Global: Gendered Autocratization as a global challenge

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content

Autocratic leaders around the world are increasingly using gender as a tool for strengthening their grip on power. This is often framed as a crusade against liberal "gender ideology"- which is a shorthand for efforts to advance gender equality; lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ+) rights; rights to abortion and reproductive health services and protection against gender-based violence. Portrayed as defense of tradition, religion, culture, national sovereignty and the natural family, anti-gender mobilization, it resonates with public opinion in many societies, and has become a favored and very effective means to rally support. This has enabled the passing of restrictive laws, not only against individuals engaging in "immoral" activities (such as abortion or consensual sex between persons of the same gender), but also large parts of civil society, restricting criticism and opposition. We see this trend most clearly across the African and American continents, in Eastern Europe and the Muslim world, but it is also visible in some Asian and Western European countries.  This course discusses what drives this trend, what the effects are, and how it should be addressed.    

The course consists of the following components:

  1. Student-led moderated seminar discussions
  2. Guest lectures
  3. Group work
  4. Reflection notes

Learning Outcomes

A student who has completed the course should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student knows

  • major debates and developments on the gendered dynamics of autocratization
  • how gender and sexual and reproductive rights form part of autocratic policies across the globe


The student can

  • evaluate, synthesize, and critically appraise existing social science research on the politics of autocratization and sexual and reproductive rights as global challenges
  • develop and apply their own conceptual-analytical approach to the politics and governance of gendered autocratization
  • identify and analyse relevant empirical cases of how gender rights are interwoven with processes of autocratization.

General competence

The student can

  • identify and present complex and intersecting processes linking gender, sexuality and autocratization in a nuanced and critical manner
  • present, discuss and defend independent arguments about scholarly readings and empirical phenomena in dialogue with peers
  • structure and moderate group discussions in an inclusive manner.

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Spring, irregular
Required Previous Knowledge
A completed bachelor´s degree, fluency in academic English, oral and written
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Background in social science theory or law recommended
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course

The course is open for students who have been accepted to Master programmes at the Department of Government, and from other Master's programmes in the Social Science Faculty.

The course gives priority to students accepted to the Master programmes at the Department of Government. Students accepted to other master's programmes in in the Social Science Faculty can sign up if there are places left. Maximum students per course is fifteen (15) students.

Exchange students at master level and master students from other departments may be accepted upon application. Applications may be rejected due to capacity.

Teaching and learning methods
Approximately six sessions organised as student-led discussions and debates of key readings 
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

The compulsory assignment includes research briefs (2-3 pages each) delivered before the respective session based on the assigned readings. Each student must take co-leadership for moderating one seminar discussion.

Attendance of five sessions is compulsory.

The compulsory assignment must be approved in order to take the exam. Approved compulsory assignments are valid in the current and following two semesters.

Forms of Assessment

Research essay of 2500 words (+/- 10 %, excluding the title page, table of contents, references, tables, and all attachments).

The exam will be given in the language in which the course is taught. 

The exam answer can be submitted in English.

Grading Scale
Graded A-F
Assessment Semester

Assessment in teaching semester.

A retake exam is arranged for students with valid absence according to § 5-5 in the UiB regulations.

If there is a retake exam, this will be available for students with the follow results/absences:

  • Medical certificate/valid absence
  • Interruption during the exam
  • Fail/failed

If you have the right to take a retake exam and a retake exam is arranged for students with valid absences, you can sign up yourself in Studentweb after 1. August.

Reading List
The reading list will be ready before 1 December for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
All courses are evaluated according to UiB's system for quality assurance of education.
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses. 
Course Administrator
Department of Government at the Faculty of Social Sciences has the administrative responsibility for the course and the study programme.