IGA-229: Gender, Sex and War – Gender and Public Policy (GAPP) Seminar with Dara Kay Cohen

IGA-229: Gender, Sex and War – The Gender and Public Policy Seminar has been designed by Dara Kay Cohen to give students an opportunity to engage with leading-edge scholars and practitioners working to advance gender equality. Because the subject of “gender and public policy” is too wide ranging and global to address within a single semester, we aim to focus the course each year on a “spotlight” issue.

The spotlight focus for the Fall 2020 semester is gender, sex and war. We will begin with a review of theoretical constructs, then turn to a series of policy relevant questions on the politics and policy of sex, gender, and political violence. Topics will include the causes and consequences of war; wartime sexual violence; the supply of and demand for female members of non-state armed groups; and the regulation of sex and gender within state armed forces. The course will include discussions of research design and implementation, as well as the implications of research on policy responses and interventions. The research will include some U.S. perspectives, but will primarily consider the international dimensions of gender, sex and political violence.

The class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays, there will be a mixture of short lectures and participatory activities, including students leading a class discussion of the assigned readings. On Thursdays, students will attend two meetings during the class period. First is the HKS Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) research seminar, which is held from 12:00-12:45pm. The research seminars will be hosted by WAPPP and are open to the HKS community; they take place every Thursday for 12 weeks, from September 10-December 3. Guest speakers from the WAPPP seminar will then join our class for the remainder of the class time, where students will have an opportunity to engage with the speakers about their research and career paths. Readings for the Tuesday class sessions will provide background and a broader research perspective on the Thursday presentations. This course is likely to be particularly beneficial to students who are interested in understanding and working to address the gendered causes and consequences of war. Our primary objective is to equip students with a theory-based understanding of gender, sex and political violence, and with a quiver of potential policy interventions. Please contact Prof. Cohen or her faculty assistant Sarah McLain with any questions.

Greg Dorchak

Administrator of the Management, Leadership, and Decision Sciences Area at the Harvard Kennedy School.