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"Gender is a much contested concept, as slippery as it is indispensable, but a site of unease rather than agreement." (David Glover and Cora Kaplan, Genders ix)
Gender Studies are a field of research that has developed out of Women's Studies, Feminist Studies, and Gay and Lesbian Studies in the 1990s. One of its key aims, simply put, is to show why and how gender matters in our day-to-day existence and why a binary gender order is not only limiting but also discriminatory. This course will provide a historical overview of how our perceptions of sex and gender have changed over centuries, and how they have shaped our constructions of identity. We are going to discuss selected seminal texts of gender studies and combine these theoretical approaches with practical examples taken from our every-day lives (e.g., the bathroom issue, the gender pay gap, gendered marketing,...), and from literature and culture (e.g., the gendering of literary genres, the male gaze and the celluloid ceiling, the gender-bending performances of selected popstars,...). In our discussions, we are going to pay particular attention to the issue of intersectionality, i.e. how gender interacts with other identity categories such as race, class, or ability.
A course reader will be made available to you on Moodle at the beginning of the semester. You are expected to prepare a reading/viewing for each session.