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WGS160Y1 (1)
Lecture

Introduction to Women & Gender Studies 160Y.doc

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Department
Women and Gender Studies
Course
WGS160Y1
Professor
Peter King
Semester
Fall

Description
INTRODUCTION TO WOMEN AND GENDER STUDIESDAY 1Common misconceptions about the fieldWomens Studies thats not a real fieldIt is an interdiscipline meaning it draws together scholars from a variety of disciplines who have a common interest in understanding how gender shapes peoples lives activities and institutions In turn it offers other disciplines distinct perspectives and methods of creating knowledgeThere are nearly 200 programs offering majors minors and in some cases Masters and PhDs in North America aloneWhy study womenTo address the neglect of women and womens perspectives in traditional academic fields Women have historically had less access to literacy and education than men many institutions of higher learning were closed to them until the twentieth century Hence much knowledge in established fields has been produced by men Even if this knowledge has been couched in universal terms ie about everyone for everyone it has been severely limitedHow has this established knowledge been limited It is androcentric That is it places men at its centre and neglects women who form half of society It adopts an implicitly masculine point of viewWhen women were studied they were seen as oddities Men were seen as the norm and women treated as special casesInadequate concepts were accepted as true because they confirmed the view of women as weak strange or inferior to men Conclusion women were looked at from the outside they were not doing the looking Womens studies aims to correct this problem by emphasizing women as producers of knowledge But isnt womens studies biased thenWomens studies scholars argue that it is traditional knowledge that is limited because it is skewed against womens experience and interests They seek to uncover hidden biases in knowledge that claims to represent humans in general but which largely represents an implicit masculine point of view In other words most traditional scholarship has been mens studies even if it was framed in neutral termsBut how will doing Womens Studies help you professionallySome of the professions where womens studies graduates have a valuable focus and critical edge include law healthcare journalism social work psychology business musicWhy It trains students to be critical thinkers because they look carefully at how knowledge is produced and ask tough questions about what is often taken for granted and search for what is missing and unsaidBut most people see it as a lightweight subject not for students who are really smartMy experience Ive found that womens studies departments draw and produce some of the most curious and intellectually sharp students They are also usually the most motivated to bring about social and political change LECTURE 1Understanding Womens MovementsThe Narrative of three wavesst1 Wave Challenged womens exclusion from public sphereoDemanded womens formal access to voting rights education waged workoMaternalist justifications moral superiorityoBrought their credentials from domestic work to the public sphereoLiberalismUsed in interesting and contradictory waysPhilosophy of fundamental liberty or freedom of individual from tyranny Lockes Second TreatisePromoting individuals rights in public sphereLiberal underpinnings of first wave the individual freedom of women is hampered when they cannot access institutions of learning or are denied the voteYet its focus on greater assimilation also implied commitment to existing institutionsnd2 Wave Not access to institutions in public sphere as much as questioning the publicprivate divide and valorization of public sphere institutionsoconsciousness raising about problems within private sphere based on hierarchies within the household eg reproductive rights violence against women lack of sexual autonomyoRadicalismQuestioning the roots radical comes from Latin word for rootLess interested in assimilation into existing order focus on transforming the roots of the orderSystemic analysis why are women as a group placed a disadvantageRadical Analysis of patriarchyPatriarchysystematic male dominance A system in which power to make decisions regarding the lives of all people is place disproportionately in the hands of menNo singlecause model to explain patriarchy Multiple disciplinary anglesExplanationsoEconomic HistoryRise of agrarian societies womens childbearing capacity had a new role preserving lineage through orderly marriage and inheritance Gerda LernerRise of industrial society household no longer a sit of production of food and clothing amenities Womens roles confined to reproduction NakanoGlennoPsychologyMen fear womens reproductive capacity therefore devise elaborate ways to control it Eg monogamy menstrual taboosNorms of childrearing motherson relationship inculcate emotional detachment and hostility amount men Chodorowrd3 Wave decentering white women eg which women did first wave talk about Exercise Vote in Canada when did white women get the vote Was it the same for aboriginal women Asian immigrant womenoFocus on the social construction of gender identity not assuming women are all the same assumes unchanging timeless essences defining women usually rooted in physiologyLECTURE 2Womens Movements Around the WorldFeminismOur task to differentiate how mediapopular culture represents feminism from the history of movements as seen from the inside
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