MUSC1351 Women in Music

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 1 option in the Gender Studies major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Society and Culture
  • Level 1 elective
Women have played significant roles in all aspects of music throughout history. This unit explores women's musical activities in a wide variety of roles including composer, performer, patron, teacher, critic, and musical object and symbol. Students study gender ideologies in various historical times, geographic locations, and culturally diverse contexts, and examine their effect on the ways in which women have been able to participate in music. Study also takes into account how related constructions of identity (such as class, ethnicity and race) intersect with issues of gender and sexuality. Topics covered are drawn from different musical genres, historical periods and places, for example: representations of women in nineteenth-century opera; African American Blues Queens of the 1920s; the role of women in the anti-apartheid protest movement; and female performers in Chinese courts.
Students are able to (1) identify important women in music history and articulate their significance; (2) identify places and contexts in which women have traditionally been musically active; (3) demonstrate understanding of social, cultural and political constructions of gender and their impact on the roles women played in music; (4) describe women's experiences and accomplishments in a variety of musical roles in several musical genres; and (5) discuss a number of compositions by women composers.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) participation and tests; (2) concert review projects; and (3) assignments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Cecilia Sun
Contact hours
seminars: 2 hours per week
No formal music training is necessary for this unit.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.