International relations

Gender and (Global) Politics: Subjects Practices and Institutions

Module code: 002RA
Level 6
30 credits in autumn teaching
Teaching method: Seminar
Assessment modes: Essay, Coursework

Learn a critical way of analysing (global) politics.

Historically, politics has been thought of as a discrete activity taking place in the public sphere, which was the exclusive domain of men. It was assumed that women were incapable of participating in this sphere and less interested in politics than men. These assumptions that perpetuated the relative exclusion of women from political life. This actual and symbolic marginalisation rests on gendered assumptions about what politics is, where it is located, and who 'does' politics. Our gendered assumptions affect not only the real lives of 'women' and 'men' but conceptions of politics and political subjects as such. 

During the module, you examine how an understanding of gender helps us ask critical questions about the spaces, institutions and practices of politics. It introduces you to prominent theories of gender (biological, psychological, social constructivist etc.). It surveys the theorisation of masculinity, and the historical evolution of feminism as critical theory and practice. From such theoretical bases it then examines:

  • the gendered nature of central political institutions, such ast he state and law
  • political practices such as democratic participation, acts of citizenship, acts of protest and resistance, development
  • the gendering of political subjects such as human rights holders, soldiers, and the expendable subjects of neoliberalism.

Module learning outcomes

  • Think critically and apply theoretical insights from gender studies to political practice and social experience
  • Construct and analyse arguments and deploy metholodogies of gender as a category of analysis
  • Critically analyse what counts as 'political'
  • Examine how locations, forms, subjects and institutions of politics are gendered.
  • Improve a) independent thinking about essay topic through research and b) written communication skills through outline and essay-writing