THEORY AND METHOD IN CONTEMPORARY GENDER STUDIES
Nancy Leys Stepan
Fall, 1995
Department of Political Science
CENTRAL EUROPEAN UNIVERSITY


Course Description

The field of gender studies is rich and diverse, full of controversy and active debates over the significant questions and appropriate answers concerning gender differences and inequalities. In recent years, the very categories "woman" and/or "women" as self-evident or unified sources of experience and identity have been questioned, thus raising important issues about interpretation, meaning, and politics.

This course approaches the field of gender studies through a series of selected but interrelated topics. Each week, a problematic theme or set of concerns is introduced; the ways distinctions of gender (the feminine, the masculine) and social and political inequalities are defined, interpreted and discussed are examined; various conceptual frameworks are evaluated; and some of the contributions made by gender studies to current scholarship in the humanities and the social sciences assessed. Wherever possible, specific examples of the new scholarship are incorporated into the syllabus.

Seminar Format, Class Readings, and Requirements

This course is designed as a seminar. Each week a short lecture will introduce the topic and the main questions it raises; the lecture will be followed by discussion. Students are expected to participate actively in discussions (each student will receive a packet of the readings in xeroxed form). Lists of suggested further readings will also be available, and many of them, and other books, are available to you in the CEU Library. The course is designed for anyone curious about contemporary gender studies, and for those who might want to incorporate a gender dimension into their M.A. thesis.

Each student will make at least one short (5 min.) class-room presentation; a 1-page outline of this presentation is due in the office on the Monday before it is due; this will not be graded, but the outline will help you compose your ideas, and you are welcome to discuss it with us in advance. The presentation may become the basis of the Required 10-12 page term paper; or you may select another topic, in consultation with the instructor. See the Notes on Term Papers for guidelines. Final papers due December 12th.


Week 1: Concepts, Definitions, Approaches, Difficulties (October 3)

The sex/gender distinction; the new gender studies; social constructionism in gender studies; problem fields and issues; impact in the disciplines; gender studies east and west.

Maria Kovacs, "Sensitivities Old and New" (publication pending -- do not cite).
Joan W. Scott, "Gender: A Useful Category of Analysis," in Gender and the Politics of History (1988), pp. 28-50.
Joan Kelly, " Did Women Have a Renaissance?," in Women, History and Theory (1984).
Jirina Siklova, "McDonalds, Terminators, Coca Cola Ads and Feminism" and Women and Violence," in Bodies of Bread and Butter: Reconfiguring Women's Lives in the Post-Communist Czech Republic, eds. Susanna Trnka and Laura Busheikin (Prague Gender Studies Centre, 1993), pp. 5-11.
Jirina Smejkalova-Strickland, "Do Czech Women Need Feminism?" (same as above, pp. 13-18).
Laura Busheikin, "Closing Words: Is Sisterhood Really Global?" (same as above, pp. 69-76).
Week 2: Gendered Work and the Public/Private Distinction (October 10)

Separate spheres as social institution and ideology; the public/private distinction and its critics; changing nature of male and female work; gender and power; work and representation.

Pat Mainardi, "The Politics of Housework," in Feminist Frameworks, eds. Alison Jagger and Paula S. Rothenberg (1984), pp.51-56.
Catherine Hall, "Private Persons versus Public Someones: Class, Gender and Politics in England, 1780-1830," in British Feminist Thought, ed. Terry Lovell, pp. 51-67.
Slavenka Drakulic, "On Doing Laundry," in How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed (1991).
Robert Kuttner, "She Minds the Child, He Minds the Dog," (Review of The Second Shift from The New York Times Book Review, June 25, 1989)
Barbara Einhorn, "New for Old? Ideology, the Family and the Nation," in Cinderella Goes to Market (1993), pp.39-73.
Week 3: Gender and Politics (1): The Liberal Tradition and its Critics (October 17)

Gender, women and the demand for rights; liberal feminism and its difficulties; the equality and difference debate in the past and in the present.

Jean Jacques Rousseau, "Sophie," in Emile (1762), pp. 43-49.
Carole Pateman, in The Disorder of Women: Democracy, Feminism and Political Theory (1989), pp. 17-32.
Anne Phillips, "Universal Pretensions in Political Thought," in Destabilizing Theory: Feminist Debates, eds. Michèle Barrett and Anne Phillips (1992), pp. 10-30.
Week 4: Gender and Politics (2): Case Studies (October 24)

Gender and the modern liberal state; the gendering of civil society ; new definitions of the space of the political.

Peggy Watson, " The Rise of Masculinism in Eastern Europe," New Left Review (1993): pp. 71-82.
Melissa Benn, "Women and Democracy: Thoughts on the Last Ten Years," Women: A Cultural Review 4:3 (1993): 233-239.
Shana Penn, "The National Secret," Journal of Women's History (Winter 1994):55-69.
Joni Lovenduski, " The Political Status of European Women"; paper for conference, Women's Participation in Political and Public Life, held by the European Union, Hungary, Nov. 21-22, 1994.
Jane S. Jacquette, "Conclusion : Women's Political Participation and the Prospects for Democracy," in The Women's Movement in Latin America (1994), pp. 131-149.
Mona Harrington, " What Exactly is Wrong with the Liberal State Anyway?" in Gendered States ed. V. Spike Petersen (1992) pp. 65-82.
Week 5: Bodies in Question (October 31)

The body as a locus of sex/gender differences; the social construction of the gendered body; the politics of the gendered body and the natural.

Thomas Laqueur, "Politics and the Biology of the Two Sexes," in Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990), pp. 194-207.
Emily Martin, " Medical Metaphors of Women's Bodies," in The Woman in the Body (1987), pp. 27-53.
Londa Schiebinger, "Why Mammals are called Mammals," in Nature's Body (1994), pp. 65-74.
Nancy Leys Stepan, "Disembodiment and Embodiment: A Racial and Gendered History" (1995) (not for citation).
Week 6: Ethnicity, Race and Gender (November 7)

Martha Minnow, " The Dilemma of Difference," in Making All the Difference (1990), pp. 19-26.
Maria Kovacs, "Ambiguities of Emancipation: Women and the Ethnic Question in Hungary," ( forthcoming in Women's History Review, special issue)
Peggy McIntosh, "White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack," Peace and Freedom July/August 1989: 10-12.
Elizabeth Spelman, "Introduction," in Inessential Woman (1988), pp.1-15.
Week 7: Thinking About Gender and Nationalism ( November 14)

Gender, ethnicity and boundary-making in the formation of nation states; nationalism, the "imagined community" and gender; gender and reproduction in state formation.

Ann Snitow, " The Church Wins, Women Lose" The Nation April 26, 1993.
Katherine Verdery, " From Parent-State to Family Patriarchs: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Eastern Europe," East European Politics and Societies 8:2 (Spring 1994): 225-255.
F. Anthias and Nira Yuval-Davis, "Introduction" to their Woman-State-Nation pp.
Gisela Bock, "Racism and Sexism in Nazi Germany: Motherhood, Compulsory Sterilisation and the State," When Biology Became Destiny: Women in Weimar Germany ed. Renate Bridenthal et. al. (1983), pp. 271-296.
Nancy Leys Stepan, The Hour of Eugenics (1991), pp. 1-20,102-134.

Week 8: Sexualities (November 21)

How to theorize sexuality and sexual difference; the feminist contribution to Foucault and the feminist uses of Foucault; the production of sexual identities; and the regulation and control of sexualities.

Michel Foucault, in The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1, pp. 301-329.
Jeffrey Weeks, "Sexuality and the Historian," and "The Construction of Homosexuality," in Sex, Politics and Society: The Regulation of Sexuality since 1800 (1981), pp. 1-18, 96-121.
Carole Vance, " Social Construction Theory: Problems in the History of Sexuality," in Homosexuality, Which Homosexuality? eds. Anja van Kooten Nierek and Theo van der Heer (1989), pp. 13-34.
Ellen Willis " Feminism, Moralism, and Pornography," in Powers of Desire, ed. Snitow et. al.(983), pp. 460-67.
Josef Skvorecky, " Can There Be Sex Without Rape?" The Prague Post, Dec. 1, 1992 and rejoinder by Laura Busheikin, "Sex and the Czechs," in Gender Bender March/April 1993.
Week 9: Gender and Post Modern Subjects ( November 28)

What happens to the concept of "woman", "women" in the post-modern moment? If they lose their self-evident or unitary meanings as sources of identity and experience, what questions arise about politics, social change and in scholarship?

Ann Snitow, "A Gender Diary," in Conflicts in Feminism, eds. Marianne Hirsch and Evelyn Fox Keller (1990), pp. 9-43.
Susan Bordo, "Feminism, Post modernism, and Gender-Scepticism " in Feminism/Post modernism, ed. Linda J. Nicholson (1990), pp. 133-155.
Week 10: Visual Representation and Gender (December 5)

Why are images so important to gender studies? What new interpretive questions are being raised?

John Berger, Ways of Seeing (1972), pp. 45-64.
Vivian Gornick, " Introduction," in Erving Goffman's Gender Advertisements 1979, pp. vii.- ix.
Susan Bordo, " Reading the Slender Body," in Body/Politics ed. Mary Jacobus et. al.(1990), pp. 83-108.
Exposed eds. Lynne Segal and Mary McIntosh (1992), pp. 280-294.
Week 11: Presentations of Term Papers (December 12).


CRC-Curriculum Resource Center
CEU Budapest, Hungary
Modified: July, 1996

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