Graduate Courses

WAPPP's affiliated faculty teach a variety of courses at Harvard Kennedy School—from how to negotiate with a gendered lens to understanding the role of sexual violence in war—all courses incorporate a strong gendered foundation. For a complete list of courses across Harvard with a gender focus, please go to WAPPP's Harvard Gender Course Guide.

21st Century Global Feminisms

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

If girls “run the world”, why is gender equality so hard to achieve? It has been 100 years since women gained voting rights in the US and many European countries, 70 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and China’s state policy of gender equality, 50 years since the transnational Women’s Liberation movement, and 25 years since the UN Beijing Declaration. Yet, as a group, women and girls lag behind men and boys in almost every metric of social and economic power globally – and systematic data about gender non-binary people are scarcely available. This course is designed to empower students as change agents in the fight for global gender equality through a three-part toolkit: conceptual foundations; structural analyses; and repertoires of action, policies, and praxis. Our goal is to gain confidence and fluency in key terms, concepts, and debates in feminism and gender issues to facilitate dynamic learning and collaborative action. We will then learn to analyze, map, and interrogate gendered power structures locally and globally, seeking to understand how gender works in concert with other inequalities from women’s homes to the halls of power. How might we explain: why some countries and contexts are further along than others in achieving gender equality; why patriarchal backlash is so persistent; and whether capitalism is compatible with feminism? Finally, this future-oriented course turns toward feminist practices, policies, and actions that have been implemented and enacted from the individual to the national level. We will examine different strategies for achieving equality – their promises and pitfalls – seeking out opportunities for innovation and future transformation.
This course is built on intersectional and decolonized approaches to feminism, which serve as the state-of-the-art starting point for achieving gender equality in the 21st century. The course refers to feminismsbecause pluralism is both an empirical fact underpinning gender politics in global perspective, and a normative commitment for learning from feminist movements’ multiplicity and diversity. Throughout the course we will discuss various forms of oppression and discrimination as they relate to inequality – including racism, imperialism, and economic exploitation. However, this course is primarily focused on analyzing feminist and womxn’s struggles for freedom, rights, and dignity and will therefore engage with overlapping hierarchies as intrinsic to understanding how gendered power works (another course might examine the inverse to equally illuminating effect). Early on we will examine and discuss the gender binary that dominates most cultures’ conception of and language for describing sex, gender identities, and social norms. Students will be given time and tools to examine their own gendered identities, experiences, and social-political and -economic positions. And – in light of this work – we will commit to read, speak, and listen freely and inclusively, with rigor and kindness in accordance with community norms set by the class.... Read more about 21st Century Global Feminisms

Gender and Public Policy Seminar: Promoting Diversity in Organizations

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

The Gender and Public Policy Seminar has been designed to give students an opportunity to engage with leading-edge scholars and practitioners working to advance gender equality. Because the subject of “gender and public policy” is too wide ranging and global to address within a single semester, we aim to focus the course each year on a “spotlight” issue. 
The spotlight focus for the Spring 2020 semester is promoting race and gender equality at work. More specifically, the seminar will cover organizationally-relevant research on workplace discrimination, and offer a model of organizational change. Coverage of these topics will include race, gender, and intersectional perspectives. The research will include some international comparative perspectives but will be primarily U.S.-based.
The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. The first and final weeks of the semester will be devoted, respectively, to framing the course and presenting on students’ field projects. Students will work in groups on seminar-relevant research projects for real clients engaged in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion at work. On all other Tuesdays, students will take turns leading a class discussion of the assigned readings. On Thursdays, students will participate in a research seminar with invited speakers. The Thursday sessions will be hosted by the HKS Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) and be open to the HKS community. Readings for the Tuesday class sessions will provide background and a broader research perspective on the Thursday presentations. We will work to arrange opportunities for interested students to meet with the visiting speakers.
This course is likely to be particularly beneficial to students who are interested in diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, and who may have interests in pursuing a career in diversity consulting. Our primary objective is to equip students with a theory-based understanding of the primary obstacles to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and with a quiver of interventions that will create social justice transformation at the level of individual, organization, and society.
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Violence, Gender, and Global Politics

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

In this course, we will consider the international dimensions of gender, sex and violence, largely within the context of war and conflict. Both academic scholarship and current policy debates are informed by powerful—and often unquestioned—assumptions about sex, gender and violence. Recent research has started to challenge some of these ideas, and policymakers are responding with calls for better data, increased attention to long-hidden problems, and new strategies to confront these difficult problems. In the course, we begin with a review of theoretical constructs, then turn to a series of policy relevant questions on the politics of sex, gender, and violence. Topics that we will cover include gendered causes and consequences of war (e.g., Does gender inequality cause conflict? Are women leaders more peaceful? What are the consequences of war for people of different genders?); gendered motivations for political violence; the regulation of sex and gender within armed groups, including the military, insurgencies and terrorist organizations; and wartime sexual violence. The course will include discussions of research design and implementation, as well as the implications of research on policy responses and interventions.

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Working for Change: Understanding Gender in International Development

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

Gender affects multiple aspects of international development, including the challenges that communities face around the world, and how organizations and governments can most effectively support these communities to achieve their goals. This course covers gender theory and frameworks, drawing from feminist writers and scholars from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines. We will study gender as it relates to specific topics, including labor market participation and employment, education, violence against women and girls, peace building, civil society, and women’s leadership. We will learn what is known in each arena, and study which approaches work well and which do not. This course is intended to be an introduction to gender in international development; students with extensive experience in this area should consult with the instructor if interested.<--break->

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