-118.

Discussion of Inspiration Pieces. Note, this discussion should begin online in SPARK Discussion forum soon after January 28, 2008. Visits to Archives may change topics or inspiration pieces. Comparative discussion of your inspiration piece and the Hodes' article.


2/25     Discussion

            We may meet at DuBois Library to review online archives and databases.


3/3       Proposal  Workshop

Bring enough copies of your proposal to share with everyone.  Be prepared to discuss your proposal and those of others in the class.


3/10     Proposal  Workshop continued (if needed)


3/17     Spring Break. No Class.


3/24     Group Discussion and Progress Reports: SIGN UP FIRST CLASS


3/31     Group Discussion and Progress Reports: SIGN UP FIRST CLASS


4/7       Group Discussion and Progress Reports: SIGN UP FIRST CLASS


4/14     Group Discussion and Progress Reports: SIGN UP FIRST CLASS


4/21     Holiday. No Class.


4/28     Presentations and Critiques


5/5       Presentations and Critiques


5/12     Presentations and Critiques