Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Canada, 1870 to the present

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 2261
Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Canada, 1870 to the present
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Course Designation
Certificate in Global Competency
Industry Designation
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hours per week / semester Seminar: 2 hours per week / semester
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Course Description
This course examines the history of gender and sexuality in Canada from industrialization to the turn of the millenium, with a particular focus on Canadian women’s lives, work and place in the historical record. It examines the intersectional experiences of women within the family, the labour force, and religious, political, social and cultural movements. It investigates the intertwining constructions of gender ideology and sexual identity, exploring the diversity of women’s experiences, and interrogating how class, race, ethnicity, age, and region shaped the contours of women’s and men’s lives in different historical periods in Canada. Topics to be considered include gendered experience in wartime, sexual identity and militarism, efforts by women to achieve equality through the suffrage, paid and unpaid work, sexuality and reproduction, changing family structures, women’s changing relationships with the state, and the impact of and challenges to feminism.
Course Content

A sample course outline would include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

1. Review of Historical Methods; Gender and Sexuality in the Research and Writing of History

2. Work and Education in Industrializing Canada

3. Separate Spheres: Moral Reform in the Industrial Age

4. Bodies and Sexuality at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

5. Culture and Religion at the Turn of the Twentieth Century

6. War and Suffrage

7. Consumption and Depression in Interwar Canada

8. World War Two

9. Reconstructing Normal: Cold War Domesticity

10. Work and Immigration in the Welfare State

11. Status of Women in the Second Wave

12. Redefining Sexuality on the Way to the Third Wave

13. Indigenous Women's Lives and Patriarchy under the Indian Act

14. Gender History and the Gendering of History

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).

2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).

3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).

4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history)

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Participation 15%
Book review essay 15%
Research proposal 10%
Research essay 25%
Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 20%

Textbook Materials

Texts will be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically:

An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned, and links to specific resources may be provided in the course outline.

Brandt, Gail Cuthbert, Naomi Black, Paula Bourne, and Magda Fahrni. Canadian Women: A History, 3rd ed. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2011.

Campbell, Lara, Tamara Myers, and Adele Perry, eds. Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women’s History, 7th ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Keough, Willeen and Lara Campbell, eds. Gender History: Canadian Perspectives. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2014.


One 1000-level History course or permission of the instructor





Which Prerequisite