Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

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Unit Overview


What did the term 'woman' mean in the Middle Ages and early modern period? How were the characteristics of 'femininity' established? How did girls become women? In particular, how did the social norms applying to 'female' and 'male' affect the lives of individuals? This unit investigates how gender was established and acted out in the Middle Ages and early modern period. In particular, it analyses the writings of women themselves, to see how they thought about gender structures, how they influenced the discourses about gender in their own time, and how their own lives impacted on, and were affected by, their historical context. The time span is a long one—700 years of complex cultural interactions between 1100 and 1800 AD. It explores a wide range of female experiences in the medieval and early modern period: women and religion; women, marriage and the household; women in the wider community and finally, women and politics. Students also discover how greatly historians' interpretations of gender relations have changed in recent decades and debate the effects of historical change on the lives of women and men in the past.

6 points
Not available in 2024UWA (Perth)Face to face
Not available in 2024OnlineOnline timetabled
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 option in the History; Gender Studies major sequences
  • Level 2 elective

Students are able to (1) describe and assess the basic historiographical issues characteristic of the discipline of History from a wide reading of scholarly studies of gender in medieval and early modern Europe; (2) identify and evaluate the historiographical problems posed by the study of gender in the European past; (3) demonstrate a detailed understanding of gender in Europe between 1100 and 1800 by (a) interpreting a wide range of source material as evidence of gendered perceptions and experiences; (b) defining and applying the modern scholarly concept of gender to the study of European history; and (c) explaining in detail how historical developments affected experiences and perceptions of femininity and masculinity in medieval and early modern Europe; (4) locate appropriate sources for research essays; and (5) present arguments in both written and oral assessments using the conventions of the historical discipline.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) a reflective exercise; (2) a research essay; and (3) tutorial/workshop attendance and participation. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Jacqueline Van Gent
Unit rules
any Level 1 History unit
or GEND1902 Reading Bodies
or ENGL1902 Reading Bodies
or GEND1901 Gender in Australia
HIST2219 Medieval and Early Modern Women
Contact hours
3 hours per week
  • 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.