This 1-credit course is tied to the visit of our 2019 Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities, Jacquelyn Dowd Hall. We take the title of our course from her latest book Sisters and Rebels: A Struggle for the Soul of America, which the students will do a close read of this semester. Hall tells the story of much of the twentieth century from the point of view of three sisters, born into the reactionary late-nineteenth century South, but building lives that take them in three very different directions, including two of the sisters moving in bohemian and socialist circles in Jazz Age New York. This is a story of social change, of women’s history, of family, and of what we inherit from the past and build out of that inheritance.
As a special treat, Dr. Hall, a national leader in women’s, labor, and southern history, an innovator using oral histories in scholarly work, and the winner of multiple national awards including the National Medal of the Humanities, will join our class for a discussion of her work.
Professors Vivian Bruce Conger, who specializes in gender in America, and Michael Trotti, who specializes in the U.S. South (and was a research assistant for Dr. Hall as she worked on this project), will lead students through this rich story of gender, family, region, and rebellion in 20th century America.