Ośrodek Naukowo-Badawczy Problematyki Kobiet
Uniwersytet Łódzki
90-131 Łódź, ul. Lindleya 5a
tel. (42) 635 42 58, (42) 635 42 54
gender@uni.lodz.pl

     
 

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 Studia II Stopnia
 Międzynarodowe
 Gender Studies
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ZAJĘCIA PROWADZONE W RAMACH INTERNATIONAL GENDER STUDIES
(w języku angielskim)

FEMINIST HISTORIOGRAPHY
Not many people realize that feminist ideology is a complicated and diverse system of philosophical, psychological and sociological associations that influence the way we see the world, read literature, and follow gender roles in everyday life. Accordingly, the aim of the course is to familiarize the students with feminist traditions and discuss the issues that are central to feminist theory. During the course you will read feminist literature from different periods of feminist movement (the first, second and third waves’ classical texts), as well as from different parts of the world. Also history will be reviewed from the perspective of women stressing their roles and presence in politics, economy, labor and literature, and to show their contribution to world’s culture. This re-examination will be conducted in terms of: definition of the nature of women and their “proper roles” in society; the actual condition of women and the social and economic functions they performed; feminist response to the intellectual, socio-economic and political problems of women in particular historical periods.
Moreover, we will look at major stereotypes and myths about women and study the collective and individual female strategies to struggle with them. The historical, political and sociological roots of liberal, radical, Marxist, postmodern, cultural and ecological feminisms will be discussed and analyzed.
 
FEMINIST METHODOLOGIES: INTERDISCIPLINARY METHODS IN WOMEN’S STUDIES
The term “feminist epistemology”, as obviously related to methodological issues, marks the uneasy alliance of feminism and philosophy. The term has been used variously to refer to women’s “ways of knowing”, “women’s experience” or “women’s know-ledge”. That is why epistemology is very closely connected to the issue of methodologies used within the field of interdisciplinary gender studies.
The course is designed as an overview of different methodologies used within the field of women’s/gender studies. It focuses also on the issues of knowledge and aims at discussing the most important methodological questions: how we know things? how truth is determined? can we talk about any universal truths? – to name just a few. Feminists increasingly came to feel that existing social theory and research inevitably marginalized women’s ways of understanding the world plus the postcolonial debate made explicit the exclusion of minority voices in science, history, and arts. That is why the course explores also the issues of epistemology (or rather epistemologies) from the perspective of both feminist and postcolonial thinkers.
The aim of the course is to familiarize students with different feminist approaches to the problems that have vexed traditional methodology and epistemology. We will discuss the issues of the nature of knowledge, objectivity, explanation, and understanding as well as feminist ways of making knowledge and doing research. The course aims at supplying the students with the most basic and important methodological and theoretical tools to make an analysis within the field of gender studies.
 
FEMINIST PHILOSOPHY AND LITERATURE
This course aims at introducing students to 1) the concept and content of feminist philosophy and 2) diversity and richness of feminist literature. The main goal of this course is to get students acquainted with the specificity of feminist philosophical thought as developed within feminist tradition. The course addresses the uniqueness of the feminist philosophical concepts and approaches by focusing on feminist critique and appropriation of traditional western philosophy.  The focus put on the feminist literary history and literary production aims at presenting the particularities of feminist writing, but also the ways feminist philosophy gets internalized and generated through the feminist writing practices.
 
FEMINIST THEORY: BETWEEN DIFFERENCE AND DIVERSITY
This course presents different schools of feminist theory about subjectivity and epistemology. The leitmotif is the idea of postmodernism, which is defined as the historical and theoretical moment of questioning established notions of subjectivity and knowledge. The course concentrates on the ideas of ‘difference’ and ‘diversity’ and it explores different feminist traditions of discussing them. These range from post-structuralist notions of ‘sexual difference’ to American theories of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic diversity.
 
GENDER AND ACADEMIC AND CREATIVE WRITING
This course focuses on concepts of writing and creativity. It begins with addressing issues of language and representation characteristic for mainstream scholarship, then highlights feminist reflections on language, presents various styles, methods and practices of writing adopted by feminist academic (critical) and creative (poetic, literary) writers, and ends up by complexifying definitions/notions of language, writing, and creativity. Furthermore, this course aims at problematizing the conventional demarcation line drew between academic and creative writing. It also seeks to support students to reflect upon their styles and methods of writing and consider what creativity ‘is’/’does’ when it comes to their own writing practices.
 
GENDER AND WELFARE STATE: INTERNATIONAL PERSPETIVE
The aim of this course is to provide understanding of the rise and restructuring of the welfare state in post-industrial democracies and the ways in which these have shaped the gender order, as well as the impact of globalization and migration in recent years. The course also investigates transformations from a strong breadwinner state to a more equal gender regime. The course will acquaint students with the main political theories of the welfare state regime and review feminist critiques of mainstream definitions of the welfare state. Additionally, we will identify and investigate variations between different welfare states ideologies and contexts. We will critically assess the role of the welfare state vis-à-vis social inequalities in a global economy and attempt to reconsider its relation such issues as wellbeing, citizenship, defamilization, urban dwelling, disability as well as bio- and necropolitics.
 
GENDER REPRESENTATIONS IN ADVERTISING
The aim of the course is to provide theoretical as well as practical tools to critically approach advertisements. In the era of consumerism and influential marketing strategies the issues of persuasion, symbolism, commodification, stereotype, myth and ideology are essential to create the ability of perception awareness. The course introduces elements of semiotic analysis as well as explores the links between advertising and audiences. It also aims at defining the place of advertising in contemporary society.
Contemporary advertisements, as well as those created throughout the 20th century, comprise a rich source of different visual representations of women and men. The study of the process of image-creation, supported by elements of semiotic analysis, leads to the conclusion that dominant models of femininity and masculinity are socially and culturally constructed. The advertising industry leaves little space for representing the full scope of diversity of modern society. In this context it is worth emphasizing that ethnic and gender representations are strongly linked to social arrangements and the power structure, therefore an in-depth analysis of visual sources enables to explore the links between gender roles and advertising.
 
HUMAN RIGHTS AND GENDER
This course aims at introducing the students to the complex issue of human rights in contemporary world, however, the emphasis is put first of all on the perception of human rights in different religious and cultural contexts as well as on gender aspects of human rights protection. Thus, its focus is on western and non-western approaches to human rights. It also presents the international legal framework for women's human rights with emphasis on basic principles such as equality, non-discrimination, freedom, integrity and dignity embedded in various international agreements and conventions, such as the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). The intersections of different, sometimes self-excluding, principles of human rights will be examined: gender equality, freedom of religion and protection of particular cultural traditions and customs.
The course is recommended to students interested in international relations and contemporary international politics as well as in studies on human rights violation in the context of immigration and gender discrimination.
 
INTERSECTIONS OD GENDER, RACE, CLASS VS. THE PROCESSES OF GLOBALIZATION
The course focuses around issues of politics of difference and identity in a globalized era with a special emphasis on race, class, and gender dimensions. The students will be asked to read about and elaborate on the perception of these categories in different countries and cultures in reference to various religious, ethnic and national traditions. Throughout the semester the mutual interdependencies between global and local understanding of “difference” and “otherness” will be examined as well as their influences on national and cultural identities. Has globalization a potential to question discrimination of marginalized, peripheral or “subaltern” – as Spivak calls them – groups? What is the importance of class relations in different cultures? What is the role of the United States in promoting globalization; are we witnessing American cultural imperialism? Has the American understanding and interpretation of other cultures been imposed in different countries? How is race, class, and gender diversity depicted in different cultures? And, finally, what are the means of resistance and postcolonial voices, which stand in opposition to the dominant image? These are only a few questions that will be examined in class. The aspects addressed above will be illustrated and commented with various literary and media texts which enables to understand the media’s crucial role in creating and spreading meanings as well as its potential to question the dominant perception of the “Other” in a globalized era.
 
INTRODUCTION TO FEMINIST POSTMODERN VISUAL CULTURE
Vision and visibility are not simple processes or acts. Therefore, both vision and visual culture belong to the most celebrated yet simultaneously hotly debated technologies of self and sources of knowledge. The different practices of seeing, looking, and being looked at organize and restrain the processes of subjectification. Certainly looking contributes to the ways in which the hierarchy of gender is fabricated and maintained within the phallocentric order, i.e. a system which is built on the principle of one sex and its negative (man and no-man). Feminist (and other so-called minority) theories and practices have for decades focused on the power of vision in constructing the social and the privileging of the (male) gaze in meaning and knowledge production. The revolution across much of the social sciences and humanities, translated into what is commonly known as the ”linguistic turn,” has obviously led to the increased interest in social relations as signifying practices. It is often argued that in the field of visual culture there is no way back to the pre-semiotic or pre-discursive analysis. Consequently, there is no pre-linguistic, or rather pre-representational, realm separated from the signifying system wherein meanings are produced. Of course, one form of feminist work on the image is the critique of representation and deconstruction of its existing regimes with reference to gender and sexual difference, always in complex, asymmetrical relation to class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, etc.
The aim of the course is to provide theoretical and methodological support and examples of possible analyses for students interested in the field of feminist visual culture or, more generally, women’s studies, gender studies, visual studies, art studies, and science studies. It presents and comments on feminist theories and methodologies, which were influential for the field of visual culture and encourages participants to critically think about the visual. The purpose is to familiarize students with the existing modes of feminist reading of visual culture as well as focus on new and critical renditions of the field.
 
LA FRONTERA AND THE NEW MESTIZA CONSCIOUSNESS: RACE, ETHNICITY AND GENDER AT THE US–MEXICAN BORDER
During this course students will discuss basic concepts and themes of Chicano/a Studies and explain historical, socio-political and cultural situation of Chicanas in the present-day U.S. The following subjects will be covered: Border Theory, the life of Mexican-American women in the Borderlands, issues of multiple identities, displacement and homeplace, redefinition of Mexican-American gender mythology (La Llorona, La Malinche and La Virgen de Guadalupe), means of oppression and racism, violence against women at the Border, the role of cultural activities for the formation of Chicanas’ identity. Readings will include Gloria Anzaldua’s La Frontera as a primary source and some short excerpts from the writings of other contemporary Chicana authors such as Sandra Cisneros, Ana Castillo, Norma Cantu or Cherie Moraga. The course is recommended for students interested in Latinos/as in the US, Latin America and Gender Studies.
 
MEN AND MASCULINITIES
The course offers an introduction into the field of critical studies of men and masculinities. Bringing together divergent scholarship from gender studies, anthropology, sociology, women’s studies but also philosophy, psychoanalysis and visual studies, we investigate the complexity of men and masculinity in everyday life. The course offers a critical overview of the theories and practices men produce or engage with in various cultural contexts. It particularly looks into the interactions of bodies, gender, sexualities, and politics in the globalization era. Recognizing social historical construction of men, the course provides a heightened sensitivity to gender issues and a better understanding of yourselves and/or the men in your life. Topics covered include men’s bodies, subjectivity, male bonding, men and families, labor and marketplace, sports, politics, emotions, intimacy, sexualities, homophobia, aggression and violence.
 
THE BODY IN FEMINIST THEORY AND PRACTISE
The main aim of the course is to situate the body within a larger field of Western thought and to consider the relationship between feminism and the body. Students get familiarized with major feminist epistemologies of the body and methodologies utilized within feminist research on the body. In  reviewing  the corporeal question with regard to ‘sex’, ‘gender’, and ‘sexuality’, we develop a critical understanding the role of the body as a psycho-social indicator. Additionally, the course aims to                 decipher various entanglements (for instance, philosophical, historical, social, symbolic, etc.) of bodies and powers and investigates the relation between ideology and corporeality. We will  identify and explore consequences of the negative status of the body in Western culture (e.g. anorexia, prostitution, pornography) and analyze and critique issues of body images and representations in the mediatized and technologized culture. The course encourages and promotes experimental and creative approaches in both theory and practice of learning, which is to help students not only critical capabilities but also affirmative strategies and techniques to the question of sensibility.
 
WAR AND IMPERIALISM: FEMINIST AND POSTCOLONIAL PERSPECTIVES ON NATIONALISM
The objective of the course is to develop student’s critical thinking skills in studying historical and cultural contexts for the current examples of violence, war and conflict. Moreover, the course aims at enabling students to find meaningful connections between culture and politics (in historical contexts) and critically examine the intersections of gender, class, race, sexuality and nationalism in the political discourse on violence, war and imperialism. We will also try to critically examine the dominant representations and deconstruct prevailing stereotypes and clichés of Western culture.
The course is designed to present different approaches to study war, conflict, imperialism and nationalism from postcolonial and feminist perspectives. During the class we will discuss ideological and political configurations of war, state violence and involvement in conflicts from the perspectives of both cultural and political studies. The different intersections of nationality, race, sexuality and gender will be analyzed in the context of the representations of the military in the media, the role of gender in cultural and ideological constructions of nationalism, violence and politics.
 
WOMEN’S MOVEMENTS WORLDWIDE
What is feminism? What are women’s movements? Are these terms synonyms? Is feminism only a Western phenomenon, or is it international? These are the initial questions of the course that we will try to answer by focusing on important moments and texts in the women’s history throughout time and space. Feminism has its past, present and future. Moreover, since the 1960s it no longer is a homogeneous phenomenon, but instead we can talk about different feminisms or women’s movements worldwide. Accordingly, the course will deal with the development of feminist ideology in different parts of the world and in different cultures. We will concentrate on issues that join women’s movements at the same time paying attention to cultural and regional diversity, thus examining contemporary situation of women throughout the world. A variety of artistic expressions and writings will be discussed: historical documents, essays, fragments of memoirs, paintings, short stories and poems.

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