HIST255-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Heroines in History

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 17 July 2023
End Date: Sunday, 12 November 2023
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 30 July 2023
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Sunday, 1 October 2023


Heroines' histories will be used to represent different moments of womanhood and femininity, women's place in domesticity, war, religion, education, politics and governance. Themes include spirituality, health and well-being, warrior and regal identities, cross-dressing, martyrdom and untimely death, imperialism, science and technology and glamour. Heroines to be studied include Boadicea, Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Catherine the Great, Florence Nightingale, Kate Sheppard, Marie Curie, Te Puea, Jean Batten, Rosa Luxemburg and Diana, Princess of Wales.

From the Virgin Mary to Lorde, this course critically recovers historical heroines, moving beyond traditional mythological celebration, to consider how their histories have been told, re-told and represented. Heroines’ histories will be used to represent different moments of womanhood and femininity, exploring women’s places in domesticity, war, religion, education, politics and governance. The course is split into chronological themes, ranging from spiritual, warrior, regal heroines, to heroines of empire, technology, politics and glamour. Key themes include martyrdom, death, fertility, courage, adventure, heredity status, and cross-dressing. The difference between icons and role models, a critique of traditional history, and an emphasis on where New Zealand heroines fit and differ globally are also important frameworks. Heroines to be studied include Joan of Arc, Elizabeth I, Florence Nightingale, Kate Sheppard, Ida B. Wells, Te Puea, Jean Batten, Indira Gandhi, and Diana, Princess of Wales.

Learning Outcomes

  • You will:
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the history of heroines;
  • Become familiar with some of the trends in women’s history and different moments of womanhood and femininity, and;
  • Develop a broad background knowledge that will assist you in your study of history at higher levels.

    Skills include:

  • Managing your work and time;
  • Research: locating information and using the Library, electronic and other resources; interpreting primary sources;
  • Comprehension: essay writing;
  • Analysis: identifying parts of an argument and how they fit together; assessing the adequacy of evidence and the logic of the argument;
  • Evaluation of historical arguments: understanding different interpretations of women in history; recognising different modes of historical writing (historiography);
  • Basic scholarly conventions: referencing, compiling bibliographies, use of quotations, avoiding plagiarism, and;
  • Oral presentations: developing confidence in small group discussion.

    Upon completing this course you will be able to demonstrate:
  • A range of knowledge about the growth and development of women’s history, gender history and feminist theory;
  • A broad understanding of the androcentric bias in traditional historical accounts of women, womanhood and femininity, and;
  • A critical understanding of heroines in history.


Any 15 points at 100 level in HIST or CULT or CLAS120, or
any 60 points at 100 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


HIST361, GEND215, CULT336

Equivalent Courses

Course Coordinator

Katie Pickles


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Essay One 25%
Essay Two 25%
Final Exam 50%

Please check the course Learn page for further details and updates.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $821.00

International fee $3,750.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities .

All HIST255 Occurrences

  • HIST255-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023