Gendering the Study of Politics: Theory and Practice
Course Code: PUBLG068
Course Tutor: Dr Maki Kimura (Department of Political Science)
Assessment: 1,000 word exercise (30%) + 2,000 word essay (70%)
Credit Value: 15
About this course
The course provides an overview of key topics in politics and gender. In weeks one and two, the history of feminism and main feminism and gender theories (including those on sexuality, intersectionality, masculinity, and subjectivity) are explored. The rest of the first part of the course looks at the impact of gender on ‘political’ activities and the concepts and practices of citizenship. It considers what constitutes ‘political’ activities, whether the gender of our political representatives matters, how we might ensure that political institutions are gender balanced and how to develop gender sensitive public policies. The second part of the course has a more international focus considering: the concept of security, transnational migration; the impact of gender in armed conflict; women, sexuality and human rights; and the importance of gender in international development. We will look at the role of civil society as well as gender ‘policy machinery’, such as specialist government departments and quangos concerned with gender and equality, at both the national and international level in promoting gender equality . Various case studies are used to examine the ways that gender is constructed by and constructs political practices. As women are often the underrepresented sex in a variety of political processes, we will therefore often discuss the issue of women’s equality. However, throughout the course we will seek to focus on ‘gender’ rather than on ‘women’ and explore how various differences such as gender, class, ethnicity, nationality and sexuality intersect to create inequalities. Different materials (newspaper articles, radio programmes, films etc.) will be used in the course to facilitate discussion on current issues in gender and politics. Each class has a lecture followed by a seminar and participation in discussion is required.
By the end of the course the students will:
- be familiar with key concepts, theories and policy questions around gender and politics;
- have a sound understanding of the role of gender in civil society and political participation;
- be able to critically assess the arguments for and against greater gender equality in different political institutions;
- have explored the various mechanisms for developing gender sensitive public policies;
- understand some of the key issues regarding gender in international politics;
- be fully aware of the importance of an intersectional approach to study gender and politics;
- have critically reviewed the literature on gender and politics;
- have studied in depth at least two questions in politics and gender, and be able to communicate these through essays and/or presentations.