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WMST courses

WMST 3151: Seminar in Sexuality, Gender, Health, and Human Rights

Days and times: M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Instructors: Carole Vance
Location: 754 Schermerhorn Extension
Points: 4
This seminar uses the new scholarship on sexuality to engage with ongoing theoretical conversations and activism on sexuality, rights, gender, and health. Pressed by the increasing recognition of the importance of sexuality in a wide range of rights and advocacy work (for example, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and sexual violence), theorists and advocates alike have struggled with complex, sometimes fluid and elusive nature of sexuality. What is this "sexuality" in need of rights and health? How does it manifest itself across a range of persons and cultures? And how can culturally and historically situated work about sexuality inform and improve legal and advocacy interventions? The seminar also turns a critical eye on recent scholarship, in light of current issues raised by policy interventions and advocacy in many countries and cultures. Finally, the seminar aims to promote dialogue and exchange between academic, activist, and advocacy work. Prerequisite: introductory course in human rights or sexuality/gender studies, and permission of instructor (please request application from csv1@columbia.edu)

WMST 3521V Senior Seminar 1 **CORE COURSE**

Days and times: W 2:10 - 4pm
Instructors: Katherine Laura Biers
Location: 752 Schermerhorn Ext
The Senior Seminar in Women's Studies offers you the opportunity to develop a capstone research paper by the end of the first semester of your senior year. Senior seminar essays take the form of a 25-page paper based on original research and characterized by an interdisciplinary approach to the study of women, sexuality, and/or gender. You must work with an individual advisor who has expertise in the area of your thesis and who can advise you on the specifics of method and content. Your grade for the semester with be determined by IRWGS's Director of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with your advisor.
Students receiving a grade of "B+" of higher in Senior Seminar I will be invited to complete Senior Seminar II in Spring 2015. Senior Seminar II students will complete a senior thesis of 40-60 pages in a course facilitated by the IRWGS Director.

WMST 4506 Gender Justice

Days and times: M/W 1:15 - 2:40pm
Instructors: Katherine M. Franke
Location: 304 Jerome Greene Hall
Points: 4

This course will provide an introduction to the concrete legal contexts in which issues of gender and justice have been articulated, disputed and hesitatingly, if not provisionally, resolved. Readings will cover issues such as Workplace Equality, Sexual Harassment, Sex Role Stereotyping, Work/Family Conflict, Marriage and Alternatives to Marriage, Compulsory Masculinity, Parenting, Domestic Violence, Reproduction and Pregnancy, Rape, Sex Work & Trafficking. Through these readings we will explore the multiple ways in which the law has contended with sexual difference, gender-based stereotypes, and the meaning of equality in domestic, transnational and international contexts. So too, we will discuss how feminist theorists have thought about sex, gender and sexuality in understanding and critiquing our legal system and its norms.

For more information, go to: http://web.law.columbia.edu/gender-sexuality/faculty/katherine-franke/gender-justice

WMST G8001 Feminist Pedagogy

Days and times: Fr 12:30pm - 2:30pm
Instructors: Ellie M. Hisama
Location: 754 Schermerhorn Ext
Points: 1

This is a course for graduate students who are thinking about issues in teaching in the near and distant future and want to explore issues of pedagogy. The course will ask what it means to teach “as a feminist,” as well as to create a classroom receptive to issues of feminist method and theory regardless of course theme/content.  It will discuss issues of feminist pedagogy including the role of political engagement, the gender dynamics of the classroom, and modes of critical thought and disagreement  Discussions can be oriented around student interest. 

This is a one-credit course, so the demands are light. Do the readings and the assignments and come to class prepared to discuss them.  For a final 5 week duration of the class, you will be working on a syllabus for a course of your choosing. We will discuss these syllabi during the last class session.

WMST 3135 Sexing Sound Art

Days and times: W 10:10am - 12:10pm
Instructors: Lucie Vagnerova
Location: 754 Schermerhorn Extension
Points: 3
This course explores sound-based creative practices as sites where gender, race, and sexuality are always, and sometimes explicitly negotiated. We will study contemporary sound art that variously speaks to inequalities in canon-formation, participates in human rights movements of the late 20th and 21st centuries, and suggests feminist and queer readings of everyday sonic praxis. Readings in feminist theory, critical theory, art history, musicology, and media studies will guide in-class discussion of artworks accessed through online archives and New York-based installations. We will also review artist statements, exhibition catalogues, conference programs, online media, and journalistic articles. The seminar will address the following questions: What role do sound-based creative practices play in re-/de-/forming raced, gendered, and sexual subjects? What is the place of activism in sound-based arts engaged with feminist and queer politics? Can sound be feminist, queer, Afrofuturist? How should theorists of race, gender, and sexuality address sound in and out of the arts? Open to all majors.


WMST G6001 Theoretical Paradigms: Feminist Theories of Practice

Days and times: T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Instructors: Saidiya V Hartman
Location: 401 Hamilton Hall
Points: 4

Feminist Practice: Thinking, Writing and Doing

Feminist Practice examines theories of practice and experiments in writing, doing, looking, and thinking that endeavor to create alternate forms of knowledge, new idioms of relation, and other modes of inhabiting the world.  The forms of practice considered include composition, improvisation, speculation, performance and everyday life.  The animating concerns of the seminar are the ways in which these experiments endeavor to produce means of apprehending the world and forms of sociality that refuse and exceed the normative order of the human. 

Crosslisted courses

AFAM G4080 Topics in the Black Experience: African-American Novelists and the Question of Justice

Days and times: M 2:10pm-4:00pm
Instructors: Farah Jasmine Griffin
Location: 758 Schermerhorn Ext
Call number: 87747
Points: 4

This course asks, “What conceptions of Justice emerge from a selection of works by canonical African-American writers?” We open with an exploration of Justice in the works of the Greek dramatist, Aeschylus, the Hebrew Bible, and the contemporary Philosopher, Michael Sandel.  We then turn to texts by Charles Chesnutt, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Ernest Gaines, and Toni Morrison to examine the way these writers engage, negotiate and critique the relationship between Justice and Race in the United States. Draft  Text : Aeschylus; The Orestia The Bible: Ezekiel 18, Vs. 7-17; Matthew 25; Michael Sandel, Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do?; Charles Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition; Zora Neale Hurston, Moses, Man of the Mountain; Richard Wright, Native Son; Ralph Ellison, Invisible Man; Ernest Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying; and Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon.

ENG G6604 Sexual Panic & Criminal Intimacy

Days and times: W 2:10pm-4:00pm
Instructors: Saidiya V Hartman
Location: 754 Schermerhorn Ext
Call number: 81031
Points: 4

This seminar examines the discourse of sexual panic in the period from 1880-1930. It focuses on the role of sexuality in the production of racial identities and the organization and control of urban space. Specifically, it looks at the slum and the ghetto as an intersex zone in which interracial intimacy, same sex relations, and promiscuous sociality thrive. The seminar will look at novels, reform and documentary photographs, sociological studies and early cinema in the making of Chinatown, the immigrant slum, and the black ghetto as zones of vice, anarchy, sexual excess and experimentation.

ENGL W3140: Race and Sexuality

Days and times: Th 12:10pm - 2pm
Instructors: Marcellus Blount
Location: 754 Schermerhorn Ext
Call number: 25522
Points: 4

This undergraduate seminar draws upon feminist, African American, and queer theories and cultural practices to explore the relations of male masculinity and queer subjectivities. We will use literature and film, primarily, to provide a critique of normative notions of the binary oppositions of "black" and "gay" that oversimplify the complex social formations that structure racial and queer representations. We will attempt to find a way into discussions of how sexuality studies can enhance discussions of race and gender within the context of African American artistic forms. Cultural theorists include Judith Butler, Jack Halberstam, Karla Holloway, Bell hooks, Kobena Mercer, and Robyn Wiegman, Writers and filmmakers will come from diverse canons, including the black feminist tradition of Mae V. Cowdery, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Dees Rees and this course will pay particular attention to the possibility of black queer texts and critical practices with an emphasis on deconstructing black masculinity through the languages of intimacy. Artists include Melvin Dixon, Thomas Allen Harris, Essex Hemphill, Issac Julien, Randall Kenan, Richard Bruce Nugent, and Marlon Riggs. One fifteen-page essay. Application Instructions: E-mail Professor Marcellus Blount (mb33@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Race and Sexuality seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course.

HSEA W4888 Women and Gender in Korean History

Days and times: W 2:10pm-4:00pm
Instructors: Jungwon Kim
Location: 501A International Affairs Building
Call number: 75509
Points: 4

While the rise of women's history and feminist theory in the 1960s and 1970s fostered more general reevaluations of social and cultural history in the West, such progressions have been far more modest in Korean history. To introduce one of the larger challenges in current Korean historiography, this course explores the experiences, consciousness and representations of Korean women at home and abroad from premodern times to the present. Historical studies of women and gender in Korea will be analyzed in premodern times to the present. Historical studies of women and gender in Korea will be analyzed in conjunction with theories of Western women's history to encourage new methods of rethinking "patriarchy" within the Korean context. By tracing the lives of women from various socio-cultural aspects and examining the multiple interactions between the state, local community, family and individual, women's places in the family and in society, their relationships with one another and men, and the evolution of ideas about gender and sexuality throughout Korea's complicated past will be reexamined through concrete topics with historical specificity and as many primary sources as possible. With understanding dynamics of women's lives in Korean society, this class will build an important bridge to understand the construction of New Women in early twentieth-century Korea, when women from all walks of life had to accomodate their "old-style" predecessors and transform themselves to new women, as well as the lives of contemporary Korean women. This will be very much a reading-and-discussion course. Lectures will review the readings in historical perspective and supplement them. The period to be studied ranges from the pre-modern time up to the turn of twentieth century, with special attention to the early modern period.  

Related courses in other departments

BC3121 Black Women in America

Days and times: T 11:00am - 12:50pm
Instructors: Kim Felicia Hall
Location: 102 Sulzberger A
Points: 4


Prerequisites: Students must attend first day of class and admission will be decided then. Priority will be given to CCIS students (Africana Studies, American Studies and Women's Studies majors; minors in Race and Ethnic Studies). Enrollment limited to 20 students. General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS).   Examines the roles of black women in the U.S. as thinkers, activists and creators during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Focusing on the intellectual work, social activism and cultural expression of African American women, we examine how they understood their lives, resisted oppression and struggled to change society. We will also discuss theoretical frameworks (such as "double jeopardy," or "intersectionality") developed for the study of black women. The seminar will encourage students to pay particular attention to the diversity of black women and critical issues facing Black women today. This course is the same as WMST BC3121.


CLEN W4725: Modernist Primitives, Human Machines, Sex, and Other Tragicomedies: Modern Drama (c.1890-1968)

Days and times: TR 2:40pm-3:55pm
Location: 603 Hamilton Hall
Call number: 64693
Points: 3

Instructor: Julie Peters


Exploring the borderlines between sex and perversion, human and machine, savage and civilized, modern drama engaged the traumas of modernity in what often seemed a post-tragic age. We will move from the turn-of-the-century sex drama to the drama of decolonization c. 1968, focusing particularly on emergent ideas of sexuality, primitivism, the machine, and the politics of the avant-garde, looking along the way at the period's aesthetic 'isms (Symbolism, Dada, Futurism, Expressionism, Constructivism) in the context of theatrical practice, exploring the role of drama in an age of mass media and the significance of theatrical modernism for the "modern" generally. Texts include films, visual images, theatrical documents, theoretical texts, and plays.  

CLME G4236 Arab Women Novelists and the Racialized Other

Days and times: M 4:10Pm - 6pm
Location: 201D Philosophy Hall
Call number: 8784
Points: 4

Instructor: Moneera Al-Ghadeer


This course is primarily a comprehensive introduction to Arab women novelists and the representation of race and gender, foregrounding the discussion of race in classical and medieval Arabic literary and intellectual texts. We will explore the questions of blackness, race, and gender in novels from Algeria, the Arabian Peninsula, Lebanon, Syria, and Sudan, allowing the students to develop critical understanding of how these concepts operate within institutional and cultural frameworks. All texts are read in English.


CPLS/WGSS BC3160 Tragic Bodies

Days and times: TR 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Location: 202 Milbank Hall (Barnard)
Points: 3

Instructor: Nancy Worman


This course will focus on embodiment in ancient and modern drama as well as in film, television, and performance art, including plays by Sophocles, Shakespeare, and Beckett; films such as “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Limits of Control”; and performances by artists such as Karen Finley and Marina Abromovic. We will explore the provocations, theatricality, and shock aesthetics of such concepts as Artaud’s “Theater of Cruelty” and Kristeva's "powers of horror," as well as Adorno's ideas about terror and the sublime.



ENGL W3945 Transgressive Women in 18th-Century British Fiction

Days and times: T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Location: 613 Hamilton Hall
Points: 4

Instructor: Kathleen D Gemmill


This course focuses on eighteenth-century English fiction that features "girls gone wild," women who violate the stringent social codes dictating their behaviour in this period. By reading a range of critical texts - some contemporary to us, and others contemporary to the 18th-century writers on our syllabus - we'll learn what constituted "misbehaviour' for women, and who was making the rules. Conduct books, educational treatises, periodical literature, pamphlets and political writings will give us a cultural context, and prepare us to examine how fiction writers were reflecting and refracting codes of conduct to sociopolitical and artistic ends. Because the act of writing itself often constituted misbehaviour for eighteenth-century women, texts by women differ considerably from those by men, with regard to topics, style and genre. The first half of the course focuses on male authors diversely imagining female cross-dressers, lesbians, prostitutes, witches, sadists, and pleasure-seekers. In the second half, we'll see women writers working in two literary modes - the gothic and the novel of manners - to respond to oppressive societal concerns about femininity and modesty. Application instructions: E-mail Instructor Gemmill (kg2402@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Transgressive Women seminar". In your message, include basic information: name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they'll automatically be placed on a wait list, from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.


HIST BC3567 American Women in the 20th Century

Days and times: M/W 10:10am - 11:25am
Instructors: Premilla Nadasen
Location: LL104 Diana Center
Points: 3


A consideration of women's changing place in modern America; the "family claim"; women in the workplace; educational expansion; the battle for suffrage; social reformers; the sexual revolution; women in the professions; the crisis of depression and war; the feminine mystique; and the new feminism.


HIST BC4444 Freedom Dreams: US and Beyond

Days and times: W 2:10pm-4:00pm
Instructors: Premilla Nadasen
Location: 405 Barnard Hall
Points: 4


Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 15. Preregistration required. This course will interrogate freedom as a conceptual categroy and explore how the meaning and practice of freedom has been deployed in different historical moments. We will consider how gender, race, sexuality, slavery, colonization, work and religion influenced thinking about individual and collective notions of freedom.


HIST W4959 A History of the Body in the Atlantic World

Days and times: T 12:10 - 2:00pm
Location: 311 Fayerweather
Call number: 77347
Points: 4

Instructor: Katherine Johnston

This course examines the history of the body in the Atlantic world with a focus on race and gender in North America and the Caribbean. We will examine a broad range of source material, including natural histories, travelogues, and medical texts from the late sixteenth through the early nineteenth century. We will analyze these sources in the context of secondary readings on health and disease, class and labor, transgression and punishment, and the relationship between people and their environment. Through all of these readings we will consider the ways in which race, gender, and bodily difference are constructed over time and space. By the end of the course we will reflect on how these categories of difference and power were (and are) culturally specific and subject to change as cultures merged and adapted through contact across the Atlantic world.

PSYC BC3153 Psychology and Women

Days and times: M 4:10pm - 6pm
Location: 227 Milbank Hall (Barnard)
Points: 4

Instructor: Wendy McKenna 


Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing and at least two psychology courses. Permission of the instructor required for majors other than Psychology or Women's Studies. Enrollment limited to 20 students. Examines how female experience is and has been understood by psychologists. Through an understanding of gender as a social construction and issues raised by the intersections of gender, sexuality, class, and race, the course will analyze assumptions about what causes us to be gendered and about how being gendered affects behavior.


W3302 Sociology of Gender

Days and times: M/W 10:10am - 11:25am
Location: 903 Altschul Hall (Barnard)
Points: 3

Instructor: Mignon R Moore


Prerequisites: One introductory course in Sociology suggested. Examination of factors in gender identity that are both universal (across time, culture, setting) and specific to a social context. Social construction of gender roles in different settings, including family, work, and politics. Attention to the role of social policies in reinforcing norms or facilitating change. Fulfills the Intro requirement. 


W4301 Early Jewish Women Immigrant Writers: 1900-1939

Days and times: TR 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Instructors: Irena Klepfisz
Location: 407 Barnard Hall
Points: 4

Prerequisites: students must attend first day of class and admission will be decided then. Covers significant pre-Holocaust texts (including Yiddish fiction in translation) by U.S. Ashkenazi women and analyzes the tensions between upholding Jewish identity and the necessity and/or inevitability of integration and assimilation. It also examines women's quests to realize their full potential in Jewish and non-Jewish communities on both sides of the Atlantic.


W4303 Gender Justice: Gender, Globalization and Empire

Days and times: T 2:10 - 4:00pm
Location: 308 Diana Center
Points: 4

Study of the role of gender in economic structures and social processes comprising globalization and in political practices of contemporary U.S. empire. This seminar focuses on the ways in which transformations in global political and economic structures over the last few decades including recent political developments in the U.S. have been shaped by gender, race, sexuality, religion and social movements. Fulfills IRWGS core course requirement for "V3915: Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective.

WMST BC2140 Critical Approaches in Social & Cultural Theory

Days and times: T/Th 6:10pm-7:25pm
Location: 201 D Philosophy Hall
Call number: 02265
Points: 3

Instructor: Alexandra Pittman


Introduction to key concepts from social theory as they are appropriated in critical studies of gender, race, sexuality, class and nation. We will explore how these concepts are taken up from different perspectives to address particular social problems, and the effects of these appropriations in the world.


WMST BC3132 Gendered Controversies: Women's Bodies and Global Conflict

Days and times: W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Location: 405 Barnard Hall
Points: 4

Instructor: Elizabeth Bernstein

Investigates the significance of contemporary and historical issues of social, political, and cultural conflicts centered on women's bodies. How do such conflicts constitute women, and what do they tell us about societies, cultures, and politics.

WMST BC3518 Studies in US Imperialism

Days and times: W 2:20pm - 4:00pm
Location: 102 Sulzberger A
Points: 4


Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 20 students. Historical, comparative study of the cultural effects and social experiences of U.S. Imperialism, with attention to race, gender and sexuality in practices of political, economic, and cultural domination and struggle. Material includes studies of US Imperialism in the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, Guam, and Cuba and US foreign involvements in the developing world since World War II.


WMST W4310 Contemporary Jewish Women's Literature

Days and times: M 4:10Pm - 6pm
Instructors: Irena Klepfisz
Location: 421 Lehman Hall (Barnard)
Points: 4


Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 15 students. Sophomore standing. Identifies trends in Jewish American women's writing of this period: integration of Jewish and feminist consciousness into Jewish women's mainstream writing; exploration through fictive narratives of women's roles in Jewish orthodox communities; recording of experiences of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and from Arab countries.