History At Haverford College

Haverford College

Department of History

Lisa Jane Graham
History 229a: Gender, Sex, and Power in Europe, 1550-1850
Class meetings: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:30-4:00
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 4:00-5:30 PM or by appointment in Hall 214
Office Telephone: 896-1073
Email: lgraham@haverford.edu


Course Description:

Theoretical discussions in the past decades have demonstrated that gender and sexuality are important categories of historical analysis. Definitions of masculinity and feminity evolve in tandem with other domains such as statecraft, medicine, technology, religion, commerce, aesthetics, and jurisprudence. This course explores the construction of gender roles and ideas about sexuality in European society from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. The readings combine primary and secondary sources with theories of sexuality. Discussions will focus on the intersection between theory and practice in law, literature, and political theory. Special attention will be paid to the role of print in constructing and deconstructing gender norms and sexual codes. Topics include masculinity, female authority, sexuality and identity, witchcraft, performance and travesty, patriarchy and morality, education and science.


  • Aphra Behn, The Rover and Other Plays
  • Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality
  • La Cazzaria, The Book of the Prick
  • Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex
  • Anne-Marie-Louise,Duchesse de Montpensier, Against Marriage
  • Lyndal Roper, Oedipus and the Devil
  • Jean Jacques Rousseau, Emile
  • William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night


Our meetings will combine lectures, slides, and discussions.. There is no official textbook for this course but students should consult Merry Wiesner’s Women and Gender in Early Modern Europe (on reserve) when they want historical background or bibliography on specific topics.


In this course, you will be working to polish your skills as thinkers and writers. Paper grades evaluate both the form and content of your arguments. The two cannot be separated because poor writing makes for muddled arguments. Thus, give yourself time to prepare your papers. I am always available to discuss or read papers in progress.

Course Requirements

Attendance: Students are expected to attend class and arrive prepared for discussion. More than three absences will lower your grade in the course.

Papers: You will write two papers during the semester. The first paper (3-5 pp.) will be based on the assigned readings. For the second paper (8-10 pp.), you will select and analyze a primary source/image from the period. Students with a reading knowledge of French, Spanish, German, or Italian are encouraged to work with a document in the original language.

Exams: All students will take a final exam. The exam will be a take-home essay based on lectures, discussions, and assigned readings.

Participation: I will distribute and collect discussion worksheets on a weekly basis throughout the semester. These will be factored into your participation grade as well as your contributions in class.

The final grade will reflect your performance on these writing assignments as well as your class participation. The grade rewards consistency of performance and is weighted for improvement.

Course Outline

Readings preceded by an asterisk (*) are on reserve at Magill Library.

Aug 31: Introduction: Gender and Sexuality as Categories of Historical Analysis

Sept. 2: *Scott, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis?”
*Kelly, “Did Women Have a Renaissance?”

Sept 7/9 The Sexual Politics of the Renaissance
*Ruggiero, “Marriage, Love, Sex and Civic Morality”
La Cazzaria, The Book of the Prick

Sept 14/16 The Economy of Appearances
Castiglione, “The Book of the Courtier” (excerpts)
*Grieco, “The Body, Appearance, and Sexuality”
*Parks, “The Rediscovery of the Clitoris”
*Kuchta, “The Semiotics of Masculinity in Renaissance England”
*Borin, “Judging by Images”

Sept 21/23 Witchcraft, Sexuality, and Religion
Roper, Oedipus and the Devil (pp. 37-79; 199-248; 107-170)
*Hester, “Patriarchal Reconstruction and Witch-Hunting”

Sept 28/30 Theories of Sex and Sexuality I
Laqueur, Making Sex, chs. 1-2 (pp. 1-61)
Laqueur, Making Sex, chs. 3-4 (pp. 63-148)

Oct 5/7 Gender Trouble on Stage
Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
*Traub, “Setting the stage behind the seen: performing lesbian history”
*Orgel, “Call Me Ganymede”
*Greenblatt, “Fiction and Friction”

First paper due on Friday 8 October 2004 by 4: 00 PM.
Fall Break October 11-17.

Oct 19/21 Gendering the Crown
*Elizabeth I: Selected Writings
*Levin, “The Heart and Stomach of a King”
*Traub, “The Politics of Pleasure”

Oct 26/28 The Roles of Women
Aphra Behn, The Rover
*Weil, “Sometimes a Scepter .... “
*Norberg, “Prostitutes”

Nov 2/4 The Family-State Contract
Montpensier, Against Marriage
*Dulong, “From Conversation to Creation”
*Hanley, “Family and State in Early Modern France: The Marriage Pact”

Nov 9/11 Theories of Sex and Sexuality II
Foucault, History of Sexuality: An Introduction

Nov 16/18 Gender and Sexuality in the Age of Enlightenment
Laqueur, Making Sex, chapter 5 (pp. 150-207)
*Fielding, The Female Husband

Nov 23 Rousseau, Emile, (pp. 35-74)
Thanksgiving Break (Nov 25-27)

Nov 30/
Dec 2 Rousseau, Emile, pp. 77-113, 165-208; 357-450; 471-480
Second Paper Due on Friday Dec. 3

Dec 7/9 Sex, Politics, and Revolution
*Sade, Philosophy in the Bedroom
*Hunt, “Sade’s Family Politics”
*Colley, “Womanpower”

Last Updated July 10, 2002