Spring 2019

Women and War in European History, 1558–1918

Listed in: Art and the History of Art, as ARHA-226  |  European Studies, as EUST-226  |  History, as HIST-226  |  Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies, as SWAG-225


Ellen R. Boucher (Section 01)
Nicola Courtright (Section 01)


(Offered as HIST 226 [EUP], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.

Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Boucher.

If Overenrolled: course in Art History or History preferred but not required


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2019