PSYC 249 - Women in SocietyType of Course: First Seminar
Examines how women’s psychological functioning and development can be understood in societal context, with a central attention to differences as well as commonalities among women. To examine the workings of the societal context, we discuss anthropological and sociological studies of women’s status in various societies and of different women’s status within a given society and we examine how gender, race/ethnicity and class operate jointly in structuring societies and cultures. The focus of the seminar is on how economic, historical and cultural processes impinge on the individual, for example how cultural representations of femininity and masculinity, the workings of social institutions, or language as the symbolic carrier of meaning, configure social life and individual subjectivity, and we discuss the interconnections between those social and cultural processes. We center on individual women’s functioning within that context, covering such topics as women’s personal development, life issues of women, intellectual functioning, personal power, and women’s roles and functions in society, including issues relating to role choices and adult development. The objective of the course is to guide students to approach individual functioning and development as the functioning of social agents participating in, and shaped by a complex social and cultural world.