Gender, Media and Conflict

Course description Gender, Media and Conflict
Year: 2014-2015
Catalog number: 8002GEN02Y
  • Robert Chesal
Language: English
Blackboard: Yes
EC: 5
Level: 200
Period: Semester 1, Block I, II
Hours of study: 35:00 hrs
  • No Elective choice
  • No Contractonderwijs
  • No Exchange
  • No Study Abroad
  • No Evening course
  • No A la Carte
  • No Honours Class



Admission requirements

  • Classes of 2013-2016: a similarly-tagged course, or permission from the instructor.

Course description

Conflict is an integral feature of human interaction. Not necessarily fought by armed force on a battlefield, conflict may take place solely in the political arena, on a city square or a picket line. Like most other forms of interaction, conflict is gendered, or interlaced with cultural constructs of femininity and masculinity. In some conflicts, there are actors who deliberately foreground gender to gain a perceived advantage over their adversary. In others, gender appears to be pivotal to the conflict itself. When the escalation of social discord is portrayed in the media, it is never merely reflected as raw, neutral reality. The media always represent conflicts, and in so doing they select, package, augment and politicize some aspects while backgrounding others. In this process, media representations enhance the gendering already present in a conflict, which can have a profound influence on the course of events. Students who take Gender, Media and Conflict will work together in small groups to explore various media representations of conflicts in search of genderedness, gaining a sharp eye for the complex interplay between these factors.

Weekly overview

No class; textbook reading required
Understanding and identifying gender in the media
Social media: Iranian women and their hijab-less selfies
Ciudad Juárez and the ‘myth’ of femicide
Fashion enflames passion: Uganda’s porn law interpreted as mini skirt ban
Sexual violence and caste in India
US gender wars: from ‘legitimate rape’ to Hobby Lobby
Stoning women and other honor crimes in Pakistan
Feminist agit-prop: Pussy Riot takes on Putin and the Orthodox Church
High stakes in Nigeria: Boko Haram vs. westernized education

Learning outcomes

The objective of this course is to enable students to recognize gender constructs in the mass media and to understand the interplay between gender, media and conflict. By exploring specific cases in a range of countries, students will discover how this complex interrelationship can exacerbate conflict or, in some cases, offer ways to resolve differences. This will give students:

  • an ability to examine, identify and take a position on the ways in which gender constructs influence human conflict, and vice versa, via the mass media;
  • a critical capacity to think outside the restrictions formed by cultural constructs of gender, leading to a greater acceptance of difference and access to a wider range of conflict-resolution tools.

Compulsory literature

Gendered Media: Women Men and Identity Politics, Karen Ross
Release date: February 20, 2013 | ISBN-10: 0742554074 | ISBN-13: 978-0742554078 | Edition: Reprint