Course date

30 June - 11 July, 2008
Application deadline
15 February, 2008
Course Director(s): 

Allaine Cerwonka

Department of Gender Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary
Course Faculty: 

Mary Hawkesworth

Rutgers University, Women's and Gender Studies, New Brunswick, United States of America

Gail Andrea Lewis

Open University, Social Sciences, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Kristen Hill Maher

San Diego State University, Political Science, United States of America

Almira Ousmanova

Department of Social Sciences, European Humanities University, Vilnius, Lithuania

Democracies everywhere are undergoing transformation and redefinition in response to particular contemporary phenomena. These phenomena include the rise of global capitalism and the subsequent globalization of many aspect of culture; large scale migration or immigration; identity politics; the development of new, powerful supranational entities like the European Union; neo-liberal policy; and, in the case of Central and Eastern European countries, the dismantling of state socialism. This process of transformation demands sustained analysis of its impact on different groups within society and of its consequences for the utopia promise of democracy. This course specifically considers how these processes shape political and social belonging in democracies today in various ways. It will address how governing and power operates through particular social processes, (like the global political economy; media representation, fashion, or consumption), in addition to the formal operations of governments.

Contemporary social and feminist theory has a great deal to contribute to the investigation of how power relations, social identity, and right are being renegotiated at this historical moment. Thus, the course will draw on an interdisciplinary scholarly literature explain how social categories such as gender, race, sexuality, religion, European-ness, nationality might delineate identity and belonging in a polity. It draws on theoretical and philosophical writing, policy, visual theory, feminist studies, critical race theory and post-state socialist studies in considering these issues. In its analysis of the politics of belonging the course will pay special consideration to the way the axis of East/West, and 1st/3rd world are reproduced in a number of social locations and are significant in legitimating inequality within democracies. We will consider the particularly ambiguous positionality of Central and Eastern Europeans in contemporary redefinitions of "Europe" as an imagined political community and as a landscape of uneven economic privilege. The central themes of the course will be investigated through discussion of borders as material and imagined boundary markers of inclusion; globalization; policy; consumption; citizenship; intimacy; and the public sphere.

Finally, the course will devote time and attention to the logic and process of methodology. The faculty members involved pursue several different methods in their own work, ranging from policy analysis to visual culture analysis. Thus, several seminar meeting and one "workshop" will be devoted to questions about epistemology, method and individual student projects. These meetings will center on detailed discussion of some of the following research practices: discourse analysis, policy analysis, visual culture research, ethnographic methods, interviewing, and the identification of a research population. These discussions will also address the relationship of theory to empirical research, the potential role of political commitment to feminist research, and ethical approaches to research.