HIS2317 – Class Struggle, Gender Trouble, and Everyday Life: 20th-Century Social History

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Course content

Focusing on examples from the US, Britain and Germany, the course offers an introduction to central issues of twentieth-century social history as well as to concepts and methods to study them. It understands social history as the study of social relations, of inclusions, exclusions and identities in the past. The course invites students to think about how changes in markets, politics, technology and culture affected distinctions of class, gender, race and age during the period. Traversing the century chronologically, the seminar first asks how the use of money affected social relations in and around the working class around the turn of the century and then looks at encounters between the sexes and races in early twentieth-century metropolises. It then assesses the effect of mass media on people's self-perceptions and collective orientations, searches for those excluded from mass societies of the 1930s and early 40s, and studies the role of the military in society. In the post-war period, the course turns to the consumer society and its countercultural critics as well as the history of new social movements and the effects of social housing and ‘gentrification’ on urban communities.


Learning outcome

A student who successfully completes this course should be able to:

● give an overview of trends and issues in twentieth-century social history in the West

● understand of historiographical arguments and the ability to discuss them critically

● develop, implement and finish a small historiographical research Project


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Recommended previous knowledge

A background of at least 30 credits in humanities or social sciences is recommended.

A good ability to read, write and understand English is required for this course.


The course consists of a) lectures providing historical background and historiographical interpretations and b) discussion-led meetings where students have the opportunity to debate research literature and work with primary sources. Participants are asked to prepare the texts from the syllabus for discussion.

Qualifying exposé: In order to qualify for the exam, students need to submit an exposé for their proposed term paper of up to 3 standard pages (plus bibliography), complete with a relevant, motivated research question and a bibliography. Guidance on how to write an exposé will be given during the course. The exposé is due about half way through the course.

This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance


The final examination is a term paper which should be approximately ten pages long (2300 characters without spacing and notes) on a relevant topic of students' own choice. (Students who take this course as a 4000-level course are expected to submit a paper of 13 to 15 pages.) The course paper entails independent development of a research question, bibliographic research and independent reading. Guidance on how to approach this task will be given in class. The due date of the paper will be approximately four weeks after the last meeting in class.

The course paper is to be handed in in Inspera. The file must be submitted in .pdf-format and we stress that the student is responsible for making sure that the files are readable. If you need assistance in converting your file into .pdf, we recommend that you follow these instructions. The file must be named with your candidate number (not your name) and the course code (HIS2317).

Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Spring 2020

The course is offered on an irregular basis.


Spring 2020

Teaching language