WGS 101: A CRASH COURSE
Dr. Sara Diaz
WGST 380/ENVS 397: Women, Nature, and the Environment
Gonzaga University
Central Concepts
• Intersectionality
• Social Construction (vs Essentialism)
• Gender
• Race
• Class
• Sexuality
Social Construction Theory
• Social vs biological or “essential” differences
• Complex socialization processes/practices
•...
Examples of Biological Determinism
• Women are nurturing because they bear
children, therefore they should stay home and
r...
WGS 101: Sex vs Gender
• “Gender” and “sex” are not interchangeable.
• “Sex” or “assigned sex,” = biological category
• ba...
WGS 101: Sex vs Gender
Sex Category
Gender
Gender Expression

Binary Sex/Gender System
Male
Female
Man/Boy
Woman/Girl
Masc...
WGS 101: Definition of Gender
Gender is a social construction that establishes
our definitions of self, our relations with...
WGS 101: Hierarchical Binaries
Man

Heterosexual
Woman

Human

Homosexual
Western

Animal
Parent

Eastern
Able

Child

Whi...
Impact of Gender
• Different rules
• Behavior, dress, social/professional roles

• Hierarchy creates differential access
t...
Power Dynamics
• Power differentials between “Men”
and “Women”
• Justification of inequality during the
Enlightenment peri...
Controlling Imagery
• Representations, symbolic associations shape how we
understand the world.
• Psychology
• Semiotics
•...
Discussion Questions
• What is the connection between the
environmental and women’s
liberation movements of the midtwentie...
Discussion Questions
• What are the two ways Nature was
associated with the feminine,
according to Merchant?
• What is org...
Discussion Questions
• According to Merchant, how was the preModern (before the 16th century) “organic”?
Why does Merchant...
Response Question
• What gendered imagery and language
did Bacon borrow from the organic
world view?
• How did he shift la...
Discussion Questions
Given that (African) slavery was still
legal in England, what does it mean
that Bacon uses slave meta...
Discussion Questions
How is holistic science, like ecology,
different from the mechanical world
view?
Reading for Tuesday
• Londa Schiebinger
• Why Mammals are Called Mammals
• Another exploration of how women and nature
wer...
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Day 2 WGST 380 ENVS 397 The Death of Nature

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  • The idea of “gender” arose out of social construction theory. In GWSS gender is distinguished from sex. Sex is a category that is assigned at birth based on a doctor’s assessment of our genetalia. In modern Western society there are only two categories assigned (male and female) This is not always true in all parts of the world or at all times! GENDER is how we learn to behave based on the sex category into which we were placed. So if we were categorized as female we are gendered feminine and raised to be a woman. It is important to note that these three words (female, feminine, woman) in GWSS likewise (male, masculine, man) …
  • Day 2 WGST 380 ENVS 397 The Death of Nature

    1. 1. WGS 101: A CRASH COURSE Dr. Sara Diaz WGST 380/ENVS 397: Women, Nature, and the Environment Gonzaga University
    2. 2. Central Concepts • Intersectionality • Social Construction (vs Essentialism) • Gender • Race • Class • Sexuality
    3. 3. Social Construction Theory • Social vs biological or “essential” differences • Complex socialization processes/practices • Institutional structures • Essentialism – differences between people reduced to an unchangeable difference. • Often biological, sometimes religious or cultural. • Biological Determinism – Social differences determined by biology.
    4. 4. Examples of Biological Determinism • Women are nurturing because they bear children, therefore they should stay home and raise children. • Women are more emotional than men and therefore not well suited for jobs that need rational decision making. • EG President, example of premenstrual syndrome • Men are better at math and science and therefore should go into fields like engineering, architecture, physics.
    5. 5. WGS 101: Sex vs Gender • “Gender” and “sex” are not interchangeable. • “Sex” or “assigned sex,” = biological category • based on perceived differences between anatomy Eg. male, female. • “Gender” = process of socializing males to be “men” and females to “women” • Gender is not something we achieve. • It is something we actively do. • social norms, expectations, and roles
    6. 6. WGS 101: Sex vs Gender Sex Category Gender Gender Expression Binary Sex/Gender System Male Female Man/Boy Woman/Girl Masculine Feminine
    7. 7. WGS 101: Definition of Gender Gender is a social construction that establishes our definitions of self, our relations with others, and our life chances...Moreover, is not just an individual attribute. Instead, it is part of the social structure of society and thus has an institutional component... --Margaret Anderson, Thinking about Women, p. 30
    8. 8. WGS 101: Hierarchical Binaries Man Heterosexual Woman Human Homosexual Western Animal Parent Eastern Able Child White Disabled Christian Black Rich Muslim Cisgender Poor Transgender
    9. 9. Impact of Gender • Different rules • Behavior, dress, social/professional roles • Hierarchy creates differential access to social and material resources
    10. 10. Power Dynamics • Power differentials between “Men” and “Women” • Justification of inequality during the Enlightenment period • Equality of man • “Naturalize” social difference
    11. 11. Controlling Imagery • Representations, symbolic associations shape how we understand the world. • Psychology • Semiotics • Controlling imagery reinforces power differentials • Examples from Pop Culture: • Women are manipulative • Black people are criminals • Gay men are flamboyant and superficial • Where does such controlling imagery come from? • Historical representations
    12. 12. Discussion Questions • What is the connection between the environmental and women’s liberation movements of the midtwentieth century? • What are the 16th and 17th century roots of today’s connections between the two movements? 12
    13. 13. Discussion Questions • What are the two ways Nature was associated with the feminine, according to Merchant? • What is organismic theory and how did it position women?
    14. 14. Discussion Questions • According to Merchant, how was the preModern (before the 16th century) “organic”? Why does Merchant consider the Early Modern period to be “mechanical”? • What does capitalism have to do with the shift from an organic to a mechanical world view? • How did Francis Bacon’s philosophy of science contribute to the shift to the “mechanical”?
    15. 15. Response Question • What gendered imagery and language did Bacon borrow from the organic world view? • How did he shift language/imagery under his more mechanical world view? • What did that mean for women and nature? 15
    16. 16. Discussion Questions Given that (African) slavery was still legal in England, what does it mean that Bacon uses slave metaphors in relation to women and nature?
    17. 17. Discussion Questions How is holistic science, like ecology, different from the mechanical world view?
    18. 18. Reading for Tuesday • Londa Schiebinger • Why Mammals are Called Mammals • Another exploration of how women and nature were positioned during the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution • to naturalize inequality between men and women
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