Understanding Gender Identities in Cultural Contexts

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This focused session addresses the conference organizing strands of "identity and belongs / gender and sexuality.” Using my experience in Peace Corps and International education the presentation shares a personal experience of cultural differences in the ways both gender and sexuality are defined and displayed. The program seeks to put into lived experience the social construction of gender and sex across cultures into a context usable for cross cultural education. The experience of my own identities in other countries will be shared and examples of the complexity of sex/gender across cultures discussed from the personal and scholarly perspectives (Herdt, 1997). Session presents methods for responding to multiple levels of identity development and cultural awareness in understanding as they impact of international study (Bennett, 1998). Session benefits those seeking tools to advance the understanding of social issues in relation to power and privilege. Session focuses on using our own constructs to explore central concepts related to sex and gender in relationship to cross-cultural education(Burns, 2000) and sexual orientation (Blumenfeld, 1988). Learning Objective:
1. Understand better culture's impacts the sex roles and gender identities with implications for both international and US education settings. 2. Explain uses of tools related to a variety of learners’ and teachers’ developmental levels. Learning Outcome: Participant will be acquainted ways constructions of sex and gender are connected and influenced by travel.

Keywords: International, Gender, Sexual Orientation, Study Aboard, Education
Stream: Gender and Sexuality
Presentation Type: Workshop Presentation in English
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Dr. Sherwood Smith

Director, Intergrated Professional Studies and Provost Office, University of Vermont
Burlington, Vermont, USA

Title: Lecturer, University of Vermont: Dept. of Integrated Professional Studies and Director, Center for Cultural Pluralism. Education
Doctorate of Education (June 1996)
Ball State University, Muncie, IN 47306
Master's of Arts (August 1987): Adult & Community Education
Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164

Professional Biography

I first arrived at UVM through a New England Board of Higher Education Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for 1995-1996 and taught in the Higher Education Program (HESA). As part of my doctoral program I developed and taught a graduate course "Multicultural Issues in Adult Education", lectured on the history of African-Americans in adult education and taught undergraduate seminars. In the past I worked as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania, a Cooperative Extension Agent in Grant County in Washington, an Adjunct Faculty for the School for International Training's college program in Kenya, and Assistant Director of Residence Life at Pennsylvania State University. Currently, I teach both graduate and undergraduate courses. At the graduate level I have been teaching EDFS 322, The Challenge of Multiculturalism for Educators for six years. Within Human Development I teach courses that focus on the developmental issues related to prejudice and the cross cultural influences on human development

Ref: D08P0055