Document Type

Undergraduate Syllabus


Spring 2022



Course Number

DIPL 3370 WB

Course Description

That gender should have a central place in international relations is finally beginning to take hold in the discipline. Most, if not all. introductory IR classes spend some time looking at how a study of states and the political and economic power they wield is incomplete without a consideration of how notions of femininity and masculinity also shape international relations. However, while IR scholars share concerns around male dominance in IR, feminism is not a monolithic concept and there is a diversity of both feminist approaches as well as topics studied. Moreover, intersectionality tells us that it is important to not only consider gender, but also race, class and other "isms" that shape our realities.

To that end, this course aims to provide students with an introduction to feminist epistemologies and methods, as well as to how postcolonial and indigenous theories intersect with feminism. Students will not only learn about the many different ways of thinking and theorizing about gender in international relations, but also explore the ways in which race and gender intersect with Eurocentrism, and the implications of this on world politics. Central to the course then is the central proposition that we cannot, and should not, think about gender in isolation but rather must consider the ways in which it intersects with other structures of power and identity in world politics. In the words of Cynthia Eschle, "Failing to do so, as Black. Third World and postcolonial feminists have long claimed, means not only that the complexities of lived experience among groups of women and men worldwide will be ignored but also that racialized, colonial hierarchies between North and South and between whites and people of color, will be actively reproduced in feminist analysis and activism."

In the first part of the course, we will examine what is meant by gender-sensitive and feminist research in 1R. Students will be introduced to a broad range of feminist theoretical frameworks that help us think about how gender matters in IR. These include black feminist thought, so called "first" and "third" world feminism, and transnational feminism among others. We will explore how the different variants of feminist thought influence critiques of international relations.

In the second half of the course, students will focus on the substantive issue of gender and development and use this issue as a prism to actually engage with and apply the theories that we have examined in the first half of the class. Students will learn about the theories and concepts that underpin a gendered analysis of development, as well as how using a lens that acknowledges both race and culture can influence both the thinking and practice of development , This second half of the course will also be practice oriented, and students will learn tools to enable them to conduct gender analysis.