Undergraduate Courses

We offer a well-established undergraduate second semester 2nd year level course.

This introductory course introduces undergraduate students to the broad discipline of gender studies. Gender as an object of inquiry is integral to this course. This is a term denoting the attributes culturally ascribed to women and men. The resurgence of the women?s movement in the 1960s had important repercussions within higher education institutions. One effect was a searching examination of the ?human sciences? for the impact of male and patriarchal biases on all aspects of intellectual inquiry. One of the important results of this interaction between feminism and academic inquiry has been the focus on gender. By feminism we indicate the critical examination of gender relations from the position of protest against women?s unequal status.

The ?discovery? of gender and its incorporation into social theory has created an important body of knowledge on how we rethink the division between the sexes, and especially the unequal distribution of power between the genders. Of course a study of gender is not simply about describing the differences between genders. It is also an analysis of patriarchy as a system of oppression and offers much thinking for social change. This course therefore considers the political importance of gender.

Historically gender was studied traditionally in ?Women?s Studies? programmes. The Gender Studies Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban) is the oldest programme at a South African university. In the eighties it was known as ?Women?s Studies?. Over the last ten years we have seen a transition from a purely women-centred study of gender towards ?gender studies?. Plainly gender studies means focusing upon men as well as women, masculinity as well as femininity, and sexuality.

This undergraduate course focuses on three interrelated themes that address the broad question of gender:

  • Gender, Culture and Social Consciousness
  • Gender and Violence
  • Gender, Sexuality and Disease

GEST202 H2 - Introduction to Gender Studies


Prerequisite: 96 credits

Aim: The development of an understanding of the critical vocabulary on gender and related issues; An understanding of the instability of the concept of gender; the critical evaluation and presentation of arguments in relation to gender.

Content: Ways of Talking and Thinking about Gender: Introduction to Gender Studies is thematized around gender, culture and social consciousness; gender and violence; and gender, sexuality and disease. These themes are underpinned by case studies focusing on South Africa.

Assessment: Cumulative assessment (3 written assignments; and tutorial submissions: 50 %); 3-hour examination (50 %)

DP Requirement: 100 % attendance at tutorials; submission of tutorial work and 3 written assignments.

Offered on the Howard College Campus only

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