Women in Western Civilization

I.     Course Prefix/Number: HIS 236

       Course Name: Women in Western Civilization

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course examines women's roles and accomplishments in Western Civilization from prehistory to the present.

IV.   Learning Objectives

  1. Define the major historical figures, events, and ideas associated with the history of women in western civilization.
  2. Describe the achievements of women in western civilization in political, cultural, and social terms.
  3. Explain the interrelationship between the political, economic, social and cultural institutions of the history of women in western civilization.
  4. Analyze primary and secondary sources related to women in western civilization.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

  1. Introduction to Women’s History
  2. Pre-history
  3. Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome
  4. Early Medieval
  5. Late Medieval
  6. Renaissance and Reformation
  7. Women's Rule
  8. Enlightenment
  9. French Revolution
  10. Industrial Revolution
  11. Women and World War One
  12. Women in the 1920s and 1930s
  13. Women and the Holocaust
  14. Women and World War Two
  15. Post-War Gender Roles
  16. Current Issues

VII.  Methods of Instruction

Classes will include a variety of instructional methods such as: lectures, in class discussions, group activities, document and film analysis, and the use of new technologies.
Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will be required to:
  1. Read a standard textbook and research materials;
  2. Write outside of class the equivalent of 15-20 double-spaced typed pages in the form of a term paper, book reviews, summaries of journal articles, short research papers, discussion board postings and/or other kinds of writing;
  3. Complete quizzes, worksheets, a midterm, and a final exam;
  4. Distinguish between primary and secondary sources as the foundation of modern historical scholarship;
  5. Interpret primary sources critically by analyzing their historical contexts;
  6. Formulate historical interpretations and defend them critically with reference to primary and secondary sources; and incorporate into historical interpretations as an understanding of historical causation knowledge of important figures and events and their chronological relationship to each other and an awareness of the contingent relationships using several variables;

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Texts will be selected from established texts, such as:    

Anderson, Bonnie S. and Judith P. Zinsser. A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present. 2 volumes. New York: Harper & Row. 1998.
McClanan, Anne. The Material Culture of Sex, Procreation, and Marriage in Pre-Modern Europe. New York: Palgrave, 2002.
Simonton, Deborah. Women in Europe since 1700. New York: Routledge. 2007.

Supplementary readings will also be assigned as appropriate, and have been drawn from such texts as:
Crawford, Anne. Letters of the Queens of England. Gloucestershire: Sutton Publishing, 2002. Frye, Susan. Maids and Mistresses, Cousins and Queens: Women’s Alliances in Early Modern England. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.
Herman, Eleanor. Sex with the Queen: Nine Hundred Years of Vile Kings, Virile Lovers, and Passionate Politics. New York: Harper Collins, 2006.
Ozment, Stephen. The Burgermeister’s Daughter: Scandal in a Sixteenth-Century German Town. New York: Harper Collins, 1998.
Roberts, Mary Louis. Civilization without Sexes: Reconstructing Gender in Postwar France, 1917-1927. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994.
Rublack, Ulinka. Gender in Early Modern German History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002.
Somerset, Anne. Ladies in Waiting. London: Orion Books, 2006.
Wollstonecraft, Mary. Vindication of the Rights of Woman.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

At least two exams will be given in addition to other required papers and assignments. Students will be required to respond to assigned assessments in a written essay or other format throughout the semester. Students will also be evaluated on a combination of other assignments and in-and out-of-class assignments.

XI.   Other Course Information

Support Services: Tutoring is available at the Learning Center.

Important Dates: *

XX/XX: Last day to withdraw and have course dropped from record
XX/XX: Last day to change to Audit
XX/XX: Last day for students to submit materials to make up incomplete from the previous semester
XX/XX: Last day to withdraw from classes with a "W"

*These dates differ for each semester. You'll find the correct dates on the Academic Calendar.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at www.oakton.edu/title9/.

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at www.oakton.edu/lgbtq.

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.