HDS 2181

Women, Gender and Religion in Colonial North America and the United States

Catherine Brekus


This course is an introduction to the history of women, gender, and religion in America. We will ask several related questions. How have religious communities shaped understandings of gender and sexuality? How have individuals used religious beliefs, texts, and practices to defend or criticize gender norms? Why has religion in America often been perceived as "feminine"? Among other topics, we will discuss conceptions of femininity and masculinity in early America, the ideology of "Republican motherhood" during the American Revolution, controversies over female preaching in the nineteenth century, Fundamentalist attitudes toward gender, and twentieth-century debates over contraception, women's ordination, and homosexuality. We will discuss a wide variety of religious communities in the United States, including Protestants, Catholics, Mormons, Spiritualists, Jews, Muslims, and Buddhists.

Enrollment Limited: No
Open to BTI Students: Yes
Jointly offered as Religion 1019

Course website


0.50 credits
Spring 2015
Tue Thu 10am-11:30am
Andover Hall Room 117

Relationship to Program Requirements

Program Requirement Area / Category / Art / Designation
MTS Area(s) of Focus
  • African and African American Religious Studies
  • Comparative Studies
  • History of Christianity
  • Religions of the Americas
  • Women, Gender, Sexuality, and Religion
MDiv Distribution Category/ies
  • Christianity
MDiv Art(s) of Ministry None
Language Course Designation(s) None