Pedagogy Seminar: "Teaching About Gender, Sexuality, and Women in History" with Ann Matter (Religious Studies)

Thursday, April 20, 2017 - 9:30am

Please join us for a pedagogy seminar featuring E. Ann Matter, Professor of Religious Studies Emerita, on Thursday, April 20 from 12:00pm - 1:30pm in the GSWS Conference Room (second floor 3810 Walnut Street). The seminar is entitled "Teaching About Gender, Sexuality, and Women in History." A full description is below. Please RSVP to reserve your lunch!

Seminar Description: Even though definitions of gender and sexuality, and the study of women only developed in the twentieth century, it is obvious to those of us who look at prior periods of human society and culture that these ideas have been discussed and debated for centuries.  But, as historians know only too well, trying to understand what pre-modern people thought of as “gender,” “sexuality,” and even “women” challenges us to look beyond contemporary concepts of these terms and to imagine their meaning for worlds with very different understandings of human nature and hierarchical structures.  So, in a very important way, gender and sexuality in history is an issue of identity – an issue of how people before us identified themselves and others in terms of gender and sexuality.  As we heard recently in a brilliant lecture by my colleague Anthea Butler,  feminist scholarship is challenged to look at identity through “intersectionality” in terms of  gender, race, social class, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, religion and age, among other issues.  In this seminar, I would like to raise the question of whether historical context should be another valence of intersectionality for feminist scholars.  If it is, then how can feminists who are not professional historians can integrate this concern into their analysis?  I will give examples from the sixteenth, seventeenth, and nineteenth centuries, and I hope to raise as many questions as I answer.

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