Foundations in Gender Studies I (2018/19)

Course Description: 

This is an introductory course, which is designed to familiarize students with some of the history and variety of conceptualizing and critically rethinking gender in society and culture. The course introduces these “foundations in gender studies” as they developed from the 18th century to the present day. It demonstrates how shared and divergent interests and circumstances contributed to the emergence and development of the interdisciplinary field of “gender studies”. It discusses contributions originating from different places and contexts, critically interrogates the representation of these contributions in various debates within the field, and introduces the global/izing entanglement of the concepts and approaches considered.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Students will learn about some of the basic concepts and arguments which have contributed to the formation and development of the broad interdisciplinary field of “gender studies”; upon completion of the course they will be familiar with basic concepts in the field.
  • Students will gain insight in how historical context, social location/identification, and unequal global development have influenced knowledge production in the field.
  • They will be acquainted with the work of key thinkers, activists and scholars (most of these activists and scholars were women) whose contributions have been influential in shaping the field.
  • By the end of the course students will have read and be able to use some of the basic theories and concepts in gender studies in a nuanced manner; they will be able to carefully evaluate highly diversified contributions to the conceptual debate on gender and (later on) in gender studies, taking into consideration historical and social specifics as well as overarching relevance.
  • In terms of skills, student will learn and practice how to: formulate scholarly arguments; read, understand and critically analyze scholarly texts and other contributions to the debate on gender in culture and society as reviewed in the course; contextualize in time and space original contributions to this debate.

The course grade will be comprised of the following elements (with some % added, which is just for your information, serving as an approximate guideline.) I will take into consideration, among other things, individual learning curves, if appropriate.

  • Active participation in class, which demonstrates familiarity with the material assigned; all students shall engage in depth with the readings assigned for any given (second) unit, and actively contribute to the seminar discussion of these readings – ca. 20%
  • Source-based Essay – ca. 40%; due in Week 10
  • Take-home Exam – ca. 40%; Week 12