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WOS 305: Intellectual Roots of Western Feminism: Assignment tips

A guide for WOS 305.

Author Introduction

For your Author Introduction Assignment (see page 5 of your syllabus for details) you need to introduce the class to one of the authors you will be reading.  Here are some good sources for reliable information.

On-line Databases:

Biography in Context  This database has the full text of biographies for many famous people.  Simply search for your author's name and a list of biographies will come up.  There may be multiple biographies for more famous people or just one.  Click on the title of any to read the entire biography.  Also note the tabs at the top of the page.  Under the one called "Websites" you may find a list of reliable websites about your author.  You may also find more biographies in another database called Literature Resource Center

Another useful database will be Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000.  This database has a mix of materials, so you might find pictures of your author, works written about her, writings by her, or speeches.  To search, put your author's name in the box in the upper right hand corner of the screen.  On the next screen, click on the link next to the word "Titles".  Again, all items in this database have the full text available to search.

Reference Books:

A History of Feminist Philosophers  REF 190 H673 This 4 volume set is in the library reference area.  It has articles on individual women philosophers.  Each article has biographical information, but then goes beyond biography to discuss in detail that particular author's philosophical thought.

Book-length Biographies

Want even more information about your author? We also have book-length biographies for some!

Mary Wollstonecraft  4th floor 301.412 W864zt

Simone de Beauvoir: a biography 5th floor 848 B386xba

Lucy Stone:  Speaking out for Equality 4th floor 304.42 S878zk

Elizabeth Cady Stanton:  An American Life 4th floor 324.623 S792zgi

Aleksandra Kollontai:  socialism, feminism, and the Bolshevik Revolution 3rd floor 947.0841 K81xf

Margaret Fuller:  Writing a Woman's Life 5th floor 818.3 F967zdi

The Voice of Harriet Taylor Mill 4th floor 192 M645zj

John Stuart Mill:  Victorian Firebrand 4th floor 192 M645zr

Contextualized Argument Summary

For your Contextualize Argument Summary (see page 6 of your syllabus for details) you will need to provide some historical context for an argument made in a document or speech.

First, the resources listed to the left for your Author Introduction Assignment may also be a good starting point here, as they will put the author of the work into historical context.  But here are a few additional resources for each work that might be helpful:

For Harriet Taylor, The Enfranchisement of Women


Suppressed Speech:  The Language of Emotion in Harriet Taylor's The Enfranchisement of Woman

The Lid Comes Off:  International Radical Feminism and the Revolutions of 1848

Harriet Taylor Mill


British Women in the Nineteenth Century 4th floor 305.4094, particularly chapter 5, Politics, Community and Protest.

Victorian Feminism:  1850-1900 4th floor 305.4209 L665a, especially chapter 3, The public sphere:  politics, local and national

A History of the American Suffragist Movement 4th floor 324.623 W362 Chapters 2 and 3 deal with the period from 1840 to 1860.


For Charlotte Perkins Gilman, "Women and Economics"


'Vulgar Strangers in the Home': Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Modern Servitude

Marriage- The Peculiar Institution:  An Exploration of Marriage and the Women's Rights Movement in the 19th Century

Valuing Housework:  Nineteenth-Century Anxieties about the Commodification of Domestic Labor

Love and Economics:  Charlotte Perkins Gilman on "the Woman Question"

Home as Work:  The First Women's Rights Claims Concerning Women's Household Labor, 1850-1880


Breadwinners: Working Women and Economic Independence, 1865-1920  4th floor 331.4097 V285

Work Engendered:  Toward a New History of American Labor 4th floor 306.3615 W926




Contact Information

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Rachel McMullin
F.H. Green Library, Room 209
West Chester University   ---    WCU Libraries  25 West Rosedale Avenue, West Chester, PA 19383  610-430-4400