Recommendation 5: That the character and implications of ethnic, gender, and cultural diversity and the international and transnational dimensions of particular problems and policies be addressed in all relevant courses—“main-streamed,” in the pedagogical vernacular—not treated as a separate and unique problem to be dealt with in a particular course or two or by a particular faculty member. (Wahlke 1991, 53; emphasis in original)
The idea for this Critical Perspectives section came from a short course at the 2011 American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, “Teaching Gender and Politics: Views from the Field.” In one of the panel discussions, a senior feminist international relations scholar mentioned the above-quoted Wahlke Report, and most participants—almost all of whom identify as gender scholars, many of whom are senior in the field—were surprised not only that APSA recommended gender mainstreaming in the political science classroom, but also that it happened so long ago. Despite this now twenty-year-old recommendation, the available data on gender mainstreaming indicate that gender as a powerful theoretical and analytical construct remains outside the mainstream of political science education (Cassese, Bos, and Duncan 2012). It is illustrative to note that our workshop participants were not the only political scientists who seem to have missed Wahlke's recommendation on inclusion of gender and ethnicity; it was not highlighted in either the immediate aftermath of the publication of the report or in more recent evaluations of the report's influence (Bennett 1991; Ishiyama 2005; Ishiyama, Breuning, and Lopez 2006; Kaufman-Osborn 1991). Given the many benefits of gender mainstreaming—from improving democratic citizenship to increasing the number of women in the profession—our goal for this Critical Perspectives section is to bring renewed focus to the subject of gender mainstreaming in political science education. We hope to start new conversations: What are the benefits of mainstreaming? How can faculty approach mainstreaming? What tools do faculty need in order to mainstream effectively? In the following essays, the authors approach these questions from a variety of viewpoints.