Challenge: Area Studies
and Women's Studies in the Classroom
new, more global perspectives and the rise of transnational movements
(both feminist and non-feminist) redefining women's studies in
North America and elsewhere? What impact is the new scholarship
on women and gender having on the various area studies disciplines?
How can we translate these issues and debates into the college
classroom? This anthology, a project of the Five
College Women's Studies Research Center, showcases the
efforts of a group of talented teacher-scholars to think in sophisticated
yet practical ways about these problems.
Authors and the Issues
to this collection represent a variety of disciplinary, political,
and experiential perspectives, as well as a very wide range of
teaching styles and philosophies. In these essays and teaching
materials they address such disciplinary and pedagogical problems
as: How do we combine gender and area studies when it is becoming
harder and harder to agree either on what "gender"
is or what the "areas" are? What is the most
valuable new work being done across disciplines? How does one
introduce students to the most cutting-edge scholarship in a
way that inspires them to look deeper? Which books and films
work best to get students thinking in a complex way? What is
the place of the novel in teaching global and "area"
women's studies? Where is postmodernism useful? What is the role
of activism in the classroom? What do students' preconceived
notions about a given instructor's race, national origin, religion
or political perspectives do to the learning process? And how
can one combat racist and ethnocentric assumptions --and sheer
ignorance-- in a humane and pedagogically effective way?
aims to bring the economic, cultural, religious and political
currents of today into teaching and scholarship. The essays
range from efforts to chart the current direction of the international
women's health movement to looking at how globalization affects
women in different regions of the world; from asking how a range
of Muslim scholars are currently interpreting Koranic teachings
on gender to demonstrating the impact of the International Monetary
Fund's Structural Adjustment Policies on women and families;
from probing the original strategic purpose of the "Area
Studies" to providing a historical appraisal of the last
twenty-five years of international feminist organizing.
in an effort to shorten the distance between thinking and doing,
between the way we talk outside the classroom and how
we teach and learn inside it, this site provides practical
suggestions about organizing courses, in the form of syllabi,
assignments and directions for class discussion on a range of
different women's studies and area studies topics. The curriculum
materials on this site include, among others, syllabi for courses
on Women's Health in Africa, Global Women's Activism, Women and
Islam, and Women and Development. Often the syllabi are linked
to more reflective short essays focusing on some of the intellectual
and pedagogical challenges and possibilities of this kind of
Move Around the Site
bar across the
top of this and other prefatory pages sends you to any of five
regional contents pages
America/Caribbean, Africa, Asia, Middle
East and Global/ Transregional).
Get to any other region
any point by
clicking on it on the vertical navigation bar to the left (or, in prefatory
pages, the top) of
each contents page. Access any article by clicking on
name of its author, also
listed on the vertical navigation bar. Reach articles or syllabi
main part of each contents page by clicking on the article
syllabus title. A full, alphabetical list of the articles is found in
the article index,
and a list of all syllabi in the syllabus
any name or keyword using the search
function, found below and on the frontpage
and contents pages.
Use the Materials from this Anthology
welcome to download and print articles and course materials from
this site or to put a link to this anthology on your own site.
If you use an author's work, please acknowledge her or him by
name. Please contact the individual authors, who hold the copyrights,
if you wish to republish or quote extensively from their work.
There is no standard way to acknowledge the use of someone else's
syllabus, but if you do incorporate any of these course materials
in whole or in part into your own teaching, we hope that you
will find some appropriate way to acknowledge the time and effort
put into them by their authors.
is about what we are trying to do as women's studies, gender
studies and area studies teachers and scholars in North American
colleges and universities at the beginning of the 21st Century.
This site, and the project out of which it has come, has been
very much a collective enterprise; it is also a fairly new kind
of enterprise. As far as we know there is nothing else quite
like this out on the net and we are very interested to hear what
you think about it. Please
add your comments to our
book or contact individual authors directly (many of
them have included their e-mail addresses at the end of their
article). You can also e-mail us at email@example.com.
for visiting, come back often, and tell your friends and colleagues
Editor and Project Coordinator
Five College Women's
Studies Research Center
South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA
October 26, 2000