Fall 2021 - HIST 425W D100

Gender and History (4)

Class Number: 4362

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 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.


In this course, we will explore recent historiographical and theoretical writings about gender in Canadian and U.S. history, focusing on the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.  Taking a comparative approach, we will look at gender both chronologically (e.g., understandings of gender relations and identities in different historical periods and changes over time) as well as thematically (e.g., gender and the body, gender and violence, gender and popular culture).  We will examine the meanings attributed to sexual difference over time and how gender has intersected with other systems of meaning (e.g., race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, ability) in organizing power relations within particular historical contexts.  We will see that gender is not a fixed entity, but an ongoing and dynamic process, in which “knowledge” about sexual difference is frequently contested, and either legitimized or reconceived.  We will also examine how the discipline of history plays a part in this process:  how, by the way it records and analyzes understandings of sexual difference, history becomes part of the power struggle by which gender is produced, reproduced, and transformed.


As a student of this course, you will:

  1. Develop a deep understanding of gender as a system of difference that has organized power relations in the past and the present.
  2. Appreciate that gender relations and identities shift over time and place, and must always be historically and culturally contextualized.
  3. Engage with various theoretical perspectives on gender, including the concept of intersectionality: that gender intersects with other systems of meaning (race, class, ethnicity, sexuality) to create power inequalities.
  4. Find, interpret, and analyze a variety of sources to examine the complexity of gender and how it changes over time and place.
  5. Develop extensive reading, writing, research, critical thinking, and oral communication skills through independent and collaborative projects.


  • Seminar participation 10%
  • Written discussion points 10%
  • Book review 20%
  • “Sixties Scoop” class analysis 10%
  • Research paper -- First draft and presentation 15%
  • Research paper -- Final 25%
  • Peer review/commentary 10%



Willeen Keough and Lara Campbell, Gender History: Canadian Perspectives (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Melissa N. Stein, Measuring Manhood: Race and the Science of Masculinity, 1830-1934 (University of Minnesota Press, 2015).

Allyson Stevenson, Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the Colonization of Indigenous Kinship (University of Toronto Press, 2020).

Registrar Notes:


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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.