This course is discontinued

NORAM4507 – American Women's History: Sexuality, Motherhood & Mission

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

This seminar on American Women’s History will focus on the ways in which ideologies and experiences of sexuality and maternity intertwine in creating, at times, a sense of women as having a special mission in the nation and the world. It will examine early ideologies about gender and then examine how practical questions of fertility control, adoption, and motherhood became wrapped up in ideologies of nationalism, race, perfectionism and progress. Several specific historical periods in which these ideologies created unique forms of gender politics within the United States will be considered. Throughout, we will consider the ways in which race, ethnicity, class, and other identities separate women and fragment women's political challenges. You will discover that some of what contemporary feminists now consider sacrosanct, essential underpinnings of women's rights were often seen as shocking and contradictory to the goals of early feminists who made those changes possible.

Learning outcome

After completing this course you will have:

  • learned to assess the field of women's history as a whole;
  • learned how and why the field developed and how women scholars' lived experiences shaped the questions they asked;
  • learned to compare the history of women with other histories and reconsider traditional historical eras;
  • learned how to examine gender as a social construct;
  • learned how to examine the ways in which women both act and are acted upon, by examining the choices made by women within cultural limits as well as actions that challenged and redefined the boundaries of acceptable gender behavior;
  • improved your ability to organize and write about such complex ideas and realities.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Admission to master program in North American area studies, LAP or other relevant master programs.

Recommended previous knowledge

NORAM1500 – American history (discontinued), ENG2572 – American Women's History (discontinued) or NORAM4572 – American Women's History (discontinued).


The course is taught throughout the semester with 2 hours per week, 20 hours in all.

90% attendance is required.

There will be two qualifying assignments:

  • Each student will assist in leading discussions (both for their chosen article and other class meetings.)
  • In-class writing assignment – paraphrasing vs plagiarism


Portfolio-evaluation consisting of:

  • Book review of one of the pensum books
  • Short response essay assessing the readings for one of the weeks’ readings
  • Essay explaining why an article was chosen as her/his contribution to the course, and assessing the major points to be covered. How does this article fit with other readings for the course? Why is the article important? (Note: You will find this article using America: History and Life.)

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

The results will be found on the StudentWeb within three weeks after the exam.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2011


Autumn 2011

Teaching language