Spring 2020 - HIST 425W E100

Gender and History (4)

Class Number: 4672

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Mon, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Explores historical changes in masculinity and femininity. Using a thematic and transnational/comparative approach, it will examine how gender identities are formed and refashioned within different historical contexts. It will also explore the interaction between gender and other systems of power such as race, class, and ethnicity. Students with credit for HIST 425 may not take this course for further credit. Writing.


Gender and Sexuality in Weimar Germany

This HIST 425W explores a variety of approaches to the discussion of gender and sexuality during Germany’s Weimar years (1919-1933). The course will open with an exploration of common views about Weimar Germany, along with a discussion of terms and categories pertaining to the history of sexuality and gender identity. During the first classes, we will undertake a review of historical notions relating to the socio-political situation in Germany during the Weimar years, accompanied by the analysis of select primary texts, as preparation for the more properly gender-focused discussion of the remainder of the term. Discussion will be anchored by McCormick’s text and integrated with a number of primary sources from the era, including both film (Blue Angel, Girls in Uniform) and literary works (Keun’s The Artificial Silk Girl).


In addition to acquiring and solidifying knowledge about the German sociocultural landscape during the Weimar years—with a specific focus on this society’s ideas about sexuality and gender, students will also develop their historical analysis abilities by working directly on primary sources from the era in a variety of forms and media (from newspaper articles, to speeches and manifestos, as well as film, and fiction), while at the same time practicing their academic writing skills. The course aims to explore the following questions:

· How did this particular junction in socio-political history shape conceptions of gender and sexuality?
· In which ways did these differ from traditional, pre-WW1 views of these same categories?
· How did German society respond to the developments in the areas of gender and sexuality during this period? Were these developments mirrored elsewhere in Europe or North America?
· How does this period compare to current social trends in these areas? Is such a comparison warranted?
· What is there to be learned from the Weimar experiment – in terms of approaches to gender and sexuality, as well as in broader social terms?


  • Primary Source Analysis 15%
  • Book Presentation 20%
  • Film Review 10%
  • Article Review 10%
  • Final Essay 30%
  • Attendance & Participation 15%



Henig, Ruth. (2002). The Weimar Republic, 1919-1933. (Lancaster pamphlets). London; New York: Routledge. (SFU online)

Keun, Irmgard. (2011). The artificial silk girl. New York: Other Press

McCormick, Richard. (2001). Gender and sexuality in Weimar Modernity: Film, Literature, and "New Objectivity”. Palgrave Macmillan

Registrar Notes:

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