Fall 2021 - HIST 336 D100

Ideas and Society in Early Modern Europe (4)

Class Number: 4354

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Tue, 11:30 a.m.–2:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history. Recommended: HIST 223 or 224.



An examination of intellectual developments of early modern Europe (sixteenth to eighteenth centuries) in their broader social, cultural, political or economic contexts. The course will focus on a particular subject e.g. Northern humanism, debates about the nature and social role of women (the querelle de femmes), the Enlightenment. Students will read excerpts from important contemporary sources.


Ideas and Society in Early Modern Europe:  The Debate about Gender and Identity

Why did women and men argue about gender identity in early modern Europe (1500-1800)?  The “quarrel about women,” the querelle des femmes, drove an ongoing debate about the moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social status of women in which early feminism clashed with misogyny. The debate asserted and questioned the inequality that women experienced because they were women.

We shall pay special attention to primary sources.  They will complement our survey of the biological, economic, cultural, spiritual, and political contexts in which women found themselves. Students will choose primary sources as the focus of their research essay. Classroom meetings will consist of a mix of lectures and interactive discussions.


The course requirements of History 336 will help you achieve the educational goals of undergraduate courses in the Department of History. By the end of the course, you will be able to

  • identify the main social contexts in which early modern European women operated and the ideas that governed these social contexts.
  • articulate significant characteristics of gender history.
  • analyze and evaluate specific positions, accessible in primary sources, in the early modern European debate about women, gender, and identity.

The assessment of these goals will take several forms: regular class participation and a group presentation that facilitates class discussion of an aspect of the debate, two tests that will evaluate your grasp of essential information about the way in which the interaction of ideas and society affected early modern European women, a short essay in which you will analyze one chapter of the textbook and an accompanying primary source, a longer essay in which you will draw on several primary sources and some secondary sources, and a prospectus that will prepare you for a research essay.


  • Participation (oral and written) 15%
  • Two tests (10% each: 12 Oct., 2 Nov.) 20%
  • Short Essay (1000-1500 words, due 5 Nov.) 20%
  • Prospectus for Research Essay (due 29 Oct.) 8%
  • Class Presentation (Weeks 10-12) 7%
  • Research Essay (2000-2500 words, due 7 Dec.) 30%


We shall use Canvas in several ways.  You can download a Canvas app for your devices.



Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks-Hanks, Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe, 4th edition (2019) for purchase as a paperback or e-book at Amazon.ca or from VitalSource.

Primary sources available electronically from the SFU library through the course syllabus.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.