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HIS4004 European Women's History

Semester 1, 2012 On-campus Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities and Communication

Contents on this page


Examiner: Catherine Dewhirst
Moderator: Libby Connors


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: BAHN or MSTA

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


Accounts of history first started to be challenged from the perspective of women in the late nineteenth century and boosted by the second wave feminist movement of the 1970s. From this time scholars have explored the history of women’s experiences and gender relations with greater intensity, teasing out the nuances of European politics, society and culture. This course takes students into the world of European women of various origins and backgrounds during some of the most critical eras for an appreciation of how they contested assumptions about gender roles


This course is designed to provide opportunities for historical thinking and practice at an advanced level, with particular reference to selected aspects of European women's history. The course focuses on the experience of women throughout European history up to the turn of the twentieth century in order to examine, analyse and discuss European history from a female perspective and gender issues more broadly. There is an emphasis on the dynamics of change in the Renaissance, Reformation and Enlightenment eras, and on works written by women. Students engage with theoretical approaches, primary sources and scholarly interpretations.


On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an informed and critical awareness of major political, social, economic, and ideological issues during a selected period of modern European history;
  2. trace and utilize primary and secondary source materials in the presentation of seminar papers and essays and document their evidence according to scholarly conventions;
  3. develop spoken and written arguments about applicable historical issues;
  4. express viewpoints with care, coherence, and clarity in weekly seminars and assignments.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Foundations of Gender relations, Values and Change: Introduction: Gender in European history; The Mary Magdalen controversy: mothers, virgins and whores; Medieval nuns, female scholars and peasant women 25.00
2. Contesting Attitudes during the Renaissance and Reformation: Boccaccio's women and De Navarre's defence against the diatribes; Writers and warriors: Christine de Pizan and Joan of Arc; Witchcrazes and witch hunts: female and male experience; What Renaissance, what reform? The Republic of Letters and Protestantism 30.00
3. From Decadence to Enlightenment and Revolution: Gender in the Court; Dangerous Liaisons; the saloni?res and the Enlightenment; Revolutionaries and nation-builders; Working class women 35.00
4. Women of the world: the suffrage movement up to 1900 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Castiglione, B [1528] 2001, The Book of the Courtier, George Bull [trans.], Penguin Classics, London.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Boxer, M & Quateart, J (eds) 1987, Connecting Spheres: Women in the Western World, 1500 to the Present, Oxford University Press, New York.
  • Bridenthal, R & Koonz, C (eds) 1977, Becoming Visible: Women in European History, Houghton Mifflin, Boston.
  • Goodman, D 1994, The Republic of Letters: A Cultural History of the French Enlightenment, Cornell University Press, Ithaca & London.
  • Knott, S &Taylor, B (eds) 2005, Women, Gender and Enlightenment, Palgrave Macmillan, London and New York.
  • ZemonDavis, N & Farge, A (eds) 1993, A History of Women in the West, Volume III, Renaissance and Enlightenment Paradoxes, Belknap Press, Cambridge, MA.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Private Study 139.00
Seminars 26.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
SHORT PAPER (8001000 WORDS) 100 15 09 Mar 2012 (see note 1)
BOOK ANALYSIS (1500 WORDS) 100 25 11 May 2012
ESSAY (2500 WORDS) 100 30 01 Jun 2012
2 HOUR EXAMINATION 100 30 End S1 (see note 2)

  1. The short paper will be based on seminar discussion topics and will be due two weeks after the seminar takes place. Students may choose any seminar topic, the choice to be finalised by the end of Week 2
  2. Students will be advised of the official exam date after the timetable has been finalised.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    It is the students? responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration. Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without (prior) approval of the examiner then a penalty of 5% of the total marks gained by the student for the assignment may apply for each working day late up to ten working days at which time a mark of zero may be recorded.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Candidates are allowed to bring only writing and drawing instruments into the Closed examination.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the next examination period.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University Policy, the Examiner may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  5. If the method of assessment submission is by written, typed or printed paper-based media students should (i) submit to the Faculty Office for students enrolled in the course in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail to the USQ for students enrolled in the course in the external mode. The due date for the assessment is the date by which a student must (i) submit the assessment for students enrolled in the on-campus mode, or (ii) mail the assessment for students enrolled in the external mode.

  6. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. Students may be assigned an "Incomplete" grade to signify that all the requirements of the course have not yet been met. Students who are graded "I" can pass the course by successfully completing such additional work as prescribed by the examiner by a given date. Students who have been awarded an IM, ISM, IDM or IDB grade must access information regarding further work to be completed, in the Student Centre of U Connect. The Grades Page in the Student Centre contains information about further work to be completed. Students who have not completed the additional work to the satisfaction of the examiner by the given date will receive the appropriate Failing grade.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.