Gender studies

Interdisciplinary field of study / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Gender studies is an interdisciplinary academic field devoted to analysing gender identity and gendered representation. Gender studies originated in the field of women's studies, concerning women, feminism, gender, and politics.[1][2] The field now overlaps with queer studies and men's studies. Its rise to prominence, especially in Western universities after 1990, coincided with the rise of deconstruction.[3]

Disciplines that frequently contribute to gender studies include the fields of literature, linguistics, human geography, history, political science, archaeology, economics, sociology, psychology, anthropology, cinema, musicology, media studies,[4] human development, law, public health, and medicine.[5] Gender studies also analyzes how race, ethnicity, location, social class, nationality, and disability intersect with the categories of gender and sexuality.[6][7] In gender studies, the term "gender" is often used to refer to the social and cultural constructions of masculinity and femininity, rather than biological aspects of the male or female sex;[8] however, this view is not held by all gender scholars.

Gender is pertinent to many disciplines, such as literary theory, drama studies, film theory, performance theory, contemporary art history, anthropology, sociology, sociolinguistics and psychology. These disciplines sometimes differ in their approaches to how and why gender is studied. In politics, gender can be viewed as a foundational discourse that political actors employ in order to position themselves on a variety of issues.[9] Gender studies is also a discipline in itself, incorporating methods and approaches from a wide range of disciplines.[10]

Many fields came to regard "gender" as a practice, sometimes referred to as something that is performative.[11] Feminist theory of psychoanalysis, articulated mainly by Julia Kristeva and Bracha L. Ettinger,[12][13] and informed both by Sigmund Freud, Jacques Lacan and the object relations theory, is very influential in gender studies.[14][15][16][17]

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