Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Epistemologies in Gender Studies

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Gender Studies

DESCRIPTION The study-unit will explore how gender influences our conception of knowledge, writing, practice, culture and the politics of representation. It will identify how dominant conceptions and practices of knowledge attribution, acquisition and justification, that were originally identified and challenged by feminism, disadvantage women, men, LGBTI, disabled and racialised groups, and other minority groups. Since gender studies evolved from the suffrage movement of the 20th century, followed by the women’s liberation movement of the 70’s, and feminism’s challenge of the usual and accepted versions of knowledge, the first part of this study-unit will delineate how the entry of feminist scholars into different academic disciplines helped to generate new questions, theories and methods, as well as underlining how feminist and gender values and perspectives have played a causal role in these transformations. Gender epistemologies then will incorporate theories which derived initially from feminisms, and then from masculinities, disability, intersectionality, LGBTI, race and post-colonial studies, among others. These theories will be used to challenge dominant patriarchal structures and discourses. They will also be used to underline that subjects are situated and located socio-economically, as well as in time and space. This situatedness and locatedness means that knowledge is situated, and reflects the particular perspectives of the knower in question. Different conceptions of how gender situates knowers will be alluded to in this study unit, and these theories will help familiarise students with the central problems linked with knowledge production, as well as another linked issue, namely what knowledge counts. The study unit will also look at the roles of social political values involved in ‘scientific’ inquiry; enquire what is meant about objectivity and rationality, and in the process critique structures related to epistemic authority.

Study-unit Aims:

- To provide students with an overview of feminist epistemologies, including theories and issues derived from masculinity, disability, queer and postcolonial studies as underlined above;
- To show students how these philosophical issues need to be taken into consideration in every step they take in their research and activism;
- To provide students with knowledge and skills on how to engage actively with issues related to gender, disability, postcolonial and queer studies such as ethics, objectivity, the politics of representation and the politics of feminist inquiry.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- recognize and critically engage with some of the major approaches and debates;
- understand how theory and its practices are shaped by the intersecting axes of race, class, sexual identity and sexual orientation, as well as gender and (dis)ability;
- develop nuanced awareness of how socio-political and historical factors impact on our understanding of cultural, theoretical and aesthetic definition of 'valued' knowledge;
- reflect on the implications of feminist and other theories and their application in research and everyday realities.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- demonstrate familiarity with and analytically assess the work and issues raised by key thinkers in feminist, gender, disability, queer and postcolonial studies;
- improve oral and written communication;
- augment proficiency in critical thinking, research, and analytical skills;
- relate academic knowledge and understanding to everyday situations.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Sharlene Nagy Hesse-Biber (Ed.) (2012) Handbook of Feminist Research. London: Sage Publishers Ltd.
- H Bradley (2007) Gender. London: Polity Press.
- Patrick R Grzanka (Ed.) (2014) Intersectionality. A Foundations and Frontiers Reader, Westview Press: Bolder Colerado.
- Ivor F Goodson (2013) Developing Narrative Theory. Live histories and personal representation, Oxon: Routledge.
- Nina Lykke (2011) Feminist Studies. A guide to intersectional theory, methodology and writing, Routledge/Talor & Francis Group: New York/London.
- Vivian M May (2015) Pursuing Intersectionality, Unsettling Dominant Imaginaries: Routledge.
- Resource pack.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Seminar & Independent Study

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation See note below Yes 20%
Assignment See note below Yes 80%
Note: Assessment due will vary according to the study-unit availability.

LECTURER/S Norbert Bugeja
Patrick Camilleri
Amy Joan Camilleri Zahra
Martina Farrugia
Simone Galea
Nathalie Grima
Miriam Magro
Anne Marie Mangion
Christine Muscat
Marceline Naudi
Gisella Orsini (Co-ord.)

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.