Gender, Identity, and Agency in a Globalizing World [C]

Term: Spring 2009

Subject Code: GSOC

Course Number: 5051

Recognizing that the principle of gender equity is still poorly reflected even in societies that live under democratic, accountable governance, this seminar focuses on the intersection of gender and citizenship, especially in postcolonial and postcommunist societies, as they are challenged by both nation and globalization. The center of our examination is women in new or newly consolidated democracies, who at the beginning of this century find themselves caught between local, national, and global pressures. We consider various strategies through which local women (and local 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, is informed by two key categories: identity and agency. We explore the relationships between women and nationalist projects, between nationhood and identity, gender and citizenship, public and private. We look at the relatively recent emergence of globalization, a supraterritorial system of growing interdependence, and consider its gender implications. While examining the role of women in local settings and in global civil society, we discuss the question of the universality of human rights, the principle of gender mainstreaming, and the tensions between feminism, liberalism, cultural relativism, and multiculturalism. Finally, we consider the question of a global civil society, and the prospects for (and implications of) global feminism.

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