Institute for Gender and Development Studies

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Contemporary Feminist Theorising

4 credits
GEND 6100 (Diploma / MSc)   |  GEND 7100 (MPhil)  |   GEND 8100 (PhD)

This course provides an introduction to themes, issues and conflicts in contemporary feminist theory. The course pays particular attention to the shift from the unifying themes in earlier feminist theorising to the de-stabilising influences of recent social theory, for example black feminist theory and postmodernist thought and praxis.
Readings and seminars address several debates within feminism around constructions of femininity, the category of ‘woman’, the politics of difference, conceptions of power, the body, performances of gender and the stability of sexed bodies and sexual identity. Through critical engagement, students begin to explore the nexus between classic works of feminist theory and more contemporary and emergent theories of feminism and feminist thought.


  • Appreciate the contribution of feminist theory to the analysis of social processes and discursive practices;
  • Understand and explain key approaches and concepts in contemporary feminist theory;
  • Apply critically theoretical concepts derived from the field of feminist theory to practical and professional concerns which emerge in the workplace and the wider society.


Sexualities, Bodies and Power

4 credits 
GEND 6104 (Diploma/MSc)  |  GEND 7103 (MPhil)  |  GEND 8103 (PhD)

This course addresses the important area of sexualities and bodies which is an important area in feminist scholarship and gender studies. It highlights the continuous tension between bodies as natural and biological but also as socially and culturally constructed. The complexities of gender identities and their relationship with fixed bodies are addressed as well as the debates and discourses around acceptable and transgressive sexualities. The policy implications attendant on these issues will also be addressed.

The course takes an interdisciplinary and intersectional approach to examining social, historical, economic, artistic and cultural processes through which ideas about bodies, sexualities and gender have been and continue to be constructed. Gender ideologies are lived through the body, thoughts, emotions, spiritual practices and other aspects of our cultural contexts. Culture, and the ways it is created, consumed and understood, shapes who women and men feel expected to become and how they manage these expectations. Rather than simply looking at women’s and men’s experiences of subordination however, the course seeks to more fundamentally examine the varied impacts of cultural ideas about women and men. Nonetheless, it also points to ways in which unequal power structures and stereotypical and oppressive role models can be revealed and challenged.

For this reason, the course examines theories of sex, sexuality, bodies and gender as they are debated, negotiated and lived around the world. In this way it encourages students to see how sources of knowledge emerge from western and non-western centres, and the extent to which Western theories of sexuality and gender are both useful and problematic in understanding Caribbean realities. The course introduces students to foundational writings in the study of sexualities while also introducing the growing queer studies and masculinities literatures, and asks students to consider future directions in the study of sexualities and bodies as scholarship on gendered power relations continues to grow.


  • Explain and exemplify ways that bodies are gendered, raced and classed;
  • List, define and summarise key conceptual and theoretical tools for the analysis of sexualities and related issues;
  • Compare, apply and critique feminist and other approaches to analysing the complexities of human sexualities;
  • Describe and explain the relationship between sexual pleasure and social power and exemplify their wider societal implications;
  • Recommend policy interventions in the related areas. 


Feminist Epistemology and Methodology

4 credits
GEND 6102 (Diploma / MSc)  |  GEND 7101 (MPhil)  |  GEND 8101 (PhD)

This course aims to enhance students’ knowledge of both feminist theory and feminist practice regarding knowledge creation. In particular, feminist methodologies are significant for policy development, implementation and evaluation, and for producing research data that often feeds into this process. This course links the construction of knowledge to questions about knowing and issues in research methods. The course develops alongside and in relation to the course Contemporary Feminist Theorising.


  • Introduce students to key issues in feminist methodology and epistemology;
  • Equip students with the skills to critique traditional approaches to the construction of knowledge;
  • Enhance a greater understanding of issues related to what can be known, who can know and different ‘ways of knowing’;
  • Integration of critical methodological analysis related to the research process, and feminist approaches to the production of knowledge;
  • Evaluate methodological approaches and their suitability to specific research needs.


Gender Analysis for Development, Policy and Planning

4 credits
GEND 6103 (Diploma/MSc)  |  GEND 7102 (MPhil)  |  GEND 8102 (PhD)

The development enterprise initially ignored gender, assuming that poor people were the target group in need of (economic) development. Influenced by the emergence of liberal and radical feminist thinking and activism in the 1960s and 1970s, the field of women and development emerged with its concern to integrate women into development and to pay attention to women’s issues. In the 1980s, a shift to gender brought men into the picture, and raised important questions about the social construction of gender and its impact on political, economic and social structures. In the last fifteen years, difference, language/voice and power have inspired additional approaches to gender and development, bringing a concern with empowerment, participation and gender mainstreaming. The course will examine the theoretical debates underpinning these shifts, their relationship to broader feminist analyses as well as their implications for policy and praxis. The course will thus provide an overview of gender and development theories; introduce students to the concepts of policy, the importance of gender in policy environments – both governmental and non-governmental, and the practical and theoretical tools for effective gender-sensitive research, policy formulation, implementation and evaluation of developmental challenges in the Caribbean and elsewhere.


  • Provide an overview of theoretical approaches to gender and development and their intersections with feminist theories and development thought;
  • Provide an understanding of the concept of policy and relevance of gender-sensitive and gender aware policy planning in development at the micro, meso and macro levels within state and non-state actors;
  • Expose students to a number of gender planning frameworks and tools towards the planning, formulation and implementation of gender sensitive and relevant policy and praxis;
  • Conduct gender and culturally-sensitive planning in designing social and development projects through small-group and project-based learning conduct.


Key Issues in Gender and Transformation in the Caribbean

4 credits
GEND 6105 (Diploma/MSc)  |  GEND 7105 (MPhil/MPhil elective)  |  GEND 8105 (PhD/PhD elective)

Key Issues in Gender and Transformation in the Caribbean is designed to introduce graduate students to some key issues that have not received serious attention during the first four core courses in the graduate programme. The issues will be determined by the facilitator in consultation with the graduate teaching staff and the graduate student cohort. Consequently they will vary each year. The course is designed as a seminar, providing opportunities for students to meet experts in the field, to discuss relevant publications and to write a research paper on one of the topics. Guest speakers as well as IGDS faculty will teach the course. Students will be expected to give an oral presentation on the readings of one key issue and to produce a research paper on that topic.


  • To provide a structure for continued interaction and scholarly support among graduate students;
  • To provide information and skills relevant for graduate research and scholarly writing;
  • To provide information and skills relevant to professional work in gender studies in the Caribbean;
  • To facilitate interaction with local and visiting practitioners and scholars in the field and to facilitate the completion of some research in these areas;
  • To develop critical reading skills.


Research Design and Methods

4 credits
GEND 6106 (Diploma/MSc)  |  GEND 7106 (MPhil)  |  GEND8106 (PhD)

Research Design and Methods is shaped to refine and enhance the process of data collection and data analysis skills. It gives students overall guidance in crafting appropriate research projects and makes special reference to the critique provided by gender studies of mainstream social science projects. Thus, feminist and gender concerns are central themes throughout this course.

Core thematic areas to be covered in this course are as follows:

  • Epistemology and methodology; ways of knowing.
  • The politics of knowledge representation.
  • Defining and debating feminist methodologies.
  • Understanding research philosophies and choosing a conceptual framework
  • Understanding data collection approaches and critiques.
  • Formulating research designs.
  • Analyzing qualitative and quantitative data using software.
  • Negotiating access and issues of ethics.
  • Writing the research proposal and appropriate referencing.
  • Presenting projects/research proposals.


  • To explore and discuss various social science research methods and their epistemological positions;
  • To explore and discuss various definitions of methods and epistemologies;
  • To explore and discuss the various critiques provided by feminist epistemological positions;
  • To examine how understandings about knowledge can/should influence the design of students’ individual research projects;
  • To produce research projects which are valid and reliable;
  • To assess and manage the ethical dilemmas which may arise at the various stages of the research process;
  • To produce and present well referenced research projects which reflect critical thinking and writing.


Philosophy of Gender

This course is taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 

At Undergraduate Level: Level III Semester I
3 Credits

GEND 3501

At Graduate Level: Semester I
4 Credits
GEND 5001 (DIPLOMA)  |  GEND 6002 (MSc)  |  GEND 7001 (MPhil)  |  GEND 8001 (PhD)

This course aims to provide students with tools for critical thinking and analysis and engages in philosophical discussions about the relationships between one’s gender and society. It asks the questions - What kind of society do we want to create? What are we saying about the roles, responsibilities and relationships between men and women in society that make for a more equitable distribution of labour, power and privilege? Why should we aim to build societies in which equality and justice of gender, race and class, are the cornerstones of our civilization? This course will engage students in a feminist critique of western thought and knowledge, equipping them with the tools and concepts to guide, analyse and challenge you to consider the ethical and moral dilemmas abounding in the contemporary world we inhabit. While exposing you to the universal and generic issues raised in all human philosophy, the material of this course and particularly that in the sister course GEND 5002/6003/7002/8002 is grounded in Caribbean reality.


Philosophy of Gender in Caribbean Thought

This course is taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 

At Undergraduate Level: Level III Semester II
3 Credits
GEND 3502
Pre-Requisite: GEND2203 (AR22C) or any Introduction to Philosophy Course

At Graduate Level: Semester II
4 Credits
GEND 5002 (DIPLOMA)  |  GEND 6003 (MSc)  |  GEND 7002 (MPhil)  |  GEND 8002 (PhD)

This course examines contemporary issues in the Caribbean in light of feminist epistemology and ontology and traces and evaluates the development of feminisms, in general, and Caribbean feminisms in particular. At the end of the course students should be able to critically analyse the ways in which Caribbean feminist discourses have accounted for the experience of women across categories of race, ethnicity and socio-economic class; identify the areas in epistemology in which gender has not been sufficiently addressed and evaluate the potential of Caribbean feminist movement for transformation.

Note: Prospective students should discuss this course with an academic advisor as the content and format are in the process of revision.


Advanced Feminist Theory

4 credits
GEND 6010 (DIPLOMA, MSC)  |  GEND 7010 (MPHIL)  |  GEND 8010 (PHD)

Reading Course in consultation with your supervisor.


Course with the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS)
Department of Behavioural Sciences (FSS)

Gender, Ethnicity and Class: Issues of Identity, Nation and Citizenship

This course is taught at both undergraduate and graduate levels. 

At Undergraduate Level: Level III Semester II
3 Credits
SOCI 3038 | GEND 3038
Pre-requisites: none

At Graduate Level: Semester II
4 Credits
SOCI 5001 (DIPLOMA)   |   SOCI 6101 (MSc)   |   SOCI 7001 (MPhil)   |   SOCI 8001 (PhD)

This course seeks to raise the level of discourse on ‘race’ and ethnic relations in our societies and establish the centrality of gender to issues of ‘race’, ethnicity and culture. At the end of this course the student should be more familiar with the historical background to contemporary relations and have a better understanding of the ways in which women and men are differently located within the discourse on race and class in the region. It is hoped that this course will contribute to a more informed approach to inter-ethnic and gender relations in the region. This course is intended for senior undergraduates and should be open to students from a range of faculties. Some knowledge of sociology would be an asset.



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