Gender, Politics, and Nationalism

Spring: Thursdays, 5:30 - 8:30 pm ~ February 1 - May 10, 2007

This course will investigate the myriad ways that religion, race, and color affect women's lives within national and transnational contexts. Specifically, this course explores the contested relationship between women and nationalist, religious, and racial/color politics in the context of South Asia and the Caribbean. It will investigate ways in which gender, religious and racial identities intersect with ethnic and national ones in the emergence of social movements. Further, the course will examine the multiple ways religiosity, nationality, feminism, and political perspective are constructed, experienced, and practiced, and highlight the complex ways in which they inform one another. It seeks to examine ways in which nationalist politics has created opportunities for women's activism while simultaneously undermining their autonomy, and to complicate and explore how nation-states define and use women and how these citizens/agents negotiate these definitions and uses.

 Specific topics addressed include: the relationship of gender to nationalism and formation of nation-states, and nationalist movements, women's participation in national movements and anti-colonial struggles, effects of globalization, development, and transnational institutions; and the interrelation of race, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and religion in national identity constructions.


ELORA H. CHOWDHURY is an Assistant Professor of Women's Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her areas of interest include critical development studies, Third World/transnational feminisms, gender and social movements in South Asia, and feminist ethnography. 

RHONDA FREDERICK (Associate Professor, English) teaches Caribbean and African American literatures at Boston College. She is also interested in American literatures, particularly 20th Century women's fiction, science fiction and fantasy, detective/mystery fiction, and literatures of the African Diaspora. Her research interests include Caribbean and Post-colonial Studies, Cultural Studies, and narratives of migration. Through a research fellowship funded by the NEH/Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Harlem, New York), she completed a manuscript that examines Caribbean literature's recurrent figure of the Panamá Canal worker, entitled "Colón Man a Come": Mythographies of Panamá Canal Migration (Lexington Books/Rowman & Littlefield, 2005).

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Consortium for Graduate Studies in Gender, Culture, Women, and Sexuality
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14N-211
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Phone: 617-324-2085