Skip to main content
USQ Logo
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

HIS8005 Duties to Rights: Women's European History (Masters)

Semester 2, 2019 Online
Short Description: Women's European History Mast
Units : 2
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Humanities & Communication
Student contribution band : Band 1
ASCED code : 090305 - History
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Catherine Dewhirst


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: MARA or MSTA or BAHN.
Enrolment is not permitted in HIS8005 if HIS4004 or HIS8004 have been previously completed.

Other requisites

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


This Honours and Masters course offers an advanced level of enquiry into the history and historiography of women’s emancipation from the social construction of gender. Students engage in History discipline practices of archival research and theoretical approaches, informed by feminist and postcolonial studies, to strengthen their expertise in both critical analysis and knowledge, relevant for their theses.


Students will examine and explore how women, who were traditionally silenced in official and other kinds of records, articulated and demonstrated political influence and power across a variety of Europe's cultural and social contexts throughout history, shaping transnational and global landscapes by the turn of the twentieth century. Students will investigate how women and men contested biblical, classical and medical teachings about gender differences, with an emphasis on the Renaissance, Reformation, Enlightenment, revolutions, and suffrage movements as facilitators for women's freedom. Archival and other research, together with feminist and postcolonial perspectives, critical analysis, and historiographical interpretations enable students to communicate advanced levels of historical thinking and practice.


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

  1. conceptualise and synthesise complex theoretical and specialised scholarly knowledge in relation to gender and European histories as well as historiography
  2. articulate an informed and critical awareness of relevant political, social, cultural and economic issues arising from the study of early and modern European history
  3. demonstrate conceptual and critical analytical skills, and reflection, through the investigation and interpretation of primary and secondary source materials
  4. communicate effectively in appropriate spoken and written language and by using scholarly conventions relevant to the discipline
  5. express viewpoints with care, coherence and clarity in weekly seminars, assignments, and the final examination.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Foundations of gender relations, values and change: Introduction to gender in European history; The Mary Magdalen controversy: mothers, virgins and whores; Power relations: medieval nuns, female scholars and peasant women 25.00
2. Contesting attitudes during the Renaissance and Reformation: Narrating roles: diatribes against women and dissenting voices; Breaking with tradition: Joan of Arc and Christine de Pizan; Witchcrazes and witch hunts: gendered experience; What Renaissance?: The Republic of Letters and Protestantism 35.00
3. From decadence to enlightenment and revolution: Gender in the court; Dangerous Liaisons; The salonieres and the Enlightenment; Revolutionaries and nation-builders; Working class women 35.00
4. Women of the world: The Suffrage Movement up to 1900. 5.00

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. (

de Graffigny, F [1747] 2009, Letters of a Peruvian Woman, Jonathan Mallinson (trans), Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Poullain de la Barre, F [c.1670] 2002, Three Cartesian Feminist Treatises, Marcelle Maistre Welch (ed.), Vivien Bosley (trans), University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

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) 2000, Connecting spheres: European women in the globalizing world, 1500 to the Present, Revised edn, Oxford University Press, New York.
Bridenthal, R & Koonz, C (eds) 1998, Becoming visible: women in European History, 3rd edn, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, Massachusetts.
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.
Zemon Davis, N & Farge, A (eds) 1993, A history of women in the West, volume III, Renaissance and Enlightenment paradoxes, Belknap Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 26.00
Independent Study 304.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ORAL PRESENTATION 100 15 26 Jul 2019 (see note 1)
CONTEXTUAL ANALYSIS 100 30 20 Sep 2019
ESSAY 100 30 25 Oct 2019
EXAMINATION 100 25 End S2 (see note 2)

  1. The oral presentation/short paper is based on an analysis of two primary sources relating to topics between weeks 3 and 9, and presented in oral and written format, with the paper due two weeks after the scheduled seminar. Students must choose a seminar topic by the end of Week 2.
  2. This will be a closed exam. The total working time for the exam is 2 hours. The exam date will be available via UConnect when the official exam timetable has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ responsibility 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.

  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 for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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 items for the course.

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