Rebellious Women in American History

Thursday, February 24, 2022

US students had the opportunity to take a history elective during Winter Term which covered Rebellious Women in American History. This class examined the history of female activism, crime, anger, and dangerous (sometimes illegal) behavior. The historical figures in this class ranged from an accused murderer to a suffrage activist and a fifteen-year old protestor to a Victorian-era transgender actress.

Much of this class centered on social movement histories and activists who challenged oppression, discrimination, and societal norms. It also focused on criminality and the law, sexual violence, identity politics and representation, and how race and class intersect with the histories of rebellion by looking at case studies, as well as texts from American History, Literature - especially autobiographical and biographical texts, Gender Studies, and Criminology and Sociology.

During final exam week, the Class XII students held a history fair for their final where they chose to dive deeper into specific rebellious women in history. See images and an overview of each student's project below:

Megan W., Mirabel B., and Ai Lee W. dressed up as pirates to honor their chosen rebellious woman, Anne Bonny, who masqueraded as a male pirate in the 18th century. Their research not only covered Bonny’s life, but also how she has been represented in popular culture, video games, and visual art.

Anne Bonny,

Neve R. and Gia R. researched the fascinating life of Emily Dickinson. Their poster explored her romantic relationships, criticisms of marriage, and fashion aesthetics that made her somewhat of an outcast during her life.

Emily Dickinson

Lucza B. studied the Riot Grrl movement and its lasting impact on third wave feminism, music, and visual arts and aesthetics. Lucza shared that she was inspired to create her own zine as a result of this research.

Riot Grrl

Allison C. and Lydia W. researched the history of the animal rights movement, which began with two women (Lizzy Lind af Hageby and Leisa Katherine Schartau) who crusaded against animal vivisection and sought to protect the rights of animals in medical experimentation.

Animal Rights Movement

Mia J. researched the scandalous history of Lulu White, the Diamond Queen, one of New Orleans’s most infamous 19th century madams. This research was impressive because Mia was able to compile a number of primary sources - including mugshots, personal writings, and a comprehensive timeline of Lulu’s life. 

Lulu White