Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Epistemologies in Gender Studies

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Gender and Sexualities

DESCRIPTION The study-unit will explore how gender intersecting with sexual orientation, sexual identity and/or gender identity 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, LGBTIQ, 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, queer, race and post-colonial studies, among others. These theories will be used to challenge dominant patriarchal, heterosexual, Western and white 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 conceptualisations of how gender intersecting with other identities situates knowers will be discussed 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, namely the conceptualization of objectivity and rationality, in the process critiquing structures related to epistemic authority.

Study-unit Aims:

a. To provide students with an overview of feminist epistemologies, including theories and issues derived from masculinity, disability, queer, race and postcolonial studies as underlined above;
b. Show students how these philosophical issues need to be taken into consideration in every step they take in their research, writing, and activism;
c. To provide students with knowledge and skills on how to engage actively with issues related to gender, disability, race, 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;
- analyse 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, race, 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 and activism.

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.
- Jane Duran (2001) Worlds of Knowing. Global Feminist Epistemologies. New York and London: Routledge.
- Patrick R Grzanka (Ed.) (2014) Intersectionality. A Foundations and Frontiers Reader, Westview Press: Bolder Colerado.
- Nina Lykke (2011) Feminist Studies. A guide to intersectional theory, methodology and writing. Routledge/Talor&Francis Group: New York/London.
- Carole E McCann and Seung-Kyung Kim (2017) Feminist Theory Reader. Local and Global Perspectives. New York and London: Routledge.

- Resource pack.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Independ Study, Lecture, Seminar & Online Learning

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation See note below Yes 20%
Report See note below Yes 20%
Essay See note below Yes 60%
Note: Assessment due will vary according to the study-unit availability.

LECTURER/S Anna Sangare
Norbert Bugeja
Ivan Callus
Josephine Ann Cutajar (Co-ord.)
Manwel Ellul
Maria Victoria Gauci
Ann Laenen
Anne Marie Mangion
Stefan Vassallo
Daniel Vella

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 description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.