This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the academic field of women’s and gender history (WGH) and its main concepts, theories, and approaches, and to familiarize them with the challenges and (hopefully) excitement of “finding women in the archives.”
The course has three main components. First, we will address the history of the (sub)discipline of women’s and gender history, including the development of some of the main concepts and the debates around them. What is “women’s” history, where and when was the discipline developed? What is “gender?” Does the concept of gender “work” everywhere? How have post-colonial perspectives influenced women’s history? What about intersectionality? What is the state of women’s and gender history in the region of Central and Eastern Europe? What in other parts of the world?
Secondly, we will focus on research methodology, with a special emphasis on archives – both theoretically and practically. We will read and discuss recent literature that historicizes archives and approaches them as “artifacts of history” (Antoinette Burton, 2005, 6). And we will become acquainted with some of the main women’s archives worldwide – archives both in the conventional sense and digital archives. Examples include Atria, Sparrow, The Black Archives, the Lesbian Herstory Archives, and “Women and Social Movements International.”
Thirdly, students will apply the knowledge acquired here by writing a research paper about the state of women’s history and/or finding women in the archives in a country or region of their choice.