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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2018 - 2019

Module Title Women in Irish and European Society 1789-1922
Module Code HIS5
School Open Education

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr James BruntonOffice NumberD102
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 15
Pre-requisite HIS1
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None

This module considers the history of women's role in both the private as well as the public sphere. The module considers the manner in which gender roles in the nineteenth century were constructed with reference to the ideology of separate spheres. According to the ideology men occupied the public sphere – the world of commerce, business, politics, the professions. Women occupied the private or domestic sphere – the sphere of the home. However, in the patriarchal society that was nineteenth century Ireland and England even within the home the ultimate authority was that of the male head. The module moves to discuss how various categories of ‘outcast’ women who did not or could not conform to the domestic paradigm, notably prostitutes, criminal women, vagrant women and women who committed infanticide, were treated by society. In this way the module asks students to understand the importance of class as well as gender analysis. The module also considers the move towards first wave feminism in the later nineteenth century. The module examines not just at the campaign for the parliamentary vote but also considers the manner in which female activists were concerned to improve the position of women in society in the area of educational rights, local government rights and property rights amongst other issues. The module also focuses on the role of women in nationalism with a particular emphasis on the revolutionary period 1913-1921. Students on this module complete a research essay instead of a final examination.

Learning Outcomes

1. Evaluate developments in historical academic writing on women and gender
2. Appraise the ways in which social, economic and political factors shaped womens' lives in the period 1789-1922
3. Assess the ways in which women accessed the public sphere of politics and employment and how society's expectations of women's roles in society shifted at certain seminal points between 1789 and 1922
4. Critically reflect on the importance of class in the study of women's lives
5. Critique the ways in which society dealt with women who failed to conform to nineteenth century expectations regarding appropriate female roles
6. Carry out an original research project based on primary historical sources which contributes to knowledge in the field

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Tutorial15No Description
Online activity60No Description
Independent Study300No Description
Total Workload: 375

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities


Unit 1 : Women’s History, Feminist History and Gender History

Unit 2 Research: Getting started

Part 1: Women in the Private Sphere

Unit 3: Domesticity

Unit 4: Religion

Part 2: Women, Education and Work

Unit 5: Philanthropy

Unit 6: Education

Unit 7 Industrialisation and Women’s Work

Unit 8: Women and Work in Ireland

Unit 9: Emigration

Part 3: Developing the Research Project

Unit 10: Literature Review

Unit 11: Negotiating Archival Sources

Part 4: Women on the Margins

Unit 12: Motherhood

Unit 13: Prostitution

Unit 14: Poverty and Criminality

Part 5: Women in the public sphere

Unit 15: Radicalism and utopian discourses of the late eighteenth, early nineteenth century

Unit 16: Politics formal and informal I

Unit 17: Suffrage in Ireland

Unit 18: Women and nationalism in nineteenth century Ireland

Unit 19: Women and nationalism 1900-1921

Unit 20: Women and War

Part 6: The Research Paper

Unit 21: Writing the Research Paper

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Reassessment Requirement
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
Indicative Reading List

  • Purvis, J. (ed.): 2004, Women's History Britain 1850-1945. An Introduction, Routledge, London,
  • Cullen Owens, R.: 2005, A Social History of Women in Ireland 1870-1970, Gill and Macmillan, Dublin,
  • Gleadle, K.: 2001, British women in the nineteenth century, Palgrave,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BABA in Humanities
BADIPDiploma in Humanities
BAEHBA in English & History
BASMBA Single Module
EHDIPDiploma in English and History