TS: Gender History

Course Description: 

Since the seventies of the twentieth century historical research has shown an increasing interest in the fields of Women and Gender Studies and their integration into the analyses of the past. In its further development, the interest in gender as a historical category has moved away from rather dealing with isolated and de-contextualized questions and phenomena towards the analysis of relationships, interdependencies, and influences as well as to trans- and inter­disciplinary approaches.

The class is an introduction to the historical study of women and men and femininity and masculinity in Europe from the Middle Ages unto the recent past. Special attention is paid to the theoretical and methodological aspects of analysis, the usage of various types of sources (written and visual material, archaeological evidence), and their critical interpretation within a number of historical sub-disciplines. We also concentrate on questions of source intention, representation, image and “reality”, norm and practice, social agency, contrasts, connotations, ambiguities, and ambivalences. The discussion of aspects of conflict and compromise is considered as particularly relevant. At the end of the course, it should have become evident that any field of historical research has to be seen as indispensably and decisively connected with various gender-specific phenomena.

Learning Outcomes: 

about European women’s and gender history since the Middle Ages and the main concepts and issues in that field.

Ability to employ higher-order thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis and evaluation – assessment: class participation, three short written assignments after the 3rd, 6th and 9th week (summaries of lectures and reading assignments – c. 2000 words each), in-class written exam in the last week..

 Ability to synthesize and to contextualize a variety of information – assessment: three short written assignments, in-class written exam.


All seminar members are expected to be active participants in the course. Each class will include the discussion of the assigned readings. Credits and marks are given on the basis of class participation (20%), the three short written assignments (summary of lectures and of reading assignments) (50%), and the in-class written exam (twelfth week; 30%).

Class attendance is mandatory. A student who misses more than two units (two 100 min sessions) in any 2 or 4 credit class without a verified reason beyond the student's control must submit an 8-10 page paper assigned by the Professor which as a rule should cover the material in the missed class. The paper is due no later than 3 weeks after the missed class.