Gender and Politics

Why is Hilary Clinton one of the few female prospects for the 2016 presidential election? What would it mean if she wins and becomes the first female president in the U.S.? Why are so few heads of state women? In this course, we will examine how gender plays a role in political institutions, participation, and representation in the U.S. as well as in the transnational context. Three questions will be explored: (1) To what extent do women and men think, believe, and act differently from each other in politics and what might explain these differences? (2) To what extent are political processes and institutions and social structures gendered and how might they shape women’s and men’s political activities? (3) Why are women underrepresented in politics and to what extent do female political leaders have an impact? We will also pay close attention to how women differ among themselves in the realm of politics, particularly when their identities as women intersect with race, ethnicity, economic class, and sexuality.

Download the syllabus (Smith College)

Download the syllabus (Penn State)



Feedback from students

“The class is really organized in a clear and effective way. The in-class and reading materials are really interested, containing a lot of well-written research papers as well as news nowadays. In addition, the whole course covers various issues under the topic of gender and politics, and helps us to gain a lot of important mindsets like intersectionality.”

“I enjoyed the class and group activities. I have never done an in-class poll or debate like we did in this class. It was fun and encouraged us to think about things differently or at least from a different point of view.”

“The way the assignments were spaced out were so helpful and I really appreciated it. I also think the reading was a good amount and that the number of responses we did was good. I liked the structure and organization of the class.”

“The teaching style of Prof. Liu is really organized. She carefully prepares for each slide and the time of discussion for each topics. She leads and provokes discussions on class, and also increases students’ participation through small group discussions, debates etc.”

“Her strength lies in getting students to dig deeper in their answers.”

“I believe the group work and types of readings approached in this class were wonderful.”

“The in-class discussions about the 2016 election were really interesting and I appreciated hearing the reactions and insights from my peers about what had happened.”

“The class discussion was a very valuable feature in that I was able to understand different perspectives than my own.”

“Very good, would take a class with her again”

“Clear with expectations and directions. Helpful with office hours. Good group discussions, but not often enough. Media usage in class helpful. I liked the news articles you assigned us to read.”

“It’s clear that Prof. Liu wants to get to know her students and have them come into office hours to get to know each other better and talk about things beyond this
course, which I appreciated.”

“I liked how the readings came from a wide variety of sources and backgrounds, and displayed many different and often conflicting viewpoints. I particularly enjoyed the Sandberg/hooks pieces we read. I found the student presentations somewhat interesting, but it was totally dependent upon the public speaking skills of the person presenting. For some of the student presentations, I got very little out of it.”

“Gives great feedback in office hours, seems to want students to do well and to care about student well being. Is involved with/current with student goings-on (e.g. knows about lectures and events that students go to etc). Does a great job of keeping Moodle updated and returning assignments in a timely manner.”

“Professor Liu is incredibly kind, approachable and knowledgeable.”

“Always willing to help, very knowledgeable about the subject matter.”