History project, or HERstory project, if you like

 

Step 1: Pick an historic document written about or by women in politics.  It must be dated prior to 1980 (by this I mean WRITTEN then).  You might find something from the ancient world or anthropology, European political thought, etc.  More likely, you might find something from the U.S. founding, the suffrage movement, or the “women’s lib” movement.

            The document might be a treatise or a book chapter, or the text of a speech, the important part is that it undertakes some discussion of the “proper” role of women in relationship to the political world.

 

Resources:  Your first stop might be to the reference desk at the CSUS library, where reference librarians should be able to point you in the right direction.  You might find such texts online, through reseources such as this index , or from the Schlesinger Library collection at Radcliffe/Harvard.

 

Step 2: Read it and do a write up.  The write up should be 4-5 pages long and do the following:

 

            1. Summarize the document – describe the context – who wrote it, why, etc.

            2. Describe the assumptions made about the role of women in politics made by the author, and the assumptions the author makes about the views of the rest of the world on the topic (especially men in power).  Document these with brief quotes, etc.

            3. How has the situation you just described changed over the years?  Be very specific, and back up the assertions you make with evidence.  For instance, if the author discusses the need for women to serve in the legislature, document how many served at the time of the writing vs. how many are serving today.  Cite your sources for this information.

            4. Do you think the author would be surprised by the state of affairs today?  Disappointed or pleased?  This is clearly conjecture, but give specific reasons that you believe this, and back them up with quotes from the document.

 

The nitty gritty:

 

* Sources:

You will need to have a minimum of 4 sources that are credible, such as government documents, scholarly journal articles or books, statistical abstracts, etc. (your sources will primarily be used to complete part 3 above.) Include a bibliography that cites these sources along with a citation for the document you are analyzing. Use a consistent citation style, APA, MLA, etc. Be sure that you are using a recognized format and that all of your citations follow it.

 

* Be sure to be academic and analytical - do not use personal anecdotes and so on, but rather, advance arguments backed up with evidence.

 

* Your finished product should be proofread, free of spelling or grammar errors, etc. In short, this should be upper division college level work.