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Introduction to Gender Studies




Admission requirements


Course description

  • What is the difference between sex and gender?

  • How have gender stereotypes shaped discourse and our societies?

  • What have been the chief aims of gender scholars and activists?

  • What has been the trajectory of feminist, queer & transgender theories?

  • How have LGBT themes/concerns been represented in literature and films?

These are the questions that will be explored in this introductory course on Gender Studies. The course is conceived to introduce students to the main concepts, theories and approaches of gender analysis and – drawing from the varied fields of biology, sociology, philosophy, psychoanalysis, and gender theory, as well as literature and films – give them a comprehensive overview of the historical evolution of the subject of ‘gender’.

Starting with the facts of biology about the sexes and the insights of sociology as to how we view and take care of our ‘selves’, we will proceed to explore the relationship between gender and power and acquaint ourselves with two centuries of Feminist concerns – from Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication to Judith Butler’s ground-breaking theory of gender performativity. We would then study Freud and Foucault’s influence on Gay Theory, and investigate how homophobia has been challenged and yet persists over a century – from the time of Oscar Wilde to that of Stephen Fry. We will end by critiquing three films (two Hollywood & one Indian) in the last decade that deal with LGBT themes.

Given that every aspect of our lives is informed by gender – from how we dress and carry ourselves to how we prioritize our careers and what role we play as parents – it is hoped that this course will enable students not only to earn 5 ECTS, but also to think more deeply about themselves and others and continue engaging intellectually with gender issues.

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of the course, students will have:

  • an awareness of the ways in which gender has historically determined one’s position in society

  • familiarity with the different debates and developments in the study of gender

  • an understanding of how prevailing gender discourses inform artistic production

  • enhanced critical reading skills with respect to both literature and theory

  • enhanced oral presentation skills

  • the ability to write a well-argued analytical essay