Women, Gender, and Sexuality

The Department of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has over a dozen scholars who teach and specialize in women's, gender, and sexuality history. This makes the history department one of the strongest faculties in the United States for research and study in this field. The program emphasizes the comparative study of women, gender, and sexuality, with strengths in social, cultural, imperial, and transnational history. Running through the diverse fields of study is an attention to the intersectionality of gender and/or sexuality with other vectors of difference such as race, class, and, religion. Research and teaching interests of the faculty include manliness and masculinities, queer theory, imperial and colonial studies, the body and reproduction, and feminism and feminist history.  Many other faculty on campus are engaged with issues of women, gender, and sexuality and welcome students who wish to pursue an interdisciplinary approach to the field.      

A lively community of graduate students and faculty work together to pursue mutual interests and engage in learning outside of the classroom.  Since the spring of 2000 graduate students in the department have organized an annual conference on Women's and Gender History in conjunction with women's history month.

Program of Study

Students may elect to prepare either a major or minor field in the history of women, gender, and sexuality. The field is structured as a comparative one. Students normally select two major geographic areas and/or periods (e.g., United States and Europe; India and Britain). Preliminary examinations are tailored to students' individualized programs of study.

To incorporate gender and women's studies scholarship more fully into their research, students in History may, in addition, choose to complete a graduate minor in Gender and Women's Studies. The minor consists of three courses, including one in feminist theory and one outside the student's home discipline. Doctoral minors in Gender and Women's Studies are encouraged to design dissertation topics around issues of women and/or gender and sexuality.

Core Faculty Specializing in Histories of Women, Gender and Sexuality

Ikuko Asaka  (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison), African American Diaspora and Transnational History, Race, Intimacy, and Empire, Gender and Sexuality, racial thought, 18th and 19th century U.S. Tropical Freedom: Climate, Settler Colonialism, and Black Exclusion in the Age of Emancipation (Duke University Press, 2017)

Teresa Barnes  (Ph.D. University of Zimbabwe), Women, gender and feminist histories in Zimbabwe and South Africa. "We Women Worked So Hard": Gender, Labor and Social Reproduction in Harare, Zimbabwe, 1930-56 (Heinemann 1999).

Marsha E. Barrett  (Ph.D. Rutgers University), Political history, African American history, policy history.

Antoinette Burton  (Ph.D., University of Chicago), Modern Britain; South Asian women; feminist/cultural theory; women in the British empire. Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women, and Imperial Culture, 1865-1915 (University of North Carolina Press, 1994); The Trouble with Empire: Challenges to Modern British Imperialism (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Tamara Chaplin (Ph.D. Rutgers University), Contemporary France, the history of women, gender, and sexuality, queer theory, and history of the media. Turning On the Mind: French Philosophers on Television (University of Chicago Press, 2007).

Clare H. Crowston (Ph.D. Cornell University), Early Modern France, comparative gender, women and labor history, material culture. Credit, Fashion, Sex: Economies of Regard in Old Regime France (Duke University Press, 2013) and Fabricating Women: The Seamstresses of Old Regime France, 1675-1791 (Duke University Press, 2001).

Kenneth M Cuno (Ph.D. UCLA), Egypt and the Levant, 18th-20th c.; demographic and family history, Islamic law in society, rural history, nationalism, Arab-Israeli conflict. Modernizing Marriage: Family, Ideology, and Law in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Egypt (2015) and Family, Gender, and Law in a Globalizing Middle East and South Asia with Manisha Desai (2009).

Augusto F. Espiritu  (Ph.D. UCLA), Asian American Intellectuals, Transnationalism, post-Colonialism, Race and Gender, 1898 and American Empire. Five Faces of Exile: The Nation and Filipino American Intellectuals (Stanford, 2005).

Behrooz Ghamari-Tabrizi (Ph.D. University of California), Iran; transnational and global histories; contemporary histories of the Middle East, Islam and modernity, revolution, social theory, social movements, and politics and power. Foucault in Iran: Islamic Revolution after the Enlightenment (University of Minnesota Press, 2016); Remembering Akbar: Inside the Iranian Revolution (Counterpoint 2016).

Marc Adam Hertzman (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison), Modern Brazil, history of race, culture, gender, and labor; Marxism and the social sciences. Making Samba: A New History of Race and Music in Brazil (Duke, 2013)

Kristin Hoganson (Ph.D. Yale University), United States in world context, cultures of U.S. imperialism, globalization, masculinity and policy, agriculture and the environment, consumerism, food history. Fighting for American Manhood: How Gender Politics Provoked the Spanish American and Philippine American Wars (Yale, 1998); Consumers’ Imperium:The Global Production of American Domesticity, 1865-1920 (University of North Carolina Press, 2007).

Erik S. McDuffie  (Ph.D. New York University), African American Studies, African American women, Pan-Africanism, communism.  Sojourning for Freedom: Black Women, American Communism, and the Making of Black Left Feminism (Duke, 2011)

Mark S. Micale (PhD, Yale University), European cultural and intellectual, science and medicine, hysteria, masculinity, psychoanalytic studies; the history of the body. Hysterical Men: The Hidden History of Male Nervous Illness (Harvard University Press 2008); Traumatic Pasts: History, Psychiatry and Trauma in the Modern Age, 1870-1930 (Cambridge University Press 2001).

Kevin Mumford  (Ph.D., Stanford University), Cultural and Intellectual; African American and Urban History. Not Straight, Not White: Black Gay Men From the March on Washington to the AIDS Crisis (UNC Press 2016); Interzones: Black/White Sex Districts in Chicago and New York in the Early Twentieth Century.

Dana Rabin (Ph.D., University of Michigan), Early modern Britain, legal, cultural, and gender history; whiteness and imperialism.  Identity, Crime, and Legal Responsibility in Eighteenth-Century England (Palgrave 2004); Britain and its Internal Others, 1750-1800 (Manchester University Press, 2017).

Leslie J. Reagan  (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison), women, gender, and sexuality; reproduction and the body; disability studies; health films and visual culture; museums and memory; medicine and public health; American-Vietnam War and Agent Orange; 20th-century U.S. Dangerous Pregnancies: Mothers, Disabilities, and Abortion in Modern America (Berkeley University of California Press, 2010); When Abortion Was a Crime: Women, Medicine, and Law in the United States, 1867-1973 (University of California Press, 1997).

Mark D Steinberg (Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley), Late imperial and revolutionary Russia, comparative labor, popular culture, urban history. Petersburg Fin de Siècle (Yale, 2011); and The Russian Revolution, 1905-1921 (Oxford, 2017).

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