Examines the experiences of women around the globe from a variety of disciplinary perspectives; world systems theory, feminist sociology and anthropology. Examines women's lives with respect to various institutions: politics, the family, education, as well as at the micro-level in the home, in day-to-day interacting and in relationships.
In this class, we will learn how feminist anthropology, in its quest to understand women’s lives, has reworked and redefined anthropological theory. Given this framework, we will investigate the nature of gender stratification cross-culturally and seek to understand how the wider social, economic, cultural, political and environmental context in which women and men live shape gender roles. Women living in the developing world will be emphasized.
Following a brief history of androcentrism in anthropology, we turn to a discussion of how anthropology attempted to “throw women into the pot and stir.” We then move to more contemporary studies of women’s work, women’s lives and women’s relationship with the state. This course is comparative in nature. Throughout this course, we will question the construction of knowledge by “others” and deconstruct the definition of a “feminist movement” as a white, western bourgeois cause.
Student learning goals
Students will be exposed to wide variety of texts written by, for and about women from around the globe.
Students will facilitate a class discussion on their chosen topic, including soliciting responses to the reading and student insight.
Students are required to conduct cross-cultural research on a topic of their choice, including the life experiences of women from two regions.
Students will collaborate on a research project in preparation for a group presentation.
Students will understand the interdisciplinary nature of gender studies.
Students will have a better grasp of scholars critical thought around a multitude of topics relating to women's lives.
General method of instruction
Lectures, films, as well as an interactive seminar style, including student discussion, presentation and projects.
Introduction to Sociology and/or Women's Studies courses are recommended but not required.
Class assignments and grading
Classroom participation, in-class writing assignments, a journal submission for each day's required reading, a 10 page research paper, a final exam, and a student presentation are the assignments and evaluative tools used in this course.