Cultural Studies | Special Topics in Cultural Studies: Modern Europe Through the Lens of Gender
C701 | 13199 | Roos


This course focuses on the ways in which gender analysis has reshaped
historians’ understanding of crucial problems and transformations in
European history from the late eighteenth century to the present. How
does our assessment of the trajectory of modern European history
change if we look at it through the lens of gender? From the
perspective of women’s status in society, what were the major turning
points as well as periods of stagnation and backlash during the
nineteenth and twentieth centuries? How should we conceptualize the
connection between changes in established gender relations and shifts
taking place in other areas such as the economy, the state, politics,
or the cultural sphere? To what extent have conflicts over gender
impacted the course of modern European history? Which factors tend to
strengthen male dominance, and under which historical conditions do
advances in women’s emancipation become possible? These are some of
the questions we will address in our discussions of recent work by
gender historians. Topics include the French Revolution,
industrialization, the rise of bourgeois society, nationalism,
imperialism, the First World War, the welfare state, the Russian
Revolution, Stalinism, the interwar period, modern mass culture,
fascist movements and regimes, and reconstruction and memory in Europe
after World War Two. This class will introduce students to different
theoretical approaches to the study of gender including approaches
influenced by Marxism, psychoanalysis, the work of Michel Foucault,
and theories of language and cultural representation, respectively.
Key questions focus on the relationship between gender and other
categories of social analysis such as class and race, and on the
intersections between the history of gender and the history of
sexuality. Some of the readings for this course are: Feminism and
History, ed. by Joan W. Scott; Lynn Hunt, The Family Romance of the
French Revolution; Judith R. Walkowitz, Prostitution and Victorian
Society; Wendy Z. Goldman, Women, the State, and Revolution: Soviet
Family Policy and Social Life, 1917-1936; Victoria de Grazia, How
Fascism Ruled Women: Italy, 1922-1945; and Dagmar Herzog, Sex after
Fascism: Memory and Morality in Twentieth-Century Germany.

Requirements: Regular attendance; short weekly response papers; two
book reviews; one bibliographic essay of 12-15 pages.