Digital Public History (Spring 2013)

Reading | Writing | Building

  1. For each meeting, please read and explore the materials for the week. Then, blog a reflection on those materials.
  2. Final Project: Fashion a response to the question “What difference does digital work make for Public History?” Due May 13.


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Week 1 (January 28): History, the Public, Openness, and Ethics

Week 2 (February 11): Participatory Public History

Week 3 (February 25): Digital Strategy

[March 11: Spring Break]

Week 4 (March 25): Digital Exhibits

Week 5 (April 8): Archives

Week 6 (April 22): Mobile

Week 7 (May 6): Evaluation

Women’s Religious History: 19th Century American (Fall 2012)

Approach and Goals

During the semester we will investigate the ways that historians have attempted to account for women’s experience with and influence on religion in 19th century America. Needless to say, this will lead us to consider gender, culture, belief, and politics. Given these goals, I suggest that we concentrate on answering a set of questions about the history and a set of questions about the methodology and historiography.


  • How do the historical actors in these texts go about the work of representing their religion and its significance to themselves and others? How do they see their world and their place in it?
  • How are power and authority negotiated in this context? What difference does religion make?
  • Do the historical actors more or less align themselves with a version of gender roles that is based on claims of equality or difference? How does this impact their experience?

Method and Historiography

  • What is the methodological approach of the author? What are his/her assumptions about religion?
  • What is the scope of the research? What materials/elements have been excluded?
  • What is the significance of the work in the larger field of American religious history?
  • How does this work change our understanding of both religious history and the larger field of 19th century American history?
  • How does is this work in conversation with other texts in the field?

Reading Clusters

  1. Quakers and Antebellum Reform (September 6)
    • Holton, Sandra Stanley. Quaker Women: Personal Life, Memory and Radicalism in the Lives of Women Friends, 1780-1930. New Ed. Routledge, 2007.
    • Speicher, Anna M. The Religious World of Antislavery Women: Spirituality in the Lives of Five Abolitionist Lecturers. Syracuse Univ Pr (Sd), 2000.
    • Hardesty, Nancy A. Women Called To Witness: Evangelical Feminism. 1st ed. Univ Tennessee Press, 1999.
    • * Abzug, Robert H. Cosmos Crumbling: American Reform and the Religious Imagination. Oxford University Press, USA, 1994.
  2. Gender and Women’s History, Anthropology and Social Theory (September 20)
    • Scott, Joan Wallach. “Gender: a Useful Category of Historical Analysis.” American Historical Review 91:5 (Winter, 1986): 1053-1075.
    • Smith-Rosenberg, Carroll. Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America. Oxford UP, 1985. [“The Female World of Love and Ritual” and “The Cross and the Pedestal”]
    • Kerber, Linda K. “Separate Spheres, Female Worlds, Woman’s Place: The Rhetoric of Women’s History” (1988) and “The Republican Mother: Women and the Enlightenment–An American Perspective,” in Towards an Intellectual History of Women: Essays. University of North Carolina Press, 1997.
    • Higginbotham, Evelyn Brook. “African-American Women and the Metalanguage of Race.” Signs (Winter 1992): 251-274.
    • Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. 1st ed. Routledge, 2006. [Prefaces and “Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire” and “Conclusion”]
    • Weber, Max. From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Routledge, 1991. [“Religious Rejections of the World and their Directions,” (“Politics as a Vocation,” “Science as Vocation,”)]
    • Durkheim, Emile. The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Translated by Karen Fields. Free Press, 1995. [Introduction; Book One: Chapter One and Chapter Four; Book Two: Chapter Three, Chapter Six and Chapter Seven; Book Three: Chapter One and Chapter Five; Conclusion.]
    • Turner, Victor. “The Liminal Period.” Bewtixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de Passage. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1967.
    • * Douglas, Mary. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. 1st ed. TAYLOR, 2002.
  3. Native Americans and the Frontier West (October 4)
    • Gutierrez, Ramon A. When Jesus Came, the Corn Mothers Went Away: Marriage, Sexuality, and Power in New Mexico, 1500-1846. First ed. Stanford University Press, 1991.
    • Mihesuah, Devon A. Cultivating the Rosebuds: The Education of Women at the Cherokee Female Seminary, 1851-1909. University of Illinois Press, 1997.
    • Deutsch, Sarah. No Separate Refuge: Culture, Class, and Gender on an Anglo-Hispanic Frontier in the American Southwest, 1880-1940. 1ST ed. Oxford University Press, USA, 1987.
    • Pascoe, Peggy. Relations of Rescue: The Search for Female Moral Authority in the American West, 1874-1939. Oxford University Press, USA, 1993.
  4. Mormons and Utopian Communities (October 18)
    • Givens, Terry L. People of Paradox: A History of Mormon Culture. Oxford University Press, 2007.
    • Foster, Lawrence. Women, Family, and Utopia: Communal Experiments of the Shakers, the Oneida Community, and the Mormons. 1st ed. Syracuse Univ Pr (Sd), 1992.
  5. African American Women and Pentacostal and Holiness Churches (November 1)
    • Higginbotham, Evelyn Brooks. Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement in the Black Baptist Church, 1880-1920. Harvard University Press, 1994.
    • Moody, Joycelyn. Sentimental Confessions: Spiritual Narratives of Nineteenth-Century African American Women. University of Georgia Press, 2003.
    • Grammer, Elizabeth Elkin. Some Wild Visions: Autobiographies by Female Itinerant Evangelists in Nineteenth-Century America. Oxford University Press, USA, 2002.
    • Blumhofer, Edith L. Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentacostalism, and American Culture. University of Illinois Press, 1993.
    • Stephens, Michael S. Who Healeth All Thy Diseases: Health, Healing, and Holiness in the Church of God Reformation Movement. Scarecrow Press, 2008.
  6. Catholicism and Judaism (November 20 — Tuesday)
    • Fitzgerald, Maureen. Habits of Compassion: Irish Catholic Nuns and the Origins of New York’s Welfare System, 1830-1920. University of Illinois Press, 2006.
    • Goldman, Karla. Beyond the Synagogue Gallery: Finding a Place for Women in American Judaism. Harvard University Press, 2001.
    • Cummings, Kathleen Sprows. New Women of the Old Faith: Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era. The University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
    • * Coburn, Carol and Smith, Martha. Spirited Lives: How Nuns Shaped Catholic Culture and American Life, 1836-1920. The University of North Carolina Press, 1999.
  7. Late 19thc Reform Movements (December 6)
    • Hunter, Jane. The Gospel of Gentility: American Women Missionaries in Turn-of-the-Century China. Yale University Press, 1989.
    • Edwards, Wendy J. Deichmann, and Carolyn De Swarte Gifford. Gender and the Social Gospel. University of Illinois Press, 2003.


During the course of the semester, there will be two major outcomes: Reading Responses and Critical Review Essays. The reading responses should consist of a separate short blog post for each reading. The critical reviews should attempt to deal with the larger questions of the course through a discussion of the readings up to the due date:

  • Essay 1: October 8
  • Essay 2: November 9
  • Essay 3: December 10