This program covers the history of gender and sexuality in Western Europe and the United States from the 19th century to the present. Emphasis is on understanding shifting gender roles and changes in sexual identities in light of larger socio-cultural, political, economic, legal and religious histories. Common women and men, such as factory workers, domestic servants, soldiers, and farmers are the focus of our study, and their daily experiences will be analyzed in light of 19th-century theories of the "separate spheres;" first-, second-, and third-wave feminist movements; 20th-century battles for gay and trans rights; the history of science and medicine as it shaped understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality; and shifting portrayals of gender and sexuality in literature, religious texts, and art. Special areas of attention include the gendered and embodied realities of African Americans both before and after the American Civil War; experiences of gender and sexuality in war; and gendered and sexed aspects of political movements, including communism in the Soviet Union and fascism in Germany. Program readings and writing assignments are extensive; you'll practice primary source text analysis, seminar skills, and academic essay writing. Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex will be a key text, as will writings of late-20th-century American feminists. This program is a continuation of the yearlong gender history sequence that began in fall, but both students from the fall and winter programs and students new to gender history are welcome to join.
New students accepted in spring.
Course Reference Numbers
history, gender and sexuality studies, humanities, and the social sciences.