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Important dates

The 2016 GES program is now accepting applications.

Information session: January 27, 2016, 12 p.m.
Lewis Global Studies Center, Wright Hall

Application deadline: February 15, 2016
Confirmation deadline: March 21, 2016


Apply online in the Smith International Travel Experiences System (SITES).

GES 305 The Gender Politics of Participatory Democracy and Development (Kenya)

Katwiwa Mule (Comparative Literature), Lucy W. Mule (Education and Child Study)

With the exception of the unsuccessful 1982 attempted military coup and the violence following the disputed outcome of the 2007/2008 elections, Kenya is usually held up as a model of economic, democratic and social stability in Africa. This acclaim, however, belies a more complicated, gendered narrative that led to a massive repudiation of the male-dominated one-party system in 2002. The pioneering role of women candidates in the 2002 revolution (dubbed the second liberation), and the ascendancy to power of the National Rainbow Coalition Government - a coalition headed by a woman who would go on to lose the presidential vote but remain head of the ruling coalition - provided an opportunity for reimagining of gender equity.

This course provides a critical assessment of how gender politics have emerged and developed in Kenya. We will examine how issues of nationalism and nation-building and the second and third waves of democratization and governance have impacted gender equity by addressing the following questions: How have women's movements in Kenya since independence contributed to, or inhibited, gender equity? How have gendered nationalist state-building ideologies created deep fissures and pressures for gender- sensitive development? In what ways have women engaged with institutions of governance in Kenya? How have women leaders, for example, attempted to reverse the pernicious effects of gender-blind social protection policies mandated by multilateral partners?

Focusing on political participation, popular democracy, gender-based parliamentary representation, and state feminism, we will also seek to understand ways in which women have created new political spaces of empowerment, as well as the limits of such spaces.

This course, based in Nairobi, will involve attendance at lectures provided by GES faculty directors, female leaders and activists, and faculty from local universities. Following the seminar, the League of Kenya Women Voters will facilitate students’ placement in internships with local organizations focused on issues of women, politics, and development.

Pre-seminar: spring semester 2016
On site seminar: summer 2016
Internship or service-learning: summer 2016

Costs & Fees

The cost for the program is $8,000. The cost includes airfare, lodging, local transportation, site visits, and a food stipend. Additional support is available based on need as determined by Student Financial Services.

2016 Program Dates

Start Date: May 16
End Date: July 17

More Information

Questions about the application process should be directed to the Lewis Global Studies Center at global@smith.edu. Questions about the course content should be directed to the faculty instructors.