The Personal is Political: Biography, Gender and Diversity

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    The Personal is Political: Biography, Gender and Diversity

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study

    Multicultural Studies, Women's and Gender Studies

  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    1. Acquiring knowledge of and insight in the field of historical gender and diversity studies;
    2. Acquiring knowledge of and insight in historical research perspectives;
    3. Develop academic research skills;
    4. Develop writing skills;
    5. Develop presentation skills.

    "The personal is political", was a well-known rallying slogan in the late 1970s women's movement. Modern historical research acknowledges the impact and influence of the many dimensions that shape individual lives, including gender, sexuality and sexual preference, ethnicity, race, age, religion and class. This seminar explores how these intersecting dimensions are present and influence the lives and biographies of politically engaged personalities, famous or unknown, by studying the genre of the political biography, autobiography and life writing. The seminar sets out with a short series of lectures by experts in the field, followed by writing and research assignments. Students will work at an individual paper, based in a biographical research project of their own choice; suggestions will be available. The course ends with student's presentations of their findings.

    Seminar (twice weekly), with assignments and several guest lectures .


    • Active participation in class including following up the assignments (10%)
    • Individual presentation of the outline of the individual research paper and how it links to the common reading in class (15%)
    • Final discussion in semi-public seminar (15%)
    • Final paper (4000 words) (60%)
      Each element has to be satisfactory in order to pass the course.

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

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