Spring 2021 - HIST 425W D100

Gender and History (4)

Class Number: 5719

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 11:30 AM – 2:20 PM

  • 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.


What were women doing while the British Raj came and went and India grew into a global giant? This course explores the history of women’s political consciousness in the South Asian subcontinent from the 19th to the 21st century. Looking beyond histories of women’s movements in the public sphere, this course maps the development of a feminist consciousness in colonial South Asia through the exploration of women’s autobiographies, literary , journalistic and artistic compositions in the nineteenth century, journeying into  the formation of women-led associations, rural groupings, religious and nationalist campaigns from the twentieth century onward, concluding with an examination of  contemporary women-centred films, music, agitations and group-mobilization in today’s South Asia (India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka). Inspired by growing scholarship on ‘histories from below’ this course steers away from a sole focus on ‘great’ men and women, and will examine everyday history. We will look at creative materials alongside the overtly political articulation of different classes of South Asian women in these two eventful centuries. We will reflect upon the engagement of the South Asian women with prevalent socio-cultural attitudes, analyzing how South Asian political systems historically use a variety of complex strategies to regulate women’s agency. We will see how far women were able to influence, resist, negotiate and personalize these regulatory systems from the starting point of home and family in the colonial period and how this history has shaped postcolonial culture in the subcontinent.


  • Class participation (assessed throughout) 20%
  • 2 short essays - 5% & 5% (Due week 4 and week 6) 10%
  • 1 research proposal (Due week 8) 20%
  • 1 annotated bibliography (Due Week 10) 20%
  • 1 final research project (Due Week 12) 30%



Sumit and Tanika Sarkar, Women and Social Reform in Modern India: A Reader

Geraldine Forbes, Women in Modern India (The New Cambridge History of India) [Paperback]

Registrar Notes:


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Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).