Examines European women's changing social role and competing views of femininity from the Enlightenment to the end of the cold war. Special focus on the relationship of gender and politics and on the female body in bourgeois society, industrialization, imperialism, the welfare state, fascism, and the cold war.
This course traces competing and changing conceptions of masculinity and femininity in modern Europe, with particular focus on the female body and the relationship of gender and politics. The following questions will guide our inquiry: How have men and women understood and expressed the similarities and differences between the sexes? How have understandings of gender equality and difference shaped and in turn been shaped by social, cultural, economic and political life? How has gender also been shaped by class, race and ethnicity, and sexual orientation? The course will approach these questions through exploration of topics including: the Enlightenment; the French Revolution; industrialization and working class and bourgeois society; imperialism; war; fascism; decolonization; the Cold War; and women’s and feminist movements.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
We will explore these themes in lectures, and discussion and analysis of secondary historical texts and a range of primary sources including: political and scientific writing, memoirs and diaries, novels, film and other visual arts.
This is an introductory course. No prior study of the topic is required.
Class assignments and grading
Students will take a final exam and write two 5-7-page essays that analyze the assigned readings in the context of lecture material. Students will also write informal analysis paragraphs in preparation for discussion of the week’s readings.
Grades will be assigned on the basis of performance on the exam and papers, completion of weekly analysis paragraphs, and participation in class discussion.