U.S. Women Activists
Fall, 2000, Tu/Th
Valdosta State University
On sale in the book store:
Mimi Abramovitz, Under Attack, Fighting Back: Women and Welfare
in the United States, 2000
Kathleen M. Blee, No Middle Ground: Women and Radical Protest
Temma Kaplan, Crazy for Democracy: Women in Grassroots Movements
Additionally, readings on reserve at Odum Library:
Mimi Abramovitz, "From Tenement Class to Dangerous Class to
Underclass: Blaming Women for Social Problems," in Nan Van
Den Bergh, ed. Feminist Practice in the 21st Century
Diane Dujon & Ann Withorn, eds. For Crying Out Loud:
Women's Poverty in the United States
Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg & Eleanor Kremen, eds. The
Feminization of Poverty: Only in America?
Robert A. Goldberg, Grassroots Resistance: Social Movements
in 20th Century America
Alexis Jetter, Annelise Orleck, & Diana Taylor, eds. The
Politics of Motherhood: Activist Voices from Left to Right
Nancy Naples, ed. Community Activism & Feminist Politics:
Organizing Across Race, Class, and Gender
Ruth Sidel, Keeping Women & Children Last: America's War
on the Poor
COURSE DESCRIPTION, DEFINITION and OBJECTIVES:
This course examines the roles women have played in securing for
themselves and others the promises of democracy ("liberty and
justice for all"), or social justice, in the United States.
The central focus this semester will be on economic justice, the
particular ways women have been economically marginalized; the ways
gender has affected social welfare policy; and the ways women have
challenged economic marginalization through activism. We will be
especially interested to discover ways women have been involved
in seeking economic justice from the bottom up (grassroots activism).
Crazy for Democracy provides a foundation for our objective
by telling the stories of marginalized women who became activists
involved in grassroots organizing. Abramovitz's Regulating the
Lives of Women puts our subject in historic context by tracing
the history of social policy responsible for marginalizing women.
Abramovitz's Under Attack provides historical background
and foreground to the state of women in poverty. Some of our course
objectives are mirrored in statements that close Abramovitz's Preface
in Under Attack: "My wish in detailing this history
of women's activism is fourfold:
 to give visibility to the long neglected efforts of women to
produce a better life for themselves and their families;  to
further the work of welfare rights activists by touching base with
the accomplishments of their foremothers;  to show that all women
benefit from and thus have a stake in social programs; and finally
 to stress the importance to social change of political pressure
from below." Required readings on reserve in Odum Library will
supplement the three required texts.
SPECIFIC COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING
Students will be required to become part of an electronic mailing
list that will provide you with local and national statistics and
reports on homelessness and other issues of concern relevant to
our class. You will be asked from time to time to share notices
with class. The e-mail address to write for subscription is: email@example.com
There are 24 chapters total in the three texts. Students will be
required four additional readings from outside texts on reserve,
making a total of 28 reading assignments. Two of the outside readings
will be chosen for you; two you may choose from a list of options.
For each reading, a written response is required. A summary/analysis
of each reading assignment should include three parts:
1) the premise, central argument, or whatever you choose to call
the thesis of the chapter or essay;
2) three additional points that support the central point or thesis;
3) a summary conclusion.
The reading responses should include points or arguments, not statements
of fact, statistics, etc, unless the relevance or significance of
the fact is presented clearly.
The other major assignment requires the student to choose between
Plans A and B.
Plan A will require a twenty-five (25) page research paper
on a related subject, the parameters of which will be specified
at a later date.
Plan B requires two parts: fifteen to twenty (15-20) hours
for students in 4280 and twenty to twenty five (20-25) hours for
students in 6280 of community service work at either The Haven,
a local shelter for victims of domestic violence, or LAMP,
a local association that provides assistance to people out of
resources. In addition to the hours of service, the student will
be required to write a twelve to fifteen page reflective essay
that relates what students have learned in the reading assignments
with what they have learned in their service projects. Students
will also be expected to present their projects to class.
|GRADING for Students in Plan B
||GRADING for Students in Plan A
|30 reading responses from texts
||30 reading responses from texts
|Presentation of readings
||Presentation of readings
Students' work in the associations will be assessed and evaluated
by the Executive Director and other staff of the Association. Additionally,
to compensate for any unusual inconvenience the student might encounter
in managing the hours of Service, some class time will allotted.
Please note that this is an act of mercy on the part of the professor.
Given the assumption that students are expected to spend three hours
outside class for every hour they spend within class, a five hour
course (total of 45 in-class hours) theoretically assumes 150 hours
outside work over the course of the quarter. Proportionally speaking,
assignment number three is two-fifths of the student's grade, which
would theoretically require 60 hours+ of outside class work, but
your service is limited to 20 hours. (That leaves 40 hours to prepare
the paper.) Please be governed by this formula before voicing complaint
over the course requirements.
ATTENDANCE AND CLASS CONDUCT POLICY
If enrollment permits, most days we will conduct the class much
like a seminar, wherein discussion and dialogue rather than monologue
and lecturing characterize the class. In any event student participation
is encouraged. An exception to the rule of participation will apply
if any one or a small number of students begins, for whatever reason,
to monopolize student response. An additional exception to the rule
of participation will apply if the expression of dissenting or differing
opinions becomes disruptive or anything but diplomatic and well-meaning.
Independent thinking is highly encouraged as long as it is informed
thinking--that is, thinking informed by credible sources (your textbooks,
for instance)--but especially as long as diplomacy, respect, and
tact govern its sharing and expression.
Attendance is required. Four absences will be tolerated without
penalty. Those four absences include both legitimate as well as
not so legitimate excuses. Legitimate excuses are illnesses, yours
or your family's, deaths in the family, etc. athletic obligations,
and any other allowable university functions. Doctor's excuses,
notes from coaches, etc. are not necessary. The penalty for each
absence beyond five will be a reduction of 2% in your final grade.
For instance, seven absences would subtract 4% from your final score,
10 absences would subtract 10% from your final score, etc.
For policies regarding withdrawal, please refer to the VSU annual
bulletin for university policy.
TENTATIVE CLASS SCHEDULE
17 Syllabus; Introduction to HIST 4280/6280; discussing myths
22-24 Discussing Goldberg & Abramovitz "From Tenement Class..."
in Van Den Bergh
Haven & LAMP representatives to speak
29-31 Stansel, "Women, Children & Uses of the Streets,"
Gordon, "Black & White Visions of Welfare Reform"
5-7 Hunter, "Domination & Resistance: The Politics of Wage
Household Labor in New South Atlanta"
Rodrique, "The Black Community & the Birth Control Movement"
12-14 Kunzel, "Unwed Mothers, Social Workers, & the Postwar
Kornbluh, "A Human Right to Welfare? Social Protest among Women
Welfare Recipients after WWII
19-21 Readings & discussion of domestic violence
26-28 Abramovitz, Under Attack, Fighting Back
3-5 Fox Piven "Women and the State: Ideology, Power, and Welfare"
[6280 students report]
Fraser & Gordon, "The Genealogy of Dependency: Tracing
a Keyword of the U.S. Welfare State," [6280 students report]
Readings from Sidel & Dujon [4280 students report]
10-12 Withorn, "For Better and For Worse: Women Against Women
in the Welfare State" 269-286 [6280 students report]
Schaffner Goldberg & Eleanor Kremen, eds., The
Feminization of Poverty Only in America? (1990) [6280 students
Readings from Sidel & Dujon [4280 students report]
17-19 Readings from Kaplan
24-26 Readings from Blee
31-November 2 Readings from Blee
Weeks 13 & 14
7-9; 14-16 Service Project
20-24 Thanksgiving Holidays
28-30 Review and presentations on service
5 LAST DAY OF CLASSES
FINAL EXAM Friday, Dec. 8, 2:45-4:45
Required outside reading on reserve at Odum for HIST 4280/6280
Readings 1 through 4 required of everyone:
(Articles, request by name in bold print)
1. Goldberg, Robert A. "What is a Social Movement,"
from Robert A. Goldberg, Grassroots Resistance: Social Movements
in Twentieth Century America
2. Stansel, Christine, "Women, Children & the
Uses of the Streets"
3. Gordon, Linda, "Black & White Visions of Welfare:
Women's Welfare Activism, 1890-1945"
4. Abramovitz, Mimi, "From Tenement Class to Dangerous
Class to Underclass: Blaming Women for Social Problems" in
Van Den Bergh, ed., Feminist Practice in the 21st Century
Readings 5 through 8 Required for students taking HIST 6280
(Books, request by name in bold print)
5. Frances Fox Piven "Women and the State: Ideology, Power,
and Welfare" 183-200, From Diane Dujon & Ann Withorn,
For Crying Out Loud
6. Nancy Fraser & Linda Gordon, "The Genealogy of Dependency:
Tracing a Keyword of the U.S. Welfare State," 235-268, From
Dujon & Withorn, For Crying Out Loud
7. Ann Withorn, "For Better and For Worse: Women Against
Women in the Welfare State" 269-286, From Dujon &
Withorn, For Crying Out Loud
8. From: Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg & Eleanor Kremen,
eds., The Feminization of Poverty Only in America? (1990)
Skim Chapter 1 "The Feminization
of Poverty," and
Read/respond fully Chapter 2, "The
Readings 9 through 12: Students taking 4280, choose
one reading from either Sidel (#9) or Dujon &
Withorn (#10); students taking 6280, choose one from each:
Sidel and Dujon & Withorn
9. From Ruth Sidel, Keeping Women and Children Last
1. "The Enemy Within"
2. "The Assault on the Female-Headed Family"
3. "Who are the Poor?"
4. "Targeting Welfare Recipients"
5. "Teenage Mothers: Casualties of a Limited Future"
6. "Poor Children: The Walking Wounded"
7. "A Return to Caring"
10. From Diane Dujon & Ann Withorn, For Crying
Out Loud: Women's Poverty in the United States (1996)
Dujon "Out of the Frying Pan: Reflections of a Former Welfare
Recipient" and Withorn, "Why Mother Slapped Me"
Flanders with Jackson & Shadoan, "Media Lies: Media,
Public Opinion & Welfare" 29-40
Kennedy, ed, "A Hole in my Soul: Experiences of Homeless
Stevenson & Donovan, "How the U.S. Economy Creates Poverty
and Inequality" 67-78
Cerullo & Erlien, "Beyond the 'Normal Family': A cultural
Critique of Women's Poverty" 87-106
Catanzarite & Ortiz, "Family Matters, Work Matters? Poverty
among Women of Color and White Women" 121-140
Lee, "Working in America: The Female Immigrant Experience"
Cummings & Mandell, "Finding Voice: Beyond Building Community
at Survival News" 163-182
Felder, "Welfare: The Basement of the Wage Scale" 215-222
Readings 11 through 12, Students in both 4280 & 6280
working with The Haven, choose one reading from 11
and those in 4280 & 6280 working with LAMP choose
one reading from 12
11. On Battered women:
James & Harris, "Gimme Shelter: Battering and Poverty"
57-66, in Dujon & Withorn
Kendrick, "Producing the Battered Woman: Shelter Politics
and the Power of the Feminist Voice," in Naples, ed. Community
Activism and Feminist Politics
12. On "subsistence struggles"
Jetter, Orleck, & Taylor, The Politics of Motherhood
Childers, "A Spontaneous Welfare Rights Protest by Politically
Inactive Mothers" 90-101
Orleck, "'If it Wasn't for You, I'd Have Shoes for my Children'"
Duncan, "'I got to Dreamin'" Interview with Ruby Duncan