HI 282                            


The course formerly known as Venus, the Virgin and the Venerable Mother, now known as

Women in Early World History

Winter 2010


Dr. Erika Lindgren                                                                              314 Luther Hall

352-8201                                                                                             erika.lindgren@wartburg.edu  http://faculty.wartburg.edu/lindgrene                                    

Office Hours: MWF 9:05-10:05 and by appointment


This course looks at the role of women’s contributions and their relative status in various cultures through primary source reading and research.  The main focus will be on the ancient Mediterranean, early China and Japan, the early Islamic World and medieval Europe.

Fulfils DAC.


Course Goals:  By the end of the term you should be able to:

1.      Express a broad understanding of why and how women’s experiences varied across several early world cultures.  This is the “Big Picture.”

2.      Show knowledge of the key historical figures, events, ideas, and institutions that shaped women’s experiences.

3.      Read, discuss, and write about primary source documents.

4.      Read, discuss, and write about scholarly articles

5.      Understand how historians practice their craft.

6.      Uncover some of the links between our current society and that of the past.

7.      Have some fun!




Amt, Women’s Lives in Medieval Europe, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2009)


Clay, Paul, and Senecal, Envisioning Women in World History, vol. 1 (McGraw-Hill, 2009)


Lefkowitz and Fant, Women’s Life in Greece and Rome, 3rd ed. (John Hopkins, 2005).


Rothschild, Wu Zhao (Longman, 2008)


Seidensticker, trans., The Gossamer Years (Tuttle, 1964)



Readings and participation:  All students must keep up on the reading and be prepared for class.  All students are expected to participate in class discussion [just showing up does not count for much!].  Participation can include sending email questions to the professor, searching out extra information for the class, and quizzes if the class fails to engage in discussion.


Exams: There are 3 exams in this class.  Two will be in class exams with a varied format.  The final exam will be a take home exam that will also include a discussion during the final activity period.


Class presentations: Each student will give five class presentations.  These presentations will be either over sources from one of the source books or about a scholarly article.  See separate guidelines for oral presentations.


Reflective Essay: Each student will submit at the end of the semester a short reflective essay that considers the issue of diversity and how they as an individual engage with and reflect upon the early history of women.


Women’s history project challenge:  This course coincides with Women’s History Month in March.  Although the month focuses usually on American Women’s History, the instructor challenges the class to create and implement some type of project/program that will educate the campus community about early women’s history (non-American).  There is no budget. Students will be required to evaluate the participation of the other group members.



Exam 1                                                            100

Exam 2                                                            100

Final Exam                                                       100

Class presentations  (50 points each)                250

Reflective Essay                                               100

Women’s history project challenge                   100

Participation                                                     250


Special Needs:

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides protection from illegal discrimination for qualified individuals with disabilities.  Students requesting instructional accommodations due to disabilities must arrange for such accommodations by contacting Pathways Associate for Testing and Advising Carla Coates.  She can be reached at the Pathways Center, 314 Vogel Library, Wartburg College, Waverly, IA 50677, 352-8230, <Carla.coates@wartburg.edu>.   Presenting documentation of a student’s disability early (before the beginning of classes) is helpful and often necessary to secure needed materials in a timely way.  Accommodations should be requested PRIOR to affected assignment due dates.  For more detailed information, please see http://www.wartburg.edu/pathways/testing/AccomodationProcessStudents.pdf


Honor Code/Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the representation of the work or ideas of others as your own.  Plagiarism can result from failing to cite a source, giving sufficient credit to the original authors, closely paraphrasing without attribution, and direct copying.  The Academic Policies Committee of Student Senate and the Honor Council have asked faculty to remind students that they have a “…responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work”.  All forms of plagiarism and cheating will result in severe academic penalties, including the possibility of failing the assignment and the class.


By attending Wartburg College, students are demonstrating their dedication to the Honor Code.  The Honor Code reminds students of their responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work.  This is a reminder of your obligation to the Honor Code (from the policy developed by students and overseen by the Student Senate, the Honor Council, and the Academic Ombudsperson).




Classroom policies:

1.   Arrive promptly

2.      Please turn off all cell phones, pagers, beepers, and noisy watches.

3.      You may only record my classes with my permission.

4.      If you know you must leave early, let me know before class and sit near the door.

5.      Limit exiting and reentering the classroom during the class period.  It is disruptive to your fellow students and distracting to the professor.

6.      Make sure you put your name on everything you turn in!

7.      Follow the directions on all assignments!  It will save headaches and heartaches.

8.      I have nothing against food and drink in the classroom.  Just make sure it is not too messy, smelly, or noisy- NO chips!!  AND PICK UP AFTER YOURSELF!



Schedule of classes: Please come to class having read and thought about the material assigned for that day. [R] = on reserve, [O] = online, find a link through the syllabus on my webpage.


M 1/11 Introduction and terms


Women in Eurasia before 1000 BCE


W 1/13 Women in Early History: Trends

Read: Envisioning Women, 1-31


F 1/15 Women in Early History: Sources

Read: Online Sources and Handouts A Father's Advice  Birth of Hatshepsut   Code of the Nesilim  Code of the Assyrians


Women in Ancient Greece


M 1/18    NO class                   MLK JR Day Short class


W 1/20 Greek Women: Trends

Read: Envisioning Women, 32-46


F 1/22 Sources

Read: Women’s Life in Greece and Rome


M 1/25 Sources  Oral Presentations

Read: Women’s Life in Greece and Rome


Women in Ancient Rome


W 1/27 Sources

Read: Women’s Life in Greece and Rome


F 1/29  Roman Women: Trends

Read: Envisioning Women, 46-61


M 2/1 Sources

Read: Women’s Life in Greece and Rome


W 2/3 NO class


F 2/5  Sources    Oral Presentations

Read: Women’s Life in Greece and Rome


M 2/8 Sources

Read: Women’s Life in Greece and Rome


Women in Gupta India

W 2/10  Indian Women: Trends

Read: Envisioning Women, 62-87


F 2/12   Indian Women: Trends and Sources

Read: Envisioning Women, 87-92


M 2/15 EXAM 1


Women in Early China

W 2/17 Early China: Shang, Zhou, Qin and Han: Trends and Tang and Song Period: Trends

Read: Envisioning Women, 93-124


F 2/19 Sources    Oral Presentations

Read: Sources from reserve and online


M 2/22 Biography

Read: Wu Zhao, chapter 1-3


W 2/24 Biography

Read: Wu Zhao, chapter 4-6


F 2/26 Biography

Read: Wu Zhao, chapter 7-9


M 3/1 Biography

Read: Wu Zhao, chapter 10-12


W 3/3 Song China: Sources

Read: Other Chinese Sources


Women in Early Japan

F 3/5 Introduction to Early Japan and Nikki: Trends and Women’s History project Work Day




M 3/15 Autobiography

Read: Gossamer Years, Book 1


W 3/17 Autobiography

Read: Gossamer Years, Book 2


F 3/19 Autobiography

Read: Gossamer Years, Book 3


M 3/22  Interpretation

Read: Hitomi Tonomura, “Black Hair and Red Trousers: Gendering the Flesh in Medieval Japan,” The American Historical Review, vol. 99, no. 1 (Feb. 1994): 129-154 [JSTOR] and Lynda N. Shaffer and George J Marcopoulos, “Murasaki and Comnena: Two Women and Two Themes in World History,” The History Teacher, vol. 19, no. 4 (Aug. 1986): 487-498.


W 3/24 EXAM 2 take home due on Friday


Women in the Early Islamic World


F 3/26 Early Islamic World and Women: Trends

Read: Envisioning Women, 153-169


M 3/29  Later Islamic World and Women: Trends

Read: Envisioning Women, 169-181


W 3/31 Discussion of Women in the Islamic World




Women in Medieval Europe


W 4/7 Interpretation   Oral Presentations

Read: Article presentations from Women in the Medieval Islamic World


F 4/9    Medieval European Women: Trends

Read: Envisioning Women, 182-212


M 4/12 Sources   Reflective Essay due

Read: Women’s Lives in Medieval Europe


W 4/14  Sources      Oral Presentations

Read: Women’s Lives in Medieval Europe


F 4/16 Sources

Read: Women’s Lives in Medieval Europe


Final Exam: Monday April 19, 1:30-3:30.  Turn in take home and discuss the final questions.


The professor reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus and will inform students when she does so.