21H.225J / SP.607J / WGS.607J Gender and the Law in U.S. History

Spring 2004

Same-sex couple married in Boston (May 20, 2004).
Drew Dionisio, left, and Brandon Clark, both of Marblehead, MA, are married at the Arlington Street Church in Boston (May 20, 2004). In November of 2003, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the commonwealth may not deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples. (Photo courtesy of Dan Bersak.)

Course Highlights

This course includes an extensive bibliography of readings.

Course Description

This subject explores the legal history of the United States as a gendered system. It examines how women have shaped the meanings of American citizenship through pursuit of political rights such as suffrage, jury duty, and military service, how those political struggles have varied for across race, religion, and class, as well as how the legal system has shaped gender relations for both women and men through regulation of such issues as marriage, divorce, work, reproduction, and the family. The course readings will draw from primary and secondary materials in American history, as well as some court cases. However, the focus of the class is on the broader relationship between law and society, and no technical legal knowledge is required or assumed.

*Some translations represent previous versions of courses.

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Prof. Christopher Capozzola

Course Meeting Times

One session / week
3 hours / session