Women's and Gender History: An Introduction to Theory, Methodology and Archives (M) (2017/18)

Course Description: 

Part of Mandatory “Foundations in Historical Methods and Theories” for Matilda students.

This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the field of women’s and gender history and its main concepts, theories and approaches, and to familiarize them with the challenges and (hopefully) excitement of “finding women in the archives.”

We will address the history of the (sub)discipline of women’s and gender history, including the development of some of the main concepts and the debates around them. What is “women’s” history; what is “gender?” Does the concept of gender “work” everywhere? How have post-colonial perspectives influenced women’s history? What is the state of women’s and gender history in the region of Central and Eastern Europe? What in other parts of the world?

We will focus on research methodology, with a special emphasis on archives – both theoretically and practically. We will read and discuss recent literature that historicizes archives and approaches them as “artifacts of history” (Antoinette Burton, 2005, 6). And we will become acquainted with some of the main women’s archives worldwide – archives both in the conventional sense and online archives.

Students will apply the knowledge acquired here by writing and presenting a research paper about the state of women’s history in their country and/or finding women in the archives in the region or the country they come from.

Learning Outcomes: 


Learning goals and outcomes:

The course provides students with a basic knowledge of the discipline of women’s and gender history, its main concepts and challenges. Students will become acquainted with the work of scholars whose work is considered as foundational in the field. In terms of methods, they will practice how to “find women in the archives” and will apply this knowledge to the archival situation in their own country and/or research context.


During the course you prepare a research paper, on which you work in steps:

In week 5 you submit a link to and short description of an archive.

In week 7 you submit a 1-2 page proposal for your research paper that includes the paper title, a short introduction of the topic, the central question, the structure of the paper, and the sources and literature you intend to use to answer your question. The term paper must engage with some of the theoretical issues and questions discussed in the course and your bibliography will include some of the readings for the course as well as literature that you have found yourself. 

In week 10 or 11 you present the outline and preliminary findings of your research paper in class.

The research paper has to be around 12-15 pages in length (spaced 1.5).



Requirements and grading:

Your grade will comprise of the following elements:

  • Active participation in class which demonstrates your familiarity with the material assigned – 25% of the grade
  • One 2-page reaction paper – 25% of the grade
  • One class presentation of your research project – 25% of the grade
  • Research paper (around 15 pages, double spaced) – 25% of the grade

Your two papers have to pass in order for you to pass the course.

Make sure you avoid plagiarism or even the vague possibility of plagiarism. Note that copying from the internet or even taking ideas from internet sources without proper citation is also a form of plagiarism, not only copying from paper-based texts. Paraphrase the arguments whenever possible and add proper citations from the original text. Quote if absolutely necessary. Students who plagiarize will get a warning first, and if we encounter another incident of plagiarism they will fail the course.