History | European Women's Movements, 1780-1970
B260 | 27526 | Roos


Above class carries Culture Studies credit

Need study skills help?  Then contact the Student Academic Center
(855-7313) for on-line authorization for EDUC-X101 (Learning
Strategies for History, two additional credits) that will be offered
2:30 MW or 4:00 MW.

This course examines the history of women’s movements and feminism
in Europe from the late eighteenth century to the 1970s. We will
take a close look at the social, economic, political, and cultural
changes that accompanied the emergence of Europe’s first movements
for the betterment of woman’s status in society, and we will
investigate how feminist ideas and goals evolved in the course of
two hundred years. During the 1700s, female and male individuals
demanding improvements in women’s rights remained largely isolated
politically; women’s clubs founded during the French Revolution were
soon shut down. Not until the mid-nineteenth century did larger
organized women’s movements reappear on the European political
stage. How can we explain this timing? What was modern feminism’s
relationship to the intellectual movement of the Enlightenment and
to the European revolutions of 1789 and 1848? How was feminism
affected by other social movements such as socialism, nationalism,
and imperialism? How can we explain that matters of sexuality and
reproductive rights gained increasing importance for feminists as we
move into the twentieth century? How did the experience of two world
wars and the rise of fascist dictatorships in interwar Europe affect
the status of women and the prospects of feminism? What was woman’s
role under state socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe?
These are some of the questions we will address. A key goal is to
gain a better sense of the complexities, contradictions, and
changing nature of European feminisms.

There will be 70-90 pages of reading per week; among the books we
will read are: Karen Offen, "European Feminisms, 1700-1950: A
Political History" (a textbook); Alice S. Rossi, "The Feminist
Papers: From Adams to de Beauvoir" (a collection of primary
historical sources); and Lucy Bland, "Banishing the Beast: English
Feminism and Sexual Morality, 1885-1914" (a scholarly monograph).
Numerous shorter assignments will be posted as e-reserves.

Requirements include two 4-5 page papers (each worth 20% of the
final grade), one midterm (15%), and one final exam (25%). Regular
attendance and active participation in class discussion are
essential (20%).