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Unit information: Feminisms, Gender and International Relations in 2018/19

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Unit name Feminisms, Gender and International Relations
Unit code POLI30021
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Professor. Weldes
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


This unit will consider the role of feminisms and gender in the study and practice of International Relations (IR) as a (sub-)discipline and of world politics as a global set of practices. Beyond asking ‘where the women are’ in international practice and its theorization, which itself remains an important analytical as well as empirical question, it asks what it means to bring gender into the study of world politics. The unit will examine various concerns raised by diverse feminisms, including the intersections of gender with other structures of privilege/oppression, and the implications of these concerns for both IR and world politics. These concerns will range from the theoretical (such as questions of difference or similarities among women in their experience of world politics and the problem this presents for theorizing women in IR) to the practical (issues such as nationalism, the state, security, the international economy, and human rights) and the empirical.

The aims of this unit are:

  • To examine the implications for International Relations theories and its diverse academic practices of taking feminisms and gender seriously;
  • To illustrate what diverse feminist approaches and the analysis of gender more widely contribute to our understanding of practices of and issues in world politics.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the unit, students will be able to:

#1 critically engage with relevant literatures in relation to gender, feminisms and IR

#2 demonstrate the ability to combine theory and relevant empirical material

#3 develop the ability to make a cogent and theoretically-informed academic argument

#4 develop the ability to craft a doable research question

#5 demonstrate the ability to carry out a self-designed research project that deploys gender as a category of analysis in relation to issues in global politics and International Relations

Teaching details

Three hour seminar per week (to include an informal lecture either at the outset of each seminar or, more likely, at the conclusion of each seminar)

Assessment Details

  • Research proposal and annotated bibliography (formative) #1, 4
  • 3,500 word research paper (100% summative) #1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Reading and References

Enloe, C. (2014) Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of World Politics, 2nd edition. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Butler, Judith (2006 [1999]) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity, New York and London: Routledge.

Connell, R.W. (2005 [1995]) Masculinities, 2nd edition, Cambridge: Polity Press.

Enloe, Cynthia (2005) The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire, Berkeley: University of California Press.

Shepherd, Laura J., ed. (2010) Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations, London and New York: Routledge.

Charlotte Hooper (2001) Manly States: Masculinities, International Relations, and Gender Politics, New