A Global History of Sex and Gender: Bodies and Power in the Modern World

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Last updated on May 24, 2024 3:55 am

Discover how a focus on gender and sexuality transforms our understanding of modern, global history.

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Who is the course for?

This course is designed for anyone interested in gendered and sexual history or history and social science more broadly.

However, the inclusion of theoretical material covered in the course and assessments will be useful for heritage, third-sector, educational and media workers, looking to reskill or upskill by enhancing their gender studies portfolio and expertise.

We are committed to supporting charities who work in the area of Gender-Based Violence. Together with FutureLearn, we will be donating a combined total of 10% of net proceeds of this course, over a three year period, to White Ribbon Scotland. White Ribbon Scotland do amazing work encouraging men and boys to end violence against women through awareness-raising and activism and by encouraging all men and boys to sign the White Ribbon pledge. They are part of a worldwide movement and in Scotland and further afield they work at grassroots level with many local groups. This donation will make a big impact on their ability to continue their work.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1: Gender and Power. How a gendered and sexual approach alters our understanding of the past

patriarchal and heteronormative power and its historical operation and resistance

men, masculinities and #MeToo

the sex and gender binary and beyond

new trans historical and philosophical approaches.

Week 2: Sex and Intimacy. How our bodies and their desires have been understood and regulated in the past

complicating narratives of nineteenth century sexual ‘repression’ and 1960s sexual ‘liberation’

sex, race and Empire

queer stories from history

movements for reproductive rights and justice.

Week 3: Work and Care. Feminist (re)definitions of work and care

gender inequality in pay and conditions

equal pay struggles in history and across the globe, including the 1975 ‘Women’s Day Off’ in Iceland

the historical provision of care, parenting and ‘blended families’

gender history and material culture.

Week 4: Histories of Feminism. Diverse historical and global understandings of feminism

intersectionality, feminist activism and identities of race, class, sexual orientation and disability

gendered citizenship, political rights and transnational suffrage activism

cultural forms of feminist politics.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to…

Identify and describe the historical contexts of modern social justice movements such as #MeToo, and the campaigns for gay and trans rights, equal pay, and reproductive justice, from. c.1600 to the present.

Evaluate the utility of key theoretical concepts used in gender, feminist, queer and trans studies, such as the ‘patriarchal equilibrium’, ‘hegemonic masculinity’ and ‘intersectionality’.

Apply a gendered and sexual approach to historical primary sources, which could include oral testimony, databases, archives, and museum collections, as well as written texts. 4. Engage in lively and well-grounded discussion with fellow students.

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    A Global History of Sex and Gender: Bodies and Power in the Modern World
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