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Unit information: Feminisms and International Relations in 2015/16

Please note: you are viewing unit and programme information for a past academic year. Please see the current academic year for up to date information.

Unit name Feminisms and International Relations
Unit code POLIM3013
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Weldes
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description including Unit Aims

This unit will consider where women are in international practice and its theorization, and what it means to bring gender into the frame of international relations and its study. The unit will examine various concerns raised by feminists and the implications of these issues for global politics and International Relations (IR). These concerns will range from the theoretical (such as questions of difference or similarities among women in their experience of world politics and the problem this presents for theorizing women in IR) to the practical (issues such as nationalism, way, the international economy, globalisation and human rights). This unit is only available to students registered for MSc/Diploma degrees in the School of Sociology, Politics and International Studies. Please note that the School does not permit the auditing of any of its units.

The aims of this unit are:

  • To examine the implications for International Relations theory of taking feminism seriously
  • To illustrate what feminist approaches contribute to our understanding of issues in world politics
  • To understand the implications of identity and difference and the universal and the particular in the theorization and practice of feminism/s in International Relations.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit students will:

  • Have the ability to deploy gender as a category of analysis in relation to issues in global politics and International Relations
  • Have gained knowledge of basic literature applying feminist theory and concepts to the study of global politics
  • Understand and recognise the gendered character of everyday practices of foreign policy and world politics

Teaching Information

The following methods will be used:

  • Critical written and oral evaluation of relevant literature
  • Discussion and group work
  • Listening and speaking in discussion
  • Literature searches and primary source work, including internet
  • Seminar presentations (individual or collaborative)
  • Research paper writing

Assessment Information

Formative assessment: an oral presentation supported by a handout and a two-page critical review essay

Summative assessment: a 3,500 to 4,000 research paper on a question agreed between the student and the tutor. The students in this unit increasingly come into the unit with professional background in gender issues and organisations, and a research paper would allow them to tailor their assessment to their past experiences and future career plans. I also asked students on the unit this year and last if a research paper was more suitable to their interests and the overwhelming answer was ‘yes’.

A full statement of the relationship between the programme outcomes and types/methods of assessment is contained in accompanying Programme Specifications and section B7 of the Major Change to Current Programme forms for the programmes of which this unit is a part. The assessment for each unit is designed to fit within and contribute to that approach in terms of intellectual development across each of the two teaching blocks, and in relation to knowledge and understanding, intellectual skills and attributes, and transferable skills.

Reading and References

  • Enloe, C. (2001) Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of World Politics, Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Peterson, Spike, V. and Runyan, A-S (1999), Global Gender Issues, Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
  • Butler, Judith (2006 [1999]) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the
  • Enloe, Cynthia (2005) The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire, Berkeley: University of California Press.
  • Shepherd, Laura J., ed. (2010) Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations, London and New York: Routledge.