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University of Oklahoma

[IAS 5940] Topics - International Studies - 497

Stephanie Szitanyi

Course Description

Topics in International Studies – Gender and War

Recently, the United States military has undergone and implemented a series of policy changes related to gender and military service, including the lifting of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the combat ban on women. Concurrently, gender has been known to play a distinct role in war, both as a tool and policy for statecraft. What then is the contemporary relationships between gender and war? This course provides an overview of this broad topic and question, reviewing the central role of women and, more generally, the role of gender plays in the politics of war and conflict. It also examines contemporary debates associated with gender and war, and, by extension militaries, particularly in the context of the United States, challenging historical and socially constructed associations that link men with war and dialectically women with peace.

The course is divided into three core foci: first, a historical review of women’s acknowledged (though more often unacknowledged) participation in war. Second, it considers debates associated with gendered bodies (women’s bodies in particular) in a.) their biological and social capacities to engage in violence in the context of war and conflict, and b.) the use of bodies as a terrain on which gendered violence is inflicted during war. Third, the course considers how public narratives associated with gender and war, and oppositely, gender and peace are generated.

Course Dates

DatesJanuary 3rd – January 17th, 2022
Last day to enroll or drop without penaltyDecember 5, 2021

Site Director

This is a three-credit hour online course. Please see your local Site Director or email our online site coordinator at

Professor Contact Information

Course ProfessorStephanie Szitanyi, PhD
Professor availabilityThe professor will be available via email to students. Students may contact the professor to set up meetings, if necessary, via Skype or Zoom.

Textbook(s) and Instructional Materials

Student materials are available at the OU Bookstore Website at The website has book selling, renting, buying, returning, and order tracking capabilities. If you need help with an order, or if you have any questions contact the toll-free phone at 1-(855)-790-6637, agents are available from 9a – 5p (EST) Monday – Friday. Text prices are available online.

Other required readings, articles, book chapters provided by the instructor and will be uploaded to Canvas course site.

Mandatory films which are part of the course, and which can be viewed for free online.

War and Gender How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa
War and Gender How Gender Shapes the War System and Vice Versa
by Joshua S. Goldstein
Published by Cambridge Univ Pr
ISBN: 9780521001809
Gender, War and Conflict
Gender, War and Conflict
by Sjoberg
Published by Polity Press
ISBN: 9780745660028
Gender Trouble in the U. S. Military : Challenges to Regimes of Male Privilege
Gender Trouble in the U. S. Military : Challenges to Regimes of Male Privilege
by Szitanyi, Stephanie
Published by Palgrave Macmillan
ISBN: 9783030212247
Gender Trouble in the U. S. Military : Challenges to Regimes of Male Privilege
Gender Trouble in the U. S. Military : Challenges to Regimes of Male Privilege
by Szitanyi, Stephanie
Published by Springer International Publishing AG
ISBN: 9783030212278

OU Email

All official correspondence from instructors will be sent only to students’ address.


Email Account and Canvas: Students are expected to check their OU email accounts and the course site on Canvas daily for updates from the instructor


Course Objectives

·        Identify and explain gendered power and its processes associated war and conflict

·        Identify, describe, and utilize feminist methods and theoretical approaches to the study of security, war, and peace

·        Assess the gendered nature of arguments associated with policy debates in the 21st Century U.S. military 

·        Conduct a field-study of a military museum or memorial site and provide a gendered analysis of that space in written format

Course Outline

Assignments, Grading and Due Dates

Detailed assignment instructions will be made available to students on the Canvas course webpage one month prior to the first class. All assignments will employ either the APA, MLA, or Chicago style guides.


This is a letter-graded course: A, B, C, D, or F. 

Technical Support Information

If you experience technical problems, contact Information Technology by visiting their website at: or contacting them by telephone at: (405) 325-HELP (4357).


Materials posted on the OU CANVAS system:

Access CANVAS at; enter your OU NetID (4+4) and password, and select course to access the material.


Procedures for Completion of Course Evaluation: 

Upon completion of the course students should go to the Advanced Programs Online Learning Information webpage and click on the applicable semester link under “Online Course Evaluation” which will direct them to the evaluation.  The evaluation will take approximately five minutes to complete.  Completion of the online evaluation is an important tool allowing Advanced Programs to gain information and student feedback for improvement of courses.

Your responses will be kept confidential.  They will be reviewed by the department and only supplied to the professor once grades for the course have been submitted.


Materials posted on the OU CANVAS system:

Access CANVAS at; enter your OU NetID (4+4) and password, and select course to access material. Please contact your local the IT Help desk at 405-325-HELP if you require assistance.  IT is available 24/7

Statement about the MHR Program Planner and Human Relations Website

Students should become familiar with the MHR Program Planner that was sent to each student upon admission into the program.  The planner has a description of the HR program objectives and requirements, suggestions for graduate study, financial assistance, and graduation information. Of particular interest is the information on the comprehensive exams and the internship.  For further information please visit the Department of Human Relations Website at:

Reasonable Accommodation Statement

The University of Oklahoma is committed to providing reasonable accommodation for all students with disabilities.  Any student in this course who has a disability that may prevent him or her from fully demonstrating his or her abilities should contact me personally as soon as possible so we can discuss accommodations necessary to ensure full participation and facilitate your educational opportunities.  Students with disabilities must be registered with the Office of Disability Services prior to receiving accommodations in this course.  The Office of Disability Services is located in Goddard Health Center, Suite 166, phone 405-325-3852 or TDD only 405-325-4173. For more information please see the Disability Resource Center website


Civility/Inclusivity Statement:

We understand our members represent a rich variety of backgrounds and perspectives. The Human Relations Department is committed to providing an atmosphere for learning that respects diversity. While working together to build this community we ask all members to:

  • share their unique experiences, values and beliefs
  • be open to the views of others
  • honor the uniqueness of their colleagues
  • appreciate the opportunity we have to learn from each other in this community
  • value each other’s opinions and communicate in a respectful manner
  • keep confidential discussions the community has of a personal (or professional) nature
  • use this opportunity together to discuss ways in which we can create an inclusive environment in this course and across the University of Oklahoma community.

Religious Holidays

It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without a penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays, without penalty.


Attendance/Grade Policy

Attendance and participation in interaction, individual assignments, group exercises, simulations, role playing, etc. are valuable aspects of any course because much of the learning comes from discussions in class with other students. It is expected that you attend all classes and be on time except for excused emergencies.

Excused absences are given for professor mandated activities or legally required activities such as emergencies or military assignments. It is the policy of the University to excuse absences of students that result from religious observances and to provide without penalty for the rescheduling of examinations and additional required class work that may fall on religious holidays. Unavoidable personal emergencies, including (but not limited to) serious illness; delays in getting to class because of accidents, etc.; deaths and funerals, and hazardous road conditions will be excused.

If you are obtaining financial assistance (TA, STAP, FA, VA, Scholarship, etc.) to pay all or part of your tuition cost, you must follow your funding agency/institution’s policy regarding “I” (Incomplete) grades unless the timeline is longer than what the University policy allows then you must adhere to the University policy. Students who receive Financial Aid must resolve/complete any “I” (Incomplete) grades by the end of the term or he/she may be placed on “financial aid probation.” If the “I” grade is not resolved/completed by the end of the following term, the student’s Financial Aid may be suspended make the student ineligible for further Financial Aid.

Students are responsible for meeting the guidelines of Tuition Assistance and Veterans Assistance. See the education counselor at your local education center for a complete description of your TA or VA requirements.

OU faculty will submit grades online through ONE not later than 30 days after the course end date. Course end dates are approximately one calendar month after the final seminar date on this syllabus and are provided on the official scheduling website for reference.

Academic Integrity and Student Conduct 

Academic integrity means honesty and responsibility in scholarship. Academic assignments exist to help students learn; grades exist to show how fully this goal is attained. Therefore all work and all grades should result from the student's own understanding and effort.

Academic misconduct is any act which improperly affects the evaluation of a student’s academic performance or achievement. Misconduct occurs when the student either knows or reasonably should know that the act constitutes misconduct. Academic misconduct includes: cheating and using unauthorized materials on examinations and other assignments; improper collaboration, submitting the same assignment for different classes (self-plagiarism); fabrication, forgery, alteration of documents, lying, etc…in order to obtain an academic advantage; assisting others in academic misconduct; attempting to commit academic misconduct; destruction of property, hacking, etc…; intimidation and interference with integrity process; and plagiarism. All students should review the Student’s Guide to Academic Integrity at 

Students and faculty each have responsibility for maintaining an appropriate learning environment. All students should review policies regarding student conduct at 

Accommodation Statement

The University of Oklahoma is committed to making its activities as accessible as possible. For accommodations on the basis of disability, please contact your local OU Site Director.

Adjustment for Pregnancy/Childbirth-Related Issues

Should you need modifications or adjustments to your course requirements because of documented pregnancy-related or childbirth-related issues, please contact the professor as soon as possible to discuss. Generally, modifications will be made where medically necessary and similar in scope to accommodations based on temporary disability. Please see

Title IX Resources

For any concerns regarding gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, or intimate partner violence, the University offers a variety of resources, including advocates on-call 24/7, counseling services, mutual no-contact orders, scheduling adjustments, and disciplinary sanctions against the perpetrator. Please contact the Sexual Misconduct Office at or (405) 325-2215 (8-5), or the Sexual Assault Response Team at (405) 615 -0013 (24/7) to report an incident. To learn more about Title IX, please visit the Institutional Equity Office’s website at 

Course Policies

Extended Campus (also and formerly known as Advanced Programs) policy is to order books in paperback if available. Courses, dates, and professors are subject to change. Please check with your OU Site Director. Students should retain a copy of any assignments that are e/mailed to the professor for the course. Neither duplicating services nor office supplies are provided.

Any and all course materials, syllabus, lessons, lectures, etc. are the property of professor teaching the course and the Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma and are protected under applicable copyright.

For more information about OU Extended Campus, visit our website at:

Statement on Respect

The classroom should provide a safe learning environment where students can express their views without fear of reprisal. That freedom of expression must be balanced by demonstrated respect for other’s viewpoints and appropriate and reasonable sensitivity, especially within the context of scholarly disagreement.  Disrespectful or uncivil dialogue (including, but not limited to, personal attacks, insults, or harassment) will not be tolerated.

Recording Devices/Phones/Computers

It is important for students to be fully present during class to fully benefit from lectures, discussions, and experiential assignments. Class sessions may not be tape-recorded. All telephones and pagers should be turned off or placed on silent mode. Computers may not be used during class. Students who require an exception to this policy should discuss exceptional circumstances with the professor.


Stephanie Szitanyi, PhD


·        2016 PhD (Political Science) Rutgers University, NJ, USA

·        2006 MA (International Relations and European Studies) Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

·        2005 BA (International Studies) Adelphi University, Garden City, NY, USA

Current Positions

·        Assistant Dean, Schools of Public Engagement, The New School, NY USA

Major Areas of Teaching and Research Interest

·        Women in the military

·        Civilian-military relations

·        Feminist IR theory

·        Militarism and Militarization

·        Humor and Politics

Representative Publications and Presentations

·        Gender Trouble in the U.S. Military (2020). Palgrave MacMillan.

·        “We Could be Headed for a Record-Breaking Women’s Vote” Dame Magazine. Published online 19 Oct. 2020.

·        “Female Vets Could Lead the Change in 2020” The Hill. Published online 13 Nov. 2018.

·        “This Year Congress Could be Invaded by Female Combat Veterans,” The Hill. Published online 27 Apr 2018.

·        “Semiotic Readings of the USS Midway Museum: Making Women Disappear in the Military,” International Feminist Journal of Politics. DOI: 10.1080/14616742.2013.876300. Published online 27 Mar 2014.

Major Professional Affiliations

·        Book Manuscript Reviewer, University of Illinois Press, Palgrave MacMillan.

·        Reviewer, International Feminist Journal of Politics.

·        Committee Member, Fulbright Student Program. The New School, NY. 2018.

·        Guest Lecturer, 2016 New York University Center for Global Affairs “Role of Women in U.S. National Security.” New York, NY.

·        Chair, 2016 International Studies Association (ISA) Conference “Feminist Activism and Peace.” Atlanta, Georgia.

·        Executive Committee Graduate Student Representative, 2015-2016 International Studies Association (ISA), Feminist Theory and Gender Studies Section.

·        Discussant, 2014 International Studies Association (ISA) Conference “Envisioning the Global – Visual Methodologies and Approaches to Research.” Toronto, Canada.

·        Discussant, 2013 International Studies Association (ISA) Conference “Militarizing Gendered and Racialized Effects of the ‘War on Terror.’” San Francisco, California.

·        Chair, 2012 International Studies Association (ISA) Conference “The Aftermaths of the War on Terror: Renegotiating Gendered National Identities” San Diego, California.