SO/HS/GS 335 - Gender in Historical Perspective: Berlin Past & Present

This course examines key concepts, theories, and developments of gender as played out in German history from the 19th to the 21st centuries. The course will focus on Berlin which has been a laboratory of political, social, and cultural trends during this time period. We will explore how gender and sexuality influenced various facets of life and therefore are important analytical categories in different academic disciplines. The course is structured along a historic axis and looks at the history and politics of gender during successive periods – Prussia, the German Empire, the Weimar Republic, WWII, the post-WW II period with West Germany and the GDR, unified Germany and contemporary Berlin. Three main topics that we will be looking at diachronically are women’s liberation, the history of sexualities and queer politics. A central question is: what do the respective gender politics of a society tell us about its self-image and values? We will ask, how gender roles are constructed and how they can be undermined. The course uses an interdisciplinary approach and students explore historical developments and theoretical concepts by using the city of Berlin as a classroom. The course will introduce important personalities and places defining gender in Berlin during the last approx. 200 years.

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Gender Studies

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