Gender and Society

Discipline: Sociology
Instructor: Mackelprang
Credits: 3

Field Work: Day 1 - Tuesday, 15 March | South Africa Download Syllabus

This course examines the roles that gender and sex play in societies. The course will critically analyze gender roles and structures historically and contemporarily, and in multiple societal and cultural contexts. We will explore the intersections of sex and sexualities, race and ethnicity, social class, spirituality, and disability in global contexts through gendered lenses. We will examine the ways in which societal gendered constructions are used to promote power and privilege and to promulgate gender inequalities.

Field Work

Country: South Africa
Day: 1 - Tuesday, 15 March

Students will visit Blikkiesdorp in the Township of Delft, a settlement of 1500 shacks and as many as 10,000 people, many of them children. In Blikkiesdorp (“tin can village”) electricity is limited and there is a supply of water, but the sewer system is inadequate so that as many as 40 people must share one toilet.
We will be the guests of Hope Cape Town Association, a nonprofit organization that offers community outreach, education and counseling focusing on HIV/AIDS and TB in the Western Cape Province of South Africa. We will meet with Association staff to discuss their work at Tygerberg Children’s Hospital, that provides specialty pediatric care for infants with HIV/AIDS, TB or various cancers. We will also meet HOPE Community Health Workers staff including staff who are involved in community based HIV care. Students will discuss challenges in providing health care and sanitation to a very low income population living in a community with few resources and little health or sanitary infrastructure. Through this experience participants will gain insight into HIV/AIDS and poverty in South Africa and the implications for families. Particular attention will be given to the differential gender impacts of poverty, HIV, and other diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.

Academic Objectives:
1. Students will compare and contrast health and health care for those in poverty in sub Saharan Africa to highly resourced health care in South Africa and the US.
2. Students will understand the evolution of HIV/AIDS in South Africa and evaluate the gender implications of HIV and poverty on people and families in South Africa.
3. Students will assess sociological and cultural factors, including ethnicity in post-Apartheid South Africa.
4. Students will compare and contrast issues facing colonized South African families and colonized and/ or minority groups in other countries.
5. Students will use this field lab as a vehicle to understanding how to incorporate cognitive learning and how emotional experiences impact learning and understanding.