Women Have Always Worked Online Course Re-released

by | Feb 18, 2019

On January 30, 2019, Columbia University, in partnership with the New-York Historical Society, re-launched the online course series Women Have Always Worked on the edX platform. The four courses in the series are free and open to all with an optional paid verified certificate program.

The Women Have Always Worked XSeries has been updated from its original 2017 version in response to the current political climate in the United States. A new section has been added to course four that examines the American political landscape in the wake of the 2016 Presidential election, and looks at how women are contributing to and creating grassroots movements aimed at social and economic inequality, like the #MeToo movement and the Fight for Fifteen.

The courses provide an opportunity to learn through video lectures and conversations between Alice Kessler-Harris and many luminaries in the field. In addition, recordings of artifact and document examinations as well as journeys through prestigious research centers, archives, historical landmarks and museums around New York City add to the richness of the courses. Throughout, there are opportunities for primary source examinations and forums for students to reflect on their learning. Finally, students can access supplemental resources in every section of the course series for a deeper exploration of particular topics in American Women’s Histories of work, resistance, and success.

“These four courses of the Women have Always Worked series are designed to introduce you to the history of women in the United States,” said Alice Kessler-Harris, “and to help you understand how women have changed the course of American History. …you will find yourself immersed in a universe that has always existed and that will lead to a fuller engagement with the American past.”

Women's March photo

A new section examines the American political landscape in the wake of the 2016 Presidential Election.
Source: Women’s March on Washington by Mobilus In Mobili (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Alice Kessler-Harris, one of the founders of the field of Women’s History, conceptualized and leads the courses. Professor Kessler-Harris is R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History Emerita at Columbia University, where she was also Professor in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and The Center for the Study of Social Difference. Professor Kessler-Harris specializes in the History of Women and Gender, American Labor and 20th-Century Social Policy.

Among her numerous publications is In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth Century America (2001), for which she won the The Bancroft Prize, The Philip Taft Labor Book Award, The Joan Kelly Memorial Prize in Women’s History, and The Herbert Hoover Book Prizes. This course is based in part on the second edition of Kessler-Harris’ 1981 book, Women Have Always Worked: A Concise History, published in 2018. Professor Kessler-Harris is past president of the Organization of American Historians, the Labor and Working Class History Association, and the American Studies Association. Currently, she serves as Vice President of the Society of American Historians. She is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

The four courses follow a chronological order of history from the colonial period up to 2018. The courses are free, on-demand, and learners can explore them in any order.

  • Seeking Women’s Rights: Colonial Period to the Civil War – Learn about the emergence of women’s history and its impact on the study of history as a whole, and examine the experiences of women in Colonial America.
  • Wage Work for Women Citizens: 1870-1920 – Departing from the Civil War years, examine how gender shaped women’s work outside the home in the late 19th century, and uncover how the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments impacted women’s political participation.
  • Negotiating a Changing World: 1920-1950 – Beginning with the passing of the 19th Amendment and on through World War II, explore the new cultural and economic opportunities that emerged for women in this period while gaining an understanding of how racial, familial, and legal structures placed constraints on that independence.
  • Fighting for Equality: 1950–2018 – Examine how Cold War ideals impacted women’s trajectory towards independence and equality, and explore women’s roles in present-day social movements like #MeToo and the Fight for Fifteen.

Visit ColumbiaX to register for the Women Have Always Worked XSeries and to keep informed about upcoming online course releases from Columbia. Register today!

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.