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Gender, Politics, and Social Movements: Comparative Perspectives

In this class, we will investigate how gender – as a set of relations, identities and cultural schemas -- shapes politics, including political participation and representation, social policy, and the formation of social movements (e.g., feminist and anti-feminist movements).  We will also investigate how, in turn, political institutions and policies shape gender. Gender is understood as situated in a landscape of complex inequalities, social differences and power differentials related also to race, class, sexuality, religion. We aim to understand gendered politics and policy from both "top down" and "bottom up" perspectives, in the US and other countries. And we will take advantage of the fact that we are in the middle of a Presidential election to examine gendered politics in the contemporary United States. Among the topics we’ll cover are an introduction to theories of gender; the intersection of gender, race and class; the history and present situation of women’s movements; women’s and men’s political representation; social policy and law relevant to work, family, and reproduction; masculinities and political power.