WOMENSTD 344 - Special Topics in Gender, Culture, and Representation
Fall 2017, Section 001 - Women at Michigan: 147 Years of the Dangerous Experiment
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is (see other Sections below)
Subject: Women's Studies (WOMENSTD)
Department: LSA Women's and Gender Studies
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Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Other Course Info:
(Gender, Culture, and Representation).
May be elected twice for credit. May be elected more than once in the same term.
Primary Instructor:


When the University celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2017, the history of women at Michigan will not have quite reached the sesquicentennial mark. It was in the winter of 1870 that Madelon Stockwell became the first female student at UM, following a 15 year campaign in which the admission of female students was called, by the Regents, “a dangerous experiment... certain to be ruinous to the young ladies who should avail themselves of it if it were introduced into the University, and disastrous to the Institution which should attempt to carry it out.”

During the ensuing decades, women at Michigan faced many challenges, and made many contributions to the University. However, these histories are largely unknown. This class will explore the history of women at Michigan in multiple contexts: as students, faculty, and staff, as well as those whose connections to the university were less formalized. Among the topics will be the debate over admitting women as students, the gendered aspects of campus life, and the continuing barriers to full participation in sports, the professional schools, graduate studies, and as faculty. We will be using the few available books on this subject: Dorothy McGuigan’s 1970 A Dangerous Experiment, Ruth Bordin’s Women at Michigan: The “Dangerous Experiment,” 1870s to the Present, published in 1999, and Doris Attaway and Marjorie Barritt’s Women’s Voices: Early Years at the University of Michigan (2000). These books are invaluable, but the oldest is over four decades old and the newest published nearly two decades ago. So students in the class will be expected to explore the available archives, such as the Bentley and Labadie, to generate new stories of the rich history of women at UM. This research will form the basis of a final paper.

Course Requirements:

Grades will be based on class participation and a final research paper.


WOMENSTD 344 - Special Topics in Gender, Culture, and Representation
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
002 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM

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