HIST 475: Women in History


Description of Course Content

Focusing within the geographic space of the Atlantic World, this class will explore the ways certain women subverted and changed expected gender roles in the early modern era. This will include a broader understanding of the contexts behind the evolving notions of ‘gender’ and femininity. We will discuss why women came to be associated with sorcery and witchcraft; how women pursued a life of adventure and crime on the open seas; and how women took up arms to fight for ideals that fed into a call for revolution. The class will take on these questions during weekly discussions of and written responses to assigned primary and secondary readings (in class and online). Students will also deliver in-class presentations on a particular woman in history, as well as produce weekly blog posts and a final research paper on the same topic.

Student Learning Outcomes
Following the completion of this course, students should:

  • Understand the cultural constructs that informed gender identities during the early modern era.
  • Critically analyze the ways women challenged, upheld, or were persecuted by socially constructed gender roles.
  • Explain ways women helped shape the broader history of the colonial Atlantic World. 

Required Texts

  • Carol Berkin, Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for America’s Independence
  • Kathleen M. Brown, Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs: Gender, Race, and Power in Colonial Virginia
  • David Cordingly, Seafaring Women: Adventures of Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways, and Sailors’ Wives
  • Carol F. Karlsen, Devil in the Shape of a Woman: Witchcraft in Colonial New England

To access the course page for HIST 475: Women in History, CLICK HERE.