HSTY 306 Book Responses

Ulrich, A Midwife’s Tale

One of the central themes of A Midwife’s Tale is gender, that is, the ways in which people express characteristics or undertake tasks thought to represent masculinity or femininity. Laurel Ulrich spends considerable time in the book examining how Martha Ballard, her husband Ephraim, their children and families, and their neighbors envision roles for men and women in the society of rural Maine (Massachusetts) in the early United States.

In your essay, you should evaluate how Ulrich explains the role of gender in that society. You may choose to focus on masculinity, femininity, or both. Whichever you choose, draw on specific examples from the book to respond and explore how men and women were expected to function and when they could or did transgress those ideals.

Requirements

  • The essay is due on Thursday, March 12 by 11:59 p.m. via Dropbox.
  • Your essay should be at least 800 words (exclusive of footnotes).
  • Use footnotes for your citations in Chicago Manual of Style format.
  • While you will primarily cite A Midwife’s Tale, you are welcome to use any other readings/lectures from the course. You should not use any outside sources.

Jones, Birthright Citizens

The task for this book will be parallel to the work we did on A Midwife’s Tale. In Birthright Citizens, Jones examines the intersections of race, culture, and the law to understand citizenship debates for African Americans in antebellum America. She does so by exploring myriad avenues through which African Americans in Baltimore engaged with the law, debated conceptions of citizenship and belonging, and navigated the complicated systems denoting free and unfree status.

In your essay, you should focus on how Jones uses race as a concept in Birthright Citizens. You may choose to use any approach you like to do so, so long as you engage with the core arguments and topics of the book.

Requirements

  • The essay is due on Thursday, April 23 by 11:59 p.m. via Dropbox.
  • Your essay should be at least 800 words (exclusive of footnotes).
  • Use footnotes for your citations in Chicago Manual of Style format.
  • While you will primarily cite Birthright Citizens, you are welcome to use any other readings/lectures from the course. You should not use any outside sources.

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