The philosophy of Gender Studies at the Faculty of Humanities at Charles University (FHS CU) rests in offering the opportunity for a systematic academic study of theoretical and methodological tools for researching and exploring gender issues in historical perspective, with a consideration of cultural and ethnic aspects of a given topic. Currently, FHS CU offers a M.A. program in Gender Studies with a long-term goal of broadening the program by a study on a Ph.D. level as well. In addition, the department also offers a range of gender related courses on the B.A. level, open to all interested students at FHS CU and other schools and universities. The department also cooperates with other research centers, schools and universities in the Czech Republic, namely the School of Social Studies at Masaryk University in Brno, the Faculty of Arts at Charles University, the National Contact Center for Women in Science of the Sociological Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences and others, as well as foreign universities and institutions abroad. The department is also open to and welcomes exchange students and faculty from academic exchange programs from Slovakia, as well as the Erasmu/Socrates and Fulbright programs.
Within this structure of the M.A. program the students confront a wide spectrum of theoretical, methodological and practical questions related to gender as one of the main organizing principles of human societies; gender and sexual symbolics and contextualization; historical and contemporary position of women and men in various societies; the influence of feminist and queer theories and methods in research and science; and other diverse aspects of gender. In this context it is important to note that in most advanced countries gender issues and aspects are cosidered one of the fundamental cornerstones of education in general, which is visible for example from the priorities and activities of the European Union in this area.
The activities and courses of the department of Gender Studies at FHS CU are aimed primarily at university students, but not only students of FHS CU, but through elective courses and bloc seminars also to students to other schools and universities in Prague and the entire Czech Republic.
Unlike in the educational systems in Western democracies, until very recently Gender Studies or any gender related courses have not been at all a part of college education (or any other education for that matter) in either Czechoslovakia or the Czech Republic. The creation and accreditation of the M.A. program in Gender Studies is a completely new phenomenon, the program has been accredited by the Czech Ministry of Education only in June 2004, and until this day our department has remained the only M.A. program in gender in the entire country. On the B.A. level it has been accompanied by a program in Gender at the Department of Sociology at the School of Social Studies at Masaryk University in Brno, the only B.A. program in gender in the Czech Republic.
Until 1998 education in gender studies has existed only thanks to the lecture and seminar activities realized and supported by the Gender Studies NGO in Prague, and similar organizations in Brno. From 1993 the NGO was offering a traveling course in gender studies, consisting of lectures and presentations by leading Czech and Slovak experts and scholars in the field of gender studies and feminist theories. Throughout the years, this course has been traveling through several universities in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, offering at least the basic information and knowledge in the field to interested students and faculty. For almost five years this activity of the Gender Studies NGO substituted for and played a role of an academic institution, but for a real academic status at the university level gender studies had to wait until 1998.
In october 1998 the Academic Senate of the Faculty of Arts at Charles University in Prague (FA CU) has approved the proposal of an expert team of scholars from the circle around the Gender Studies NGO and created a Center for Gender Studies as an independent academic site under the Department of Social Work at FF UK. The goal of the center was to offer an interdisciplinary variety of gender related courses to students of all departments of the school and thus create an opportunity for a systematic study of gender.
However, despite academic and fundraising successes of the center, in summer of 2003 the Academic Senate FF UK has decided to cancel the existence of the center based on an argumentation that gender studies are not a field, which FF UK would like to develop as an integral aspect of the school. Gender studies has moved to the Faculty of Humanities at Charles University, where the program and potential department has gained an unequivocal and full support from the school administration. Currently, we are in the second year of our program, having two cohorts of ambitious and promising M.A. students.
M.A. Program in Gender Studies is specifically conceptualized in a way so that the students of this field obtain knowledge and skills and deepen their understanding of gender constructions and principles functioning in society. The students should be able to critically and in complex ways evalutate the roles and meanings of these constructions in the overall organization of society. Likewise, they should be able to assess and analyze the consequences of the gender roles, constructions and stereotypes for both contemporary and historical position of women and men in society. The goal of the program is to familiarize the students with gender analysis in diverse academic fields and practical areas of social life in order to get them ready for professional careers in wide range of professional fields, including state administration, social policy, social and medical care, social and legal work, education and academic work.
Graduates of the M.A. program in Gender Studies wil find their careers in state and non-governmental organizations, especially in institutions and organizations concerned with social questions, family matters, domestic and public violence, human rights and equal opportunities, development of civil society, sustainable development, labor law, and others. In their work, individual, teamwork or leading roles, in roles of mediators of conflict resolution, in research, education, planning, applying methods of social change they will be able to inspire advanced gender sensibility and use applied gender analyis with gender differentiated attitudes. They will be able to contribute to so-called "gender mainstreaming", i.e. to the integration of gender differetiated attitudes and principles to the fundamental social-political and cultural structures of the society. They will be able to develop and cultivate priciples and environment of social justice in wide sense of the term, support gender balance, equality and human and civil rights to difference and gender and sexual autonomy. From the point of national and international view, graduates of our program should become the bearers of merging of legal practice of the Czech Republic with the European Union. Graduates of the program will also be able to find their careers in theoretical and pedagogical teams in academia and thus contribute to the development and broadening of gender studies on an interdisciplinary level, in both research and teaching.
Gender and Generation
- anthology of research articles, inspired by the international conference Gender and Generation, organized by and held at the Department of Gender Studies FHS UK in Prague in March 2007.
- Introduction and edited by Mgr. Kateřina Kolářová, Ph.D. and Věra Sokolová, Ph.D.
- published by Litteraria Pragensis, thanks to the financial support of the JPD grant of EU, Prague 2007.
Relationships, Languages, Bodies: Texts from the Conference of Czech and Slovak Feminist Studies
- edited by PhDr. Libuse Heczkova, Ph.D. et al.
- published by Charles University in Prague, School of Humanities, thanks to the financial support of the Ford Foundation, Prague, 2007.
The Gender Studies Yearbook 05/06
- edited by Doc. PhDr. Blanka Knotková-Čapková, Ph.D.
- published by Ermat, thanks to the financial support of the JPD grant of EU, Prague, 2007.
The Gender Studies Yearbook 03/04
- edited by Doc. PhDr. Blanka Knotková-Čapková, Ph.D.
- published by Charles University in Prague, School of Humanities, thanks to the financial support of the Ford Foundation, in 2004 (ISBN 80-239-4451-7).
Claire M. Renzetti a Daniel J. Curran Ženy, muži a společnost
- authorized team translation from the English original Women, Men, and Society (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 4. ed., 1999).
- published by Charles University in Prague, School of Humanitiesthanks to the financial support of the Ford Foundation and Open Society Fund Praha, in 2003 (ISBN 80-246-0525-2).
- for individual publications and activities of Gender Studies faculty see their respective webpages.