Canadian women studies

History 358A Newspaper Analysis

This assignment is a short primary research project, which is intended to demonstrate your ability to write a historical paper based on your analysis of one form of primary source — a newspaper. This project is intended to strengthen your primary research skills, and your ability to analyze primary sources. Students who wish to analyze a small, limited, primary source other than a newspaper must receive permission from the instructor before proceeding.

Each student will read ten issues of one of the following newspapers: The British Colonist/Victoria Times Colonist or the Globe and Mail (Toronto). The Colonist is available online from 1858 to 1910, and the 1995 issues of the Times Colonist are also available online. The remaining issues are available on microfilm at the university library. The Globe is available online from 1844 to the present. Each student will read two consecutive issues from each of the following years: 1885, 1910, 1935, 1965 and 1995. Other newspapers are also available for these dates, but are only available on microfilm. If you wish to choose a newspaper other than the Globe or the Colonist, please consult with the instructor.

You should read the issue that was published on your birthday and on the day following your birthday. (If the paper is a weekly, then read the two issues closest to your birthday). In reading each issue you should be looking for articles, advertisements, jokes, etc., that provide some insights into the nature of the gender ideology of that time. You should also be looking for information which will illuminate the actual roles played by women of the period.

While you will be analyzing the information that is presented in the newspaper, it is also important to look for what is not there. For example, are women’s sports discussed in the sports pages? Are “women’s issues” represented in discussions of current affairs or are they relegated to a “women’s page”? Also, do the newspapers see women as a single category, or do gender ideologies and roles clearly diverge by class, race and ethnicity?

After you have completed your research, write a paper (seven to eight pages long) assessing the changes and continuities in gender ideologies and women’s roles between 1885 and 1995 which are reflected in the newspaper you have examined. Your essay should NOT just consist of a list of changes/continuities in women’s roles and gender ideologies. You should focus in your paper on two to four changes and or continuities that were the most obvious, or that you found the most interesting. You should then back up your argument about these changes/continuities using the most compelling evidence that you were able to find in the issues of the newspaper you studied. You should use class lectures and 3-4 secondary sources (scholarly articles or books) to provide background information. One secondary source that may be particularly useful is Canadian Women: A History, which should be available on Reserve. You are encouraged to consult with the instructor in your selection of other secondary sources.

This essay should be focused around the arguments you are making about changes and continuities in gender ideologies and women’s roles. It must be written in essay form and include an introduction and conclusion. Footnotes or endnotes must be used where appropriate.
This essay is worth 25% of your grade.

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