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Summary of week 4 and of the course

Summary of week 4 and of the course
© University of Glasgow
Dr Tanya Cheadle, Dr Hannah Telling, Dr Maud Bracke

Over the past week, we have looked at the different meanings of feminist politics. We explored intersections between gender-based inequality and other forms of discrimination, including those based on social class and race. We focused on two key moments of political change producing novel ideas on women’s rights – namely, the revolution of the late 18th Century, and the battles for women’s suffrage in the early 20th. To conclude, we reflected on the ways in which a political agenda might be expressed through cultural representation, as in visual art, or through cultural initiatives such as women’s bookshops and libraries.

This brings us to the end of the course. We hope you have found it a rewarding experience, and that you feel you have gained insight into the changing concepts of sex and gender over the course of modern history and in a global perspective. Looking back over these past four weeks, we started by introducing gender and the gender binary as a cultural construct, and patriarchy and hegemonic masculinity as systems of oppression. In Week 2, we looked more closely at the historical constructions of sex, sexual practice, and sexual identity, and studied the political dimensions of human reproduction. The following week was dedicated to the gendered meanings, contexts and practices of work. We looked at the ways in which modern economies have been marked by gendered distinctions between waged and unwaged, formal and informal (care) work, and how these have shaped family forms and practices.

Finally, you have accessed a collection of primary sources – from 18th-Century European accounts of the Indian Hijra to the Combahee River Collective statement of the 1970s – and you have created your own sources by conducting oral history interviews.

We welcome feedback on all aspects of the course. If you would like to continue studying the history of sex and gender, you might be interested in the MSc in Gender History offered by the Centre for Gender History University of Glasgow (links below). Furthermore, we are developing an online, distance learning MSc in the History of Gender & Sexuality. If you would be interested in finding out more about this programme, please contact

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

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