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Bangladesh: The Institutionalization of Women and Gender Studies in Higher Education



Since the adoption of structural adjustment policies in the 1980s, Bangladesh has been experiencing increasing corporatization, privatization, and shrinking government control. Th e higher education system in this country also bears the brunt of neoliberal economic policies. Privatized higher education is currently flourishing, and differences between private and public institutions of higher learning are gradually disappearing. Against this backdrop, the institutionalizing process of Women and Gender Studies as an academic field of study in higher education presents an interesting case study that reveals unique ways to negotiate neoliberal power politics. This chapter is divided into three sections. The first section explores ways through which neoliberal economic policies have transformed the nature of higher education in Bangladesh since the 1980s. Th e second section situates the history of institutionalizing Women’s Studies in higher education against the backdrop of neoliberalism and international development discourses on women. Th e third section discusses strategies that the institutionalizing process followed in order to collaborate with as well as subvert what Rubin (2005 , p. 205) calls ‘institutional-disciplinary order of transnational capitalism.’
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