Crucial differences in the 21st century
Full course description
This course addresses contemporary configurations of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and class, and the way in which these ‘crucial differences’ function on social, cultural, and subjective levels in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century. Through a critical inquiry into topical cases as well as major texts within contemporary gender and diversity studies, the course traces the multiple ways in which identity and difference, inclusion and exclusion, equality and inequality are produced and reproduced in ongoing flows of negotiation and transformation. From the headscarf debates in France to queer theory, and from critical whiteness studies to the politics of sexual nationalism, the course traces the complex interaction between gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity and class in the contemporary world.
The main objectives of this course are:
- to acquaint students with contemporary configurations of gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity, and class, and the way in which these ‘crucial differences’ structure contemporary cultural texts and images, as well as social and individual identities and institutions;
- to familiarize students with topical debates, themes and theories in contemporary gender and diversity studies;
- to teach students how multiple identities and experiences of difference and inequality interact, by familiarizing them with intersectional approaches to gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity and class;
- to provide students with the analytical skills to examine the dynamics of the production and reproduction of identity and difference, inclusion and exclusion, equality and inequality.
After completion of this course, students are able to:
- demonstrate insight into how contemporary configurations of gender, sexuality, race/ethnicity and other categories of difference structure contemporary cultural discourses and practices, as well as social and individual identities and institutions;
- analyse multiple dynamics of identity and difference, inclusion and exclusion, equality and inequality by applying intersectionality as a critical theory and method;
- identify and take position in topical academic and societal debates within contemporary gender and diversity studies;
- present key insights, motives and approaches in gender and diversity studies to a diverse audience through written and oral modes of communication;
- work in international and intercultural teams, listen to each other and respect differences in a critically self-reflexive way;
- construct and carry out an effective design for an undergraduate research paper within the field of gender and diversity studies.