Gender at Work in US History

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Gender has been fundamental to the organization of nearly all human societies, but what gender has meant in terms of identity, opportunity, and economic activity has varied widely across time and space. This course will explore gender at work in US history, taking a chronological approach to show gender’s evolution and ongoing intersections with class, race, age, religion, region, and sexuality from 1776 to the near present. The term “gender at work” expresses a double meaning here — first, it connotes that this is a labor history course, with an emphasis on the ways gender has operated at the workplace; second, it suggests the ubiquity of gender in shaping Americans’ lives, experiences, and imaginations not only at the workplace, but also in formal politics, informal communities, and every space in between. By exploring the ways gender has been both omnipresent and contingent throughout US history, students should better understand — and perhaps act upon — seemingly intractable contemporary conundrums involving questions of equal opportunity and pay, household division of labor, work-life balance, and the proper relationships among employers, workers, households, and government.

Class Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30–10:45 a.m.
Instructor: Dan Graff
Credits: 3
Associated Term: Fall 2024

Crosslisted with: CST 30636, PS 30636, HIST 30636, HESB 30349, AMST 30388, GSC 30659