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George Washington U. offers new ‘Gender in International Affairs’ concentration

‘Recognizes feminist international relations theory and gender analysis as critical tools’

The George Washington University Elliot School of International Affairs now offers a concentration in gender, the result of a months-long advocacy by students and faculty alike.

According to The Hatchet, GWU Gender Equality Initiative in International Affairs Director Shirley Graham said she started the concentration “to make students more proficient in the growing field of gender in international affairs.”

The new concentration is the Elliot School’s sixteenth, included among Comparative Political, Economic, and Social Systems, International Development, International Economics and others.

Courses are taught via a “feminist, intersectional lens.”

Alt TextGraham (pictured), whose PhD dissertation examined “gender discourses within the Irish Defence Forces that create and reinforce power hierarchies between women and men,” said the concentration uses “feminist international relations theory and gender analysis as critical tools” in dealing with topics like globalization and international development.

Required courses include “Masculinities in International Affairs” and either “Women in Global Politics” or “Women and Terrorism.”

MORE: Gender activists push to bar anthropologists from identifying human remains as ‘male’ or ‘female’

Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in International Affairs Majors Director Christina Fink said the new field will allow graduates to “bring a gender lens to their work […] wherever they may end up.”

From the story:

“The reality is when there are strict gender norms in a society, that has negative implications for men as well,” Fink said. “So addressing gender is about addressing both the challenges and opportunities or barriers to opportunities for men, women and everybody across the gender spectrum.”

Mona Samadi – an associate professor of religion who teaches Women in Islam, a class within the new Elliott School concentration – said the inclusion of all genders in international affairs decisions can foster “stability” and peace.

“Women and girls represent half of the world’s population, but they also represent half of the potential that countries have not taken a good usage of,” she said. “Gender equality, besides being a fundamental human right, is also proven that once women get to play a part in deciding how society should function, it leads to more peace, it leads to more potential within that society.”

Elective courses associated with the concentration include “The Anthropology of Gender: Cross-Cultural Perspectives,” “Varieties of Feminist Theory” and “Philosophy of Race And Gender.”

MORE: Prof gets $6K to work on ‘gender identities’ in ‘British literary culture’ research

IMAGES: chrupka/Shutterstock.com; GWU screencap

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