This course offers a historical introduction to the shared and varied experiences of women in Asia. We will begin with an examination of gender relations as defined by cultural and religious norms, the state, kinships, and other political, social and legal institutions in Asian countries. Then, we will move on to explore what it has been like to be a woman in modern Asia. How have colonialism, modernity, nationalism, revolutions, wars, and globalization impacted the status of Asian women? And, what impact in turn does women’s participation have on decisions that shape the contemporary world? Comparative studies of African destinations on the spring 2016 voyage help students connect Asia to the world from the perspective of women in history and at present.
Field WorkCountry: China
Day: 2 - Friday, 5 February
Hong Kong is known as a cosmopolitan international city where the East meets the West. Foreign women domestic workers make up around 3% of the Hong Kong population. According to the South China Morning Post, as of 2013, there were some 320,000 Asian domestic helpers in Hong Kong, of which 50% were from the Philippines, 47% from Indonesia, and the rest from Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Hong Kong law states that such workers must reside with their employers. The condition of Asian domestic workers is being increasingly scrutinized by human-rights groups and criticized as tantamount to modern slavery. Students will visit advocacy centers and organizations that are charged with the rights and well-being of Asian Helpers in Hong Kong. Students will engage in questions and answers sessions with staff or volunteers about the situation of Asian domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Students are expected to observe and reflect on the gendering of inter-Asian and global labor markets, women workers’ migration patterns, family, religious as well as cultural ramifications.
1. Students will have the opportunity to observe and reflect on the gendering of inter-Asian and global labor markets.
2. Student will have better understanding of Asian women workers’ migration patterns, family, religious as well as cultural ramifications.
3. Students will learn to appraise contemporary development in Asia and the world from the vantage point of women.