Tutor: Catriona Kennedy
Module type: MA Option
Module code: HIS00018M
In a century that witnessed the rise of a so-called ‘public sphere’ of ‘rational men’ in its opening decades and the publication of ‘feminist’ tracts at its close, how were women perceived and portrayed? Looking to contemporary representations from the ‘long’ eighteenth century (c.1688-1832), this course explores the main characteristics attributed to eighteenth-century women and considers the extent to which women of different ages and backgrounds identified with, or denied, the responsibilities ascribed to them by contemporary ideology. It pays particular attention to the (often conflicting) ways in which women were represented and the ways they represented themselves.
Through this investigation, the course will also consider the extent to which a history of women has been circumscribed by academic traditions. Why, for example, has it been claimed that there were no ‘great’ women artists or no ‘great’ women philosophers? Have their contributions have been lost, or were they never able to participate in certain aspects of the cultural and political past? Although women’s history has flourished, debates continue about the appropriate theoretical and intellectual approaches that should be taken. Are women fully integrated into historical narratives or is work still to be done? Should the traditions of women’s history be revised as gender history? Does the development of a history of masculinity challenge or support a study of the history of women?
Seminar topics may include:
For more information, please visit the module catalogue.