GSWS 433 Gender, Violence and Resistance Spring 2019

January 03, 2018


Professor: Dr. Jen Marchbank
Office: SURREY 5188
Office hours: TBA
Lecture: Thursdays 13:30 – 17:20; SUR 5060


Course Description:

This seminar-based course provides a gendered analysis of violence and resistance to violence.  It ranges from a gendered understanding of political states through to individual experiences, institutional situations and militarized aspects.  We will address violence and resistance through feminist perspectives and use theories from critical studies of masculinity to come to an interdisciplinary understanding of the course themes.  We will examine violence and resistance in the home, in the streets, in communities, in discourses and during conflict and war.  Throughout we will explore the constructions of gender, women, men, transgender and the interplay of ethnicity and sexuality.  In doing so we will question assumptions, such as women are more peaceful, and problematize essentialist paradigms. The material in this course is difficult and sometimes upsetting.

Course Content

This course comprises of several themes, including:

  • Gender and states of conflict
  • Engendering states and nation
  • Gender and nationalism
  • Inter and intra state conflict
  • Interpersonal violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Peace and resistance

Throughout we will explore gender in combination with other social differences, such as ethnicity, sexuality, dis/ability, gender expression, age, class, citizenship and others.

Educational Goals:

For more detailed information please see the GSWS website:

Course Texts and Courseware:

·         Jacobs, S., Jacobson, R. & Marchbank, J. (2000), (eds), States of Conflict:  Gender, Violence and Resistance, London, Zed Books.
·         Custom Courseware
·         Electronic journal articles and online reports – available through your SFU library account and the links below.

Prerequisite: 45 units, including six units in GSWS or WS or GDST. Students with credit for special temporary topics (STT) course GDST 303 Gender, Violence and Resistance may not complete this course for further credit.

The Department of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies encourages clarity of thought and expression and good writing.

Students will be evaluated on these skills in all courses given by the department.

In addition, the department will follow policy t10.02 with respect to “intellectual honesty,” and “academic discipline” (

Course Evaluation and Assignments:

Reading Presentation – Pairs 10%
Each week one or more pair/s of students will be asked to take one particular reading (or set of readings) and to prepare to present that reading to class.  The aim is to explain the thesis of the reading, the methods (if it is a research piece) and to provide an analysis of the reading with respect to the themes of the course.  This is an assessed piece as a pair, worth 10% of the course.

Artifact Responses – Individual 20%
I will offer a number of materials to stimulate discussion.    For each of these you will provide a written response for the next class. Maximum length is 500 words.  The cumulative value of these responses is 20% of your grade.

Creative Project/Presentation – Group 20%
One week will be assigned for the presentation of a creative group project.  The choice of media is up to your group.  You may choose to perform, create an artwork, write (and perform) a poem/song, create a website, graphic novel or anything else agreed with me.  Along with the presentation you will also submit a 500 word commentary (one per group). The grade is a group grade, worth 20%.

Research Essay – Individual 40%
An essay on a topic selected by you (and agreed with me in advance) incorporating both course material and your own research (research will be secondary, there will be no primary data collected).  In addition to course readings you should aim to include at least two further academic sources and one other external source (could be a policy document, media source, website, e.g. UN site).  Length should be around 2,500 words. The grade is worth 40% of the overall mark.

Participation – Individual 10%
The grade for participation is based not just on speaking lots in class, though being active is encouraged, but also on the nature of that participation.  Contributions that advance discussion, facilitate others and treat the views and opinions of others with respect will be rewarded. This is worth 10% of your grade.