Women and Gender Studies Courses You Can Take During Study Abroad

While March might be Women’s History Month, there’s no reason to not celebrate women and gender all year long!

Gender studies is a great way to learn about the cultural differences and similarities among gender roles, educate yourself on your host countries stance on gender issues, and enhance your skills towards a career of working with people. USAC has a variety of opportunities to educate yourself on gender issues and differences across the world.

Before you plan your study abroad courses, look at the gender studies related courses that USAC is offering in the upcoming academic year.

Gender Studies Courses for Study Abroad

Santiago, Chile

Course: International Perspectives on Gender
Term offered: Summer Session II

Within the frameworks of human rights and transnational feminisms, this course focuses on contemporary global debates regarding a variety of topics such as violence against women, reproductive rights and other women’s health issues, sex trafficking, poverty, access to education, political participation, among other key issues that affect women and LBGTQ communities. Special attention will be paid to analyzing conditions that promote and inhibit the status of and rights of women and LBGTQ persons including the work of governments, international non-governmental organizations and local activist with a special focus on gender relations in Chile.

Course: Race, Gender, and Media
Term offered: Spring

Description: We currently do not have a course description for this class but will update this article when we do. You can visit our website for more course information: https://usac.edu/study-abroad-programs/chile/santiago/courses

Course: Women and Society: Latin American Perspectives
Term: Spring

This course focuses on the discussion of the problems faced by women in Latin American societies. These problems will be understood as a product of the male-female interrelations given by the different Latin American cultures, societies and ideologies. In addition, it will be reviewed how these identities have experienced and are experiencing these difficulties nowadays, especially in Chile. The course will approach the role of women in “developed” societies from different critical perspectives, contrasting what has happened with Latin American women and their cultures throughout history.

Heredia, Costa Rica

Course: Women and Gender in Literature (Taught in Spanish)
Term offered: Fall and Spring

The course explores how female Latin American writers from Colonial times until present were shaped by their social and cultural surroundings as well as how their writing redefined or are still shaping their cultural and social worlds. The course is primarily centered around women’s literary productions (prose and poetry), but it is not solely about women, since it is imperative to understand “womanhood” as a relational category. Thus, we will explore how gender ideologies affected the meaning and experiences of “manhood” as well as “womanhood.” The aim of the course is to compare and contrast the experiences of different groups of women according to factors such as historical period, race, and class. The course analyzes the meaning of gender and how it has motivated women to become writers.

La Habana, Cuba

Course: Gender and Globalization
Term offered: Summer Session II

This course examines the contested terrain of social change and globalization through a gender lens. Readings will review globalization theory, policy, and community responses. Students will build a Research Project over the session, learning to apply perspectives and concepts learned throughout the term. Students will learn international organizations’ approaches to gender equality and empowerment in development campaigns and will learn how Cuba addresses these issues.

Course: Contemporary Women’s Activism (taught in Spanish)
Term offered: Summer and January

This course provides an introduction to gender theory and women movements. Additionally, students will explore the more recent strategies utilized by feminists and women’s movements to rally support and fight against gender violence of all kinds. Students will examine how feminists have used the Internet and social networks as a powerful tool to rally support. The interaction with some of the local main characters of this new ways of activism will provide the students with the opportunity to discuss these topics firsthand, addressing the new forms of ‘Internet violence’ that emerge as a reaction.

Course: Latin American Women’s Voices
Term offered: Summer Session II

This course provides an introduction to gender theory and women movements, while emphasizing the role of different women’s organizations in local social movements. Students will explore the Human Rights status of women in Cuba and Latin America. From the dictatorship days until the present, this course will analyze how women organized to influence and participate in political life, society and business. Through analyzing key cultural and political characters, students will have the chance to discuss these topics in person with women that were part of these movements.

Prague, Czech Republic

Course: Gender Studies: A Global Perspective
Term offered: Spring

This course will examine how definitions of gender and sexuality are constructed in the context of globalization and trans-national movements. It will examine key gender issues and debates relating to multiculturalism, western feminism and cultural imperialism, global labor movements and migration, sex-trafficking, virtual reality and pornography, ‘third sex’ global communities, war and its impact on gender relations and religion.

Course: Gender and Post-Socialist Transformation in Central Europe
Term offered: Fall and Summer Session II

The course is focused on a region in political and economic transition, as well as on a mode of interpreting the self and the world which is itself constantly in transition. We will explore the extent to which gender relations have operated, been acknowledged and have a bearing on political, social and cultural life in the Czech Republic and in the wider post-communist Eastern European context.

Lyon, France

Course: Art and Gender
Term offered: Summer Session II

What is gender, and how has it affected the creation and interpretation of art? This course explores case studies from ancient Egypt to contemporary art, considering historical conceptions of gender, the role of women artists, and the ways in which gender (as well as cultural, social, and economic) identity are embedded in artistic practice in diverse global cultures. It will also examine how gender has affected the construction and reinterpretation of the traditional canon of art history.

Course: Francophone Women Writers
Term offered: Spring and Summer Session II

France’s colonial conquests around the world have often changed and sometimes “erased” the voices and languages of Native people, especially women. This course focuses on uncovering Francophone women’s literature from Africa and the Caribbean. This literature sits at the bypass of cultures, languages, and gender dynamics. Through the reading of some of the major works in the canon of African and Caribbean francophone literature by women, viewing films, listening to guest speakers, and outings that explore French colonial history, the course will encounter the following themes: traditional, native societies and their relationship with the new modern French world, resistance and opposition to French colonial rule; the Negritude movement; the Algerian war of independence from France and, in particular, the role of women; questions of language use in the postcolonial world (French, Arabic, or other native languages), postcolonial feminism, questions of the diaspora, and Francophone women today.

Course: Franco-Arab Women Authors and Directors
Term offered: Fall

In this course you will discover several authors and film directors whose lives and work take place on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea. The course will start with two storytellers and essayists, namely Assia Djebar, and Fatema Mernissi. Assia Djebar’s postcolonial re-interpretation of the painting Femmes d’Alger dans leur appartement by famous 19th Century French painter Eugène Delacroix will be our introduction into the Franco-Arab culture. Tunisian sociologist Fatema Mernissi will take you in the everyday life of the actual harem where she grew up. The course will then shift to present time and you’ll witness how film director Nadia El Fani got in trouble in Tunisia with her documentary Neither Allah nor Master. You’ll pursue with young director Kaouther Ben Hania and her movie “La belle et la meute.” The course will then shift to recent literature, first with Kiffe kiffe demain, a “Banlieue novel” (Hood novel), and then with Garçon manqué (tomboy) dealing with exile, gender, and the process of entering adulthood of a bi-cultural woman.

Bengaluru, India

Course: Caste, Class, and Gender in India
Term offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

This course will cover topics such as the history of the caste system, religion, politics, gender, and class inequality. The social and structural hierarchy in India controlled the lives of its people throughout history. The Indian caste system has not only integrated itself into the culture, but it has also been the cause of inequality that has oppressed classes of people for centuries.

Course: Women’s Issues in Indian Society
Term offered: Spring, Summer

As a multicultural and diversified society, the gender question in India becomes even more complex with the intervention of caste, class, religion, cultural norms and other societal forces. This course will locate the historicity of the women’s movement and women studies in India with its recent issues and problems. The gradual developments in women’s empowerment and legal changes will be discussed to provide students with a holistic understanding of the dynamics of women and society in India.

Cork, Ireland

Course: The Changing Role of Women in Ireland through Literature
Term offered: Summer

This course will explore the changing role of women in Ireland as portrayed in the Country Girls Trilogy by Edna O’Brien. O’Brien is one of Ireland’s foremost female writers whose work is largely credited with beginning to loosen repressive norms for women’s social issues and sexuality. You’ll read O’Brien’s memoir about her life and development as a writer in the County Clare. O’Brien’s novels and memoir will be considered within the context of their historical moment and in the context of the intellectual traditions to which they relate.

Viterbo, Italy

Course: Gender and the Arts
Term offered: Spring

Why does gender matter in the study of the arts? Artists have long been considered a “special” ungendered category of humanity. Only when we study the HIStory of the arts we notice that something is missing: to start with, where are the women? Some would say that women are central in the life of (male) artists, only they mostly feature as inspirational muses. Where are female painters, musicians, performers? Have they disappeared into thin air or is there a reason for their absence/disappearance from the HIStory of art? A course investigating the relationship between gender, and gender imbalance in the arts, is therefore more than necessary first, to help recover all those artists neglected just on the base of their gender, second to understand that the field arts should never be “exclusive” but inclusive, not “elitarian”, but simply special in its status. Gender often used as a discriminatory tool can be thought of, more than anything, as a new way of looking at the world.

Alicante, Spain

Course: Chocolate, Gender, and Power
Term offered: Only offered Summer 2020 Session II

This course will provide an in-depth look into chocolate, exploring its social significance over the centuries and until today, while examining with a critical eye important issues of gender and power associated with it. We will look at the cultural meaning and consumption of chocolate throughout history, illuminating the dynamics of gender, race and colonial/economic power that have long been associated with it. Through readings and viewing of selected materials and class discussions, students will learn about the origins of the Theobroma cacao tree, the meaning of chocolate for the Mesoamerican peoples, and the role that this ‘exotic’ food has played in the world’s culture since the 16th century. By focusing on the perceptions that exist around chocolate and its consumption today, this course aims to expose how the idealized view of this product continues to make it one of the most profitable crops worldwide, while contributing to reinforce contemporary stereotypes of gender, race, and nation, perpetuated through popular media, marketing, and advertising.

Course: Gender and Crime
Term offered: Only offered Summer 2020 Session I

This one-time course is taught by Dr. Sarah Smith. Dr. Smith has teaching experience in California, Washington, D.C., and in the Chicago metropolitan area, during which time she co-hosted a study abroad program in Chennai, India. Her research and teaching focus on gender, race and crime; corrections and alternative justice approaches; and criminological theory, particularly justice theory.

Course: Gender and Gaze: Women Behind the Camera
Term offered: Spring

The objective of this course is to provide a broad understanding of the issues of gender, the gaze, sexuality and identity through Hispanic (Spanish and Latin-American) film, art and photography. This course will raise issues on gender, the gaze, visual and popular cultures, from the perspective and point of view of female Spanish artists, filmmakers and photographers such as Pilar Miró, Iciar Bollain, Isabel Coixet, Cristina García Rodero, Bárbara Allende (Ouka Lele), amongst others.

Course: Gender, Language, and Power
Term offered: Fall

This course intends to describe and analyze the ways language and its uses create, reinforce or question power relations and identities related to gender. Students will actively reflect on and react to texts, media products and discourse analysis and will be required to introduce or present some of the topics after the readings. The course will explore examples of language in general and of visual language in particular from a variety of texts and contexts. To supplement publish research, students will reflect on their ideology on gender and consider it from a cross-cultural perspective.

Course: Language, Ideology, and Gender in Cross Cultural Perspective
Term offered: Summer Session I

This course explores the linguistic construction of gender (masculine and feminine) and its relationship with ideology and society in order to deconstruct patterns of gender discrimination and examples of sexist language. You will explore examples of language in general and of visual language in particular from a variety of texts and contexts. To supplement publish research, students will reflect on their ideology on gender and consider it from a cross-cultural perspective.

Course: Spanish Gender Studies
Term offered: Fall

This course examines gender issues within a Spanish/Hispanic context, comparing and contrasting them with those that arise within the student’s own backgrounds. Students will evaluate and critically examine from varying disciplines what gendered representations are, as well as the importance of each individual to establish one’s identity within one’s own social, cultural and historical background.

Chiang Mai, Thailand

Course: Gender and Sexuality Studies
Term offered: Spring

This course is designed to look at Gender and Sexuality as a societal construct, and to how different societies use/experience these constructs. This course will cover the roles that culture and social structure play in experiencing sex/gender identities. There will be particular attention given to deconstruct Western conceptualizations of sex/gender/sexuality, as well as an in-depth look at the construction of their Thai counterparts.

Course: Talking Gender in Thailand: Transnational Feminisms and Gender Studies
Term offered: Fall

Using Southeast Asia as an entry point, the course employs an interdisciplinary transnational frame to explore, address, and analyze critical questions about gender in society. Thailand presents a unique context to explore gender identity, sexual orientation, the construction of gender roles, workplace and everyday practices, politics, and government policies. The course draws on key issues, questions and debates in Women’s and Gender Studies scholarship to think critically about the role of gender in Southeast Asia.

Montevideo, Uruguay

Course: Contemporary Women’s Activism
Term offered: Spring

This course provides an introduction to gender theory and women movements, exploring the more recent strategies of feminists and women’s movements to get together and fight against gender violence of all kinds, using the Internet and social networks as a powerful tool. You will study some international examples, as well as local examples like the #NiUnaMenos movement, that started in Argentina and expanded throughout Latin America to fight against femicide, and other self-organized events like the #EFD (Encuentro de Feministas Desorganizadas) that recently took place in Montevideo. The course will have a strong practical basis, including attending to some of the meetings to organize International Women’s day (March 8th). The interaction with some of the local main characters of this new ways of activism will give the students the opportunity to discuss these topics firsthand, addressing as well the new forms of ‘Internet violence’ that emerge as a reaction.

Course: Latin American Women’s Voices: Argentina and Uruguay
Term offered: Fall

This course provides an introduction to gender theory and women movements, emphasizing the role of different women’s organizations in local social movements. It constitutes an opportunity to explore Human Rights situation for women in Uruguay. From the dictatorship days until the present, the course will analyze how women organized to participate in political life, society and business. Through inviting some key characters from cultural and political life, the group will have the chance to discuss these topics firsthand, with women that were part of these processes. The 14th Latin American and the Caribbean Feminist Encounter will take place in Montevideo on November 23, 24 and 25, and this will be as well an amazing opportunity to get involved with women’s local and regional movements.

Reggio Emilia, Italy

Course: Gender Issues in Education
Term offered: Summer Session II

This course helps educators, school counselors, school administrators, policy makers, and others concerned with the field of education gain insight into gender issues in K-12 and postsecondary education in general and in specific subject areas. Attention to the role of family and community will be included. Issues addressed relate to female and male students, educators, and administrators. Examples will be drawn from various countries, with a particular focus on Italy.

Internship and Volunteer Opportunities

In addition to the variety of gender studies courses USAC offers internship, volunteer, and general opportunities to support local women during your time abroad. A few examples of previous student activities include:

  • Raising funds to donate sanitary pads to NGO’s supporting women rescued from prostitution as well as funds for physically and mentally challenged women in India
  • Working with local women designing and executing workshop leadership and self esteem for women in Costa Rica
  • Volunteering in a women’s cooperative that makes natural lotions, shampoos, etc. in Costa Rica
  • Interning/volunteering at a private women’s health, physical therapy, and osteopathy clinic in Reggio Emilia.
  • Interning/volunteering at a feminist collective dedicated to communication and human rights in Montevideo, Uruguay.
  • Visiting local refugees during a service learning in Alicante, Spain
  • Volunteering at a domestic violence shelter for women in Haifa, Israel.

If you’re interested in giving back to your host city community in any capacity during your study abroad, you can work with you on-site staff and program advisors to learn about opportunities.

Courses are subject to change so be sure to check the USAC website for the most updated list of courses.

Participate in a travel abroad program that gets you outside the classroom to learn.