Gender studies is an interdisciplinary academic field that is devoted to analyzing gender identity and its representation in the social sphere. It originated in the interdisciplinary program women’s studies that used to concern itself with women, gender, politics, and feminism. Its rise to prominence, particularly in Western universities, coincided with the rise of the concept of deconstructionism. Disciplines that often contribute to gender studies include sexuality, gender, and sexual orientation in the fields of literature, human geography, linguistics, history, political science, economics, archaeology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, musicology, media studies, cinema, human development, public health, medicine, and law. It also analyzes how ethnicity, race, location, nationality, disability, and class intersect with the categories of gender and sexuality.
In this field of study, the term gender is used to refer to the social and cultural constructs of femininity and masculinity, and not being male or female in the literal sense of the term. Gender is pertinent to many fields, like drama studies, literary theory, film theory, contemporary art history, anthropology, performance theory, psychology, sociology, and sociolinguistics.
However, these disciplines sometimes differ in their approaches with respect to how and why gender is studied. Gender can be viewed in the realm of politics as a foundational discourse that political actors employ to position themselves on a variety of issues.
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