This course examines the history of women around the globe from 1500 to the present. This course examines gender as a system of power relations that has been integral to the shaping of national and international politics and public policies and to the development of national and international economies. The class explores the meaning of women's status across continents, cultures and historical periods; examines how women have attempted to define, maintain, or gain power in changing historical circumstances; identifies common dilemmas and struggles faced by women; and considers how changing definitions of gender have intersected with ideas about race and ethnicity throughout world history. Cross-listed as WMST 322. Prerequisite: Junior standing.
Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):
Course Rotation for Day Program:
Most current editions of the following:
The required text must be assigned and supplemented with a primary documents collection or monograph. Additional primary and secondary sources may be assigned as well.
Choose at least one source from the list marked "primary".
Women in World History: Volume 2: Readings from 1500 to the Present
By Hughes, Sarah and Brady Hughes (M.E. Sharpe) Required
Women's History in Global Perspective, Volume 1
By Bonnie G. Smith (editor) (Illinois) Recommended
Globalizing Feminisms 1789-1945
By Offen, Karen (Routledge) Recommended
Envisioning Women in World History: 1500 - Present
By Pamela McVay (McGraw-Hill) Category/Comments - Primary Recommended
Fordham University Women's History Sourcebook (primary)
Category/Comments - Primary Recommended
Sharing the World Stage: Biography and Gender in World History, Volume 2 (primary)
By Jane Slaughter, et. al. (Cengage) Recommended
By Wangari Maathai (Anchor) Recommended
Aman, the Story of a Somali Girl (primary)
By Barnes, Virginia Lee and Janice Boddy (Vintage) Recommended
Viramma, Life of an Untouchable (primary)
By Viramma (Verso) Recommended
Putting Women in Place: Feminist Geographers Make Senseof the World
By Domost, Mona & Joni Seager (Guildford) Recommended
Global Feminism Since 1945
By Smith, Bonnie (Routledge) Recommended
Suffrage & Beyond: International Feminist Perspectives
By Daley, Caroline & Melanie Nolan (NYU) Recommended
Carnal Knowledge & Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule
By Stoler, Ann Laura (California) Recommended
Women, Feminism, & Social Change in Argentina, Chile & Uruguay 1890-1940
By Lavrin, Asuncion (Nebraska) Recommended
African Women: A Modern History
By Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catherine (Westview) Recommended
Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India
By Mani, Lata (California) Recommended
Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems
By Mernissi, Fatema (Washington Square) Recommended
Writing a Woman's Life
By Heilbrun, Carolyn (Ballantine) Recommended
The Creation of Patriarchy
By Lerner, Gerda (Oxford) Recommended
Western Women and Imperalism: Complicity and Resistance
By Chaudhuri and Strobel (Indiana University) Recommended
I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala (primary)
By Rigoberta Menchu (Verso Press) Recommended
Course Learning Outcomes
Identify and explain the commonalities and differences in women’s historical experiences in disparate regions of the world as they relate to family, religion, work, politics, war, and activism through an analysis of relevant primary sources.
Identify and utilize a range of secondary sources in an analysis of women’s history.
Define and explain gender as a social construct.
Define and explain the concept of “separate spheres,” its historical development, and its effects on social structures.
Analyze the relationship between gender and imperialism and decolonization.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
Because the course represents an upper-level history elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. It must be distinguished as an advanced course by three structural components: extensive reading, intensive writing, and historiographical thinking. It must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (i.e., midterms, finals, team reports, quizzes, research papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pp.; the course writing assignments should total 5000 words.
Gender and the politics of history
Social constructions of gender
Women and religion
Women's contributions to the art and literature
Woman and the advancement of science and learning
Industrialization and gendered work
Separation of spheres and the cult of domesticity
Women and reform movements
Feminism and Socialism
Women, gender and imperialism
Women, gender and decolonization
Gender and race
Gender and class
Women in the social welfare state
Recommended maximum class size for this course: 35
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by
the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this
course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section.
However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's
subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.