Course Number

HIST 213

Course Title

Women in the City

Course Date

Fall 2016

Course Level


Professor or Professors' Departmental/Program Affiliation

Monica Mercado, History, Women's Studies

Document Type



History, Women's Studies


This course examines the social and cultural history of women in the United States, from the early 19th century through the post-WWII “urban crisis” and women’s liberation movements, through the present day. We will consider how urban life for women and men diverged and how it met, asking questions about the ways in which gender has been negotiated in the confined space of the city. In doing so, we will learn how historians make arguments about the construction of gendered identities, paying particular attention to divisions of race, class, sexuality, and religion. How did such divisions shape social forms and spatial boundaries?

Course readings, lectures, and discussions will introduce students to sites and sources of new kinds of personal interactions, popular entertainments, social and generational conflicts, and political expressions in the city, with our main case studies focusing on New York and Chicago. We will study ideas about women, gender, and the city through readings in primary and secondary sources (including recent historical scholarship, classics in the field of women’s history, and U.S. literature); analyses of visual culture, film, and the built environment; and in a series of writing assignments that will interrogate our own personal geographies, as well as those inhabited by our historical subjects.


The syllabus may not be applicable to the current semester. Be sure to verify content with the professor(s) listed in the document.