HIST361-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023

Heroines in History

30 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


From the days of the Virgin Mary to the advent of Lorde, this course travels through time critically recovering a wide variety of global and local historical heroines. It moves beyond traditional mythological celebration to consider how women's histories have been told, re-told, and represented. What does it take to become celebrated as an icon or role model? Themes include spirituality, health and well-being, warrior and regal identities, politics, governance and domesticity, cross-dressing, martyrdom and untimely death, imperialism, science and technology, education and glamour.

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 major feminist theoretical writings (historiography).
  • Become conversant with the main trends in women’s history and different moments of womanhood and femininity;
  • Acquire extensive knowledge of a range of sources, including those neglected by traditional historians in the study of women’s history, gender and feminist history, and;
  • Demonstrate detailed knowledge of major pieces of historical writing (historiography) that will assist you in your study of history at postgraduate level.

    Skills include:

  • Managing your work and time demonstrated by the ability to meet all course deadlines;
  • Research: including but not limited to locating information and using the Library, electronic and other resources; handling and interpreting primary sources; finding and interpreting secondary sources;
  • Comprehension: précis writing; essay writing;
  • Critical analysis: identifying parts of an argument and how they fit together, critical engagement in understanding underlying assumptions, assessing the adequacy of evidence, and the logic of a case;
  • Evaluation of historical arguments: understanding concepts and theories used in historical writing; familiarity with classic or landmark texts in women’s history, gender and feminist theory;
  • Scholarly conventions: referencing, compiling bibliographies, use of quotations, avoiding plagiarism, and;
  • Oral presentations: introduction to seminars; developing confidence in small group discussion.

    Upon completing this course you will be able to demonstrate:

  • A sound knowledge of key questions and recent trends in women’s history, gender history and feminist theory;
  • A comprehensive understanding of the ways in which feminist historians approach questions about traditional historical accounts of women, womanhood and femininity, and;
  • How to engage critically with the central debates in the sub-field of feminist history such as the public and private spheres, domesticity, the equality versus difference debate and the crisis of representation, using a wide variety of global and local heroines as case study examples.


Any 30 points at 200 level from CULT or HIST, or
any 60 points at 200 level from the Schedule V of the BA.


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 $1,641.00

International fee $7,500.00

* 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 HIST361 Occurrences

  • HIST361-23S2 (C) Semester Two 2023