Brian D. Bunk


The purpose of this course is to explore the participation and depiction of women in warfare from the middle ages to the present. The study focuses on Spain in order to provide a consistent position for examining how the issue of women’s roles in conflict has evolved over time. Many of the topics, however, will have broad European applications. These comparisons will be addressed in conjunction with the particular details of the Spanish case. Throughout the semester we will attempt to come to terms with important questions of methodology. The topics will be concentrated into four themes: Women in Combat, Women in Command, Alternative means of Struggle and Warrior Women in Representation and popular Memory. Within this framework we will discuss the relationship between fighting women and socially constructed notions of femininity, masculinity and sexuality. We will explore the circumstances that propelled women into taking an active role in violent conflict both as common soldiers and as commanders. We will also explore other ideas about conflict and protest that occur outside established civic systems. Questions of how these women challenged and/or conformed to existing gender roles will be stressed. Finally, the course will look at mythological representations of warrior women in addition to the actual participation of women in conflict.



Victoria Lorée Enders and Pamela Beth Radcliff eds, Constructing Spanish Womanhood: Female Identity
in Modern Spain
Richard Kagen, Lucretia’s Dreams

Mary Elizabeth Perry, Gender and Disorder in Early Modern Seville

Mary Nash, Defying Male Civilization: Women in the Spanish Civil War


Catalina de Erauso, The Lieutenant Nun
Dolores Ibarruri, Union of All Spaniards
Federica Montseny, Spanish Anarchism and the Reality in Spain
Lope de Vega, Women Without Men



Week 1:
Monday: Introduction: The Geography and Pre-History of Spain
Wednesday: Studying Women: An Introduction to Methodology
Friday: Gender, Masculinity and Sexuality


Week 2:
Monday: Amazons and Goddesses: Ancient women warriors
Wednesday: Politics and Society in Medieval Spain
Friday: Women in the Middle Ages

Readings: Perry, 3-53

Week 3:
Monday: Queen Urraca and the politics of medieval royalty
Wednesday: Spain during the Reconquest: Crusading women
Friday: Outsider women: Prostitutes and Sexual Rebels

Readings: Perry, 53-117

Week 4:
Monday: Militant Mysticism: Teresa of Avila
Wednesday: Isabel and Ferdinand
Friday: The Queen and the body politic in early modern Spain

Readings: Perry, 118-180

Week 5:
Monday: A Queen Denied? Juana the Mad
Wednesday: Queenship and Society
Friday: Lucretia’s Dreams and the Sexual Politics of the Inquisition

Readings: Kagan, 1-166

Week 6:
Monday: Politics, Gender and Empire in early modern Spain
Wednesday: Masculinity and the Nature of Warfare
Friday: The Lieutenant Nun

Readings: de Erauso, 3-80

Week 7:
Monday: The Culture of Golden Age Spain
Wednesday: The Manly Woman in 17th Century Drama
Friday: Cultural Depictions of Warrior Women

Readings: Lope de Vega, all

Week 8:
Monday: Mid-term Exam
Wednesday: Physical Degeneration of the Body Politic: The Loss of Empire
Friday: Society, Culture and Gender in the 18th.-19th. century

Readings: Sarah L. White, “Liberty, Honor, Order: Gender and Political Discourse in Nineteenth-Century Spain”;
D.J. O’Connor, “Representations of Women Workers: Tobacco Strikers in the 1890s”, in Enders, 227-258,

Week 9:
Monday: Women in the War against Napoleon
Wednesday: Murderesses and Mystics: European images of Spanish women
Friday: A 19th Century Queen: Isabel II

Readings: John Lawrence Tone, “Spanish Women in the Resistance to Napoleon, 1808-1814” in Enders, 259-282

Week 10:
Monday: 20th Century Politics: Continuity and Change
Wednesday: Women in Society 1890-1931
Friday: The Second Republic: The political mobilization of women

Readings: Nash, 1-42; Mary Nash “Un/Contested Identities: Motherhood, Sex Reform and the Modernization of
Gender Identity in Early Twentieth-Century Spain”; Judith Keene “Into the Clear Air of the Plaza: Spanish Women
Achieve the Vote in 1931”in Enders, 19-50, 325-348

Week 11:
Monday: Women in Politics: Margarita Nelkin; Matilda de Torres; Clara Campoamor
Wednesday: Non-traditional Actions: Riots, Protests and Strikes
Friday: The October Revolution of 1934

Readings: Nash, 43-62; Pamela Beth Radcliff “Women’s Politics: Consumer Riots in Twentieth-Century Spain”;
Temma Kaplan “Redressing the Balance: Gendered Acts of Justice around the Mining Community of Río Tinto in
1913” in Enders, 301-324, 283-300

Week 12:
Monday: Aida Lafuente and Revolutionary Memory
Wednesday: Dolores Ibarruri: La Pasionaria
Friday: Federica Montseny, Mujeres Libres, Anarchism and Sexuality

Readings: Ibarruri, all; Montseny, all

Week 13:
Monday: The Spanish Civil War
Wednesday: Female Soldiers for the Republic
Friday: Fighting for the Motherland: The State as Woman

Readings: Nash, 63-140; 177-185

Week 14:
Monday: Women, Catholicism and the Conservative vote
Wednesday: Fascist women: The Sección Femenina
Friday: Women in an Authoritarian Regime

Readings: Victoria Lorée Enders, “Problematic Portraits: The Ambiguous Historical Role of the Sección
Femenina of the Falange”; Gerard Alexander, “Women and Men at the Ballot Box: Voting in Spain’s Two
Democracies”, in Enders, 375-399, 349-374

Week 15:
Monday: Women and Society in the post war period
Wednesday: After Franco
Friday: Conclusions

Readings: Aurora Morcillo Gómez, “Shaping True Catholic Womanhood: Francoist Educational Discourse on
Women”; Clotilde Puertolas, “Masculinity Versus Femininity: The Sanfermines: 1939-1978”; in Enders, 51-70; 95-124