What History Tells: European Gender, Sexuality, and the Borders of Tolerance, 1914-2021


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Using nine recently-digitized lectures from renowned history professor George L. Mosse, this course examines the origins of our stereotypes of contemporary “masculinity,” the idealized “New Woman” and the fascist “New Man” of the twentieth century. Experts from around the world will introduce Mosse’s lectures, framing his work in relation to ongoing scholarly discussions of the history of sexuality. Participants should purchase a copy of the newly-published, 2020 edition of George L. Mosse's classic book Nationalism and Sexuality. The book is available online through Amazon or UW Press.

Each week new lectures and introductions are released. Learners can interact with the instructor via optional weekly Zoom discussions and written discussion boards.  The optional zoom sessions meet on Fridays at 11 a.m. CT, and run for 1 hour.


This nine-week online class explores the history of European sexuality from the First World War through today. Guided by nine lectures from Professor George L. Mosse, the course examines the origins of contemporary masculinity and the idealized "New Woman" and "New Man" of the twentieth century. Together we will examine how stereotypes of femininity and masculinity originated and how such concepts continue to influence public discourse.

Ten experts from around the world will introduce Mosse's lectures, including historians working in the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Israel and the United States. Each week they put Mosse's work in context and explore contemporary scholarly discussions of the history of sexuality.

The reading for the course includes George L. Mosse's Nationalism and Sexuality: Middle-Class Morality and Sexual Norms in Modern Europe, which first appeared in 1984. A new edition will be published in the first volume of the Collected Works of George L. Mosse, with an introduction from UW–Madison historian Mary Louise Roberts. We will also read selections from the most recent scholarship on the history of gender and sexuality.

Weekly Lecture Topics

Week 1: Sexual Values, Political Ideologies, Manliness

Week 2: The Creation of Modern Masculinity

Week 3: The New Man in the Inter-War Years

Week 4: The New Man in Modern Revolutionary Movements: New Men, New Women, Bourgeoisie

Week 5: The Construction of Masculinity

Week 6: Stereotypes of Manhood

Week 7: Unmanliness

Week 8: Masculinity and Politics

Week 9: Towards a New Masculinity?

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Earn Continuing Education Hours

By participating in this class you will earn:

Instructional Hours 10
University of Wisconsin Continuing Education Units 1

Explanation of Continuing Education Hours

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Program Questions?

Contact info@dcs.wisc.edu or 608-262-1156

Registration Questions?

Email registrations@pyle.wisc.edu or call 608-262-2451.

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