Soldier Heroes, Military Maids & Cowardly Conchies: Gendering The Study of War: 1914-1945 - HIST6109

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Module delivery information

This module is not currently running in 2024 to 2025.


War is both a gendered and a gendering activity, polarising combatant men and non-combatant women. These idealised roles have shaped public understandings of the volunteer soldier and the woman ensuring her 'Best boy' was wearing khaki in the First World War and of the Spitfire Ace and the home front worker in the Second. Yet in both wars there were large numbers of men of conscription age who remained in civilian occupations who have been entirely erased from popular memory. Moreover many women joined the services and donned martial uniform and some even undertook combatant roles. This module examines the roles, experiences, representations and legacies military, paramilitary and civilian men and women between 1914 and 1945 using Britain as a case study. However, throughout the course examples from other countries will be drawn upon and students can choose to focus on any country in their assessment.


Contact hours

Contact Hours: 30
Private Study Hours: 270
Total Study Hours: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods

Blog 1 (500 words) 10%
Blog 2 (500 words) 10%
Essay (2,000 words) 40%
Group exhibition 40%

Reassessment methods
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Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the gendered and gendering nature of the two world wars
2 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the variety of military, civilian and paramilitary roles undertaken by men and women during the two world wars
3 Demonstrate a systematic understanding of representations of military, civilian and paramilitary roles both at the time and subsequently

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Judge between relevant historical arguments (including current historiographic positions) about gender and war, engage in sophisticated historical debate and weigh evidence to change their own position or to persuade others
2 Deploy textual and visual sources confidently and accurately as evidence for historical argument, and to understand how this evidence might challenge or extend existing historical narratives
3 Formulate their own opinions on a variety of historiographical approaches and develop their oral and written communication skills by producing blog posts, source analyses and an essay.


  1. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  2. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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