Course Meeting Times

Seminars: 1 session / week, 3 hours / session


The subject has no prerequisite and does not assume any relevant prior knowledge.

Course Description

This seminar examines women's experiences during and after war, revolution, and genocide. The focus of the course is mostly on the 20th century and on North America, Europe and the Middle East. It is organized thematically; we focus on a different topic each week that might pertain to a different geographical area or time period but is related to women and war, understood broadly.


The main part of class time will be spent on discussion. Given the broad range of geographical regions and eras covered (and depending on the topic) at the beginning of each class meeting I will lecture for about fifteen minutes to provide necessary historical details (one of the goals here is to teach you how to make sense of a piece of writing even when you do not know every detail about the context). We will watch a short documentary or film almost every week and your "active" viewing is integral to the success of the course. We will also have occasional guests and depending on availability and everyone's schedules will move the class to different sites, for instance to talks and conferences about the topic in the region.


The following book is required:

Amiry, Suad. Sharon and My Mother-in-Law: Ramallah Diaries. Anchor, 2006. ISBN: 9781400096497.

For detailed information, see the Readings and Films section.

Policy on Plagiarism

Plagiarism—the use of another's intellectual work without acknowledgement—is a serious offense. Students who plagiarize will receive an F in the subject, and that the instructor will forward the case to the Committee on Discipline. Full acknowledgement for all information obtained from sources outside the classroom must be clearly stated in all written work submitted and in all oral presentations, including images or texts in other media and for materials collected online. All ideas, arguments, and direct phrasings taken from someone else's work must be identified and properly footnoted. Quotations from other sources must be clearly marked as distinct from the student's own work. For further guidance on the proper forms of attribution, consult the style guides available in the Writing and Communication Center, review their page Avoiding Plagiarism, and review MIT's online Academic Integrity Handbook: A Handbook for Students.


You are expected to come to class having read all assigned texts and ready to actively participate in the discussion. By "participate" I mean serious engagement with the texts, visuals, other students' ideas, and the instructors' thoughts. Learning will happen when and if you hear your own voice "thinking". I don't expect fully developed ideas; I expect informed brainstorming and an open-minded attitude driven by pure curiosity.

Students are also responsible for posting one discussion question based on the given day's readings every week.

There is no final exam but students are required to submit a final research paper on a topic of your choice that pertains to women / gender and war.

For more information on the discussion questions and the final research paper, see the Assignments section.

Grading Policy

Attendance and Participation 25%
Discussion Questions (10 in total) 30%
Presentation of the Final Paper 10%
Final Paper 35%