İzlenceler / SYLLABI

Gender in International Relations – Burcu Özdemir-Sarıgil

Okuma Süresi: 12 dk.

Eğitmen/Lecturer: Dr. Burcu Özdemir-Sarıgil
Dersin Verildiği Okul/Institution the course is offered: Bilkent Üniversitesi
Bilkent Üniversitesi Ders Kodu/Bilkent University Course Code: IR 492

Course Description and Objectives

Gender is constitutive of everyday international relations! In the words of Cynthia Enloe (1990), “Gender makes the world go round”. The aim of this course is to introduce the crucial role played by gender in international relations and politics. We will shed light on the power relations, margins, marginals, invisibles, and silences of the IR discipline, ask “Where are the men, and women” and discuss what it means to take gender seriously. Following the “curious feminists” of the IR, we will learn how ideas about power, masculinity and femininity, gender stereotypes, and gendered division of labor affect the theory and practice of various aspects of international politics, and IR discipline.

The first part of the course (weeks 1-4) encourages thinking about what is gender, why and how gender matters in IR, and introduces the feminist theorizing/research in IR that has been developed since the 1980s. The second part of the course (weeks 5-12), through interactive activities and discussions, uncovers the gender dimension of a range of key IR issues including human rights, state, citizenship, nationalism, war, conflict, violence, security, peace, foreign policy, diplomacy, international organizations, etc. Each semester, the last two weeks of the course (weeks 13-14) will be given to students for their group presentations under the general ‘Gender in IR’ topics they choose. These topics include (but, of course, are not limited to) “Gender and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals”; “Gender and Pandemics”, “Gender and Humanitarian Crisis”, “Gender and Migration”, “Gender and Climate Change”, “Gender and Cinema”, “Gender and Sports”, “Gender and Academia”, “Gender and Labor Market”, “Gender and Terrorism”, “Anti-gender Movement in the World”, “Gender and Leadership”, etc. 

By the end of this course, students could be able to: 

  • Analyze and reflect critically on various aspects of IR and the behavior of a range of state and non-state actors from a gender perspective 
  • Learn the feminist perspectives of IR (and realize that most of the time Feminists (and critical IR) are more realistic than Realists). 
  • Develop and present persuasive oral and written arguments on the diverse ways in which gender shapes international politics. 
  • Gain the ability to develop gender-sensitive and rights-based views/positions in approaching global problems including violence, conflicts, peace, migration, refugees, clime change, foreign policy, etc.
  • Gain knowledge and background to pursue professional careers in gender-related projects or departments of state, IOs, or civil society organizations.  

Course Evaluation and Grading

All students must attend classes regularly, participate in class discussions actively, make presentations, and take exams. 

Grades will be based on: 

a) Opinion Essays (Take-Home) 20%

b) Group Presentation: 15% 

c) Midterm exam: 35%

d) Final exam: 30%

Opinion Essays (Take-Home): The opinion essays encourage students to further reflect on the gender issues in world politics, and aim to enhance students’ critical thinking. Students are expected to write 2 opinion essays (500 to 750 words). It is a take-home assignment. Students are given visual material (e.g., a photograph, short video, collage, painting, drawing, cartoon, figure, table, etc.) on a particular IR issue, and asked first to interpret what they see in there with a gender lens and develop their own argument. So, there is no right or wrong answer. But, to get the highest, students are required to substantiate their argument by giving references to the course readings and reliable data. 

Group Presentation: The goals of group presentations are to enrich students’ curiosity and critical thinking about Gender in IR and increase students’ ability to develop, communicate and discuss their views and opinions. During the preparation stage, we have 2-2-2 rules. The groups will be formed and the topics of the semester will be selected in our first 2 weeks. Group presentations will be held during our last 2 weeks. Groups are required to meet with the instructor at least 2 weeks in advance to get feedback! 

Your group presentations will be a max. of 20 minutes in length and the follow-up discussions will take 10 minutes. Do not go over the time limit!!! Your presentation will be evaluated on the quality and accuracy of substantive content (7 points), the organization and creativity (3 points), and your communication and discussion performances (3 points). The groups also have the responsibility to submit summaries of the presentations before the final exam (2 points). 

Exams: The Midterm (35% of total grade) and Final Exam (30% of total grade) will be in-class, closed book exam format. The exams cover lectures, readings, and discussions.

Course Rules and Policies

  • All information regarding the course will be announced in class and also sent via e-mail and Moodle. Please check your e-mails and Moodle regularly. 
  • Your instructor is strict on plagiarism and other instances of the violation of academic honesty. Be aware that such actions result in severe disciplinary measures. Also, please be respectful of differences, and different opinions. This course encourages free and critical thinking. However, be aware that the universal human rights principles of equality and non-discrimination are not open to discussion. 
  • Please come to the classroom on time. It is disruptive to arrive late (max 10 minutes) to class. Repeated disruptions will lead to a reduction in your final grade. Once in the classroom, please put your phone on silent. 
  • Missing Exams and Make-up Rules: In case of illness and/or personal emergency, the instructor will provide make-up exams only when provided with proper documentation. You must let me know either before or during the exam day by email or in person. Otherwise, you cannot claim a make-up exam. 
  • Grade Appeals: If you wish to challenge a grade you received on a specific question on an exam, you must submit a written note or e-mail explaining why you think you deserve more points within one week of receiving the grades. Otherwise, I will not accept grade appeals. Once I receive your written note, I will regrade the entire exam in terms of the answer key, and your grades may increase, decrease or remain the same, and explain the reasons.

Course Readings

There will be one textbook required for this course: Jill Steans and Daniella Tepe-Belfrage (eds.), Handbook on Gender in World Politics, (UK: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016). In addition, there are numerous book chapters, journal articles, and visual material to discuss. All these readings are available online. Thus, you do not need to print and waste paper. 

The required readings should be considered by students as part of the core readings of the course. Please try to complete the required readings by the date for which they are assigned. Each week, you will also find an extensive list of suggested readings. Don’t worry, you don’t have to read them all. These reading lists are provided to students to be used in, for instance, essays, presentations, or in other stages of academic life.  

Course Overview

Week 1 Introduction to Gender in International Relations

Week 2 (a) What is Gender / (b) Gender and Intersectionality

Week 3 Why Gender Matters in International Relations?

Week 4 Feminist International Relations/ The Curious Feminists in IR’s Wonderland

Week 5 Gendering State and Human Rights – The Feminist Critiques and Contributions

Week 6 Gender Equality, Revision of Human Rights, and the UN

Week 7 A Gender-based Global Pandemic: Violence against Women

Week 8-9 Feminist Security Studies 

Week 10 The Global Women, Peace, and Security Agenda (UNSCR1325 and beyond)

Week 11 Gender in Diplomacy

Week 12 Gender in Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice

Week 13-14: Group Presentations on Selected ‘Gender in IR’ Topics 

Course Schedule

Week 1: Course Overview and Introduction to Gender in International Relations 


Week 2: (a) What is Gender (beyond pink and blue) / (b) Gender and Intersectionality

Required Readings: 

  • Jill Steans and Daniella Tepe-Belfrage 2016, chapter 8 (Terrell Carver, Sex, Gender and Sexuality) 
  • Patricia Hill Collins and Valerie Chepp, “Intersectionality,” in Waylen, Celis, Kantola and Weldon (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Gender and Politics (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012) pp. 57-87 

Suggested Readings: 

  • Barbara J. Risman, “Gender as a Social Structure,” in Risman, Froyum, Scarborough (eds.) Handbook of the Sociology of Gender 2nd edition (Springer, 2018), pp. 19-45 
  • Zandria F. Robinson, “Intersectionality and Gender Theory,” in Risman, Froyum, Scarborough (eds.) Handbook of the Sociology of Gender 2nd edition (Springer, 2018), pp. 69-78 

Week 3: Why Gender Matters in International Relations? 

Film Screening and Discussion (Personal is International-International is Personal). OSAMA (2003), available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpFJJd3ZNPo&t=101s

Required Readings: 

  • Cynthia Enloe, Bananas, Beaches, and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics 2nd edition, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014), pp. 1-36, 343-359 
  • Laura Shepherd (ed.) Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations (London and New York: Routledge, 2010), Chapter 1, pp.3-15  

Suggested Readings:

  • Ann Tickner, “Gender in World Politics,” in Baylis, Smith, Owens (eds.) The Globalization of World Politics An Introduction to International Relations 6th edition (Oxford University Press: 2014), pp.259-271 

Week 4: Feminist International Relations/ The Curious Feminists in IR’s Wonderland 

Required Readings: 

  • Craig N. Murphy, “Seeing Women, Recognizing Gender, Recasting International Relations,” International Organization, 50:3, (Summer, 1996), pp. 513-538 
  • J. Ann Tickner, “You Just Don’t Understand: Troubled Engagements between Feminists and IR Theorist,” International Studies Quarterly, 41:4, (1997), pp.611-632  
  • Gillian Youngs, “Feminist International Relations: a Contradiction in Terms? Or: Why Women and Gender are Essential to Understanding the World ‘We’ Live in,” International Affairs, 80:1, (2004), pp. 75-87
  • Jill Steans and Daniella Tepe-Belfrage (eds.) 2016, Chapter 2, pp. 5-12 (Ann Tickner, “Still Engaging from the Margins”) 
  • Cynthia Enloe, The Curious Feminist: Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), pp.1-18. 
  • Cynthia Enloe, “Resisting Lazy Political Analysis: Crafting a Feminist Curiosity to Make Sense of International Politics,” Alternatif Politika, 9:3, (2017), pp. 317-324 
  • Prügl and Tickner, “Feminist International Relations: Some Research Agendas for a World in Transition,” European Journal of Politics and Gender, 1:1-2, (2018), pp. 75-91
  • V. Spike Peterson, “Rethinking, Returning, Reflecting,” Alternatif Politika, 9:3, (2017), pp. 325-342 

Suggested Readings 

  • Tickner, J. A., “Hans Morgenthau’s Principles of Political Realism: A Feminist Reformulation,” Millennium17:3, (1988), pp. 429–440 
  • V. Spike Peterson, “Transgressing Boundaries: Theories of Knowledge, Gender and International Relations,” Millenium: Journal of International Studies, 21:2, (1992), pp. 183-206
  • Kimberly Hutchings, “1988 and 1998: Contrast and Continuity in Feminist International Relations,” Millenium: Journal of International Studies, 37:1, (2008), pp. 97-105 
  • Ackerly and True, “With or without Feminism? Researching Gender and Politics in the 21st Century,” European Journal of Politics and Gender 1:1-2 (2018), pp. 259-78. 
  • Sandra Whitworth, “Feminism,” in C. Reus-Smit and D. Snidal (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of International Relations(Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp.391-408 
  • Laura Sjoberg and Ann Tickner, “Feminist Perspectives on International Relations” in Carlsnaes, Risse, Simmons (eds) Handbook of International Relations (Sage Publications, 2013), pp.170-195 
  • Karen J. Vogel, “Feminist International Relations”, in John T. Ishiyama and Marijke Breuning (eds.) 21st Century Political Science A Reference Handbook (Palgrave MacMillan: 2011), pp. 344-352
  • Jill Steans, “Feminist Perspectives,” in Jill Steans et al An Introduction to International Relations Theory Perspectives and Themes 3rd edition (London and New York: Pearson, 2010), pp. 155-183 
  • Adrienne Roberts, “The Future of Feminist International Relations,” in Synne L. Dyvik, Jan Selby and Rorden Wilkinson (eds.), What is the Point of International Relations? (London and New York: Routledge, 2017), pp.231-242. 
  • Brooke Ackerly, Maria Stern, and Jacqui True (eds.) Feminist Methodologies for International Relations (Cambridge University Press, 2006). 


Week 5: Gendering State and Human Rights: The Feminist Critiques and Contributions 

Required Readings: 

  • Jill Steans and Daniella Tepe-Belfrage (eds.), 2016, Chapter 17, pp. 137-145 (Hilary Charlesworth, “Gender and International Law”) 
  • Hilary Charlesworth, “Human Rights as Men’s Rights,” in Peters and Wolper (eds.) Women’s Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives (New York and London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 103-113 
  • Charlotte Bunch, “Transforming Human Rights from a Feminist Perspective,” in Peters and Wolper (eds.) Women’s Rights, Human Rights: International Feminist Perspectives (New York and London: Routledge, 1995), pp. 11-17. 
  • Bandana Purkayastha, “Gender and Human Rights” in Risman, Froyum, Scarborough (eds.) Handbook of the Sociology of Gender 2nd edition (Springer, 2018), pp. 523-533 

Week 6: Gender Equality, Revision of Human Rights, and the United Nations 

Welcome to EQUITERRA, where gender equality is real! https://www.unwomen.org/sites/default/files/Headquarters/Attachments/Sections/Library/Publications/2020/Welcome-to-Equiterra-where-gender-equality-is-real-Poster-en.pdf

Required Readings: 

  • Jill Steans and Daniella Tepe-Belfrage (eds.), 2016, Chapter 18, pp. 145-153 (C. Chinkin, “The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women”) 
  • Jill Steans and Daniella Tepe-Belfrage (eds.), 2016, Chapter 23, pp. 187-197 (Jutta Joachim, NGOs, Feminist Activism and Human Rights”) 
  • Yakin Erturk, “The UN Agenda for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality,” Perceptions (Summer 2005), pp.91-113 
  • UN Women, Gender Equality: Women’s Rights in Review 25 years after Beijing. https://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2020/03/womens-rights-in-review
  • Ryan Richard Thoreson, “Queering Human Rights: The Yogyakarta Principles and the Norm that Dare Not Speak Its Name,” Journal of Human Rights, 8:4, (2009), pp.323-39. 

Suggested Readings:

Week 7: A Gender-based Global Pandemic: Violence Against Women 

Required Readings: 

  • United Nations, Ending Violence against Women from Words to Action-Study of the Secretary-General, (2006), pp. 7-61


Suggested Readings: 

  • United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women (1993) 
  • The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) General Recommendation No.35 on gender-based violence against women, updating General Recommendation No. 19 
  • Council of Europe, Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention) 
  • Christine Chinkin and Joanne Neenan, “International Law and the Continuum of Gender-based Violence,” LSE Centre for Women Peace Security (April 2017), available at http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/wps/2017/04/06/international-law-and-the-continuum-of-gbv/
  • Jacqui True, The Political Economy of Violence against Women, (Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), pp. 3-16  
  • UN Women, Global Database on Violence against Women (http://evaw-global-database.unwomen.org/en  
  • Burcu Özdemir, “The Role of the EU in Turkey’s Legislative Reforms for Eliminating Violence against Women: A Bottom-Up Approach”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 16:1, (2014), pp. 119-136
  • Burcu Ozdemir-Sarigil and Zeki Sarigil, “Who Is Patriarchal? The Correlates of Patriarchy in Turkey,” South European Society and Politics, 26:1, (2021), pp. 27-53

Week 8-9: Feminist Security Studies 

Film Discussion: 

Iraq: The Women’s Stories (2006), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uSESAcV9v6w

Where Do We Go Now? (2012), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Te9c2jReOg

Required Readings: 

  • Jill Steans and Daniella Tepe-Belfrage (eds.), 2016, Chapter 27, pp. 225-233 (Russell and Hudson, “Gender and Security”)
  • Laura Sjoberg, “Feminist Security and Security Studies”, in Alexandra Gheciu, and William C. Wohlforth (eds), The Oxford Handbook of International Security, (Oxford Academic, 5 Apr. 2018), https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198777854.013.4
  • H. Hudson, “Doing’ Security as Though Humans Matter: A Feminist Perspective on Gender and the Politics of Human Security,” Security Dialogue36: 2, (2005), pp.155–174

Suggested Readings: 

  • Jean Bethke Elshtain, Women and War, (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1987, 1995), pp.1-13 
  • Marysia Zalewski, ‘Well, What is the Feminist Perspective on Bosnia?’, International Affairs, 71 (2), (1995), pp. 339–356.  
  • Cynthia Enloe, “All the Men Are in the Militias, All the Women Are Victims: The Politics of Masculinity and Femininity in Nationalist Wars,” in The Curious Feminist- Searching for Women in a New Age of Empire (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004), pp.99-118. 
  • Cynthia Enloe, Nimo’s War, Emma’s War: Making Feminist Sense of the Iraq War (California University Press, 2010) 
  • Anne Sisson Runyan and V. Spike Peterson, “Gender and Global Security” in Runyan and Peterson (ed.) Global Gender Issues in the New Millennium 4th edition (Westview Press, 2014), pp.139-181
  • Maya Eichler, “Russian veterans of the Chechen wars: a feminist analysis of militarized masculinities,” in Ann Tickner and Laura Sjoberg (eds.) Feminism and International Relations Conversations about the Past Present and Future (New York: Routledge, 2011), pp. 123-146. 
  • Carol Cohn, “Women and Wars: Toward a Conceptual Framework,” in Carol Cohn (ed.) Women and Wars, (Polity Press,2013), pp.20-30. 
  • Cynthia Cockburn, “Gender Relations as Causal in Militarization and War”, International Feminist Journal of Politics, 12:2, (2010), pp. 139-157. 
  • Laura Sjoberg and Sandra Via (eds.) Gender, War, and Militarism: Feminist Perspectives (Praeger, 2010), pp. 1-11; 21-28 
  • Donna Pankhurst, “Sexual Violence in War,” in Laura Shepherd (ed.) Gender Matters in Global Politics: A Feminist Introduction to International Relations 2nd edition (London and New York: Routledge, 2015), pp. 159-170  
  • WSW Webinar Series: Episode 7: Men, Masculinities and Militarism, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCfW6SvTi-A&list=PLNg8XBWIKLaNS4jBUvX2MzC69t8LRYgrg&index=7
  • WSW Webinar Series: Episode 4: Sexual Violence in Conflict https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo76kD7cALw&list=PLNg8XBWIKLaNS4jBUvX2MzC69t8LRYgrg&index=4  
  • Andrew Simon-Butler and Bernadette McSherry, Defining Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in the Refugee Context, IRIS Working Paper Series, No. 28/2019. https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/Documents/college-social-sciences/social-policy/iris/2019/iris-working-papers-28-2019.pdf
  • Bezen Balamir Coskun and Selin Y. Nielsen, Encounters in the Turkey-Syria Borderlands, (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018)
  • C. Akça Ataç, “A Feminist Reading of Turkish Foreign Policy and the S-400 Crisis”, Alternatives, 46:4, (2021), pp. 103–119.
  • Bilge Şahin, Sexual Violence Crimes and Gendered Violence Relations Bringing Justice to Women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (London and New York: Routledge, 2021)
  • Gülriz Şen and Başak Yavçan, “Gender, Radicalization, and Patriarchy in Turkey: An Analysis of Women’s Motivations and Constraints when Confronted with ISIS and the al-Nusra Front”, Turkish Studies, (2022),DOI: 10.1080/14683849.2022.2159390

Week 10: The Global Women, Peace, and Security Agenda (UNSCR1325 and beyond)

Required Readings: 

  • United Nations Security Council, Resolution 1325 (2000), S/RES/1325 (2000) http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=S/RES/1325(2000)
  • Ann Tickner and Jacqui True, “A Century of International Relations Feminism: From World War 1 Women’s Peace Pragmatism to the Women, Peace, and Security Agenda,” International Studies Quarterly, 62:2, (2018), pp.221-233 
  • UN Women, A Global Study on the Implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325-Preventing Conflict, Transforming Justice, Securing the Peace. 2015. https://wps.unwomen.org/pdf/en/GlobalStudy_EN_Web.pdf
  • Paul Kirby and Laura Shepherd, “Women, Peace, and Security: Mapping the (Re)Production of a Policy Ecosystem. Journal of Global Security Studies, 6:3, (2021), pp. 1-25

Suggested Readings: 

Week 11: Gender in Diplomacy

Required Readings: 

  • Karin Aggestam and Ann Towns, “The Gender Turn in Diplomacy: A New Research Agenda,” International Feminist Journal of Politics, 21:1, (2018), pp. 9-28  
  • Karen Smith, “Missing in Analysis: Women in Foreign Policy-Making”, Foreign Policy Analysis, 16:1, (2019), pp.130–141

Suggested Readings: 

  • Cynthia Enloe, “Diplomatic and Undiplomatic Wives,” in Bananas, Beaches and Bases: Making Feminist Sense of International Politics 2nd Edition, (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2014), pp. 174- 210. 
  • Bahar Rumelili and Rahime Süleymanoğlu-Kürüm “Women and Gender in Turkish Diplomacy: Historical Legacies and Current Patterns,” in Karin Aggestam and Ann E. Towns (ed.) Gendering Diplomacy and International Negotiation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp. 87-106 
  • Jennifer A. Cassidy, Gender and Diplomacy (London and New York: Routledge, 2017) 
  • Glenda Sluga and Carolyn James, Women, Diplomacy and International Politics since 1500 (London and New York: Routledge, 2016) 
  • Bahar Rumelili, Senem Aydın-Düzgit and Seçkin Barış Gülmez, “Gendering Public Diplomacy: Turkey and Europe in the 1930s”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, 25:2, (2023), pp. 239-256
  • Rahime Süleymanoğlu-Kürüm and Bahar Rumelili, “From Female Masculinity to Hegemonic Femininity: Evolving Gender Performances of Turkish Women Diplomats”, The Hague Journal of Diplomacy17:3, (2022), pp. 402-430.

Week 12: Feminist Foreign Policy: Theory and Practice

Film Discussion: The Feminister, https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thefeminister2

Required Readings: 

Suggested Readings 

  • Visit the MFA web-pages of FFP countries 
  • Visit Women in Foreign Policy (WFP) Initiative in Turkey (see the web page, https://www.womeninfp.org/en/
  • Sweden Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Handbook Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy, (2014), (https://www.government.se/4a4752/contentassets/fc115607a4ad4bca913cd8d11c2339dc/handbook_swedens-feminist-foreign-policy.pdf)
  • Birgitta Niklasson and Felicia Robertson, “The Swedish MFA: Ready to Live Up to Expectations?,” in Karin Aggestam and Ann E. Towns (ed.) Gendering Diplomacy and International Negotiation ( Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), pp.65-86. 
  • David Driesmith, “Manly States and Feminist Foreign Policy: Revisiting the Liberal State as an Agent of Change,” in Parashar, Tickner, and True (eds.) Revisiting Gendered States (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), pp.51-69 
  • J. Ann Tickner, ‘Searching for the Princess? Feminist Perspectives in International Relations,’ Harvard International Review (1999) 
  • Francis Fukuyama, “Women and the Evolution of World Politics,” Foreign Affairs, 78:1 (1998), pp.22-40. 
  • Ann Tickner, “Why Women Can’t Run the World: International Politics According to Francis Fukuyama,” International Studies Perspectives, 1: 3, (1999), pp. 3-11. 
  • Ali Bilgic, Turkey, Power, and the West: Gendered International Relations and Foreign Policy, (I.B. Tauris, 2016) 

Week 13-14: Group Presentations on Selected ‘Gender in IR’ Topics 

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