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**HON 1000: ‘Going Steady?’: Documenting the History of Dating in American Culture, 1940-1990 (Anderson/Fall 2018)


Click image to view this 1949 "how-to" film

"Dating Do's and Don't's"

Courtesy of the Prelinger Archives (which houses many more teen "how-to" educational films)

Welcome to HON 1000: "Going Steady?" !

I am the librarian for African-American Studies, Communication, and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

I have a research and teaching background in US History, and this class will draw on all of these areas to help you learn about:

  • using primary sources to think about the past (and the present) 
  • getting a sense of how dating emerged and evolved from 1940 - 1990 through materials created during that time. 
  • understanding "prescriptive" sources and "descriptive" sources
    • prescriptive = it prescribes an action, a behavior, and attitude, or even products ("you should do this!") the way a doctor prescribes medicine) 
    • descriptive = describes something that happened, minimizing the "should" aspect

There is no prerequisite for this class -- we'll be learning as we go along. 


Dr. Jill Anderson


Phone: (404) 413-2722

Location: Atlanta Downtown Campus, Library South 5 (Research & Engagement Suite)

Office Hours: 12:30pm - 1:30 pm Thursdays

(or by appointment -- contact me via phone or email to set up an appointment)

I am in the library's Research and Engagement Suite on Library South 5 (Room 542)

If you are in the Library South building: 

  • Take the elevators in Library South (around the corner from the CURVE) up to the fifth floor.
  • When you get off the elevator, look for a sign pointing to the Research and Engagement Suite's door:

If you are in the Library North building (this is the building where the circulation desk and almost all of our books are):

  • If you walk across the Link (the bridge with the glass walls) on the second, third, fourth, or fifth floor, you are walking FROM Library North TO Library South.
  • If you are on the secondthird, or fourth floor, take the elevator to the fifth floor and follow the directions above. (The first floor of Library South is not part of the library. It's confusing. Don't worry about it. The first floor of Library North is where the circulation desk is) 
  • If you are the fifth floor, walk across to the fifth floor of Library South until you come to the elevators. The elevators will be to your left as you are walking away from Library North. 

The key to everything once you are on the fifth floor of Library South

Look for the Research & Engagement Suite sign. The door to the suite is to the left of the sign. 

If you get lost (everyone gets lost trying to find us) call me at (404) 413-2722!

Assignment for the First Day of Class: Seventeen Quizzes:

Before the first day of class, take one of these online quizzes.*

Print out the whole quiz before you take it so that you can bring both the questions and the answer to class. Or it's OK to bring a digital device too -- I just want us to be able to discuss both the questions and how they led to the answers. 

Are there norms suggested by the questions and/or the answers? 

Do you think a younger reader would interpret these quizzes differently?

Who do you think these quizzes represent, or not represent?

*Feel free to take them ironically! The goal is to see how the limitations of the questions lead to the answers. 

Language Use

When we work with primary sources (that is, materials created during the time period that we are studying--for this course, between 1940 and 1990) we are likely to encounter language and concepts that are uncomfortable and/or considered now to be offensive.

History can be very ugly. 

It is important that we understand that these words and concepts are part of history.

It is also important that we understand the potential of these words and concepts to be upsetting or offensive today. 

Please be mindful of how you use this language, and be respectful when using it. 

We will be likely be discussing some potentially controversial topics in this course, including date rape, teen pregnancy, LGBTQIQA identities, and other topics.

Disrespectful use of language referring to sex and gender representation, race, religion, sexual orientation, sexual misconduct, and so on (including "jokes") may result in removal from the class session (constituting an unexcused absence) or from the course entirely. 

While humor can help us think about challenging topics, be mindful and avoid derogatory jokes (i.e. sexist, racist, or homophobic jokes, or jokes about rape or sexual violence)

What Are Primary Sources?

We will be focusing on PRIMARY SOURCES in this course.

(image from

Primary sources are the raw materials of historical research - they are the documents or artifacts closest to the topic of investigation. Often they are created during the time period which is being studied (correspondence, diaries, newspapers, government documents, art) but they can also be produced later by eyewitnesses or participants (memoirs, oral histories). You may find primary sources in their original format (usually in an archive) or reproduced in a variety of ways: books, microfilm, digital, etc.

In contrast...

Secondary sources are interpretations of events written after an examination of primary sources and usually other secondary sources, such as books and journal articles.

When you write a research paper, you are creating a secondary source!

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