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Comparative History: Comparative Gender

Graduate students interested in exploring comparative historical approaches have the option of mastering literature in one of four sub-fields: "Historiography," "Comparative Ethnicity and Nationalism," "Comparative Gender," and "Comparative Colonialisms." Each of these fields allows graduate students to situate their own focused research in broadly conceived historiographies.

Comparative Gender

The field introduces students to gender as category of historical analysis, examining the impact of feminist theory within the discipline of history. Students trace historiographical debates in women's and gender history and explore, through cross-cultural comparisons, how scholars have conceived their analysis of femininity and masculinity as well as the relationship between gender and categories such as class, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. Students will normally work with a primary field advisor and consult with a second faculty member to determine the comparative dimensions of their studies.

Associated Faculty

Professor Purnima Dhavan
Associate Professor
  • Graduate Studies Description

    Division: Asia--Pre-History to the Present

    Early Modern South Asia

    Graduate students preparing a field in the history of South Asia 1200-1800 will be expected to gain a broad familiarity with the history of the Sultanate and Mughal period in addition to the histories of various regional dynasties. The social, cultural, and political history of the period is emphasized and includes state formation and the emergence and transformation of caste and ethnic identity, religious traditions, warrior and peasant cultures, trading networks, and intellectual traditions.

    Students will create a specialized course of study in consultation with the professor. Proficiency in one South Asian language and/or Persian is required for students who wish to pursue a primary specialization in this field. Students who select this as a secondary field need not have knowledge of a South Asian language.

    Required course work for a first field in this area includes completing HSTAS 502 and 590 and two supervised directed readings in coordination with the HSTRY 596-7 paper. One will focus on reading primary sources in the original languages.

    For those selecting Early Modern South Asia as a second field, HSTAS 502 is required. Two additional directed readings will also be required, one connected to the applicant’s regional/linguistic focus and the other in Historiography.

    For those selecting Modern South Asia as a third or fourth field, HSTAS 502 is required. Depending on research and training needs, a directed reading (HSTRY 600) will also be supervised by Prof. Dhavan.

    Proficiency in one South Asian language and/or Persian is required for students who wish to pursue a primary specialization in this field. Students who select this as a secondary field need not have knowledge of a South Asian language.

    Division: Comparative History (Historiography & Comparative Gender)*

    Students preparing a field in Historiography will study the impact of modern historical theories and methodologies on our understanding of early modern South Asian history including nationalist, feminist, marxist, and subaltern modes of analysis. The course of study in the field will also explore oral traditions, mythological concepts of time, memory and history in textual sources and art from the early modern period.

    A field in Comparative Gender in South Asia from 1200-1800 will examine the construction of gender in early modern South Asia and its specific interactions with caste, social class, and ethnicity. Readings will focus on the construction of gender in courtly, warrior, ascetic, and mystical traditions in the early modern period as well as the considerable body of theoretical and methodological debates about the history of gender put forward by modern scholars.


    View Purnima Dhavan's complete profile

Professor Dong
Professor, Joint Appointment: Jackson School of International Studies
  • Graduate Studies Description

    Division: Asia--Pre-History to the Present

    Students preparing this field will consider China in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including social, cultural, gender, urban history.

    Division: Comparative History (Comparative Gender & Comparative Ethnicity & Nationalism)*

    Students preparing a field in Comparative Gender will consider the transformation and reconstruction of gender boundaries and identities through political, social, and cultural discourses and practices. Students preparing a field in Comparative Ethnicity and Nationalism will study China from an empire to a nation state, and formation/transformation of regional, ethnic, gender, and class identities in the process, as well as Chinese nationalism and revolutions and their relations to imperialism and colonialism.

    *Students may not offer a field in the Comparative History division as a first field.


    View Madeleine Yue Dong's complete profile

Susan A. Glenn
Professor
  • Graduate Studies Description

    Division: United States History

    Students may emphasize the cultural and/or social history of the U.S. in the long twentieth century (since the l870s). Topics of study include immigration and ethnic group life, social and political movements, women and gender, race relations, expressive and popular culture.

    Division: Comparative History (Comparative Gender & Comparative Ethnicity & Nationalism)*

    A field in comparative gender with Professor Glenn will emphasize the history and historiography of gender and women's history. Areas of study include the relationship between gender and race, ethnicity, nationalism, class, and social movements as well as the significance of gender ideology in the production and consumption of expressive and popular culture. Comparisons will focus on the U.S. and another geographic area (in conjunction with another faculty member).

    Students may also work with Professor Glenn on a sub-field of Comparative Ethnicity and Nationalism with a focus on Jewish history/identity/ethnicity; Jews, Blacks, and the racial imaginary in the American and European contexts.

    *Students may not offer a field in the Comparative History division as a first field.


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marhoefer
Associate Professor
  • Graduate Studies Description

    Division: Europe--Medieval to Modern Times

    Students preparing this field with Professor Marhoefer will study the social, cultural, and political history of Germany, German-speaking Europe, and Germany’s global colonial empire from the late eighteenth century to the present. Work on the major field will introduce students to important historiographical problems, such as those regarding Germany’s development into a modern nation state across the nineteenth century, the history of German Jews from the eighteenth century to the present, the development of feminism in Germany and the various paths that German feminists took in their search for justice, German imperialism, gay and trans liberation movements in German-speaking Europe from the nineteenth century to the present, the rise, fall, and long aftermath of Nazism, the rise and fall of German communism, and state violence and genocide in German history.

    Division: Comparative History--Comparative Gender & Comparative Ethnicity and Nationalism*

    A field in comparative gender directed by Professor Marhoefer will examine the transnational histories of gender and sexuality, as well as the closely related histories of class, race, and empire, especially within modern Europe and its colonies. A field in the comparative history of ethnicity and nationalism will investigate notions of race, national identity, and ethnic identity together with the closely related histories of gender, sexuality, and class, in the context of modern Germany and modern Europe. Students are encouraged to design fields that will serve their research interests.

    *Students may not offer a field in the Comparative History division as a first field.


    View Laurie Marhoefer's complete profile

Ileana Rodriguez-Silva
Associate Professor, Giovanni and Amne Costigan Endowed Professor
  • Graduate Studies Description

    Division: Latin America

    Students working in Latin America with Professor Rodriguez-Silva will learn about the social and cultural histories of Latin America and the Caribbean, especially during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While students will follow the topic and area of their choosing, they are expected to master the main historiographical and methodological debates within this field. Major topics of analysis are the multiple forms of colonialism and imperialism, forced labor systems, processes of nation-state formation, race and ethnicity, migration and diaspora communities, and, most importantly, subaltern politics.

    Division: Comparative History (Comparative Gender & Comparative Colonialisms)*

    In preparing a field in Comparative Gender with Professor Rodriguez-Silva, students will learn about the history of women, the historical shifts in definitions of womanhood and masculinity among the diverse populations of Latin America and the Caribbean, and the crucial role of sexuality in the political and economic organization of colonial and national states. Students may also prepare a field in Comparative Colonialism, in which they will analyze the multiple forms of and the historical transformations in colonial relations established in the Americas since pre-Columbian times to the present.

    *Students may not offer a field in the Comparative History division as a first field.


    View Ileana Rodriguez-Silva's complete profile

Professor Lynn Thomas
Professor
  • Graduate Studies Description

    Division: Africa & the Middle East

    Examines methodological and conceptual issues in the study of sub-Saharan Africa since 1500 focusing on pre-colonial political and social institutions, slavery and the slave trade, European colonialism, anti-colonial resistance and nationalist politics, and postcolonial challenges. Emphasis on exploring the usefulness of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and class as analytical categories in African history.

    Division: Comparative History (Comparative Gender & Comparative Colonialisms)*

    The field in Comparative Gender explores historical scholarship on gender, focusing on 19th- and 20th-century Africa and another period and place of the student's choice, by examining the emergence of women's history; the relationship between Marxism, feminism, and poststructuralism; the framing of gender as a social and symbolic construct; and the analytical intersections between gender, race, sexuality, and class. The field in Comparative Colonialisms approaches European colonialism in Africa and Asia during the 19th and 20th centuries by examining scholarship on the relationship between capitalism and colonialism, violence and the routinization of colonial power, colonial categories of race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and gender, and resistance movements and nationalist politics.

    *Students may not offer a field in the Comparative History division as a first field.


    View Lynn M. Thomas's complete profile

Professor Joel Walker
Associate Professor, Lawrence J. Roseman Endowed Professorship in History
  • Graduate Studies Description

    Division: Ancient Meditteranean & Late Antique Near East

    A field in Late Antiquity will encompass the history of the Mediterranean and the Near East, 200-750CE, combining a broad general knowledge of the period, with intensive study of at least one region (e.g., North Africa, Syria-Palestine) and two themes chosen to complement student research interests (e.g., hagiography and asceticism, cities, death, burial, and conceptions of the afterlife). Students preparing a field in the History of the Byzantine Empire, 610-1453 CE, may focus on social and cultural history, and the relationship between Byzantine Empire and its neighboring states. In most cases, students will want to include course work in Byzantine art history as part of their preparation for this field. A field in the history of Christianity in the Near East is also possible, covering the period from 500 CE to the present, combining a broad knowledge of the various Christian traditions of the region, with an intensive study of any one tradition (e.g., the Armenian, Coptic, Ethiopic, East or West Syrian Christian traditions), focused on the pre-modern period.

    Division: Africa & the Middle East

    Students may prepare a field in the Islamic Middle East, encompassing the history of the Sasanian and early Islamic Near East, 500-900 CE, combining a broad general knowledge of the period, with intensive study of at least one region (e.g., Egypt, Iraq, Iran), and two overarching themes chosen to complement student research interests.

    Division: Comparative History (Historiography & Comparative Gender)*

    Students preparing a field in Historiography will explore the themes, methods, and theory of hist TAUGHTorical writing in late antiquity. Students will acquire a broad general knowledge of the range of historical writing in late antiquity (200-900 CE): from the classical Greco-Roman tradition represented by writers like Ammianus Marcellinus and Procopius; to the Christian history and chronicle tradition begun by Eusebius of Caesarea; to al-Tabari and the origins of Islamic historiography. Fields in Comparative Gender will encompass the history of gender in early Christianity, from the New Testament to late antiquity (20-600 CE). Students will acquire a broad command of early Christian debates about gender (especially the role of women in the church). Topics examined in the field include sexual renunciation, asceticism, and the legal and social role sof women in the Roman Empire and the early Church.

    *Students may not offer a field in the Comparative History division as a first field


    View Joel Thomas Walker's complete profile

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