Gender, Identity and Agency in a Globalizing World

Term: Spring 2009

Subject Code: GLIB

Course Number: 5229

Recognizing that the principle of gender equity is still poorly reflected even in the societies that live under democratic, accountable governance, the seminar will be focused on the intersection of gender and citizenship, especially in post-colonial and post-communist societies, as they are challenged by nation, democratic transformations and globalization. The center of our examination will be women in new, or newly-consolidated democracies, who at the beginning of this century find themselves caught between local, national, and global pressures. We will consider the various ways in which women (and feminism) respond to these pressures. Our discussion on the capacity to introduce change in the context of movements for social transformation, or in the context of enabling democratic infrastructure, will be informed by two key categories: identity and agency. We will explore the relationships between women and nationalist projects, between nationhood and identity, gender and citizenship, public and private. We will look at the relatively recent emergence of globalization, a supra-territorial system of growing interdependence, and consider its gender implications. While examining the role of women in local settings and in global civil society, we will discuss the question of the universality of human rights, the tensions between feminism & liberalism, and the mechanisms of recognizing and addressing injustice and the crimes of the recent past. Finally, we will consider the question of a global civil society, and the prospects for (and implications of) global feminism.

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