History | Women, Men and Society in Modern Europe
B260 | 27791 | Roos


Above class carries Culture Studies credit
A portion of this class reserved for University Division orientation
program students

For much of the modern period, women lacked basic political and
legal rights. Existing marital and citizenship laws, state policies,
and ideologies about sexual morality and the family buttressed
pronounced inequalities in the relationship between men and women.
This course examines how and why women’s status changed in the
course of the last two hundred years. A special focus will be on the
history of women’s movements and feminism in Europe from the French
Revolution 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. During the late 1700s, female and male individuals
demanding improvements in women’s rights remained largely isolated
politically; not until the mid-nineteenth century did larger
organized women’s movements reappear on the European political
stage. How can we explain this timing? 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? These are some of the questions we
will address.

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)."

Requirements include two 3-5 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%).