This course seeks to examine how people experience gender – what it means to be a man or woman – and sexuality in a variety of historical and cultural contexts. We will explore how gender and sexuality relate to other categories of social identity and differences, such as race and ethnicity, economic and social standing, urban or rural life, etc. One basic goal of the course is to learn how to critically assess media and other popular representations of gender roles and stereotypes. Another is to gain a greater sense of the diversity of human social practices and beliefs around the world.
The first part is devoted to the historical development of the social meaning of gender and sexuality and how it differs from natural – or essentialist – explanations. We will further examine the political critique of inequalities as articulated by social movements, like feminists and gays, and assess how it has contributed to the emergence of gender and sexuality studies. On the basis of classic and contemporary texts, it introduces participants to the main concepts, theories and debates in an interdisciplinary perspective.
This introductory course is based on the idea that all the participants, can benefit from insights into the social construction of gender, sex and sexuality. Through lectures, varied readings, assignments and active forum discussion participation the participants will:
- Become acquainted with the key concepts in the field of gender and sexuality and the political and philosophical traditions that have inspired them.
- Be introduced to central theories in gender- and sexuality studies such as constructions of masculinity and femininity, the difference between sex and gender, and gender performance.
- Be encouraged to develop their own opinion about the emancipation and citizenship rights of women and sexual minorities in current and historical public and academic discourse.
- Be stimulated to reflect critically on political debates about salient and sensitive topics in the field of gender and sexuality (e.g. multiculturalism, the “pornofication” of society, Islamic feminism, Muslims, gays and nationalism, the division of labour between the sexes).
- Become aware that gender and sexuality are intertwined and interact with other identity markers such as ethnicity, religion, age and nationality.
At the end of this course participants will be able to critically assess media and other popular representations of gender roles and stereotypes, as well as gain a greater sense of the diversity of human social practices and beliefs around the world.
The course requirements are that you attend every session and do the readings. You should be able to offer some insights on all the required readings in the course of the class discussion, but you will not be graded on your participation. You are also required to write assignments at the end of each module during the course of the training. These can be on either required or supplementary readings. You choose. These will be graded. Your assignments will count for 70% of your grade.
You are also required to write assignments at the end of each module. The number of assignment varies depending on the content of the module.
It may take the form of a course discussion, a case study, or a research note (e.g., analysis of secondary data). The topic for discussion will always be given where this is required. We will accept incompletes up until March 25, 2011, without penalty. We will not accept assignments after that date and will assign a failing grade for the assignment. Participants may take the course pass/fail, but must do all the assignments and receive an overall grade of “B” or better to receive a passing grade.
Type of Exam
This is for Grading Participants Performance: Critical review essays (30%).
At the end of the course all participants will receive a Certificate of Participation. Those that were unable to complete the course will join another session of the course later in the year.