84289 - History of Women and of Gender Identity (1) (LM)

Academic Year 2023/2024

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module the student will be aware of the fact that the identities of men and women are complex social, cultural and political constructs, and that such constructs differ according to the historical and geographical contexts. He or she will be aware of the fact that, even in the individual contexts, male and female identities are not monolithic and opposite entities, and that it is therefore more apt to speak of men and women in the plural rather than of man and woman in the singular. He or she will be able to grasp the long-term continuities and the discontinuities with reference to the specific themes. He or she will be fully aware of the variety of sources available for the study of the different aspects of the history of women and of gender identity. By the end of the course the student will have learned about the different thematic articulations proper to social history, including the orientations undertaken by women’s and gender studies in the study of the modern age. He or she will be familiar with the historical sources and historiographical debate in the field of social and women history.

Course contents

The title of the course is "FEMMINISMS." Women’s thinking and movements, in Europe, in the Americas, in the Arab context, in southern Africa and in the Asian context will be analysed in chronological order, but also showing the deep connections that were established between the various areas of the world. Alongside some thematic reconstructions, starting from the American Revolution and the French Revolution and the publication of the first "manifestos" of contemporary feminism, the lectures will analyse particularly important texts and experiences still hard to define within the scope of “classical” history (centred upon the West and its successive “waves”) of the feminisms. At the end, the students will have understood the complexity of the females thinking and movements in their peculiarity and in a transnational and global perspective.

The course will take place according to this schedule: First Semester, Second period


Lessons 1-3: The birth of Feminism in the West

Lessons 4-6: Feminisms and Suffragism in Europe 1860-IWW

Lessons 7-9: Biopolitics in a totalitarian State

Lessons 10-12: The new feminism in the West

Lessons 13-15: Feminisms and culture beyond the West


Students ATTENDING classes will bring three texts, chosen from the following list or agreed upon following a tutorial with the lecturer:

C. Frattini, Il primo Congresso delle donne italiane, Roma 1908: opinione pubblica e femminismo, Roma, Biblink, 2008

E. Saurer, Melancolia e Risveglio. Donne e religione nell’Europa romantica, Roma, Viella, 2013

R. Pepicelli, Il femminismo islamico: Corano diritti riforme, Roma, Carocci, 2010

E. Schiavon, Interventiste nella Grande Guerra, Firenze, Le Monnier, 2015

S. Bartoloni (a cura di), Attraversando il tempo: centovent'anni dell'Unione femminile nazionale, Roma, Viella, 2019

A. Rossi-Doria, La libertà delle donne: voci dalla tradizione politica suffragista, Torino, Rosenberg&Sellier, 1990

U. Akerstrom, La maternità sociale fra Svezia e Italia: il carteggio Ellen Key-Ersilia Majno (1907-1917), Roma, Viella, 2020

A. Frisone, Femminismo al lavoro. Come le donne hanno cambiato il sindacato in Italia e in Francia (1968-1983), Roma, Viella, 2020

M. Cimbalo, "Ho sempre detto noi": Lucia Sanchez Saornil, femminista e anarchica nella Spagna della Guerra Civile, Roma, Viella, 2020

R. Baritono, Eleanor Roosevelt. Una biografia politica, Bologna, il Mulino, 2021

A. Tonelli, Nome di battaglia Estella: Teresa Noce, una donna comunista del Novecento, Firenze-Milano, Mondadori Education, 2020

G. Bonacchi-C. Dau Novelli (a cura di), Culture politiche e dimensioni del femminile nell'Italia del Novecento, Soveria Mannelli, Rubbettino, 2010

Isabella Pera, "Camminare col proprio tempo": il femminismo cristiano di primo Novecento, Roma, Viella, 2016

E. Guerra, Il dilemma della pace. Femministe e pacifiste sulla scena internazionale 1914-1939, Roma, Viella, 2014
M. Miniati, Le "emancipate". Le donne ebree in Italia tra XIX e XX secolo, Roma, Viella, 2008

"Genesis", numero 1-2013: Femminismi nel Mediterraneo (parte monografica)

“Genesis”, numero 2-2011: Attraversare i confini: Pratiche culturali e politiche del femminismo italiano (parte monografica)

"Genesis" numero 2-2009: Femminismi senza frontiere (parte monografica)

"Genesis" numero 2-2005: Femminismi e culture: oltre l'Europa (parte monografica)

S. Benussi, Le donne afroamericane negli Stati Uniti: la lunga lotta per i diritti civili, Milano, FrancoAngeli, 2007

M. Bracke, La nuova politica delle donne, Roma, Edizioni di Storia e letteratura, 2018

P. Stelliferi, Il femminismo a Roma negli anni Settanta, Bologna, Bononia University Press, 2015

A. Frisone, Quando le lavoratrici si ripresero la cultura: femminismo sindacale e corsi 150 ore delle donne a Reggio Emilia, Bologna, Socialmente, 2014

Students NOT ATTENDING classes will bring, in addition to the three texts chosen from the list, the following essay:

JOAN W. SCOTT, Il genere: un'utile categoria di analisi storica, in P. DI CORI, Altre storie. La critica femminista alla storia, Bologna, Clueb, 1997, pp. 307-347

Teaching methods


Reading from the sources, which will give rise to frequent seminar discussions within the lessons themselves

Assessment methods

Students who attend at least 75% of the lessons are considered to be attending.

The assessment of the knowledge will take place for the students ATTENDING classes as well as those NOT ATTENDING by means of an oral test.

The completeness of the information drawn from the texts chosen from the Syllabus, along with the capacity to frame it within a critical context, the mastery of the specific language of the discipline, will be assessed.

Accurate knowledge and excellent expositions will be met with high marks. A knowledge that is at times incomplete, uncertain, with a poor critical framing of the questions, accompanied by an exposition that is not wholly relevant, will be met with grades ranging from fair to satisfactory. Lastly, albeit in the presence of some information, a very weak exposition, the absence of a critical framing and an approximate exposition, will be met with a fail mark.

This 6 CFU course can be chosen as a part of the 12 CFU Integrated Course “History of the Genres (C.I.) (LM)". If the student has the Integrated Course (12 CFU) in his/her study plan, the final grade will result from the arithmetic average of the marks obtained in the two parts (“History of genres and sexualities in early modern age (1) (LM)" and “History of Women and of Gender Identity (1) (LM) “).

Teaching tools

Power Point

Office hours

See the website of Maria Pia Casalena


Gender equality

This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.