The recent attacks on Planned Parenthood facilities and the challenges facing women regarding their reproductive rights, roles in the workforce, equal pay and equal rights are all issues continually plaguing modern America. This course will examine advocacy initiatives related to primarily women's rights and also labor rights. It will highlight aspects of political and civic engagement, public participatory decision making, and how women were able to find a place in society during a critical time in history to gain the right to vote.
This course takes students on an adventure to the beginning of the modern era when urbanization, industrialization and massive waves of immigration were transforming the U.S. way of life. To gain an experience in active citizenship and participatory processes, students will assume a "character" who actually lived during the time or a fictional character based on the lives of several individuals. Students will be given historical backgrounds and core texts to read along with a role description to be a part of roleplaying a scenario where many people, at a time in 1913, are taking to the streets demanding a constitutional amendment for the vote, asking "what is women's place in society?"
Each student's job will be to share informed opinions and to persuade others that your character's views merit their consideration. This is a healthy challenge as women are demanding more legal rights and a political voice; the labor force is organizing to improve work conditions and to limit the power of the ever-expanding industrial capitalism; bohemians are challenging prevailing views on marriage, sexuality, and the family. These competing visions share some common ground and key differences. The contrasting dynamics lead to spirited conversations. Students will roleplay as advocates for women's and labor's factions along with students roleplaying as artists and bohemians of Greenwich Village in 1913 to further explore the larger political context and the necessity of civic engagement initiatives to prioritize and implement social change. The course focuses on "suffrage, labor and the new woman" and, as we know, there are various ways to define these causes and the students will engage in public decision making processes to determine which route to take. As is similar with today's current issues, these issues require thoughtful deliberation to come to the best decisions and students will have a chance to do this fully, through experiential learning, reading, writing, speaking and discussing.
GenEd Information: Currently approved for the IU Bloomington GenEd SH requirement. See the GenEd Website for more information.
Catalog Information: COLL-S 104 FRESHMAN SEMINAR IN S & H