Philobiblon: Women's studies or gender studies?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Women's studies or gender studies?

An interesting study of the Canadian debate. I'm in two minds on the issue - certainly masculinity needs to be studied, if only to ensure that it is problematised and regarded not as "the norm" against women are judged - but on the other hand I have sympathy with the idea that losing a female focus focus risks making women again invisible.


Blogger air said...

Hi Natalie,

I just read an article that addresses this issue that I would recommend: "The New Men's History and the Peculiar Absence of Gendered Power: Some Remedies from Early American Gender History" by Toby L. Ditz in Gender History vol. 16, no. 1, April 2004.

I take issue with some of what she says (or doesn't say: she seems to ignore that masculinity is also based on men controlling and posessing other men), but otherwise it's really good.


10/25/2005 11:16:00 pm  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Thanks air. I do think studying masculinity can yield valuable insights into societies and histories - many things previously invisible suddenly become clear. Except of course you are putting men in their usual place at centre stage.

10/26/2005 12:34:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be dangerous to change the terminology, and less honest. Under the heading "gender studies" there can be a variety of courses, including Women's Studies, and whatever one chooses to call the study of masculinity and masculine gender study. Both would be valuable, and should be available to all students. But to alter the name of a field of study in order to be 'more accessible' trickles down into the alteration of language within that field of study. Feminism has come to far and affected the social-political realm to such a degree - but the active theory and ideological vocabulary is still is marginalized and regularily degraded.

We cannot afford to 'give it up' now. In my view, the forthwith adaptation (discuss in the article) would be a great and horrible transgression. I would view it an aggressive / supressive manuveur.

10/26/2005 12:54:00 am  
Blogger air said...

"Except of course you are putting men in their usual place at centre stage."

Exactly. Although I would edit that to be "putting straight men in their..." Which is part of the reason I'm more interested in male sexuality than male gender.

10/26/2005 01:18:00 am  
Anonymous Kate said...

My courses at uni were called 'Women's and Gender Studies' which encompassed the whole shebang. I also took some courses specifically on masculinity which I found very interesting.

10/26/2005 09:12:00 am  

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