TEACHERS COLLEGE, COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY
DEPARTMENT OF ARTS & HUMANITIES
PROGRAM IN SOCIAL STUDIES
This course will introduce students to a wide-range of histories and topics focused on gender and the social studies. Historical content focuses on gender and the American experience, examining the history of feminism, gendered power in colonial America, the construction of masculinity in the nineteenth and at the turn-of-the-twentieth century, and feminist politics and rape during the Civil Rights Movement. About half the course focuses on gender and education, including topics like feminist pedagogy, the gendered nature of schooling and society, and gender and the curriculum. The hybrid nature of this course — covering both historical content and addressing issues of gender prevalent in schooling — will provide participants knowledge not only about new content that they can bring into their classrooms but also ways to do so that challenge societal inequities like gender discrimination and homophobia.
PURPOSE & OBJECTIVES
The course’s purpose is simple: to combat the lack of dialogue about gender in social studies classrooms. Without gaining additional knowledge about historical content, theory, and pedagogy, we believe this is not possible. This course is unique (from what we can tell) from what’s offered in any social studies education program. It approaches gender as a social construct, discusses masculinity as well as femininity, and will assist teachers in confronting their concerns about teaching issues of gender in their classrooms. As such, the following questions serve as objectives:
- What difference does gender make for the study of the past and current events?
- When gender is a central unit of analysis, what changes in the way we teach? How does this influence the content that we choose for our classrooms?
- How does what it means to be feminine and masculine change our understanding of social life, politics, and citizenship?
This course has been organized around a longer list of essential questions as well. Each of these is connected to the purpose and objectives, although they’re more specific:
- In what ways is the secondary U.S. History curriculum gendered?
- What is feminism’s place in the history curriculum?
- What is a feminist lens? Are there multiple feminist lenses? Multiple feminisms?
- What is masculinity? Are there multiple masculinities?
- What is feminist pedagogy? What is its use for classroom practice?
- How has masculinity changed over the past three centuries? How has it remained the same?
- How has femininity changed over the past three centuries? How has it remained the same?
- Why did feminist politics emerge historically and how have they changed over time?