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Geographica Helvetica
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Volume 64, issue 1
Geogr. Helv., 64, 37-44, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-64-37-2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Geogr. Helv., 64, 37-44, 2009
https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-64-37-2009
© Author(s) 2009. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

  31 Mar 2009

31 Mar 2009

Gender-sensitive observations in public spaces as a teaching tool

J. D. Fortuijn J. D. Fortuijn
  • Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam, Nieuwe Prinsengracht 130, 1018 VZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Abstract. Public spaces can be seen as arenas where gendered social roles, relations and identities are (re)produced, represented and contested. Because of their (assumed) public character – crowded, open, accessible and visible – these spaces are extremely useful as «observatories » for teaching and learning geography. This article presents and discusses 17 examples of assignments of eleven different universities in Europe, the United States and Israel in which students are encouraged to observe public spaces in order to understand the gendered use of space, interactions in space and the physical and symbolic design of public spaces, and to reflect on their observations from a gender perspective. Two different teaching styles are distinguished: semi-formal (detailed, protocolized and object-oriented) and informal (open, relational and subject-oriented). These differences in teaching styles are argued to reflect differences in academic cultures between countries and between disciplinary paradigms.

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