Course Description

Course Name

Gender Issues within the European Context: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Session: VPGS1124

Status: Closed

Hours & Credits

45 Contact Hours

Prerequisites & Language Level

Taught In English

  • There is no language prerequisite for courses at this language level.


This course will familiarize students with basic, yet fundamental, concepts and theories related to gender as a social construct, to  biological) sex and to relations among/between men and women in the society and culture as seen from interdisciplinary perspectives. Course session will deal with various gender-related issues and will be placed within the European context and compared with cultural specificities of American society. Further, issues of multiculturalism, so-called Third World feminism and/or spirituality and religion will be discussed in the global context, rather than particularly European and/or American one, as these issues pertain to gender regardless of geographical location.
Media will serve as an example for us to see in what ways gender stereotypes are reproduced, innovated and, scarcely, dismantled and/or subverted. Social construction of gender will manifest itself in an analysis of TV genres. Feminist film theories will introduce students to androcentrism in film-making as well as with its limits and ways of transgression. We will focus on so-called subversive reading, which is instrumental in decoding TV and film production for the benefit of 'minority" audience.
A visit of the Queer Film Festival Mezipatra will be an integral part of the course. We will attend a chosen screening and a director of the festival Ale Rumpel will discuss with us. The session on fat studies will discuss power and discriminatory practices within the Western society against disadvantaged social groups; in our case the example will be 'fat" people. Feminist literary criticism will focus on the genealogy of women's writing, constitution of the cannon and feminist and gender analysis of selected literary works. We will discuss the Czech feminist scene on the example of the Czech feminist NGOs. This session will entail a visit to an Gender Studies and a discussion with feminist activists. A guest lecture will be delivered by Tereza Kynlová, specialized on feminist literary criticism and Chicano literature.
Mandatory readings:
-Letherby, Gayle (2003). Feminist Research in Theory and Practice. Buckingham, Philadelphia: Open
University Press. Chapter 1.
-Renzetti, Claire, Daniel Curran (1999). Women, Men, and Society. Allyn & Bacon. Chapters
1, 2.
-Eugenides, Jeffrey. (2002). Middlesex. London: Bloomsbury. Excerpt.
Recommended reading:
-Abbot, Pamela, Claire Wallace (1997). An Introduction to Sociology: Feminist Perspectives.
London, New York: Routledge. Chapter 1.
Gender Socialization and GLBTIA
Mandatory readings:
-West, Candace / Zimmerman Don H., Doing gender, in: Lorber, Judith/ Farrell, Susan A. (eds.), The social construction of gender, Newbury Park, London, New Delhi 1991, pp. 125-147.
-Rich, Adrienne (1983). Compulsory Heterosexuality nad Lesbian Existence. In: Powers of Desire. The Politics of Sexuality. Snitow, Ann, Stansell, Christine, Thompson, Sharon (eds.). New York: Monthly Review Press. pp. 177-206.
Recommended reading:
-Thorne, Barrie (1993). Gender Play: Boys and Girls in School. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.
Femininities and Masculinities
Mandatory readings:
-Allen, Louisa. 2007. Sensitive and Real Macho All at the Same Time: Young Heterosexual
Men and Romance. Men and Masculinities [online], 10 (137). Poslední revize 15. 11. 2011
[cit. 8. 4. 2010]
-Connel, R. W. 1995. Masculinities. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press.
-Badinter, Elisabeth. 1995. XY: On Masculine Identity. Columbia University Press.
Class, Race, Gender and Migration
Movie screening: Dirty Pretty Things
Mandatory readings:
-Hill Collins, Patricia. (1990). Defining Black Feminist Thought. In: Collins, Patricia Hill, Black Feminist
Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge. 19-40.
-Hooks, bell. (2000). Where We Stand: Class Matters. New York, London: Routledge. Chapters, 1, 2, 9.
So-Called "Third World" Feminism, Multiculturalism and Post-colonial Studies
Movie screening: Crossing Over
Mandatory readings:
-Mohanty, Chandra Talpade (1991). Under Western Eyes: Feminist Sholarship and Colonial
Discourses. In: Mohanty, Chandra Talpade, Ann, Russo, Lourdes Torres (Eds.): Third World Women
and the Politics of Feminism. Bloomington, Indianapolis: Bloomington University Press. 51-80.
-Okin, Susan Moller. (1998). Feminism and Multiculturalism: Some Tensions. Ethics, Vol. 108. 661-684.
-Phillips, Anne. (2001). Multuculturalism, Universalism and Claims of Democracy. United
Nations: Programme Paper Number 7.
Recommended reading:
Okin, Susan Moller. (1994). Gender Inequality and Cultural Differences. Political Theory, Vol. 22, No. 1. 5-24.
Feminist Film Theories
Midterm test
Movie screening: Marnie (Hitchcock 1964)
Mandatory readings:
-Mulvey, Laura (1973). Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Screen, Vol. 16, No. 3 (1975),pp. 6-18.
-de Lauretis, Teresa. Aesthetic and Feminist Theory: Rethinking Women's Cinema. New
German Critique, No. 34 (Wint 1985): 154-175.
Recommended reading:
-Holmlund, Chris (1993). Masculinity as Multiple Masquerade. In: Cohan, Steven, Hark, Ina Rae (eds.): Screening the Male. Exploring Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema. London: Routledge. 213-230.
Gender and Media
Mandatory readings:
-Geraghty, Christine (1996). Feminism and Media Consumption. Curran, Morley, Walkerdine (eds.): Cultural Studies and Communications. London: Arnold. pp. 307-322.
-van Zoonen, Liesbet (1994). Feminist Media Studies. London: Sage. Chapters 4 and 7.
Recommended readings:
-Morley, David (1989). Changing Paradigms in Audience Studies. In: Seiter et al. (eds.): Remote Control. London: Routledge. pp. 16-40.
-Featherstone, Mike, Burrows, Roger (1996). Cultures of Technological Embodiment: An Introduction. In: Featherstone, Burrows (eds.): Cyberspace / Cyberbodies / Cyberpunk: Cultures of Technological Embodiment. London: Sage.
TV Soapland: American Soap Operas, British Drama-series and Czech serials
Mandatory readings:
-Brunsdon, C. (1984). Writing about Soap Opera. In: Masterman, L (ed.): Television
Mythologies. London: Comedia. pp. 82-87.
-Ang, I. (1997). Melodramatic Identifications: Television Fiction and Women´s Fantasy.
Oxford University Press. pp. 155-167.
Recommended readings:
-Allen, Robert C. (1985).The Meaning(s) of Soap Opera. In: Allen, Robert C. (ed.): Speaking of
Soap Operas. The University of North Carolina Press. pp. 8-30.
-Fuqua, Joy V. (1995). "There's a Queer in My Soap!" The Homophobia / AIDS Story-line of
One Life to Live. In: Allen, Robert C. (ed.): To Be Continued: Soap Operas Around the World.
London: Routledge. pp. 199-211.
MEZIPATRA Queer Film Festival
A Visit of Mezipatra Queer Film Festival ? movie screening plus a discussion with a director of the
Mezipatra Ale? Rumpel
Czech Feminist Non-governmental Organizations
We will visit Czech NGO called Fórum 50% Promoting Gender Equality in the Czech Republic and
Under-Representation of Women in Czech Politics
Mandatory readings:
-Pavlík, Petr (Ed.) (2008). Shadow Report on Equal Treatment and Equal Opportunities for
Men and Women.
-Renzetti, Claire, Daniel Curran (1999). Women, Men, and Society. Allyn and Bacon. Chapter 9.
Feminist Literary Criticism
Guest lecture: Tereza Kynlova
Mandatory readings:
-Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. The Yellow Wallpaper.
-Debi, Mahasveta. The Breast Giver.
-Robinson, Lillian (1985). Treason Our Text: Feminist Challenges to the Literaty Canon. In: Showalter,
Elaine (Ed.): The New Feminist Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature and Theory. New York:
Pantheon Books. 105-121.
-Kolodny, Annette (1985). Dancing Through the Minefield: Some Observations on the Theory,
Practice, and Politics of a Feminist Literary Criticism. In: Showalter, Elaine (Ed.): The New Feminist
Criticism: Essays on Women, Literature and Theory. New York: Pantheon Books. 144-167.
Recommended reading:
-Gilbert, Sandra, Susan Gubar (2000). The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the
Nineteenth-Century Literary Imagination. New Haven: Yale University Press. Excerpts.
-Treichler, Paula. (1984). Escaping the Sentence: Diagnosis and Discourse in 'The Yellow Wallpaper".
Tulsa Studies in Women's Literature, Vol. 3, No. 1/2. 61-77.
Fat Studies
Final test
Mandatory readings:
-Bordo, Susan (1993). The Body and the Reproduction of Femininity. Unbearable Weight:
Feminism, Western Culture, and the Body. Los Angeles: University of California Press. pp. 165-185.
-Millman, Marcia (1980). Personal or Political: Explaining the Problems of Fat People. Such a
Pretty Face: Being Fat in America. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. pp. 86-97.
Recommended reading:
-Wann, M. (1998). Fat! So?: Because you don't have to apologize for your size! Berkeley: Ten Speed Press.
-Kulick, D. & A. Meneley, eds. (2005). Fat: The anthropology of an obsession. NY: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin.
Course evaluation
1) Active Participation in class (participation in discussions) 20 %
2) The Class Presentation 20 %
3) Midd Test 30 %
3) Final Test 30 %
The grading scale:
100 - 96 % A
95 - 90 % A -
89 - 87 % B +
86 - 83 % B
82 - 80 % B -
79 - 76 % C +
75 - 70 % C
69 - 60 % C -
59 - 0 % F
Class protocol
Students are required to be involved in class activities. They are expected to show their preparation by active participating in the class activities, by asking relevant questions, being critical and analytical with the contents presented in class as well as by sharing their ideas and opinions.
It is expected that students arrive to class on time and that they return promptly to class after any given a class break. (Regularly missed minutes could be counted together and can make an unexcused absence.

*Course content subject to change