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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: History and Political Science Department
Course Prefix and Number: HIST 322
Course Title: *Women and Gender in World History
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

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):

Junior standing.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering.

Text(s): 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)
Women's History in Global Perspective, Volume 1
By Bonnie G. Smith (editor) (Illinois)
Globalizing Feminisms 1789-1945
By Offen, Karen (Routledge)
Envisioning Women in World History: 1500 - Present
By Pamela McVay (McGraw-Hill)
Category/Comments - Primary
Fordham University Women's History Sourcebook (primary)

Category/Comments - Primary
Sharing the World Stage: Biography and Gender in World History, Volume 2 (primary)
By Jane Slaughter, et. al. (Cengage)
Unbowed (primary)
By Wangari Maathai (Anchor)
Aman, the Story of a Somali Girl (primary)
By Barnes, Virginia Lee and Janice Boddy (Vintage)
Viramma, Life of an Untouchable (primary)
By Viramma (Verso)
Putting Women in Place: Feminist Geographers Make Senseof the World
By Domost, Mona & Joni Seager (Guildford)
Global Feminism Since 1945
By Smith, Bonnie (Routledge)
Suffrage & Beyond: International Feminist Perspectives
By Daley, Caroline & Melanie Nolan (NYU)
Carnal Knowledge & Imperial Power: Race and the Intimate in Colonial Rule
By Stoler, Ann Laura (California)
Women, Feminism, & Social Change in Argentina, Chile & Uruguay 1890-1940
By Lavrin, Asuncion (Nebraska)
African Women: A Modern History
By Coquery-Vidrovitch, Catherine (Westview)
Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India
By Mani, Lata (California)
Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems
By Mernissi, Fatema (Washington Square)
Writing a Woman's Life
By Heilbrun, Carolyn (Ballantine)
The Creation of Patriarchy
By Lerner, Gerda (Oxford)
Western Women and Imperalism: Complicity and Resistance
By Chaudhuri and Strobel (Indiana University)
I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala (primary)
By Rigoberta Menchu (Verso Press)
Course Learning Outcomes
  1. 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.
  2. Identify and utilize a range of secondary sources in an analysis of women’s history.
  3. Define and explain gender as a social construct.
  4. Define and explain the concept of “separate spheres,” its historical development, and its effects on social structures.
  5. 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

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them from off-campus using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Tonia Compton Date: April 17, 2015
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.

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