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HIST 3020 (17)

Sexuality and Gender in History-January14.docx

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HIST 3020
Caitlin Holton

HIST*3020 Sexuality and gender in history Differences between sex and gender? Class suggestions: gender being performative, subjective, socially constructed Stages of women's history (worthy women) Christine de Pizan 1400 Spoke up in defense of women Antonio Fraser Notable women throughout time- emulate the ‘good’behaviours (think dominant ** explained near the end of notes) Plutarch “Virtues of Women”: “And seeing that many worthy things, both public and private, have been done by women, it is not amiss to give a brief historical account of those that are public” -Show a woman a virtuous woman and they will model Issues: Biographies of notable women (treated in isolation, taken out of context) Held up as examplars and models (not average people) Focus on the extraordinary Ignore larger historical context Studies on women tended to assume the world was uniform Women as mothers (not always the case) Essentialized experiences of women Women's history Restoring women to history or restoring history to women? Influence of other biographical approaches -Marx -Annales -new social history (Restrictions, etc) Natalie zee man Davis - Goal is to understand the significance of the sexes, of gender groups in the historical past Joan Scott - film clip Critical definitions of gender Joan Scott talks about the original ambiguities surrounding gender: “Gender is the constitutive element of social relationships based on perceived differences between the sexes and a primary way of signifying relationships of power” “Gender is an invitation to think critically about how the meanings of sexes bodies are produced in relation to one another, how these meanings are deployed and changed” Gerda Lerner : “Gender is the cultural definition of behaviour defined as appropriate to the sexes in a given society as a different time. Gender is a set of cultural roles. It is a costume, a mask, a straight jacket in which men and women dance their unequal dance” Gisela block - gender is a fundamental category of social cultural and historical reality, perception and study -Social meanings put onto sexes bodies Why does sex difference hold such power? Early theorists of gender did not include masculinity -The study of women and men and the relationships between them Women as the marked categories Rousseau : “The male is male only at certain moments. The female is female her whole life or at least during her whole youth. Everything constantly recalls her sex to her. For men, one of the great privileges of being in a superior position is being allowed to take that position for granted, to claim that identity as the norm and to treat that hierarchy as natural” Early gender historians focused on women -Since 94, masculinity studied more Early critics of studying masculinity: Sought to displace women again Unacceptably subversive- a step too far Just a passing fad, not to be taken seriously (how did it help study anything) Tosh: “gender is inherent in all aspects of social life whether women are present or not” Approaches tend toward … Social-questions of class and status Psychological- self hood and experience of being male Cultural- representations of
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