How representing women can convey a more complex narrative of the Russian Revolution to Year 9

Teaching History article

By Barbara Trapani, published 10th October 2023

Midwives of the revolution

Barbara Trapani was troubled by the oversimplified judgements her students were making about the Russian Revolution. Could the women of the revolution help her students overcome their tendency to focus on success and failure? Trapani revised her enquiry, selecting stories of women who could ‘illuminate’ a longer, more complex history of protest in Russia up to 1917. As part of this process, Trapani considered how her decisions about the design of the enquiry were shaped by her objectives in representing women in her curriculum, and the specific stories she was telling when teaching this topic. Trapani concludes that the ‘midwives of the revolution’ did help her students develop more complex ideas about this period. She ends by reflecting on the role these stories played in achieving this result and considers the costs and benefits of redesigning her enquiry to explicitly focus on women’s history...

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