Critical Gender Studies in the Life Sciences domains

Organised by Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

Mon 14 October 2019 until Thu 17 October 2019

Venue Leeuwenborch, building number 201
Hollandseweg 1
6706 KN Wageningen

    Contact person (Content): Chizu Sato

    Contact person (Logistics): Marcella Haan

      Course Registration

        Introduction & objectives of the course

        Today, research in the life sciences done to support sustainable development is increasingly interdisciplinary and demands better understanding of roles of gender and other differences, such as race and colonial history. This course directly enables participants to develop, operationalize and integrate a critical gender framework into their own research. The manner in which participants work gender into their own research may then be independently replicated in integrating other relevant concerns.

        The course (6 ECTS: European Credit Transfer System) is divided in five (5) modules:

        Module 1: Introduction to Critical Gender/Feminist Studies in the Life Sciences (2 ECTS)

        • a.     Historical perspective on and development of Critical Gender/Feminist Studies
        • b.     Overview of key concepts: e.g., gender, intersectionality, queering/thinking beyond binary, decolonization

        Module 2: Feminist epistemologies in Science and Technology Studies (1 ECTS)

        Module 3: Feminist political ecology and economy (1 ECTS)

        Module 4: Feminism and social justice (1 ECTS)

        Module 5: Decolonizing development (1 ECTS)

        • Module 1 is mandatory except for those who come with gender studies background in the life sciences domains. Participants who want to be exempt from taking Module 1 are required to submit a short description of their gender studies background prior to registration.
        • Participants need not take all modules. In addition to the first mandatory module, participants may take anywhere between 2 and 5 thematic modules.
        • Each ECTS involves 2 half day classes (except Module 1) and two to three times that preparatory and out-of class work.
        • Each Module combines reading, lecture, discussion, participants’ presentation and writing a short paper.
        • Modules 2-5 cover both theory and methodology.

        This course will use relevant examples to examine issues in the life sciences domains historically, as well as both in the global South and the global North. Each module will use critical gender studies as an entry point and then attend to other intersecting diverse dimensions of inequality, such as race, ethnicity, social class, and nationality.

        This course will be a seminar. It will be highly interactive and learner-centered combining short lectures with group-based learning activity, discussion and presentation. A series of instructors with gender and diversity expertise from WUR will discuss the relevance of the topics in the life sciences domains discussed in our class to their own domains.

        Participants are expected to write a short statement (max. 1 page A4) one week prior to the 1st session (September 3, 2019) to: 1) introduce who they are in terms of disciplinary background and education; 2) outline gender and diversity issues which are relevant in their own domain of study; 3) questions or issues on gender and diversity with which they would like to engage and why; and 4) expectations of the course.

        Target group and learning outcomes

        This course is intended for PhD candidates, postdoc, and staff members, across the social and environmental sciences, who want to expand their engagement with sustainable development through increased consideration of gender and diversity. Participants following this course will learn gender and social differences as an intersecting analytical category in the study of sustainable development by applying various perspectives to concrete cases.

        After successful completion of this course, participants will be able to:

        • understand current approaches in critical gender/feminist studies, in particular with regards to the life sciences domains (such as, but not limited to food, agriculture, water);
        • develop a coherent critical gender studies framework;
        • integrate and operationalize this critical gender studies into their own research project/interests;
        • directly use feminist/critical gender approaches in doing research in the life sciences domains and draw on the theories and concepts learned to develop and integrate other perspectives; and;
        • engage in active learning, critical thinking and academic debate.

        Assumed prior knowledge

        Master’s degree in social, environmental or gamma sciences

        Course fees

        Course fees vary depending on the number of ECTS participants want to take.

        For the entire course (6 ECTS):

        • for all Wageningen Graduate Schools PhDs with TSP there is a fee of 650 euros.
        • for WUR MSc students there is a fee of 325 euro
        • for WUR staff members (fellows/post docs), there is a fee of 1450 euros (including tea/coffee).
        • for all others there is a fee of 2175 euro

        For Module 1 (2 ECTS):

        • for all Wageningen Graduate Schools PhDs with TSP there is a fee of 225 euros.
        • for WUR MSc students there is a fee of 112,50 euro
        • for WUR staff members (fellows/post docs), there is a fee of 450 euros  
        • for all others there is a fee of 675 euro

        For each other Module (1 ECTS),

        • for all Wageningen Graduate Schools PhDs with TSP there is a fee of 125 euros.
        • for WUR MSc students there is a fee of 62,50 euro
        • for WUR staff members (fellows/post docs), there is a fee of 250 euros (including tea/coffee).
        • for all others there is a fee of 375 euro

          Schedule of the course

          Modules Dates Time Instructors
          Module 1 September 10, 12, 16, 19 9.30-12.30 hrs Margreet van der Burg, Chizu Sato, Esha Shah
          Module 2 September 23, 25, 26, 30 9.30-12.30 hrs Esha Shah, Dvora Yanow
          Module 3 September 30, October 2, 3 9.30-12.30 hrs Chizu Sato
          Module 4 October 7,9,10 9.30-12.30 hrs Gemma van der Haar, David Ludwig
          Module 5 October 14, 16, 17 9.30-12.30 hrs Jessica Duncan, Trista Lin

          Course materials

          Required readings will be made available before the course starts by the course coordinator.

          Teaching methods

          This course is organized mainly as a seminar in combination with the following learning activities:

          1. Lectures to introduce and explain theoretical approaches and concepts within Critical Gender/Feminist Studies as well as contextualize these in the life sciences domains;
          2. Self-study to prepare participants for in-class discussions and to develop the understanding of the theoretical approaches and concepts discussed;
          3. Assignments (Module 1: one page reflection after each session and a meta reflection at the end of the module; Module 2-5: a short paper at the end of each module; to be specified further) to critically reflect on the course materials including class discussions and apply these to the participant’s own research;
          4. Discussions led by participants; and
          5. Presentations by participants.

          Participants are expected to read and prepare their thoughts on readings in advance of the seminar date (approximately 6-8 hours for each session), and to participate fully in discussions in class. The discussions will be chaired and guided by the instructor(s) of the session together with the course coordinator.

          For Module 1, after each session, participants will write one page paper to critically reflect on the readings, lectures, and discussions and to discuss their relevance to their own research. These reflection papers will be compiled as a portfolio to be used as a basis for their presentations. After the presentations, participants will complete the portfolio with a short meta reflection paper, engaging the collection of the reflection papers they wrote and the comments they received during the presentations.

          For Module 2-5, after the third session of each module, participants will write a short paper to critically reflect on the readings, lectures, and discussions and to discuss their relevance to their own research.

          Requirements and ECTS

          Individuals who follow the entire course may receive up to 6 credits (according to European Credit Transfer System). The course is pass or fail. In order to pass each module, participants must attend all sessions and presentations. For Module 1, participants must write three one page reflection papers in sufficient quality; make a presentation on the relevance of the course materials to their own research in sufficient quality on the last day; and write a meta reflection on their learning. For Module 2-5, participants must write one short paper in sufficient quality per module.

          Cancellation conditions:

          The participants can cancel their registration free of charge 1 month before the course starts. A cancellation fee of 100% applies if a participant cancels his/her registration less than 1 month prior to the start of the course.

          The organisers have the right to cancel the course no later than one month before the planned course start date in the case that the number of registrations does not reach the minimum.

          The participants will be notified of any changes at their e-mail addresses.