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Gender-Based Violence in Social Context

The term gender-based violence refers to forms of violence that are rooted in gendered power relations such as domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, sexual harassment and homophobic violence. This course introduces students to the study of gender-based violence from a social scientific perspective. We will draw on different disciplines to achieve a better understanding of the social origins of gender-based violence and of the ways in which it interacts with other social phenomena. We will explore how gender-based violence manifests itself in different spheres of social life such as the family, neighborhoods, the criminal justice system, the labormarket, university campuses, the Media and the military, in the US and abroad, and at different historical times. We will also learn about how different institutions such as the state, the women’s movement and the United Nations respond to violence. We will adopt an intersectional perspective, i.e. that we will always keep in mind how different forms of gender-based violence are shaped by inequalities of gender, but also race, ethnicity, immigration status, class and sexuality. We will take up such questions as: What does it mean for violence to be gendered? Where do violence statistics come from? How do race, class and sexuality shape experiences of victimization and perpetration? What is the role of violence stereotypes in shaping racial relations in the US? How do cultural ideas about femininity and masculinity shape violent behavior? How do the Media portray survivors and perpetrators? What is the place of gender-based violence in the human rights discourse?