SOAS University of London

Department of History, School of History, Religions & Philosophies

Historical Perspectives on Gender in Asia, Africa and the Middle East

Module Code:
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Taught in:
Term 2

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of the course, a student should be able to:

  • differentiate between historical and gender studies approaches to the understanding of gender dynamics in the histories of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.
  • understand and engage in debates about the deeply gendered nature of human history and the significance of gender dynamics in early modern and modern encounters from the perspective of participants in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.
  • find and critically evaluate relevant sources and scholarly literature.
  • formulate and support a historical argument and present it in a coherent and persuasive way.


Two hours of seminars each week for one term (10 weeks + a revision week in term 3)

Scope and syllabus

This module explores Gender as a category of historical analysis based on an exploration of case studies from the histories of Asia, Africa and the Middle East. We will analyse gender in relation to other concepts, such as class, race, ethnicity, empire, coloniality, sexuality, etc., and explore how these categories shaped the historical experiences of individuals with various gender identities on the one hand and the histories of empires and nations on the other hand. The module focuses on how political, economic, and legal forces have maintained, enforced, and produced gender across time and space; how these dimensions have also been affected by shifting power dynamics and specific gender discourses; and how certain patterns of femininities and masculinities have been constructed, rejected and appropriated within this framework.

Method of assessment

Essay of 3,000 words worth 80% of the final mark, Reaction paper/book review of 1,000 words worth 20% of the final mark


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules