MES 381 • Gender and Development
7:00 PM-10:00 PM
To impede womens participation in the political, social, economic, scientific, artistic, and cultural spheres would be tantamount to impeding social progress and human development&..Nowadays, fortunately, many experts and an increasing number of other people have accepted the belief that real development cannot take place without the active participation and inclusion of women. This acceptance is indeed a great success, and all those who have emphasized the role of women in development and tried hard to move this belief from a theoretical concept to a public debate can rightfully take pride in this success&.To prepare the ground for womens active participation in development, we must remove the conceptual and tangible obstacles. Nobel Peace Prize 2003 Laureate Shirin Ebadi. Note: Prominent scholars in the field will be invited as our guest lecturers. The dates for their visit to the seminar are tentative and the syllabus will be revised to reflect their availability. Course Description: 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 womens 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 womens 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 Gender and Developmentis 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. The research proposal (see below) should specify not only the question to be investigated but also the research method.
The course meets once a week and attendance is required. The course grade is based upon the following: Position Papers/Critiques of Readings 10%, Class Presentations 10%, a take home midterm 30 % and a Research Proposal 50% (topic selected after consultation with the instructor).
Specific sections of the texts are required and serve as a basis for class discussions. Others should help you get started on your research proposal and provide references to those who wish to delve further into particular topics. n Charrad, Mounira M. States and Womens Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco, UC Press, 2001. n Htun, Mala. Sex and The State: Abortion, Divorce, and the Family Under Latin American Dictatorships and Democracies. Cambridge Univ. Press, 2003. n Rodriguez, Victoria . Women in Contemporary Mexican Politics, UT Press, 2003. n Seager, Joni: The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World, Penguin, 2003. n World Bank, Gender and Development in the Middle East and North Africa: Women in the Public Sphere, World Bank Publications, 2004, n Selected articles photocopied and available for purchase as a course packet at Paradigm (24th street)