Course Number

HIST 236

Syllabus Date

Spring 2018

Department course is offered by

HIST - History

Course description

Boys become real men through military service and by participation in war, by killing and dying for the fatherland, while giving birth to and raising children—motherhood--serves as central marker of womanhood. Gender stereotypes such as these were questioned but also reinforced throughout the wars of the 20th century. These wars mobilized men as well as women, and they increasingly blurred the boundaries between men and women. On all fronts and sites, however, concepts of masculinities and femininities structured propaganda and emotions, fighting morals and antiwar movement, the preparation of minds for mass violence, and its remembrance. We will discuss the impact of gender on mass violence and vice versa from World War I to World War II, from the Holocaust to the genocidal wars in former Yugoslavia, and from America’s “Good War” to Americans’ twisted coping with the Vietnam War to the rise of a ‘gender-neutral’ army. Focusing on European and American wars, the course includes comparative views on other regions of the world and puts emphasis on regional differences and peculiarities, such as transformation of a deeply gendered war culture in Europe into a peace culture after 1945. Special attention will be paid to various approaches to gender history, such as the analysis of discourses and images, or the analysis of gender practices. We will attempt to do this by critically analyzing scholarly work, written testimonies, fictional literature, films, and propaganda materials.

Document Type