Publication Date



women, gender studies, feminism


In her influential History Matters: Patriarchy and the Challenge of Feminism, Judith Bennett asked “Who’s afraid of the distant past?” Fifteen years after this book’s publication, the question remains relevant. Teaching the history of women and gender in the premodern world presents linked pedagogical challenges. Most students enter college with little to no background in premodern history. Many find premodern primary sources, when taught with the same pedagogical scaffolding as modern sources, inaccessible due to real or perceived strangeness. These challenges can be compounded by the challenges of teaching women’s and/or gender history. This roundtable addresses strategies for productive pedagogy — in both curriculum design and student engagement — in areas of history that may be doubly unfamiliar to undergraduates.