The course aims to introduce – from an anthropological perspective – some of the most relevant issues that have animated the vast interdisciplinary field of Gender Studies over the last thirty years. In particular, it starts from a broad reflection on the notion of gender and its links with other variables (such as sexuality, body, subjectivity and identity, colour and ethnicity), showing how these dimensions are historically produced and socially shaped.
The perspective from which these themes will be framed is that of transnational migrations. More precisely, migration will provide a potentially insightful entry point not only to analyze culturalized views associated to gender/sex/sexuality, but also to highlight restrictions and/or possibilities that people encounter through mobility experiences.
Building on Feminist, Postcolonial and Migration Studies, a first part of the course will be devoted to the presentation of the different theoretical approaches and critical discussions on normalizations of gender, nation, race and belonging, but also on resistance strategies and critical knowledge that these analyses have brought to gender studies.
A second part will then focus on two thematic areas on which students, divided into groups, will have to prepare scheduled collective presentations.
A first thematic area is that of the relationship between gender and sexuality and their relations to specific sociocultural contexts. It aims to critically analyze how mobility experiences influence perceptions, meanings and performances associated to genders and sexualities. In current times, debates on gender roles, gender equality/gap and sexual rights gained ground on several domains (education, politics, workplace, media, etc.). In this part, students will explore the gendered implications embedded in migratory trajectories. Through videos and/or short research experiences with migrants living in the area of Venice, they will analyze the gendered dimensions embedded in migrants’ narratives, actions and representations.
The second thematic area is dedicated to highlighting the interconnections between gender ideologies and relations and media representation. This part focuses on one of the most relevant topic of the contemporary debate on gender, that is on images of gender/gendered images, in order to investigate both the media representation of female bodies and the ones produced by artists and authors that try to inscribe in their work a gender-sensitive perspective. Different examples and case studies will be provided and illustrated, with a particular attention to the subversion of gender stereotypes and the transformation of gendered identities and their media representation: from television to advertisement and social media, up to artistic works and performances.
Learning outcomes of the course
At the end of the course students will acquire a knowledge of the field of studies known as Gender Studies. Students will become familiar with a number of empirical examples and case studies pertaining to the question of how migration experiences are gendered. Furthermore, they will increase their awareness of the connections between gender relations and ideologies on the one hand and media representations on the other.
The course will be structured both on lectures and an active participation of the attending students. Students will be invited to engage in practical activities through, also, the composition of dedicated working groups on specific topics and case-studies. Selected articles and videos, as well as the engagement in non-formal educational activities and research experiences will facilitate these tasks. The outcomes of the work conducted by the groups will be discussed in scheduled collective presentations..
A. group presentation of preliminary results of the projects based on literary review of a selected topic or on a collaborative research project. Students are expected to prepare a power point (or prezi, etc) presentation to be submitted the day before the scheduled presentation.
C. Individual paper (min. 5 pages, max. 8 pages) based on the literary review or the collaborative research project
In-class participation (active discussions of the topics, collaborative work in small groups): 20%
Research activity or comparative literature review of one of the thematic areas of the course (both carried out in small groups): 50%
Final paper based on the research/review: 30%
Week 1A: Introduction to Gender Studies
Shapiro J. (1981), “Anthropology and the Study of Gender”, Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 64 (4): 446–465 (19 pages).
Week 1B: Introduction to Gender Studies
Morris R.C. (1995), “All Made Up: Performance Theory and the New Anthropology of Sex and Gender”, Annual Review of Anthropology, 24 (1): 567-592 (25 pages).
Week 2A: Gender-sensitive Methodologies
Debbagh M. (2012), “Discourse Analysis of the Representations of Women in Moroccan Broadcast News”, The Journal of North African Studies, 17 (4): 653-670 (17 pages).
Week 2B: Gender-sensitive Methodologies
Mai N., King R. (2009), “Love, Sexuality and Migration: Mapping the Issue(s)”, Mobilities, 4 (3), 295–307 (12 pages).
Week 3A: Guest Lecture 1 related to the topic of gender & sexuality
Week 3B: Activities, videos and contents related to the topic of gender and sexuality
Week 4A: Guest Lecture 2 related to the topic of gender & media
Week 4B: Activities, videos and contents related to the topic of gender and media
Week 5A: Gender and Transnational Migration: concepts, frames and contemporary debates
Mahler S.J., Pessar P.R. (2003), “Transnational Migration: Bringing Gender in”, International Migration Review, 37 (3), 812-846 (24 pages).
Week 5B: Gender and Transnational Migration: concepts, frames and contemporary debates
Fiałkowska K. (2019), “By Education I’m Catholic’. The Gender, Religion and Nationality Nexus in the Migration Experience of Polish Men to the UK”, Central and Eastern European Migration Review, 9 (2): 89-107 (18 pages).
Week 6A: Gender on the move: from historical debates and current challenges
Andersen M.L. (2008), “Thinking About Women. A Quarter Century’s View”, Gender & Society, 19 (4): 437-455 (18 pages).
Week 6B: Gender on the move: from historical debates and current challenges
Nader L. (1989), “Orientalism, Occidentalism and the Control of Women”, Cultural Dynamics, 2 (3): 323–355 (22 pages).
Week 7A: Sexuality and Migration
Manalansan M.F. (2006), “Queer Intersections: Sexuality and Gender in Migration Studies”,
International Migration Review, 40 (1), 224-249 (25 pages).
Week 7B: Sexuality and Migration
Peumans W. (2016), “The Moral Breakdown Between Religion and Sexuality in Narratives of Muslim Gays, Bisexuals, and Lesbians in Belgium”, DiGeSt. Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies, 3 (1), 39-56 (17 pages).
Week 8A: Mid-term exam on readings and lectures of the first module
Week 8B: Update on research projects and literature reviews
Week 9A: Gender and Media: between local and global
Mendes K., Carter C. (2008), “Feminist and Gender Media Studies: a Critical Overview”, Sociology Compass, 2 (6): 1701-1718 (17 pages).
Week 9B: Gender and Media: between local and global
Roberti G. (2022), “Female Influencers: Analyzing the Social Media Representation of Female Subjectivity in Italy, Frontiers in Sociology, 7.
Week 10A: Gender, Migration and Work: mapping the issues
Espiritu, Y.L. (2005), "Gender, migration, and work. Filipina health care professionals to the United States", Revue européenne des migrations internationales 21 (1): 55-75 (20 pages).
Week 10B: Gender, Work and Gender Roles: mapping the issues
Keough L. (2006), “Globalizing ‘Postsocialism’: Mobile Mothers and Neoliberalism on the Margins of Europe”, Anthropological Quarterly, 79, 3, pp. 431-461 (30 pages).
Week 11A: Gender and Intersectionality
Week 11B Recap on the main issues on gender studies (for literature review and research projects)
Week 12A: Presentation of preliminary results of research projects
Week 12B: Presentation of preliminary results of research projects
Last updated: July 3, 2023