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Social Sciences Seminar: "Gender and education: thinking from the Asia/Pacific"


The relation between gender orders and education systems is complex and troubled. In many parts of the world, girls and women were excluded from formal education in the past; a massive global effort to improve literacy and educational access is one of the greatest changes in gender relations in recent generations. Yet education systems remain dominated by men, and curricula and testing systems often embed conservative and hierarchical models of masculinity and femininity. To change this situation, we need good understandings of gender and education (as well as political courage). Yet most of our concepts and models or understanding of this problem come from the global North, the rich countries of Europe and North America which are hegemonic in the global economy and especially in the international economy of knowledge. In this seminar, we will consider how to develop conceptualizations of the problem, and research agendas, based on the experience of the Asia/Pacific region. This means treating our own region as a source of intellectual authority and innovation. We will enquire what the historical experience and cultural resources of colonized, colonial and post-colonial societies mean for an understanding of gender issues in education.

Speaker: Professor Raewyn Connell

Raewyn Connell is University Professor at the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. An expert in the field of social theory, gender studies and sociology of education, she is the author, co-author or editor of over twenty books, including Making the Difference (1982), Gender and Power (1987), Schools and Social Justice (1993), The Men and the Boys (2000), Masculinities (2nd ed) (2005), Southern Theory (2007, winner of the Stephen Crook Memorial Prize) and Gender: In Global Perspective (2nd ed) (2009). Masculinities, the most cited in the field, has been translated into five different languages including Chinese. A recipient of the American Sociological Association's award for distinguished contribution to the study of sex and gender, Professor Connell has also been leading international discussions of masculinities and the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality, as well as a longterm participant in labour and peace movements. Her most recent research concerns neo-liberalism, corporate masculinities, knowledge, power and democracy on a global perspective, the role of intellectuals in globalisation, and problems of social justice in the new world order.