Winter Term, 2018-2019
Professor: Emily Gilkey
CRN 23370: Monday, Wednesday & Friday, 11:00 – 11:50 @ MCK 240B
In 1500, women had limited rights to property and were by law subject to their male kin. Access to work opportunities was extremely limited and, with a few notable exceptions, women played no role in government. Today, women lead several of Europe’s major powers and enjoy legal parity with men in most respects. This class traces the remarkable alterations in the status of women in the last 500 years. We will explore the gendered impact of key historical events including the Reformation, the French Revolution, the Industrial Revolution and the two World Wars from the bottom up, studying them in terms of everyday lived experiences.
In addition to considering the political, social and economic opportunities of women, students will learn to apply theories of gender and sexuality to their historical analysis. We will trace ever-shifting cultural constructions of masculinity and femininity, with reference to the larger historical impact of patriarchal institutions. Students will also explore the changing role of religion in European society in creating, reproducing and enforcing gender norms. Issues that women in the West currently face including rape culture, reproductive rights, access to leadership positions and discriminatory labor practices have deep historical roots. Students will gain an understanding of how the past continues to shape the present for women and men.