This seminar explores World War II-era Europe through the lens of evolving gender norms and relations. This turbulent period in European history magnified the so-called “gender troubles” that emerged in the wake of the First World War. From the question of equality between the sexes to the liberalization of sexual mores and divergence from the proscribed roles of men and women, gender had a profound impact on the prewar, wartime, and immediate postwar European landscape. Drawing on primary and secondary sources, we will consider the following questions: How did gender and violence shape the course of World War II and the immediate postwar from Britain to the Soviet Union? How can gender and sexuality help us to understand militarization, violence, and war? How did war and occupation impact relations between and among men and women on the home- and war fronts? We will complicate these questions by probing topics such as women’s support for war, masculinity in combat, everyday racial discrimination, eugenics, sexual violence and genocide and the ways in which they infiltrated the every aspect of Europeans’ public and private lives. Finally, we will discuss scholarly debates and historiographies on gender during World War II that have emerged since the early-1970s. **The instructor, Dr. Jennifer Rodgers, received her PhD in History from Penn in 2014 with a dissertation that investigates humanitarianism in post-World War II Europe. Since 1997, Dr. Rodgers has worked with government agencies and non-governmental organizations on issues related to World War II including the Department of Justice Office of Special Investigations, the Presidential Commission on Holocaust Assets, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Department of State, and the International Committee of the Red Cross. She is currently finishing a monograph titled The Archives of Humanity: The International Tracing Service, The Holocaust, and Postwar Order. Dr. Rodgers has taught classes on German history, the Holocaust, WWII, and historical methods at the University of South Florida as well as Penn.**


Day and Time: 
R 0300PM-0600PM


Cross Listings: