The academic field of women’s and gender history has developed enormously since the late 1960s. Besides familiarizing students with this sub-discipline, this course will ask fundamental questions about what we mean by “history”; about (historical) knowledge production; about the categories that historians, scholars, and archivists use; and about “archives” – what they are and how do they function.
The course has three main components: first, we will address the history of the academic (sub)discipline of women’s and gender history. What is “women’s” history, where and when was the discipline developed? “Gender” has become a key concept: when was it introduced, and why? What is “gender”? How do postcolonial and decolonial perspectives affect our understanding of how gender worked in (former) colonial contexts? More generally, how have postcolonial perspectives influenced women’s history? Second, we will focus on research methodology, with a special emphasis on archives – both theoretically and practically. We will read and discuss literature that historicizes archives and approaches them as “artifacts of history” (Burton 2005, p. 6), and as sites of knowledge production, rather than neutral repositories of documents. We will become acquainted with some of the main women’s archives worldwide, including digital archives. Third, students will apply the knowledge acquired by writing a research paper about the state of women’s history and/or finding women or LGBTQI people in the archives in a country or region of their choice.
- Instructor: Hannah Loney