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 A&H 287 - History of Women and Gender


This history course explores the histories of women and social constructions of gender (what it means to be a man or woman), from the 19th through the 21st centuries, by focusing on North American womanhood within a global context. The exploration enriches understanding of familiar subjects, like the histories of war, work and technology, by spotlighting the richness, diversity and historical significance of female lives, often eclipsed by a sharp focus on male heroes and accomplishments. The central premise is that society, not just biology, defines what it means to be a man or woman. The central assumptions are that historical experiences of men and women differ; women’s histories (due to race, class, age…) differ from each other; cultural expressions and forms (like music and monuments) provide insight into what it means to be a woman or a man (or a girl or boy) in a specific time and place. Class-members explore the meanings throughout the term in readings, discussions and debates, and within private journals that reflect on gender in daily life. By the end of the course, they have a fuller picture of history, a deeper understanding of the gendered past and present, and the analytical skills to recognize and question the familiar. This expertise informs acceptance to internship and graduate programs in fields like History, Social Psychology, Media and Gender Studies.


Dr. Nancy Mykoff​

This course can be applied to one of the following tracks: 

  • Social and Cultural History
  • History
  • Theater and Media Studies
  • Socio-Cultural Anthropology 

One of the following courses is required in order to take this course:

  • 100 level Social and Cultural History
  • 100 level History
  • A&H 188 Introduction to Gender Studies
  • Instructor’s Permission 
  • Requirements

Requirement for

This course is an alternative requirement for one of the following courses:

  • A&H 384 Topics in Social and Cultural History
  • A&H 377 Topics in History
  • A&H 376 Zeeland in the World
  • SSC 334 Advanced Cultural Studies