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Interdisciplinary approaches to gender and diversity

People

Dagnino G.

Course director

Description

Over the last thirty years, and with increasing momentum in the last decade, the concept of gender has become an integral part of academic reflections across all disciplines: from social sciences to humanities; from medicine to computer science. Stemming from the so-called second wave of feminism of the 1960s and 1970s, the academic and public debate around gender has since grown to incorporate other dimensions of identity, such as age, class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and body ableness. Across all disciplines, studying gender and diversity means to acknowledge that there is no “universal” human experience, and, consequently, to interrogate how subjective and social experiences are in fact informed by one’s own positioning within the social identity spectrum. How do various identity aspects intersect? How are the topics of gender and diversity contributing to reshaping the theory and practice of various professional and academic fields? What challenges and opportunities does this bring? These are some of the key questions that will run through this inter-faculty course, which relies on the multi-disciplinary expertise of lecturers from USI and from other national and international universities.

The course is structured along four inter-disciplinary axes:

Axis 1 – Thinking introduces students to key concepts and theoretical foundations of gender and diversity studies. This will provide a solid, yet accessible, common ground for students and lecturers to participate in the discussions and to confidently approach the subsequent parts of the course. This part will comprise the first six hours of classes. 

Axis 2 – Seeing teaches students about the all-important theme of representation, understood both in terms of gender and diversity representations in the media, and in terms of role-model visibility in different professional sectors.

Axis 3 – Making illustrates, through a selection of exemplary cases, how gender and diversity are effectively implemented in the professional practices of different sectors, such as architectural design, software and application development, media production.

Axis 4 – Managing, presents and discusses the issues of gender and diversity from a management perspective, taking into consideration different type of economic organizations. 

Objectives

  1. To introduce students to key concepts of gender and diversity studies, by engaging them with a selection of works from seminal thinkers in the field.
  2. To enable students to confidently apply key concepts of gender and diversity studies to the analysis of different case studies.
  3. To familiarize students with the cross-cutting nature of gender and diversity studies and their relevance in a variety of professional and academic fields. 
  4. To illustrate the ways in which the concepts of gender and diversity are concretely applied by researchers and professionals in the fields of Media and communication, Economy and management, Data science and informatics, Architecture and design.

Guest lecturers:  

  • Prof. Christa Binswanger, professor in Gender and Diversity, University of St.Gallen 
  • Prof. Torsten Lange, lecturer in Cultural and Architectural History, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts 
  • Khensani Jurczok-de Klerk, educator at Chair of Affective Architectures, D-Arch, ETH Zürich
  • Prof. Jolanta Drzewiecka, professor in Intercultural Communication, USI
  • Prof. Monica Landoni, titular professor in Informatics and Society, USI 
  • Prof. Luca Visconti, professor in Consumers and Brands, USI

Sustainable development goals

  • Gender equality
  • Reduced inequalities

Teaching mode

In presence

Learning methods

The course is based on interactive lectures, with presentations from the instructors, guided discussions, and in-class mini-assignments. Since this is an inter-faculty course, active participation is highly encouraged to elicit peer exchange and mutual learning among students from different disciplinary backgrounds. 

To facilitate the participation of students from both Lugano and Mendrisio-based campuses, if necessary, the course will be offered in a blended format: in-class lectures will be live-streamed via Microsoft Teams and subsequently made available on the iCorsi platform. 

Examination information

Presentations during the final lesson(s) of the course, on a topic previously agreed with the course coordinator (70%). Presentations will be done individually or in teams, depending on the number of students attending. In-class participation to group discussions and in-class mini-assignments (30%).

Education