Patriarchy, Sex and Gender in Early Modern Europe HIST4016

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Either Semester 1 or Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course is designed to explore the workings of gender in the lives and perceptions of early modern men and women. It does so through analysis of the patriarchal foundations of early modern life (which largely privileged men above women and certain men above others) and exploration of the ways in which patriarchal ideology and relations of power were upheld, resisted or circumvented by men and women. Spanning the period from c.1500 to c.1750, the course combines social, cultural, political and economic history. The geographical coverage includes Britain and the Atlantic World in order to enable a broadly comparative and thematic approach.


15x1 hr lectures and 5x1 hr seminars over 10 weeks as scheduled in MyCampus. This is one of the Honours options in History and may not run every year. The options that are running this session are available in MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Available to all students fulfilling requirements for Honours entry into History, and by arrangement to visiting students or students of other Honours programmes

Excluded Courses





Exam (2 hour duration) - 60%

Essay (2000 words) - 30%

Seminar presentation (8 minutes) - 10%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. For non Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

This course aims to:

■ Develop students' intellectual interests and analytical skills.

■ Offer the opportunity to study a range of methodological approaches, chronological periods and geographical areas by offering a wide and flexible choice of options

■ Offer the opportunity to develop skills in historical computing.

■ Introduce complex historical debates and interpretations, to develop skills in interpreting primary sources where appropriate, and to inform these discussions with new ideas derived from lecturers current research

■ Encourage the development of transferable skills by fostering individual initiative, personal choice, and group discussion and, where appropriate, problem-solving team work.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Display an awareness of the patriarchal ideology informing notions of gender difference in early modern Europe and assess critically the extent to which this shaped the relative agency of men and women in a variety of contexts

■ Apply gender theory to the study of early modern European history

■ Analyse and interpret a variety of sources (both primary and secondary), particularly in a comparative framework

■ Evaluate historiographical debates relevant to this course in seminar presentations, essays and the examination

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.