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Gender intersects with everything. Using examples from popular culture, classical literature, and history, this course will teach you how to analyze religious texts and traditions, class divisions, racial inequality, sexualities and nationalism through a gendered lens.
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About the course Gender and Intersectionality
Understanding how gender intersects with various cultural and social concepts is not only essential to understanding gender studies as a scientific discipline, it is also an important part of moving through and experiencing the world as a human being. Understanding gender and intersectionality can help us understand ourselves and the world and culture we live in. This course offers an excellent starting point for anyone coming to gender studies for the first time, or for those already in the field who wish to brush up on the basics through a more visual experience. The course will offer different resources in the form of literature, articles, images, audio, websites, and visual texts about gender in many different contexts. Specifically using examples from popular culture, classical literature, and history, this course will teach you how to analyze religious texts and traditions, class divisions, racial inequality, sexualities, and nationalism through a gendered lens. The course is adapted from a semester-length undergraduate-level course taught at the University of Iceland.
What you’ll learn
By the end of the course, you will be able to:
- Identify ways gender intersects with religion, class, race, sexuality, nationalism and equality.
- Discuss gender in literature, popular culture, and public discourse.
- Understand how gender is prescribed in literature, music, art, and public discourse.
- See gender itself as a spectrum rather than a monolith. Humanities, Social Sciences
Week 1: Gender and Religion Religion impacts us all. Whether we are believers or non-believers, it is woven into the very fabric of our social, moral, ethical, even political lives. This week we learn about the gendering of the concept of God and religion, and how this shapes our collective identity. We also learn about men and women have been accorded different roles in religious formations throughout history, and how this continues to affect us today.
Week 2: Gender and Class: In this segment we will be looking at feminist movements from around the world, and the ways in which gender concerns intersected with those of class. Of course, we cannot cover all feminist movements everywhere, but we will talk about some of the most influential, and flag important components that you can then trace in other movements that you might know about or learn about later. Do you know the TV series ‘Sex and the City?’
Week 3: Gender and Race This week we learn how race became a gendered social and cultural construct. We learn about its historical impact on our sense of identity, and especially on gender. We will examine the gendered construction of black and white bodies in culture and history, and we will look at the concept of orientalism as well as the social impact of racial profiling on men and women.
Week 4: Gender and Sexuality Do we have to reinvent sexuality? Yes, we do. Because sexuality, like race, is understood and disseminated through socially constructed concepts. In this segment we trace the cultural history of sexuality back to ancient civilisations like India, China, Japan, and Greece. We will show how sexuality came to be regarded as a kind of gendered identity. We will also give you some tools to analyze the gender and sexuality components in popular culture and fairytales.
Week 5: Gender and Nationalism Patriotism is markedly different from nationalism. This week we will discover how our ideas about gender have historically constructed our ideas about nationhood. We will look closer at ideas about racial purity, nostalgia and the so-called ‘culture wars’ from a gendered perspective.
Week 6: Gender and the Idea of Equality It is hard to say ‘gender’ without saying ‘equality.’ But what does equality even mean and what does it, or would it, look like in practice? In the last week of this course, we trace ideas about equality and gender back through history in different cultures and laws.