Foundations in Gender Studies I

Course Description: 

This is an introductory course which is designed to familiarize students with some of the basic concepts and arguments in the broad interdisciplinary field of “gender studies.”  The first part of the course will address the notions of sex and gender in an effort to introduce students to the variety of ways in which, throughout the past decades, thinking about these issues has changed. In the second part of the course we’ll explore several different types of argumentations on the meaning of gender, the woman question and women’s emancipation.  We’ll follow a historical path and review liberal/neo-liberal, socialist/Marxist, radical, post-colonial/post-socialist views, and third-wave feminism. We’ll identify the key trends in each set of arguments and try to follow how they got transformed as they traveled to different locations and through time.

Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, students should:

  • Have a solid grasp of the major theoretical streams that have defined feminist theory and formed the basis of women’s studies and (more recently) gender studies.
  • Historicize and contextualize, and then work with basic concepts like “sex” “gender” “patriarchy” “intersectionality”
  • Gain experience in critically reading primary texts that have been foundational to the development of feminist and gender theory, and sharpen their facilities for critical writing and oral analysis.

As a theory survey course, this class will not be assessed based on research. Your grade will comprise of the following elements:

  • Active participation in class, demonstrating your familiarity with the assigned materials: 20%
    • Midterm consisting of 3-4 questions that ask students to critically review/compare readings to demonstrate level of comprehension and ability to situate a text within broader debates: 30%
    • Final exam consisting of 50% short answer, comprehension questions and 50% one essay-length response to a pre-determined question that would have students seek to synthesize literatures and offer a critical argument/analysis in response: 50%

Both the midterm and final examinations will be administered as ‘take home’ exams. The due dates are non-negotiable. Students will receive the questions 1 week in advance of the due date and must submit their responses in hard copy to myself or the Gender Studies office before 5:00pm on the date it is due.