The aim of this course is to interrogate historical perceptions of women and gender in the early modern era, and to develop a critical approach to primary source documents. We attempt to complicate constructions of ideal feminine behavior by examining the evidence that shows what women actually were up to. In addition to the ways in which major writers and thinkers saw women, we want to know – how did women see themselves in Europe and the British Isles from 1500 to 1800? If asked “what is important to you?” or “what do you do?” how might they have answered? What about cross-dressing and same-sex love? And how do these answers about women and womanliness affect our understanding of early modern men and masculinity? Using letters, court records, journals, art, and published treatises, we explore beyond the veil of the Victorian era’s celebration of women’s domesticity and “separate spheres”.
Students taking this course will engage with the joy of doing good history. Specifically, they will:
1. Learn about one facet of the mutlifaceted, neverending, and eternally surprising realities of the past;
2. Learn how to respectfully analyze historical facts and documents through an understanding of those who made them; and
3. Learn how to express those respectful analyses in writing.
Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
T/F 10:30AM - 12:20PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years
Categories: All courses , Fully In-Person , History
Tags: cross-dressing , gender , History , Religion , women