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Introduction to Gender Studies




Admission Requirements



In this course, we will consider gender as an analytical category, investigating different conceptualizations of gender, in relation to sex, in intersection with other categories such as ethnicity and sexuality, and with regards to power, normativities, and inequalities. How can we understand gender? In what ways does gender play a role in our everyday life and in our societies? In the course students will read ‘classical’ texts about gender as well as the most recently published gender research. We will consider what it means to analyze different topics which are central to various disciplines, such as media, work, the body, and politics from a gender perspective. Throughout the course, we will be moving from ‘gendering’ structures and discourses, to ‘gendering’ institutions, and finally, to ‘gendering’ practices in different geographical contexts. Finally, the course will address the ways in which gender hierarchies and injustices have been challenged and resisted, both from a historical and from a contemporary perspective.

The course will be reading-intensive, providing access to a wide scope of topics through different articles and book chapters. In the seminar sessions, in addition to discussing the texts, we will be applying the theories we read to contemporary materials, such as cartoons, (oral history) films, newspaper articles, images etc. which are brought in by the lecturer as well as by the students. The readings, classroom discussions and materials, as well as the excursion to Atria, Institute for Gender Equality and Women’s History, will provide inspiration and a supportive framework for the final essay.

Course Objectives

Learning Outcomes of the Course:

  • Students will be familiar with different theories and conceptualizations of gender as well as with its intersections with other categories, such as ethnicity and sexuality

  • Students will have been introduced to the ways in which gender functions in a variety of different contexts and settings

  • Students will have learnt to apply a gender analysis at a macro, meso and micro level

  • Students will be acquainted with classical and contemporary theories and studies of gender

  • Students’ oral presentation skills as well as team work skills will be enhanced

  • Students will have practiced writing a well-argued analytical essay

Mode of Instruction

This course will be conducted as a seminar, with two 2- hour sessions per week, running from week 2-7. In addition, two additional sessions will be organized in replacement of the sessions that would normally take place in week 1. One of these replacement sessions will be an excursion (probably on a Wednesday) to Atria, Institute on Gender Equality and Women’s History where students are encouraged to conduct independent research.

In each session we will be discussing key readings. In week 4-6, when we address gender in relation to a field of interest, each seminar discussion will be complemented by a group presentation, in which students take the lead in guiding their fellow students through the topic of the session.

The lecturer will provide reading guidelines as well as contextualizing the readings. Students are expected to participate actively in classroom discussions and to bring in materials relating to the topics addressed.


Assessment: In-class participation
Percentage: 10%
Deadline: Ongoing Weeks 2 – 7

Assessment: Feedback paper (500-1000 words)
Percentage: 20%
Deadline: Once per block; for a session of your choice in weeks 4-6

Assessment: Class Group presentation (approx. 15 minutes)
Percentage: 30%
Deadline: Once per block; each student is in a group dedicated to a session in weeks 4-6

Assessment: Final analytical essay (2500-3000 words)
Percentage: 40%
Deadline: Week 8

In-class participation: Every student in this course is expected to read the compulsory literature for each session as well as to engage actively in the seminar discussions. You are not expected to always ‘know the answers’, but rather to think about the reading and to indicate what you find interesting, difficult to understand, (dis)agree with etc. Participation will be used to round off your grade.

Feedback paper: You are asked to write one feedback paper for one session of your choice within week 4, 5 and 6. The only condition is that it is NOT for the same the session for which you prepare a group presentation already. The submission deadline of the feedback paper is the start of the session about which you write the paper.

Class Group presentation: At the start of the course, students will be divided in groups with each group being responsible for the group presentation of one session in week 4, 5 or 6. The presentation is approx. 15 minutes.

Final analytical essay: The deadline for the final analytical essay is Friday the 18th of October at 23:59. Please submit your essay on Blackboard. The essay should be between 2500-3000 words and should answer one of the four designated essay questions.


Course readings will be made available via Blackboard.

Contact Information

Weekly Overview

Please note that there will be no sessions in week 1. The course commences in week 2, on Monday the 2nd of September at 17:00. Two additional sessions will be scheduled to compensate for the sessions that would normally occur in week 1.

Week 2 What is Gender?

  • Gender/Sex

  • Gender and Power

Week 3 Theorizing Gender

  • Gender Performativity

  • Gender and Intersectionality

Week 4 Discourses/Structures

  • Gender and Science

  • Gender and (Media) Representation

Week 5 Institutions

  • Gender and Politics

  • Gender and Work

Week 6 Practices

  • Gender and the Body

  • Gender and Relationships

Week 7 The F-word

  • Gender and Social Change

  • Gender and Activism

Week 8 Reading Week

Preparation for first session

There will be compulsory reading for the first session on Monday the 2nd of September (week 2). Enrolled students will receive the reading by email from the instructor at the beginning of week 1 of block 1.