Gender History (Grad)

Gender History (in Early Modern Europe & the Atlantic)

Image result for Gender in early modern Europe

  • Graduate Course (MA)
  • Small enrollment
  • Weekly seminar

HIST 6130 Syllabus

This graduate seminar will orient students in the rapidly evolving fields of the history of gender, sexuality, and women.  We will examine many of the seminal and groundbreaking recent texts in gender history and theory.  We will trace the development of gender as a field of historical inquiry from the rise of women’s history to the advent and application of gender theory.  Most of our readings will be case studies of the early modern period in the Atlantic, primarily the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries.  These case studies will allow us to analyze how historians write, produce, engage with, and advance aspects of gender history and theory.  Although we will discuss and learn important content, we will focus mostly on the development of historical skills and methodology in regards to gender. Some background in early modern European and Atlantic history is expected.


Historical Knowledge:

  • Explain how gender influenced and was influenced by political ideology, economic structures, social organization, and cultural perceptions in the Atlantic from 1500 to 1900
  • Describe how gender is a social construct
  • Discuss how gender roles were formed and adapted throughout history

Historical Thinking

  • Recognize a range of interpretations and practices of gender history
  • Compare competing historical narratives in relationship to gender, sexuality, and women
  • Analyze historians’ writing, methodology, and use of theory

Historical Skills

  • Develop critical thinking skills
  • Evaluate historians’ arguments and evidence
  • Assess the credibility of historians’ interpretations
  • Develop the ability to construction historical arguments
  • Gain public history expertise



For this course, you will decide which track you want to choose (there can be no switching of tracks halfway through the semester): Traditional History MA/MS or Public History MA/MS.  You will notify Dr. Gossard of which track you choose by February 5, 2018. This choice will likely correspond to your already chosen path in our program, but you may choose the Public History option even if you are not technically on our public historian track (and vice-versa).




  • 20%: Participation, Précis, and Discussion Questions: You are expected to attend all class meetings, having carefully read that week’s reading assignment. The graduate level seminar is a place to work not only on academic advancement, but also on professionalization. Part of this is being an active, present member of the seminar. You should plan on being in class every week, for the entire class period.
    • Discussion Question: You will post one discussion question based on the week’s readings on Canvas by midnight the night before class starts for every class session. For weeks that have two or more readings, your discussion question should touch on both, but only one question is required. This question should not be a simple yes/no or fact-based question. Instead, it should foster high-level thinking and analysis. In other words, we should be able to talk about it for at least a few minutes. No question should be repeated, so students must read the discussion entries of their classmates to ensure their question is original and will foster additional discussion.
    • Précis: You will submit a 1-page précis of one of the week’s assigned readings each week. A précis is not a review. Rather, it simply outlines the work’s main argument, evidence, and sub-points. It is, essentially, an advanced summary.
  • 10% Discussion Leader: On a week of your choice (picked at the beginning of the semester on a first-come, first-served basis), you will help Dr. Gossard lead the discussion. That means you will provide additional questions for discussion, focusing on content, methodology, and theory. You should submit a list of your discussion topics to Dr. Gossard on Canvas in advance of class.  You are welcome to meet with her in advance, too.
  • 15% Public History Piece (Due Week 11): You will pick a translated primary source from the provided list to analyze. In no more than 1200 words, you should write a public history blog piece that analyzes the source’s gendered aspects. You should draw on our secondary sources and your reading grids to help you formulate this analysis. You should look to two public history outlets for inspiration of how to write this assignment: and
  • 20% Book Review (Draft Due Week 9; Final Due Week 14): Early in the semester, you will pick one of our supplemental books to review. This should be a robust review of around 750 words. It should be of publishable quality. Dr. Gossard will provide you with resources of how to write a professional book review. You will submit a draft of this book review in Week 9. The final version will be due by Week 14. Failure to submit a book review draft will result in the automatic loss of 20 points on your final book review grade.


TRACK CHOICE (Notify Dr. Gossard of your choice by February 5, 2018)

  • 35% Final Project (Due Finals Week, May 3 by noon via Canvas)
    • Traditional History MA/MS: You will complete a full fellowship/grant proposal for a real fellowship/grant that you find. (Dr. Gossard will assist you in finding this and we will crowd-source information for future students.) Your fellowship/grant application will explain: your project topic; where the sources are (and what they are); how long the project will take to complete (both research and writing); and how you are qualified to undertake the project. You will also include any additional pieces of information the fellowship/grant asks for as part of the application process. Although most application deadlines will have passed by the time you complete this assignment, this can be preparation for a future grant proposal. If you have already submitted a fellowship/grant proposal for funding, you may use that proposal IF AND ONLY IF you update it. You will turn in both versions to explain, in detail, how you’ve updated it. I will check with your advisor to ensure that adequate revisions have been made. This proposal can help you in future funding opportunities.
    • Public History MA/MS: You will design a professional proposal for a public history project. This is not just applying for an internship or employment in an already designed project. Instead, you should come up with an idea for a public history project that speaks to your interests or fills a void you see in public history. What is the project you propose and why is it needed/relevant? Who is the “client,” meaning is this serving educators, the public at large, and/or a specific institution? Explain how this serves that entity. How much will the project cost? You should include a realistic and complete budget (nothing is free). Who will provide the funding for this project? How long will it take to complete the project? What skills are necessary to complete the project? How will you complete the project? Much like the traditional option above, if you have already designed a public history project, you may use that proposal IF AND ONLY IF you update it. You will turn in both versions to explain, in detail, how you’ve updated it. I will check with your advisor to ensure that adequate revisions have been made. This can be a robust part of your final portfolio.