The first Women’s Studies course was offered in 1994 as part of a projected minor in Women’s Studies. Since then, the Institute has developed a curriculum for eleven interdisciplinary eleven courses. All are open to any student at Birzeit University, and there are no prerequisites. The courses include Introduction to Women’s Studies, Women in Arab Society (cross-listed with the Sociology Department), Women in the Family, Women in Discourse, Feminist Women’s Movements, Women and Development, Feminist Theories, Women and the Law, the Psychology of Women, and Special Topics.
The introductory course has been one of the Faculty of Art’s most popular courses, and counts towards the fulfillment of general requirements for students in the Faculty of Arts. In the past year, the Institute has re-framed this course, enriching the curriculum by adding original materials, including writings by faculty members. The improved curriculum is to result in an Arabic-language textbook for publication and use in the region. Films are also used in this course, which is often taught in four sections.
In the past two years, the Institute has offered four undergraduate courses: Introduction to Women’s Studies, Women in Arab Society, Women in Development, and History of Women’s Movements. Three or four sections of the introductory course are offered each semester; the other three classes are offered once a year. Some 40 students enroll in each section, of whom 50% are males. All of these are taught by students who have graduated from our MA Program in Gender, Law and Development.
Cross-listing courses with other departments has been an important part of the program, as it encourages other departments to integrate gender as a category of analysis. Hopefully, this can help mainstream gender in the University.
Faculty teaching undergraduate courses: Lina Mi’ari, Nida’ Abu Awwad, Rula Abu Duhou, Amira Silmi, Samar Yasser and Nahed Samara.