Spring 2023 - HIST 425W D100

Gender and History (4)

Class Number: 4896

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 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.


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 – 15% each (Due week 4 and week 6) 30%
  • 1 research proposal (Due week 8) 10%
  • 1 literature review (Due week 10) 10%
  • 1 research paper (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]


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


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