Gender Studies

The department

Male & FemaleThe University of KwaZulu-Natal's Gender Studies Programme, the first academic department of its kind in South Africa has a rich history. The Programme has seen momentous evolution over the past two decades. It was established in 1988, and then known as Women Studies under the old University of Natal, Durban campus. The History Department of the time hosted the Programme. At one stage the Programme was also associated with a Gender Research Group, which consisted of individuals from the old University of Natal, Durban campus and the old University of Westville. Through this collaboration the merger of the two universities (now known as the University of KwaZulu-Natal) was long heralded.

The Gender Studies Programme is a vibrant interdisciplinary academic program that participates in a wide range of research, teaching and community service activities. We focus on intersectional approaches to the study of gender, race, class, and sexuality within the African continent and beyond

 What is Gender Studies?

Gender Studies is a multi-discipline that incorporates a variety of questions, problems, theories, and methods in the analysis of structures, operations, relations, and representations of gender. Amongst other sources, the discipline draws upon several decades of work which has been informed by women issues studied within the women studies field. The discipline uses diverse methodologies, theories, and knowledge(s) that aim to examine gender within a number of interrelated areas and practical case.

Both men and women are socialized in many oppressive ways. At Gender Studies we seek to unpack and understand this fact. Our approach to the discipline is a focus on gender, subjectivity, sexualities, and related cultural discourses. We pose questions by employing a rich array of more specific topics, including: cultural constructions, health, subjectivity, sexual behaviors, ideologies, policy and regulation, race, class, religion etc.

The team

The Gender Studies Programme has 3 main members, 2 research fellows as well as 5 affiliate members whose expertise in gender studies is enhanced by their specialization in the performance arts, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, political science, and comparative literatures.

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Dr Thenjiwe Magwaza [Head, Gender Studies]
Telephone: +27 (0) 31 260-2915
Fax: (031) 260-1133

Ms Aldonna Murugan [Administrator]
Telephone: +27 (0)31 260-2915
Fax: +27 (031) 260-1133
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