Guided Pathways: Comparative Gender and Sexuality
Gender is the term most academics use to describe systems that define people as either male or female, and then dictate behavior, life choices and opportunities on the basis of those definitions. In many cultures, gender also represents relationships of power, most commonly ranking people identified as men above those identified as women, and valuing traits associated with masculinity more highly than those associated with femininity. Our Comparative Gender track allows students to study gender across and among different cultures and different times. Such comparisons make the socially constructed nature of gender much easier to see. However, the fact that gender is constructed by culture does not mean that it is not experienced as real given that cultural ideas have a profound impact on our daily lives. Studying gender cross-culturally also allows students to think about how gender interacts with other social hierarchies such as race, class and sexuality. Students in this track will develop crucial skills for analyzing how hierarchies work, how they interact with each other and the ways ideology shapes not just our opportunities, but also what we can imagine.