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Columbia University

Women Have Always Worked

Columbia University via edX XSeries

Overview

Please note that you have the option to enroll in each individual course either as an auditor (free of charge) or with a verified certificate, by going to the course page and selecting the “Enroll Now” button. A list of the 4 courses in this series is available below.

Without women’s history we have only a partial and incomplete knowledge of our past. The Women Have Always Worked four-part series will explore women’s participation in the economy, politics, and social life of the nation, from Colonial America to the present day. We will challenge old truisms about the past and learn to view American history from a new and rich historical perspective. These four MOOCs investigate the practice of women’s history; they explore how and why we write women’s history, and why it is important that we do so.

Together we will learn how women began to ask for equality and what the word equality meant and still means for different women. But we'll also ask you to consider a more difficult set of questions that revolve around whether equality for some women might limit the freedom of others. Will women demand benefits for themselves that provide a few with equality with men while fomenting inequality with each other? What about sisterhood? Will some of us move forward while others are left behind? These are questions that haunt us today.

Syllabus

Courses under this program:
Course 1: Seeking Women’s Rights: Colonial Period to the Civil War
Learn about the emergence of women's history and its impact on the study of history as a whole. Then, examine the experiences of women in Colonial America. We will learn the ways that women struggled to loosen the constraints of family by proclaiming that they, like men, possessed individual rights.

Course 2: Wage Work for Women Citizens: 1870-1920
Departing from the Civil War years, examine how gender shaped women's work outside the home in the late 19th century. Explore efforts to affirm domesticity while providing women with paths to independence, and uncover how the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments impacted women’s political participation.

Course 3: Negotiating a Changing World: 1920-1950
Beginning with the passing of the 19th Amendment and on through World War II, explore the new cultural and economic opportunities that emerged for women in this period while gaining an understanding of how racial, familial, and legal structures placed constraints on that independence. Learn how women's contributions to the war effort provided both new opportunities and new barriers.

Course 4: Fighting for Equality: 1950–2018
This course begins with an examination of how the Cold War reinforced the ideals of the suburban, nuclear family and how these ideals impacted women's trajectory towards independence and equality, and ends with the rise of the Me Too movement and a look at how the 2018 midterm election ushered in a new era of women in politics.

Courses

Taught by

Columbia University Center for Teaching and Learning, Alice Kessler-Harris, Nick Juravich, Intelligent Television and New-York Historical Society

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