2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Gender and Power in Cross-Cultural Context


Spring 2013 quarter

Toska Olson sociology, gender studies
Fields of Study
anthropology, cultural studies, gender and women's studies, sociology and writing
Preparatory for studies or careers in
humanities and social sciences.

Around the world, people's sex, gender and bodies have been socially constructed in ways that have had profound impacts on power and interpersonal dynamics. This program is a sociological and anthropological exploration of gender, masculinity, femininity and power. We will examine questions such as: How do expectations of masculine and feminine behavior manifest themselves worldwide in social institutions like work, families, schools and the media? How do social theorists explain the current state of gender stratification? How does gender intersect with issues of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and social class identity? One major component of our inquiry will be an investigation of how people move, adorn and utilize their bodies to shape and reflect gender and sexuality. We will examine topics such as prostitution, body modification, standards of beauty and reproduction.

We will study cross-cultural variation in gendered experiences and opportunities within several different social institutions. Lectures, sociological fieldwork exercises, and seminar readings will provide students with common knowledge about gender theory and gendered experiences in the United States and elsewhere. Students' collaborative research presentations will provide the class with information about gender in cultures other than their own.

This program involves extensive student-initiated research and puts a heavy emphasis on public speaking and advanced group work. Students will learn how to conduct cross-cultural library research on gender, and will produce a research paper that represents a culmination of their best college writing and thinking abilities. Students are invited to register for this program if they are excited about working closely in a small group and conducting a large-scale independent research project. Students should be prepared to spend at least 20 hours per week in the library conducting research for these projects.

Credit may be awarded in areas such as sociology of sex, gender, and bodies; cultural studies; anthropology of sex, gender, and bodies; student-originated studies; and collaborative research and presentation.

Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Internship Possibilities
Students have the option of substituting a 4-credit in-program internship for a portion of the class work.  This internship must be at an organization whose work is relevant to gender issues.  Interested students should arrange their internships and draft their in-program internship contract before spring quarter begins.  Contact the faculty for further instructions.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
February 1st, 2013 Students have the possibility of internships with this program; contact the faculty for more information.