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GED2003 Gender Matters: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Society: Home

Course Description

This is an introductory course on gender perspectives and feminist studies. There are four parts of the course. First, the course starts by introducing the distinction between sex and gender and stating why gender matters. By using life-stage analysis, representations from pop culture, and the lived experiences of Chinese people in the eras of Revolution and Reform, this course enables students to intellectually understand that gender roles- femininity and masculinity- are actually in the process of being constructed based on a certain social institutions underpinned by hierarchical power relations. Field observations will be conducted to foster students' sensitivity and capacity to use gender perspectives in examining their everyday lives. Second, the course then turns to issues of sexuality. The sociality of sexuality in various cultures and historical times will be discussed. LGBTQ groups’ situation and voices are to be presented followed by an examination of the arguments that heterosexuality is a socially made hegemony and sexuality is fluid. Part Three introduces students to the three topics related to “Feminism”, namely, transnational and local movements, theories of women’s and other minorities' liberation, as well as Feminism as research methodology and epistemology. In the final phase we will discuss two lived gender/sexuality related cases related to the intersection with other structural forces such as national development, class formation, modernity, personal liberation, and etc.

Recommended Books





Spaces of Their Own: Women's Public Sphere in Transnational China

This book features the work of 12 scholars in anthropology, film and literary studies. This book examines the positioning of women in domestic or public space in Chinese mass media and public discourse, as well as the representational spaces of women who struggles to broadening their spaces in the male-dominant world at the turn from the twentieth century to the twenty-first. The Transnational China comprises mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Chinese communities abroad. Sites of public sphere that are examined include women’s museum, women’s hotline, women’s sports, televisual fantasy, filmmaker’s work, feminist magazine, women’s bookstore, and women’s writing, public meetings and conferences, women’s movement and lesbian activism, etc.

Desiring China: Experiments in Neoliberalism, Sexuality, and Public Culture

This book examines the desiring subjectivity that have developed along with postsocialist transformations, some of which are connected to neoliberalism. Each of the 6 chapters in this book deals with a site where readers can observe the desiring subjectivity in the public culture in China, including a soap opera Yearnings broadcast in the 1990s, a museum established by a Chinese feminist Li Xiaojiang, the gay identities and practices in the transnational space and networks of Beijing, cosmopolitanism among young heterosexual women in China, several court cases in China that have established legal guidelines for proper sexual behavior, consumer rights, etc., and China’s decision to join the World Trade Organization.

The Birth of Chinese Feminism: Essential Texts in Transnational Theory

This is an anthology of translated texts that represent the theory of Early Chinese Feminists. This book mainly examines three important figures, the female feminist He-Yin Zhen-the founding editor of an anarcho-feminist journal Natural Justice, and her male contemporaries Liang Qichao-a prominent Chinese scholar, journalist, philosopher, and reformist, as well as Jin Tianhe-a liberal educator and political activist. Biographies of the three figures are provided at the beginning of each section, and texts selected include six essays by He-Yin Zhen, “On Women’s Education” by Liang Qichao, and “The Women’s Bell” by Jin Tianhe.

The Transformation of Intimacy: Sexuality, Love and Eroticism in Modern Societies

This book concerns the meaning and significance of the transformation of intimacy on the societal level. The transformation is realized from the highly constrained conjugal relationships of a traditional society, through the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century romantic love, to confluent love or pure relationship in modern society. According to Giddens, the separation of sexuality from reproduction is crucial to the emancipation in the pure relationship. Giddens argues that the transformation of intimacy may have extended its influence on the democratization of personal life to the revolution of social life, and such transformation from hierarchical and patriarchal relations to more egalitarian and intimate relations is to a large extent the consequence of feminism as a social movement. 



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