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HISTORY 3WW3 Women In Canada&Usa From 1920

Academic Year: Winter 2016

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: Online

Instructor: Dr. Karen Balcom

Email: balcomk@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 608

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24152


Office Hours: In Person: Tuesday 12-2 CNH 608/By Skype Thursday 10-12

Course Objectives:

Welcome to History 3WW3/Women’s Studies 3GG3, an exploration of major themes in the history of Canadian and American Women in the twentieth century.  Over the past thirty years, the research and writing on the history of women and gender history has not only brought us a richer knowledge of the diverse lives of Canadian and American women, it has transformed our understanding of the key social, economic, political and cultural processes shaping and re-shaping these societies and influencing the lives of men and women. Over the semester, we will sample this rich literature. The lectures and readings will follow a roughly chronological progression from the 1920s through 2016, but our narrative will be structured around three closely related topics: changes in women's (paid and unpaid) labor, conflicts over sexuality and reproduction, and the priorities and tactics of various women's movements.  Throughout, we will pay careful attention to the diversity among Canadian and American women; there is not one history of North American women, but many - often conflicting and contradictory - histories of women of varying races, regions, ethnicities and sexual orientations. One of our major tasks will be to sort out which feminisms and which women's movements have helped, hindered or simply ignored which groups of women in Canadian and American society. At the end of the semester, we will pause to consider the most important similarities and the most significant differences in the experience(s) of Canadian and American women in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

There are two short books to purchase, both of which are at The Campus Store, and both of which are more widely available as well.  All other course materials are accessed online.

Judy Rebick, Ten Thousand Roses: The Making of a Feminist Revolution

Mary Crow Dog, Lakota Woman.

Method of Assessment:

Participation in your online learning group


Assessed Across the term; required contributions and responses in each unit of the course

Three short writing assignments that you select and extend from amongst your previous posts to your learning group. To repeat, these assignments are an extension of work you previously completed inside your learning group.  (approx. 500-750 words)

3 x 10%

LG Assignment #1 (Choose from your posts in Intro Week and Unit 1): Feb 1

LG Assignment #2 (Choose from your posts in Units 2-3): March 7th

LG Assignment #3 (Choose from your posts in Units 4-5): April 4th


Proposal for Research Project:  Feb. 12th

10%/ approx.  750 words

Projects will be a profile of an individual or group in Canadian or American women's history.  Choose from a list we provide, or propose your own individual or group -- perhaps one linked to your family history.

The proposal is a written document, but it can be a proposal for a project that will be delivered as an essay, a podcast, a zine or a multimedia presentation. You can propose to work on your own, or with a small group.

Final Research Project: March 21


May be presented as a 2500 word essay, or an equivalent podcast, a zine or a multimedia presentation; this can be an individual project a small group project.  


Final Exam: Written during the McMaster Exam Period

(With an option for a take home exam for students who are not studying on the McMaster campus)


Bonus Assignment

Develop an entry for our glossary.  Approx. 250-500 words + any illustrations; multimedia welcome. 

5% added to your final course grade

Through the term; last date April 11th.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

You are expected to contribute to online discussions with your Learning Group within each unit of the class.  Details on how participation works and how it is assessed are in the course manual. Contributions to the discussion forum for each unit are due by midnight on the last day fo the unit.  Lte conributions to the discussion will not be accepted.

Late penalities for the Learning Group Assignments, the Research Proposal and the Research Project accrue at the rate of 5% per day, to a maximum of 50%.  After 10 days, late assignments are not accepted.  An assignment is late if it is not posted to the relevant Avenue Dropbox by midnight on the due date.

Bonus Assignments are accepted all term.  The last date for the submission of a bonus assignment is midnight on April 11th.

The details of the MSAF policy are outlined elsewhere in this syllabus. MSAF is designed to provide short-term (3 day) relief in the event of a temporary illness striking you at the time an assignment is due. The standard accommodation for an assignment for which you have submitted an MSAF is three days, after which late penalites will accure.  If you remain ill and three days are not sufficient, then you shoudl be in direct contact with your Faculty office to arrange a longer-term accommodation.  MSAF is not accepted for contributions to your learning group discussion; you have a two week window within which to make your contribution in each unit.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

The course consists of an Introduction Week, followed by six, 2-week long units.  Reading, researhc and viewing assignments for each unit are detailed under the Checklist feature on the coure Avenue to Learn site.

Other Course Information:

The entire course will be run through Avenue to Learn. It will show up on your Avenue to Learn feed as soon as we make the course active.  We will release the course to you by Jan. 1st at the latest, and hopefully a few days before then.

Once the course is active, you will be able to see the course materials for the first week (Introduction Week). We expect you to work through that material during the first week of the term (ending Sunday, Jan. 10th).  When you complete the reading, viewing, and writing tasks for the Intro Week, you will be ready to access the next two-week unit of the class. You unlock that unit (Unit #1) by successfully completing a short, ungraded quiz based on the material in the Intro Week.  That second unit will be available online as of noon on Jan. 11, 2016.  From there, we proceed in two- week units. Inside each 2-week unit, you can expect 4 or 5, 20 min lecture videos, a set of readings and/or films, and then writing or research tasks that you post to your online learning group of approx. 10-12 students.

We will organize the course materials through the checklist function in Avenue to Learn; the checklist for each unit takes you to what you need, in the order in which you need it.  It may sound complicated to explain, but it will be very easy to follow.  When you open the course, look for the checklist box. You are free to complete your tasks any time -- and any place -- as the course progresses, there are two week periods during which you need to complete tasks for a unit, and there are set due dates for assignments.  You can work in your PJs if you like. I might do that myself, but since the video only captures my head and shoulders, you will never know...

In this course, there is less face-to-face (or screen-to-screen) work with me, and more work that you pursue independently and in conversation with your online learning group.  This model holds a lot in common with the model of the blended classroom (except that our classroom in virtual).  You will be busy, but you get to organize yourself.  You will not be expected to spend more time on this course than on a traditional face-to-face course, but you will also not spend less time, either.

 I will have in person office hours and Skype office hours and I will hold regular webinars run through the Online Rooms function of Avenue) to discuss assignments. You can watch these live and send questions, or watch later from an archived version of the session.  The first webinar will take place on Thursday, January 14th from 5:30 - 6:20.  You will get more specific instructions and a how-to slidecast in advance of the webinar.

We have a fantastic TA in this course - Ateeka Khan - who you will meet in an introduction video, and then "see" in your learning groups.

You do not need any advanced computing skills to access the course, although along the way there are options to use multimedia and production skills to complete some of your assignments. Old-fashioned writing works too!

If you have background in Canadian or American history or women's and gender history that will be helpful, but it is not required and we have resources in place to support those of you who are new to this topic matter of new to history as a university discipline.