QU: History of Women's Leadership

Laura Westhoff's picture

Dear Colleagues,

I have been asked to teach an upper level undergraduate course on the History of U. S. Women's Leadership next semester.  I plan to introduce leadership as an evolving and contextualized concept and consider ways women have exercised and contributed to conceptions of leadership in a variety of arenas, from daily networks and grassroots organizations to the upper echelons of business and politics. 

I welcome suggestions for readings and sample syllabi.


Thanks in advance,

Laura Westhoff

Chair, History Department

University of Missouri-St. Louis

definitely start with Anne Hutchinson, whose leadership nearly splintered Massachusetts Bay in 1636.
and look into the history of the Ladies Association of 1780, along with its leaders Esther DeBerdt Reed and Sarah Franklin Bache. They resisted George Washington (for a while).

I recommend Lara Medina's Las Hermanas: Religious-Political Activism in the US Catholic Church. A great case-study of a recent (1970s) grass-roots movement that has worked well with students.

I have done research on the topic of women and leadership in TV campaign ads from 1952 to 2016. Please contact me off-list if it would be of interest to you (gidlow@wayne.edu).
Also, are you familiar with the Newcomb Institute at Tulane? The program is interdisciplinary and scholarly and focused on issues related to leadership by women. See http://www2.tulane.edu/newcomb/.