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Jeanne Petit
of History (2000)

Lubbers Hall 324
126 East 10th Street
Holland, MI 49423

B.A., Knox College, 1992
M.A., University of Notre Dame, 1993
Ph.D., University of Notre Dame, 2000

Professor Jeanne Petit’s research focuses on gender and immigration in United States History, Her book, The Men and Women We Want: Gender, Race, and the Progressive Era Literacy Test Debate (University of Rochester Press, 2010), explores the ways debates about immigration restriction in the early twentieth century tapped into broader concerns about American national identity.

Professor Petit regularly teaches Cultural Heritage II and the modern half of the United States survey (1877-present). Her upper-level courses focus on US social and cultural history. Her offerings include “U.S. Women and Social Change,” “World War I America,” “United States Cultural History,” “The Roaring Twenties” and “Recent America: The United State since World War II.” Professor Petit is also the Director of Women's Studies and has taught “Introduction to Women’s Studies.”


Courses Taught

HIST 140 History Workshop
HIST 161 U.S History Since 1877
HIST 255 World War I America: A Nation in Transition
HIST 256 Recent America: The Challenges of Power
HIST 352 U.S. Women and Social Change
HIST 357 United States Cultural History: Ideas of Race, Gender and Class


Current Research
In her new research, Prof. Petit investigates the ways in which Catholic laywomen sought positions of power and influence in the United States during the World War I era.



"'Up against a Stone Wall': Women, Power and the National Catholic Community Houses" American Catholic Studies (Summer 2012)

The Men and Women We Want: Gender, Immigration Restriction and Progressive-Era Literacy Test Debates, University of Rochester Press (2010)

“What Challenges Did Catholic Laywomen Face When They Took up Social Work in Post-World War I East St. Louis?” Women and Social Movements Website, Alexander Street Press/SUNY Binghamton (2010)

“ ‘Organized Catholic Womanhood: Suffrage, Citizenship and the National Council of Catholic Women,” U.S. Catholic Historian (Winter, 2008)

“Our Immigrant Co-Religionists: The National Catholic Welfare Conference as an Advocate for Immigrants, 1919-1929” in Immigrant Rights in the Shadow of United States Citizenship, Rachel Ida Buff, ed, New York University Press, 2008.

“Negotiating their Place: Two Perspectives on American Catholics in the Progressive Era” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (July 2004)

“Breeders, Workers and Mothers: Gender and the Congressional Literacy Test Debate, 1896-97,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era (January 2004)



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