Gender theory and the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East

Key information

Start date
End date
Module code
FHEQ Level
Centre for Gender Studies

Module overview

The aim of this course is to offer a historical and critical survey of contemporary gender theory in order to explore the challenge of gender studies for interdisciplinary and cross-cultural research. It will further examine the interface between gender theory and a variety of other theoretical perspectives applied to the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East, including postcolonialism, critical theory, postmodernism and poststructuralism.The course will also investigate central questions of epistemology and methodology in relation to the application of gender theories in the field of cross-cultural studies. Students will be introduced to feminist and gender theory research methods and hermeneutics in order to develop research and interpretive skills for undertaking their own quantitative and qualitative research.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

• An understanding of contemporary gender theory applied to the study of Asia, Africa and the Middle East
• A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the relationship between a variety of contemporary theory and cross-cultural study of gender
• A comprehensive understanding of the variety of methodologies that these approaches offer the student of the cultures of Asia and Africa
• The ability to record and reflect on the relevance of these approaches to her or his areas of research, particularly with regard to methodological application
• The ability to critically evaluate a variety of books, journals and other sources of information relevant to the topics studied on the course
• The ability to produce detailed written work on at least two approved topics relevant to the course


The module will be taught over 20 weeks with one 2 hour lecture and one 1 hour tutorial per week

Scope and syllabus

• Introduction: Empire & Theory
• Gender and Orientalism
• Challenging Racist Feminisms
• Postcolonial Theory & Its Blindspots
• Post-structuralism
• The Category of 'Woman'
• Gender & Neoliberalism
• Sexuality, Race and Discourse
• Intersectionality
• Critical Masculinities Studies
• Queer Theory
• Homonationalism and Sexual Imperialism
• Feminist Politics - Focus on Africa
• Feminist Politics - Focus on East Asia
• Praxis - Focus on the Middle East
• Transing Gender and Nation
• Gender, Sexuality & Popular Culture
• Beyond 'Religion'
• Climate Emergency and New Epistemic Grounds

Method of assessment

Assignment 1: Reaction paper (500 words) 15%
Assignment 2: Reaction paper (500 words) 15%
Assignment 3: Book Review (1500 words) 20%
Assignment 4: Essay (3000 words) 50%

Suggested reading

  • Abu-Lughod, Lila, ed. (1998) Remaking Women: Feminism and Modernity in the Middle East. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. NB305.42 /791268
  • Adams , Rachel & D. Davran, eds. (2006) 4th ed. The masculinity studies reade r. Oxford: Blackwell. A305.31/916158
  • Alexander , M. Jacqui & Chandra T. Mohanty, eds. (1997) Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures . New York & London: Routledge, A 305.42/750127.
  • Basu. Amrita, ed. (1995) The Challenge of Local Feminisms: Women’s Movements in Global Perspective . Boulder, Oxford: Westview Press, A305.42/750127.
  • Bhavnani, Kum-Kum, ed. (2001) Feminism & Race . Oxford: Oxford University Press. A305.42 /968349
  • Butler, Judith (1990) Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identit y. New York and London: Routlede. A305.3/627250.
  • Cole, Catherine; T Manuh & S. Miescher, eds. (2007) Africa After Gender? Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
  • Jacobs, Susie; Ruth Jacobson & Jennifer Marchbank, eds. (2000) States of Conflict: Gender, Violence and Resistance . London & New York: Zed Books. A305.43355 /807343
  • John, Mary (1996) Discrepant Locations: Feminism, Theory and Postcolonial Histories . Berkley, Los Angeles & London: University of California Press. A305.42 /748735
  • Kandiyoti, Deniz, ed. (1996) Gendering the Middle East: Emerging Perspectives . London & New York: I.B. Tauris. NB305.42 /722678
  • Lewis, Reina (1996) Gendering Orientalism: Race, Femininity, and Representation . London: Routledge, Fa/725080.
  • Marchand, Marianne H & Jane L. Parpart, eds. (1995) Feminism, postmodernism, development . London & New York: Routledge. A305.42 /750238
  • McClintock, Anne (1995) Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest. New York & London: Routledge. A305.30941 /737324
  • Mikell, Gwendolyn, ed. (1997) African Feminism: The Politics of Survival in Sub-Saharan Africa . Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. U305.42 /812139
  • Mohanty, Chandra T. (2006) Feminism without Border: Decolonizing Theory, Practicing Solidarity . Durham & London: Duke University Press.
  • Narayan, Uma (1997) Dislocating Cultures: Identities, Traditions and Third World Feminism . New York & London: Routledge. A 305.42091724/751427.
  • Polity Press, ed. (1994) The Polity Reader in Gender Studies . Cambridge: Polity Press. A305 /747696
  • Sweetman, Caroline. ed. ( 2004) Gender, Development and Citizenship . Oxford: Oxfam. A323.6091724 /931019
  • Yuval-Davis, Nira (1997) Gender & Nation. London, Thousand Oaks & New Delhi : Sage Publications. A320.54 /835539
  • Yuval-Davis, Nira & Pnina Werbner, eds. (1999) Women, Citizenship and Difference . London & New York: Zed Books. A323.6082 /915897
  • Visweswaran, Kamala (1994) Fictions of Feminist Ethnography . Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press. JA305.42 /743323


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules