The Educated Woman’s Paradox: Inequity and Privilege

The Educated Woman’s Paradox: Inequity and Privilege (UNXD-408)

The world is not fair to educated women. Sometimes injustice works against them; other times they are beneficiaries of inequity. This course will help students to cultivate inner
resources that tell them that both “intellectual” and “passion” matter, and that they can and will find ways to live lives true to both.

Course Details

3:30 – 5:30 PM
Registration opens in MyAccess at 3 PM on Monday, November 11 for all seniors.

Why Take This Course?

The world is not fair to educated women. Sometimes injustice works against them; other times they are beneficiaries of inequity. As you prepare to leave the Hilltop with your Georgetown degree, you on one hand face a world where no amount of education safeguards women against the apparent ability of powerful and privileged men to harass them with impunity, while Serena Williams (not to mention the entire U.S. women’s soccer team) can wildly outperform all rivals and still be underpaid and demeaned for behavior widely lauded in men. But on the other hand, you also face a world where a Georgetown degree sets female graduates apart from the increasing number of girls worldwide who cannot attend school of any kind and insulates them from the problems facing the billions worldwide who do not have access to basic necessities like clean water. Facing this odd juxtaposition ranks as one of the greatest challenges facing young women college graduates, and it catches most of them completely unaware. The point is not to nurture a sense of grievance or to tell today’s graduates they should be grateful for how good they have it. The point is that a paradox rests squarely at the center of the 21st century female graduate’s existence.

So let’s take some time this semester to recognize this paradox, think honestly about it, and imagine ways of navigating it. We will use the practice of close reading to explore the drive to use one’s intellectual passions to serve human need in a world that often tries to mock or blunt such desires, especially in young, educated people whose energy and brains just might upset the status quo in some way.

Chandra Manning teaches U.S. history, chiefly of the 19th century, including classes on the Civil War, slavery and emancipation, Lincoln, citizenship, the American Revolution, and the History of Baseball. A former National Park Service Ranger, she has also advised historical sites, museums, and historical societies, as well as community groups in search of historical perspective.Her first book, What This Cruel War Was Over: Soldiers, Slavery, and the Civil War (Knopf, 2007) won the Avery O. Craven Prize awarded by the Organization of American Historians, earned Honorable Mention for the Lincoln Prize and the Virginia Literary Awards for Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the Jefferson Davis Prize and the Frederick Douglass Prize. Her second book, Troubled Refuge: Struggling for Freedom in the Civil War (Knopf, 2016) won the Jefferson Davis Prize awarded by the American Civil War Museum for best book on the Civil War.