WGS 393 • Gender and Development
7:00 PM-10:00 PM
The course is devoted to the study of gender and development from a comparative perspective. Attention is paid to patterns of gender inequality, state policies relevant to gender, and women's movements in different countries. Although our discussions draw on the literature in the West for the purpose of comparison, the emphasis is on gender in the context of social organization, culture and politics in societies in the rest of the world. The topics we explore include the legacy of colonialism on gender debates, the effect of globalization on women's roles, the place of gender in the redefinition of citizenship and civil society, and the interaction between local/national movements and the international discourse of women's rights. Students may choose to focus their own work in the seminar on a given country or on intra-region and international comparisons. The field of inquiry of Gender and Development is located at the intersection of development studies and gender studies, both of which can be understood in many different ways. The concept of development in particular has been used to mean processes ranging from long term macrostructural trajectories to micro level community programs in developing countries. This semester, the theoretical focus is on the intersection between broad sociological processes and gender issues, especially between political processes and gender, and the geographic focus is on the Middle East and Latin America. A major theme of the seminar is that development cannot be understood in economic terms only or even primarily and that the cultural and the political must be included in the concept. In the course of discussing substantive issues addressed in each reading, we will consider the methodology used by different authors and compare the advantages and limitations of comparative-historical research, surveys, interviews, participant observation, and other methods in the study of development and gender.