Department of History
British and European Women’s History
Lecture: W 3-4:50pm Seminars: W 6-6:50pm
Dr. K. Macfarlane email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Office: S. 101.7 Phone: ext. 7349
Office hour: W 2pm, or by appointment
History Department email@example.com
Lady Eaton College South 101.3 Phone: (705) 748-1821
The field of women’s and gender history is growing at an exciting pace. This course explores the latest research on the working lives of women, women and the law, biological, ideological, and religious understandings of gender, and the roles of women in British and European politics, economics, and culture. We will examine the life-cycle of women, from birth, education, working life, through courtship, marriage or single life, childbirth, and widowhood in the different contexts of class, ethnicity, and nationality. Students will investigate the scientific and popular understandings of reproduction through illuminating episodes such as the life of Agnes Bowker, who in the sixteenth century claimed to have given birth to a cat, or Mary Toft, the eighteenth-century woman whom physicians believed had given birth to rabbits. We will look at the lives of those who transgressed gender and sexual norms including the remarkable Emilie du Chatelet, Catalina de Erauso, and Judith Leyster.
In the second term we will explore the history of women in modern Europe from 1800, analysing the social and cultural constructions of femininity, and women’s life experiences in the different contexts of class, ethnicity, and nationality. Subjects covered include women's involvement in politics (violent and non-violent), women's contributions to culture and literature of their times, state interventions in the family, the working lives of women, ideals and practices of sexuality, the middle-class model of domesticity and women’s responses to it, feminist movements, women in socialism, women and gender in imperialism, the experiences of two World Wars, women under fascism, women in the transition from communism to capitalism, and contemporary feminisms in Europe.
The objectives of the course are to impart 1) an understanding of the key issues of the subject area, 2) to identify major events, people, and ideas which contributed to the development of European society, 3) the ability to identify and critically examine the arguments of historians, 4) the skills to effectively communicate ideas verbally and in written form, and 5) the ability to evaluate and situate primary sources and their use by historians.
Students will become familiar with the library and electronic resources available to historians, and how to conduct research for a history essay. We will make extensive use of e-resources such as e-books and collections of primary sources. As a second year course, History 2760 is intended to introduce students to the subject of women’s and gender history and related historical debates, interpretations, methodologies, and intersections with other disciplines. Students will be encouraged to conduct independent research and gather, review, evaluate, and interpret primary and secondary evidence; explore different approaches to problem solving while critically assessing the ideas of other historians; formulate original historical arguments in a critical and analytical fashion; and communicate the results of their studies orally and in writing. Students will be encouraged to develop their written and oral communication skills through research essays and class discussions, developing their critical thinking and ability to conceptualize. On completing the course successfully students should understand the basic conventions of historical writing, the rules of academic integrity and professionalism, the importance of personal initiative and accountability, and the evolving nature of historical knowledge.
23 November Primary source assessment essay due
18 January In-class test
7 February Last date to withdraw without academic penalty
14 March Research essay due
Tutorial participation 20%
In-class test 15%
Primary source assessment essay 15%
Research Essay and annotated bibliography 25%
Final exam 25%
Details of assignments will be posted on the course website and reviewed in class.
Primary source assessment essay: a 2,500-word assessment of how historians use primary sources.
Research essay: a 3,000-word history essay with a short annotated bibliography of the sources used.
Academic dishonesty, which includes plagiarism and cheating, is an extremely serious academic offence and carries penalties varying from a 0 grade on an assignment to expulsion from the University. Definitions, penalties, and procedures for dealing with plagiarism and cheating are set out in Trent University’s Academic Integrity Policy. You have a responsibility to educate yourself – unfamiliarity with the policy is not an excuse. You are strongly encouraged to visit Trent’s Academic Integrity website to learn more: www.trentu.ca/academicintegrity.
Access to Instruction:
It is Trent University's intent to create an inclusive learning environment. If a student has a disability and/or health consideration and feels that he/she may need accommodations to succeed in this course, the student should contact the Disability Services Office (Blackburn Hall, Suite 132, 748-1281, firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible. Complete text can be found under Access to Instruction in the Academic Calendar.
Please see the Trent University academic calendar for University Diary dates, Academic Information and Regulations, and University and departmental degree requirements.
**Please note that there are assigned readings for both lectures and seminars.**
The course texts are: French and Poska, Women & Gender in the Western Past vol. 2 since 1500 (2007) and DiCaprio and Weisner, Lives and Voices: sources in European women’s history (2001). Both are available at the university bookstore.
Additional secondary readings will be available through the library e-resources. Additional primary source readings will be available on the course website, through the library e-resources, or through the internet links posted in the course document ‘Primary source readings’.
For background on the period see Merriman, A history of Modern Europe (on reserve at the Bata Library) or H. Kamen, Early Modern European Society (2000) (available electronically).
The course website will be an important medium for communication. Please check it regularly for news and important course information.
Policy on Late Assignments
All assignments are due in hard copy at the beginning of lecture. In case of exceptional circumstances you must notify the instructor immediately. A doctor’s note is absolutely necessary. No extensions will be given for other reasons. Late assignments will be penalized three percentage points a day, seven days a week. No assignments will be accepted ten days after the due date.
Students should communicate with the instructor in person during scheduled office hours or by appointment. The instructor will attempt to reply to e-mails within 72 hours (excluding weekends). However, e-mails asking for information which was discussed in lecture or which
are vague will not receive a response. Trent University e-mail accounts must be used and there must be a subject. E-mails without a subject heading will not be opened. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that her/his questions/requests are addressed. If a student does not receive a response to an e-mail it is up to her/him to seek a resolution to her/his problem by coming during posted office hours OR BY CONTACTING THE HISTORY DEPARTMENT.
14 September Introduction to gender and women’s history
Bridget Hill, ‘Women’s history: a study in change, continuity or standing still?’ Women’s History Review 2, no. 1 (1993): 5-22.
Judith M. Bennett, ‘Confronting continuity’, Journal of Women’s History 9, no. 3 (1997): 73-94.
21 September The Renaissance body and the biology of sex
DiCaprio nos. 22, 59.
Thomas Laqueur, ‘Orgasm, generation, and the politics of reproductive biology’, Representations 14 (Spring 1986): 1-24. (please note the page numbers)
28 September Religious reformations and gender roles (French 217-228)
5 October Women in power and politics (French 235-238)
Judith M. Richards, ‘Mary Tudor as “Sole Quene”: gendering Tudor Monarchy’, The Historical Journal 40, no. 4 (1997): 895-924.
12 October Science, learning, and culture (French 239-245)
19 October A woman’s life cycle: childhood, family life, and singlewomen
Christine Adams, ‘A Choice Not to Wed? Unmarried women in eighteenth-century France’, Journal of Social History 29, no. 4 (1996): 883-894.
26 October ***Reading Week*** No class
2 November A woman’s life cycle: marriage, marriage breakdown, and widowhood
9 November Sexual and gender transgressors (French 248-9)
16 November Life on the margins: Jews, slaves, Muslims, and witches (French 229-234)
23 November Women, the state, and the law
***Primary source assessment essay due***
Zoё A. Schneider, ‘Women before the Bench: female litigants in Early Modern Normandy’, French Historical Studies 23, no. 1 (2000): 1-32.
30 November Working lives: urban and rural (French 258-260)
Katrina Honeyman and Jordan Goodman, ‘Women’s work, gender conflict, and labour markets in Europe, 1500-1900,’ Economic History Review 44, no. 4 (1991): 608-614.
7 December Women, empire, and consumption (French 246-252)
11 January Women in an age of enlightenment and revolution (French ch. 8)
18 January In-class test
25 January Industrialisation, capitalism, and womanhood (French ch. 9)
1 February Nineteenth-century social and political movements (French ch. 10)
8 February Gender and imperialism (French ch. 11)
15 February Feminism, the suffrage, and the ‘New Woman’ (French 411-423)
22 February ***Reading Week*** No class
29 February Women and the Great War/ The Russian Revolution (French 425-448)
7 March The Interwar Years (French 449-467)
14 March Women in Authoritarian Regimes and The Second World War (French 468-484, ch. 14) *** Research essay due***
21 March Western Europe vs. Central and Eastern Europe (French ch. 15)
28 March Women in the European Union and in the Post-Communism Era (French ch. 16)
4 April Conclusions and Exam Review
21 September Introduction to women’s history
Discussion of Hill and Bennett articles.
28 September No seminar
5 October Women, politics, and power
DiCaprio nos. 85, 86, 88.
Rudolf M. Dekker, ‘Women in revolt: popular protest and its social basis in Holland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,’ Theory and Society 16 (1987): 337-362.
12 October Women in arts and sciences
DiCaprio nos. 73.
Teresa Ortiz, ‘From hegemony to subordination: midwives in early modern Spain’ ch. 5 of Hilary Marland, ed. The Art of Midwifery: early modern midwives in Europe (2005). [e-book]
19 October Household economy and writing workshop
DiCaprio nos. 53, 54, 55.
Robert Finlay, ‘How not to (re)write world history: Gavin Menzies and the Chinese discovery of America,’ Journal of World History 15, no. 2 (2004): 229-242.
26 October ***Reading Week*** No seminar
2 November Marriage and Marriage Breakdown
DiCaprio Nos. 62, 64, 65, 66.
Joanne M. Ferraro, ‘The Power to Decide: battered wives in early modern Venice’, Renaissance Quarterly 48, no. 3 (Autumn, 1995): 492-512.
9 November Controlling Sexuality
DiCaprio nos. 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72.
Women on trial for sodomy at the Old Bailey (primary source readings).
Diane Yvonne Ghirardo, ‘The topography of prostitution in Renaissance Ferrara’, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 60, no. 4 (2001): 402-431. [jstor]
16 November Life on the margins
DiCaprio nos. 81, 82, 83, 84.
Mary Elizabeth Perry, ‘Finding Fatima, a slave woman of early modern Spain’, Journal of Women’s History 20, no. 1 (2008): 151-167. [Project Muse]
23 November Women, the State, and the Law
Jacob Melish, ‘Women and the courts in the control of violence between men: evidence from a Parisian neighbourhood under Louis XIV’, French Historical Studies 33, no. 1 (2010): 1-31.
30 November Working Lives
DiCaprio nos. 74, 76.
Darlene Abreu-Ferreira, ‘Fishmongers and shipowners: women in maritime communities of early modern Portugal’, Sixteenth Century Journal 31, 1 (Spring 2000): 7-23.
7 December Women, empire, and consumption
DiCaprio nos. 56, 57.
Charlotte Sussman, ‘Women and the politics of sugar, 1792’, Representations 48 (Autumn 1994): 48-69.
11 January The Enlightenment and the French Revolution
DiCaprio nos. 89, 90, 94, 92, 95, 96, 97
Rudolf M. Dekker and Lotte C. van de Pol, ‘Republican Heroines: cross-dressing women in the French Revolutionary armies’, History of European Ideas 10, no. 3 (1989): 353-363.
18 January ***In-class test*** No seminar
25 January Women and Industry
Adelheid Popp, ‘Finding work: women factory workers’ (excerpt on course website)
DiCaprio nos. 100, 102, 125, 126,127.
Katrina Honeyman and Jordan Goodman, ‘Women’s work, gender conflict, and labour markets in Europe, 1500-1900,’ Economic History Review 44, no. 4 (1991): 614-628.
1 February Nineteenth-century social and political movements
DiCaprio nos. 101, 103, 108, 121, 123.
M.J.D. Roberts, ‘Feminism and the state in Later Victorian England’, The Historical Journal 38, no. 1 (1995): 85-110.
8 February Empire and anti-slavery
DiCaprio nos. 112, 113, 114.
Claire Midgely, ‘Anti-slavery and feminism in nineteenth-century Britain’, Gender & History 5, no. 3 (1993): 343-362.
15 February Suffrage
DiCaprio nos. 107, 128, 129, 130.
June Purvis, ‘Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), Suffragette leader and single parent in Edwardian Britain’, Women’s History Review 20, no. 1 (2011): 87-108.
22 February ***Reading Week*** No seminar
29 February Women and the Great War/ The Russian Revolution
DiCaprio nos. 131, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136,140, 141.
7 March The Female Body in the Interwar Years
DiCaprio nos. 146, 147.
Ina Zweiniger‐Bargielowska, ‘The Making of a Modern Female Body: beauty, health and fitness in interwar Britain’, Women’s History Review 20, no. 2 (2011): 299-317.
14 March Women in Authoritarian Regimes and The Second World War
DiCaprio nos. 156, 157, 158, 163,164, 166, 169, 170.
21 March Western Europe vs. Central and Eastern Europe
DiCaprio nos. 171, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177.
28 March Women in the European Union and in the Post-Communism Era
DiCaprio nos. 178, 182, 183, 184, 186, 187, 188.