July 31, 2017
Fall 2017, the American University of Central Asia (AUCA) will officially open its program in Gender Studies. AUCA’s program in Gender Studies is the first academic program of its kind in Central Asia and an important step in looking at gender relations within the nation, the region, and the world.
AUCA’s support for this program demonstrates its commitment not only to understanding gender relations but also to innovative scholarship and research. Building off extensive expertise across the university, the program, housed in the Sociology Department, will include classes in: Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology, Law, International & Comparative Politics, and Journalism & Mass Communications. The courses will include such things as: Women in International Relations; Gender, Ethics, & Violence; Women in Medieval and Renaissance Art; Gender, Power, & Resistance; and Gender & Media.
The program creation was initiated by students at AUCA who were interested in the possibility of studying gender. President Wachtel’s encouragement for the program has been unwavering, and a demonstration of his willingness to respond to the most cutting-edge developments in scholarship.
Since the late 1960s, the study of women and gender has taken on increasing prominence. This has occurred both within the academy and outside of it. These movements were disparate, diverse, and came about in particular contexts and time periods. It is into this context that AUCA has built its Gender Studies program.
One of the key sites of pushing for change has been the role of educational institutions in the formation of departments focused on studying gender.
As part of the new Gender Studies program an academic center for research on gender and sexuality will be created. The Center for Critical Gender Studies (CCGS) will provide a hub for researchers at AUCA and beyond to share information, resources, as well as a platform for a lecture series at AUCA.
The Center is also working with the World Bank & Sexual Violence Research Initiative Funded Project “Combating culturally endorsed sexual violence in Kyrgyzstan through innovative education and information technology” directed by Dr. Elena Kim, Head of the Division of Social Sciences. This project includes Dr. Elena Molchanova, Dr. Frank G. Karioris, Mirgul Karimova, Marat Aliyaskarov, Aigerim Bakubatova, and Galina Chirkina.