Gender and Society [CRN 27416]

Discipline: Sociology
Instructor: Meenan
Credits: 3
Day: A
Start: 16:40
End: 18:00
Field Work: Day 1 | March 31, 2017 | Ghana
Prerequisites: One (1) introductory sociology course Download Syllabus

This course provides an introduction to the sociological analysis of gender.  Throughout the semester, we will examine how gender is socially constructed in our society and discuss the implications of our culture’s dominant models of femininity and masculinity.  Through a variety of readings, lectures, group discussions, group activities, and videos, we will explore how gender shapes interactions and relationships, and how and why social institutions such as the family, the media, the labor market, medicine, religion, and our political system serve to maintain and/or challenge traditional gendered roles and notions of femininity and masculinity.  The primary focus of this course is on gendered roles within the United States; however, we will also have the unique opportunity to compare and contrast how gender operates in other societies on our voyage.  There will be an emphasis on the critical evaluation of gender constructions and roles in each country we visit, including our own.  We will ask questions such as: “How do conceptions of gender vary among societies?”  “Who benefits from the way gender is constructed in a society and what are the consequences?”  “How has gender played out in my own life?”

Field Work

Country: Ghana
Day: 1
Date: March 31, 2017

This field class will visit Global Mamas, a non-profit, fair trade organization in Ghana. Global Mamas assists women in Africa to become economically independent through the production and distribution of their handcrafted products. Global Mamas creates over 180 products that are exported to North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. This class will visit a production site, visit with the Mamas, discuss the process of starting and running an NGO with the founder and Executive Director, participate in a roundtable on Fair Trade, and visit the Accra retail outlet. This inspiring field class allows students to experience fair trade and an NGO in action.

Academic Objectives:
1. Learn about women’s poverty in Ghana, and issues surrounding women’s limited job opportunities.
2. Deepen our understanding of how NGOs and Fair Trade initiatives can help alleviate poverty.
3. Consider the impact that a non-profit, fair-trade organization like Global Mamas can have on women, families, and an entire community.