Political Science Now

Integrating Gender Into the Political Science Curriculum: Challenges, Pitfalls, and Opportunities

Virtual Issue: Diversity, Inclusiveness, and Inequality

The APSA Presidential Task Force Report ‘Political Science in the 21st Century report’, now just over five years old, offered a number of recommendations to the discipline including several related to political science research on diversity and racial, ethnic, and gendered marginalization. After reading APSA journals articles published in the years prior to and following the taskforce report, Dianne Pinderhughes and Maryann Kwakwa, both of the University of Notre Dame, argue that, while there have been important steps toward increasing multicultural diversity in political science research and teaching, the barriers that contributed to its marginalization in the past continue to exist. The following article is included in the virtual review issue.

Integrating Gender Into the Political Science Curriculum: Challenges, Pitfalls, and Opportunities

by Christine Di Stefano, University of Washington

The relationship between gender and politics is both obvious and elusive. The term “gender” refers to socially constructed and politically enforced notions of what it means to be male or female. Gendered notions acquire their plausibility and force by claiming to represent a prepolitical universe of gendered meanings and social arrangements. This mythical universe serves, in turn, to legitimize gender norms. Gender is most obviously political in the sense  that it shapes the opportunities and liabilities of gender-coded subjects. But it is also political because it has the power to impose meaning and value upon our activities and social relationships and to deflect attention from the politics of meaning. The elusiveness of the politics-gender connection derives from its very success as a political formation. To the extent that gender is assumed to be an emanation of “nature rather than an artifact of “culture,” its politicalness is rendered invisible.

PS: Political Science & PoliticsVolume 30Issue 2