MAAS-641 Gender/Labor/Development: Middle East
Spring for 2017-2018
Central to the projects for and concerns about development in the Middle East and North Africa today are labor and all that encompasses from women’s labor force participation, to the gendered division of labor, to the global flow of labor, to the gendered impacts of economic restructuring around the world. Specifically the course will examine the following:

Þ Brief examination of some of the feminist and theoretical arguments that have shaped basic assumptions about women and work and the gendered division of labor more broadly.

Þ The history of women’s economic participation and a gendered division of labor paying special attention to how both colonialism and increased incorporation into a global capitalist system transformed the gendered division of labor – redefining spheres of work, the private and the public, and ultimately what has come to constitute valuable economic contributions.

Þ The contests and negotiations surrounding work, gender and labor in a post-colonial context. Here we will discuss the role of the state and its detractors in framing debates and discourse about gender, labor and development.

Þ Development discourse and the way in which it frames issues of gender and development in Middle East and North Africa. Here we consider both the empirical research and the ideological assumptions about what women’s work represents visa via development.

Þ Examination of recent economic transformations – brought about by globalization, neoliberal economic prices and shifts in oil prices – and their gendered implications.

Þ Finally we will also consider issues of migration out of and into the region and their gendered dimensions.

The course aims to both broaden our basic knowledge about gender, labor and development in the region and to challenge our basic assumptions about how they interact. My aim is for students to become familiar with have traditionally been considered “gender issues” in thinking about labor and development, but also to learn how to apply tools of gendered analysis to labor and development questions. To that end, I draw on a variety of sources with a specific effort to seek out qualitative and ethnographic sources (although not exclusively). Similarly, students will work on a variety of writing assignments and projects that will provide an opportunity to develop these analytical skills.
Credits: 3
Prerequisites: None
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