Advanced search

To challenge Uni/Prof re Canon?

(98 Posts)
Harriedharriet Tue 20-Sep-16 14:24:58

I am doing a few courses in Uni at the moment. They are history courses and the University is well known and respected. In both courses women are not mentioned before the 19th C. They did not exist it seems. Actually, apologies, prostitutes did.
I understand the issues and to some degree accept why there is not much more than a minor nod to women in the Canons/course work. However, I think there needs to be academic compensation, a caveat in ALL courses that state why that is.
A lecture on the laws, rules and regulations that were in place at the time to limit the participation of women would go a long way to compensate in my opinion.
AIBU to challenge the ProfA. (V intimidating prospect. 😬)

Harriedharriet Tue 20-Sep-16 14:33:38


Anyone there?

RunningLulu Tue 20-Sep-16 14:35:42

What are you studying?

AmeliaJack Tue 20-Sep-16 14:36:18

You can raise the issue without it necessarily being a confrontation though presumably?

Are there no female professors within the department you could discuss this with?

OurBlanche Tue 20-Sep-16 14:37:05

Well, if you are that huffy over a 7 minute delay in responses on an online forum....

And what makes you think there where laws, rules and regulations about women working prior to the 19thC?

I wouldn't omplain. I'd do the bloody obvious and, well, ask and then research it... which is the point of a degree!

KidLorneRoll Tue 20-Sep-16 14:38:11

Why would it be intimidating to discuss your course with the people teaching it? You are not at school anymore, you are supposed to think for yourself and question things.

Roseformeplease Tue 20-Sep-16 14:38:55

I don't believe you. Sorry. I am not a History graduate, but I read a lot of History and know a fair bit about British history. Even without naming just the Queens, there are plenty of women to write about. The power was, more usually, in the hands of the men but wives had a great deal of power.

Queen Victoria? Elizabeth 1? Mary 1? Anne? Eleanor of Aquitaine, Katherine Swynford......

And that is just off the top of my head. Either it is a really shit university or you are making this up.

HallowedMimic Tue 20-Sep-16 14:41:17

What courses are you taking?

There uiss going to be an expectation that the student is/has done more than just stustudy the course required work.

All students will be aware of historical contexts, the legal status of women, and ideas implicit in whatever whey are presented with.

There are whole careers devoted to researching and writing about those very things, but lecturers won't expect to have to spoonfeed you at this stage.

MotherofPearl Tue 20-Sep-16 14:42:54

You could raise it as a discussion point in a seminar, rather than complain. Would be helpful to know what you're studying.
Amelia, why on earth should the OP discuss this with 'women professors'? hmm Pretty simplistic assumption that women academics are automatically interested in women-related topics.

OurBlanche Tue 20-Sep-16 14:43:20

However, I think there needs to be academic compensation, a caveat in ALL courses that state why that is. Sorry, the more I read your OP the funnier it gets!

Dear Students, we would like to point out that we, XDept at X University, cannot be held responsible for the lack of equal oporrtunities and gender equality in the 10 - 18th centuries. Our sincere apologies for any distress this historical oversight/inequality may cause

I mean, if you are doing any kind of history course then the point is to research and learn about how it actually was. You then make your own conclusions as to how our history affects our modern society.

LuchiMangsho Tue 20-Sep-16 14:45:23

Huh? Historian here. Also teach gender history. Unsure what the problem is. There is plenty of gender history from the 18th-19thc in the part of the world I study, although much of that is linked to religious reform and family law.
It is hard to 'recover' the woman's voice in this period as many women did not have a voice or this was not recorded. Your professor is possibly well versed in this. Unless he is an outstanding misogynist he is teaching the 'canon' which is usually male and white/European btw. Most universities teach a historical canon as if the non-White world didn't exist but that's a different matter. However knowing the canon is also essential for being able to critique it. There is nothing I like less than people challenging me in the first week of term without having read extensively themselves and making massive assumptions.

AmeliaJack Tue 20-Sep-16 14:50:48

Mother it's not simplistic to think that the OP might find it less intimidating to approach a female historian given that she wishes to explore why her department spears to "ignore" women in their pre 19th century teaching.

I'm not sure what a "woman related topic" is but I'm pretty sure that the majority of women historians will have a view about how their own department features the history of their sex.

ilovesooty Tue 20-Sep-16 14:53:09

What are these courses if you are doing "a few" of them?

I agree with OurBlanche

MerryMarigold Tue 20-Sep-16 14:57:28

I did a history degree and there was a lot about women in it. I am not sure what you're studying. Ok, so perhaps looking at the English Civil War will not be mainly about women, but of course it would include women.

MyPatronusIsABadger Tue 20-Sep-16 14:58:49

Do not approach a lecturer/Dr let alone a Professor with this. Listen to Luchi, it's great you're excited about your course, but read around it more. It's wonderful you already care about historiography so much, I'd love that in 'my' students.

PurpleDaisies Tue 20-Sep-16 14:59:32

Hello op?

Are you there?

SallyMcgally Tue 20-Sep-16 14:59:46

University courses are often driven by a researcher's specialist interests, and possibly women's history isn't this lecturer's area of expertise. And that's fine. They're not expected to cover everything all of the time. It's up to students to look at the course material beforehand, and decide whether the course is for them. If it's more of a survey course then it will inevitably be biased in favour of a male viewpoint, because it's not the point of that course to redress the wrongs and exclusions of centuries of history.
But this doesn't have to be any kind of huge conflict. As Blanche says you can simply query it politely with your lecturer, who may well be sympathetic to your misgivings.

NerrSnerr Tue 20-Sep-16 15:03:47

I wouldn't 'challenge' a lecturer on this. I would mention it at a tutorial possibly but in a more exploratory way, not all guns blazing.

Could you focus your research on women or a woman from whatever era you're studying?

Harriedharriet Tue 20-Sep-16 15:06:47

Luchi, agreed. Last term was History of Western Art Music and this term is the History of New York. Late 1500s to mid 1600 under the Dutch women had a good deal. Dutch Roman law permitted women to own and run businesses, to inherit, equal inheritance between males and females. The law applied equally. They lost those rights when Britan took over under Charles 11 and they stayed gone until the 20th Centuary. This is worth a mention in my opinion.

TinklyLittleLaugh Tue 20-Sep-16 15:08:22

I think you have a very good point OP. The last bit of history I studied was OLevel 1760 to 1914, social and political. Apparently there were no women at all in those days (well there might have been a sentence about Victoria being queen). Sad that nothing has changed in 30 odd years.

Harriedharriet Tue 20-Sep-16 15:09:34

Challenge is the wrong word.

OurBlanche Tue 20-Sep-16 15:11:10

But what mention? What is it you are actually asking for?

You have made the connections, you understand the tigger for change, you understand the ramifications of that change.

What do you want the lecturers to do? Leap in a time machine? Or just point out the bleeding obvious?

You seem to be asking to be spoonfed and/or for the course to be apologetic for the history itself.

Harriedharriet Tue 20-Sep-16 15:11:51


The world is large Sooty and there are many different places doing many different things in many different ways to the way you do it.

Weird but true!😎

Footle Tue 20-Sep-16 15:17:27

OurBlanche, I've come to a halt on your tigger for change. Those gorgeous stripes trying to savage the tablecloth in whichever story it was.

Harriedharriet Tue 20-Sep-16 15:23:36

IN the Hist of NY course they discuss slavery. The status of slaves, % of population, economic benefit, cost to African American community and a nod to modern American society.
No mention of women.
At all.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now