Feminist Activism, NGOization and the Global Gender Equality Regime: Transnational and Regional Perspectives (2017/18)

Course Description: 

This course focuses on the making of the global gender equality regime and the ways in which it shapes and is shaped by feminist activism in different world regions that are hierarchically positioned vis-à-vis each other. It covers the period starting with the UN International Women's Year in 1975 until the present day. Specifically, it explores NGOization as a key theme in feminist activism in the era of globalization and neoliberalism. The course is divided in two parts. The first part focuses on the historical formation of the global gender equality agenda as led by UN World Conferences on Women (1975 Mexico, 1980 Copenhagen, 1985 Nairobi and 1995 Beijing), the main developments in gender equality and global governance in the late-twentieth century, and feminists' engagement in gender politics within a state-civil society-transnational governance framework. The second part examines the relationship between feminist activism and the processes of NGOization. It offers perspectives from three world regions, namely Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Central and South America. Examples from these regions will provide students with in-depth understanding of how feminist activists negotiate the terms of gender politics by mediating between their local, national and regional contexts and global frameworks.

Learning Outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of the course, students will:

 Have a basic knowledge of the formal mechanisms of and the discourses around the global gender equality regime (from 1975 until the present day) and be able to situate it in a politico-historical context,
 Have an understanding of feminist theoretical and empirical contributions to the debates on activism and NGOization in the context of globalization and neoliberalism,
 Be equipped to analyze and problematize feminists' participation in global processes and their strategic use of the mechanisms of global governance across different world regions,
 Have an understanding of how transnational processes as well as processes of gender, sexuality, class, nation/ethnicity and culture/religion influence the ways in which feminist activists relate to other (state, non-state and global) actors in the complex field of gender politics,
 Have a more in-depth knowledge of a concrete case and have developed their research and analytical skills by writing a source-based essay.


 Attendance and participation 20%
 Review essay 20 %
 Leading a class discussion 20 %
 Term paper 40 %