Title page for ETD etd-04112004-192013

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Bowen, Nicole Lynn
URN etd-04112004-192013
Title Stepping Out of Her Place: A New Look at Women's Roles during Selected Wars in U.S. History
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Curriculum & Instruction
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Petra Munro Hendry Committee Chair
Bill Pinar Committee Member
Claudia Eppert Committee Member
  • women's expereince during war
  • secondary social studies
Date of Defense 2004-03-30
Availability unrestricted
Women are not included in high school history text books in a meaningful way, thus students are only learning about half of the experiences that shaped our nation. The ways in which history is represented as part of the social studies curriculum in secondary schools must be reconsidered. A history text that does not represent the experiences of women in a meaningful way does not provide a means for young women to "locate themselves in time," or meet many of the other standards of the National Council for the Social Studies. If young women and men are going to develop an understanding of who they are and how they are connected to the past, it is imperative that they first gain an understanding of women's experiences historically, so that they may then begin to understand the lives they live today. Young women, as well as young men, respond to the world from a very personal perspective, and if they are to be able to see how they are connected to the past, where their historical roots lie, and how they fit into the larger human story across time, then it is necessary that the various experiences of women throughout time be made available to them in the history classrooms.

In this paper, I explore women's roles during the American Revolution, the Civil War, and World War I as case studies to illustrate that 1) in each of these three major events in history, women are traditionally not seen as playing roles worthy of mention in major texts on the subject, 2) that women did in fact have varied and important roles during these events, 3) that there is historical evidence of women's roles through biographies, memoirs, diaries, and other surviving material, and 4) that having an understanding about the roles that women played impacts the ways in which the events are viewed. Women have been a force in shaping the history of the United States in countless ways, and their experiences both complicate and enrich one's understanding of American history.

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