Part Two of the Women Have Always Worked MOOC Set to Launch on May 31

by | May 8, 2017

On May 31, 2017, Columbia University and the Center for Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society will launch Women Have Always Worked: The U.S. Experience 1920 – 2016 – the second part of the Women Have Always Worked MOOC (massive open online course) on the edX platform. Both parts of the course are free and open to all.

The Women Have Always Worked course is the first full-length MOOC on the history of women in America. Led by Alice Kessler-Harris, R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History Emerita, at Columbia University, the course introduces students to historians’ work to uncover the place of women and gender in America’s past. Part One of the course, Women Have Always Worked: The U.S. Experience 1700 – 1920, launched in March 2017.

Part Two of the course focuses on women and their work in the 20th century through the present. Participants will examine how ideas about men, women, and family have shaped the meaning and practice of citizenship for Americans of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. Participants will also learn about the implications of race, gender, and class for modern American economic, political, and social life.

“Women’s history is a relatively new field but one that has influenced how historians think about the past by introducing new questions, new evidence and new perspectives into the historical canon,” said Kessler-Harris. “Our new knowledge challenges old truisms about the past and makes American history a far richer and more complete experience than it could be without women.

Image courtesy of Library of Congress.

In the first part of this course we look at the way women struggled to loosen the constraints of family by proclaiming that they, like men, possessed individual rights. In this second half of the course we examine how women pursue their goals as individuals after achieving the vote. We ask what citizenship meant for women, and how it differed from citizenship for men. We learn how women began to ask for equality, and what the word ‘equality’ meant, and still means, for different women.”

“Understanding women’s history is essential to understanding the past,” said Valerie Paley, New-York Historical vice president, chief historian, and director of the Center for Women’s History. “The Center for Women’s History is dedicated to ensuring that women’s history is an integral and enriching part of the learning experience. We’re proud to partner with Columbia University in presenting the Women Have Always Worked MOOC.”

As a professor in the Department of History and at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University, Kessler-Harris specialized in the history of American labor and 20th-century social policy. This course is based in part on the newly updated version of Kessler-Harris’s 1981 book, Women Have Always Worked: A Historical Overview.

Meet the Instructor: Alice Kessler-Harris

R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History Emerita, Columbia University

Kessler-Harris is the author and editor of many books about women in the working world. Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States (1982, 2001) won the coveted Philip Taft Prize in Labor History. In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth Century America (2001), won the Bancroft, Taft, Joan Kelly, and Herbert Hoover prizes; Her other books include Gendering Labor History (2007); A Woman’s Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences (1990), and A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman (2012).

Part Two of Women Have Always Worked is a 10-week, self-paced course during which students may choose to pursue a particular pathway through course materials, based on their needs and preferences. The course features a diverse set of learning resources, including conversations with prominent historians of women and gender, and examinations of artifacts and documents from the extensive collections of the New-York Historical Society, the Brooklyn Historical Society, and Columbia University’s Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Course activities introduce students to key practices in the study and writing of women’s history, including finding women in the archives. Students are encouraged to reflect on and share the ways that course themes relate to their own lives and experiences.

Visit ColumbiaX to register for Women Have Always Worked: The U.S. Experience 1920 – 2016 and to keep informed about upcoming MOOC releases from Columbia.

About the Center for Teaching and Learning at Columbia University

The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) partners with faculty, students, and colleagues across the University to support excellence and innovation in teaching and learning. The CTL is committed to advancing the culture of teaching and learning for professional development, curricular enhancement, and academic support through its programs, services, and resources.

About the Center for Women’s History at the New-York Historical Society

The Center for Women’s History is the first institution in the nation within the walls of a museum dedicated to women’s history and will be unique in its size, scope, and inclusive spirit. Located on the transformed fourth floor of the New-York Historical Society and officially opening in late April 2017, the Center will showcase special exhibitions in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery, special display cases illuminating particular moments from the broad sweep of women’s history, and bold interactive digital installations.

The New-York Historical Society, one of America’s preeminent cultural institutions, is dedicated to fostering research and presenting history and art exhibitions and public programs that reveal the dynamism of history and its influence on the world of today. Founded in 1804, New-York Historical has a mission to explore the richly layered history of New York City and State and the country, and to serve as a national forum for the discussion of issues surrounding the making and meaning of history.

Course materials produced by the New-York Historical Society were created in cooperation with Intelligent Television.