An interdisciplinary introduction to key concepts and analytical categories in women's and gender studies. This course grapples with gender in its complex intersection with other systems of power and inequality, including: sexuality, race and ethnicity, class and nation. Topics include: feminisms, feminist and queer theory, commodity culture, violence, science and technology, visual cultures, work, and family.
WMST 3514 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions: Debates on Women in the PreModern World
This class is an introduction to the debates on women that played a dominant role in both the philosophical and literary traditions of the European/Atlantic world from the classical period through the seventeenth-century. Beginning with the works of ancient political theory that actively debated women’s political, social, and ethical position in society (chiefly Aristotle, Plato, and Plutarch), the course will address the pan-European books of “Good Women” that served as exemplary case studies, the querelle des femmes (or debate on women) that dominated political and humanist discourse of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the crucial importance of the political analogies between the household and the state and the marital and social contracts in the premodern world (and, indeed, in our own). We will study works from ancient Greece and Rome and medieval and early modern Italy, Spain, France, England, Ethiopia and Mexico, and topics ranging from domestic violence and political resistance theory to transvestitism and lesbianism.
Feminist Listening: Critical and Intersectional Approaches to Popular Music develops modes of feminist listening to a variety of examples in popular music including hip-hop, pop, rock, R&B, country music, and crossover/experimental music. By examining the sonic, texted, and visual components of popular music in relation to gender, sexuality, the body, race, ethnicity, economics, and nation, students will develop a critical vocabulary for discussing and analyzing the effects and meanings of popular music as filtered by twenty-first century listeners. Through close listening, discussion of assigned readings and pieces, and analytical writing on recorded and live performances, the course will encourage students to examine a wide repertory of popular music by using a variety of intersectional analytical “sieves,” refining and enriching their experience of popular music as critically astute listeners and writers.
This course is designed for students who are interested in sharpening their listening practices but does not assume previous formal study of music. The course 1) introduces the fundamental of music through exercises in listening and writing, 2) focuses on a selection of current literature on listening, theoretical approaches to music analysis, and feminist/queer criticism; 3) attunes students to the various indices of musical structure (melody, form, harmony, rhythm & meter, words, flow & groove, performance); 4) brings together these parts of music into feminist/queer, alternative hearings of specific works.
WMST 4000 Genealogies of Feminism: Vision and Difference
Even before Laura Mulvey’s classic feminist essay on the “male gaze,” feminist artists and filmmakers, as well as theorists of visuality, have analyzed, critiqued and contested the association of vision with power and knowledge. Creatively reframing the gaze and subverting conventions of visual representation, they have reimagined the relationship of media technologies to embodied and social difference, and to social constructions of gender, race, class and sexuality. This course will study these theories and practices by looking at late 20th and early 21st century painting, film, television, photography, comics, performance, activism and social media in transnational perspective.
This course is oriented to graduate students who are planning to teach in the near and distant future and who want to explore issues related to pedagogy. The course will ask what it means to teach “as a feminist” and will explore how to create a classroom receptive to feminist and queer methodologies and theories regardless of course theme/content. Topics include: 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. The course will meet several times a month (dates TBD) and the final assignment is to develop a syllabus for a new gender/sexuality course in your field. Because this course is required for graduate students choosing to fulfill Option 2 for the Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies at IRWGS, priority will be given to graduate students completing the certificate.
This course examines the trajectory of feminism and its critical interlocutors as they engage anthropogenic climate change and toxicity. The course begins with an examination of a reorientation of some major thinkers in feminist theory from the problematization of gender and sexuality to problematization of the human and its posts. It then turns to how a reading of anthropogenic climate change and toxicity appears when read from a history of colonialism, racism, capitalism. For most weeks, the course juxtaposes early work of the featured author or other relevant authors. This dual focus seeks to foreground the trajectory, velocity and genealogy of a field and concept.
WMST BC 2140 Critical Approaches
Days and times: M/W 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Call number: 09334
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.
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?
This course will provide students with a comparative perspective on gender, race, and sexuality by illuminating historically specific and culturally distinct conditions in which these systems of power have operated across time and space. In particular, the course seeks to show how gender has not always been a binary or primary category system. Such approach is also useful in understanding the workings of race and sexuality as mechanisms of differentiation. In making these inquiries, the course will pay attention to the intersectional nature of race, gender, and sexuality and to strategic performances of identity by marginalized groups.
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors. Individual research in Women's Studies conducted in consulation with the instructor. The result of each research project is submitted in the form of the senior essay and presented to the seminar.
WMST BC 4302 Jewish Women’s Responses 2nd Wave Fem. 1939-90
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 13 students. A study of Jewish women’s fiction, memoirs, art and film in response to the feminist/gender issues raised by the Second Wave. The seminar includes analysis of the writings and artwork of Jo Sinclair, Tillie Olsen, Judy Chicago, Helene Aylon, Elana Dykewomon, Rebecca Goldstein, E.M. Broner and others.
The integration of contemporary media and social practices of all types is intensifying. This seminar examines media theory and various media platforms including Language, Photography, Film, Television, Radio, Digital Video, and Computing as treated by feminists, critical race and queer theorists, and other scholars and artists working from the margins.
This course offers a broad overview of the social, cultural, political, and economic dimensions of sexuality. It focuses on the rapid transformations that are taking place globally in the early 21st century, and on the impact that these transformations have had on sexuality. The relationships between men, women and children are changing quickly, as are traditional family structures and gender norms. What were once viewed as private matters have become public, and an array of new social movements (transgender, intersex, sex worker, people living with HIV) have come into the open. Sexuality has become a focus for public debate and political action in important new ways that will be examined in detail in this course.
CLC GU 4110 Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Greece
Prerequisites: sophomore standing or the instructor's permission. Examination of the ways in which gender and sexuality are constructed in ancient Greek society and represented in literature and art, with attention to scientific theory, ritual practice, and philosophical speculation. Topics include conceptions of the body, erotic and homoerotic literature and practice, legal constraints, pornography, rape, and prostitution.
CLEN GR 6550 The Voice of the Witness: Trauma, Memory, testimony
The historian Annette Wievorka has called our age the “era of the witness.” This course examines the emergence of testimony as a genre and a telling source of evidence in the aftermath of 20th and 21st century catastrophes. Focusing comparatively on several key sites that illuminate theoretical and gender dimensions of testimony – war, dictatorship and crimes against humanity as well as rape and sexual abuse – we will study acts of witness in oral history, memoirs, blogs, film, performance and in trials and truth commissions. We will also look at the memorial functions of testimony archives and the role of testimony in museums and memorials.
Prerequisites: ECON W3211, W3213. This course studies gender gaps, their extent, determinants and consequences. The focus will be on the allocation of rights in different cultures and over time, why women's rights have typically been more limited and why most societies have traditionally favored males in the allocation of resources.
What modes of recognition of religious pluralism and self-government are compatible with democratic constitutionalism and gender equality? In the U.S. and Western Europe, proliferating demands for exemptions from valid general civil law (particularly anti-discrimination law pertaining to gender and sexuality) are made in the name of religious freedom, while in post-colonial contexts, legal pluralism in the field of personal status law—separate jurisdictions for religious/ethnic groups or state enforcement of different personal status laws for different groups-- is touted as doing justice to social difference and plurality. What is the impact on gender equality does deference to religious “nomos groups” by the state have domestically and internationally? What are the politics behind such deference and jurisdictional pluralism? This seminar will analyze the theoretical and political issues from the perspective of theories of democratic legitimacy, liberal and republican constitutionalism and feminism. It will have a theoretical and comparative historical focus, examining western and post-colonial contexts. Among the authors we will read are Mounira Charrad, Will Kymlica, Cecile Laborde, Saba Mahmood, Mahmood Mamdani, Anne Philipps, Ayelet Shachar, Iris Marion Young, among others.
Prerequisites: the instructor's permission. Pre-registration is not permitted. Seminar in Political Theory. Students who would like to register should join the electronic wait list.
Related courses in other departments
AFRS BC 3589 Black Sexual Politics, U.S. Pop Culture
Days and times: T 2:10 - 4pm
Call number: 08835
Instructor: Celia E. Naylor
Instructor will choose 18 students
EAAS GU 4710 The Woman Question in Modern China
Days and times: W 12:10 - 2pm
Call number: 60534
Instructor: Gal Gvili
This course explores women in modern and contemporary Chinese fiction using two focal points: the representation of women in fiction, and the voices who write about women. Closely reading narratives by men and women who raised “the woman question” in China from the Mid Nineteenth century and until the Post-Mao era, we aim at understanding: how did “woman” come to dominate the literary imagination of modern Chinese authors? Is there such a thing as female writing? Can only women practice female writing? Our readings will take us chronologically from the early formations of women’s rights as an issue of social importance in China, through the ripening of a substantial feminist discourse and body of literature both committed to putting the figure of “woman” at the center of modernization, revolution, and reform. We will read essays by Chinese feminists, short stories, novellas and novels and pay particular attention to questions of narration, voice, and figuration. Our secondary reading will hone our analytical skills and help us to situate the literary texts within historical and thematic contexts.
This course explores the power dynamics of gender relations in Chinese history and contemporary society. Specifically, we seek to understand how a range of women--rulers, mothers, teachers, workers, prostitutes, and activists--exercised power by utilizing available resources to overcome institutional constraints.
LCRS GU 4500 Feminist and Queer Theory in Brazil
Days and times: T 2:10 - 4pm
Call number: 70949
Instructor: Miriam Grossi
This course will introduce students to Brazilian gender studies and to feminist and queer theories from the perspective of social studies of science. Readings will combine anthropological, historical and political perspectives about women and LGBT people in Brazil. The course includes classical texts as well as some recent works and new directions. In order for the course to be useful, we will concentrate on texts published in English by Brazilian authors who work on the theme proposed. The course also aims to provide knowledge and access to Brazilian literature and journals. Students are expected to participate actively in the seminar and to engage in a personal project on a topic of choice - either on a literary track (e.g. one author), theory (one theme) or empirical research (e.g. conducting interviews and analysing data).
MUSI UN2500 Women and Music
Days and times: M/W 2:40pm-3:55pm
Location: 622 Dodge Hall
Call number: 67079
Instructor: Alessandra M Ciucci
Description: This course explores the relationship between women, music, and performance from a thematic and a cross-cultural perspective. Through the analysis of different case studies, we will investigate different topics from the perspective of ethnomusicology, cultural anthropology, and performance studies. A number of critical questions we will consider include: how does a particular gender ideology constructs and is constructed by musical aesthetics? What are some of the critical roles for women in performance? What is the significance of gender in performances? What does it mean for women to have have and to be the voice? And how is a musical performance bound up with emotions?
Students enrolled in this course will receive training in mapping software and analysis from an art history perspective. No prior experience is necessary, but all students will leave with a fluent grasp in working with software that will engage a spatial approach to the study of artistic practice.
Course readings, discussions, site visits and mapping projects will examine how we may map the contours of Asian diasporic artistic practice. By bringing together studies about race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality and performance with mapping theory about borders and spatial divides, we will explore what constitutes an Asian diasporic artistic practice. We will interrogate the definition of racial and ethnic borders as they intersect with the networks of Asian diasporic spaces and cross national boundaries. Through practicum, we will create and read spatial information as population density or physical borders to see what they may reveal about the density of social relations that cannot be limited to identity. We will question the possibility and stakes of mapping histories of racialization and racial formation. We will test the limits of using data visualization for tracking these kinds of questions. Through using mapping technology, we will create data sets and new archives, and make map-based arguments to see where the constructs of race are produced and destroyed. We will also discuss how the transnational circulation and commodification of race, sexuality, and ethnicity through terms like diasporic art, music, and performance disrupt or reinforce these understandings, and engage in new forms of world-making.
For additional information, contact Professor Ana Paulina Lee, Latin American and Iberian Cultures Department (firstname.lastname@example.org)
RELI UN 3575 Evangelicalism: Sex, Media, and Religion in America
Days and times: T 10:10am-12:00pm
Call number: 78096
Instructor: Elizabeth F Dolfi
Crossing denominations and encompassing a range of theological commitments, evangelical Christianity can be described as a theological disposition, a mode of hermeneutical practice, a theological-aesthetic sensibility, a mass spiritual movement, a practice of cultivating sacred affect, an errand to the world, and a genre of revivalism. This multidisciplinary seminar will emphasize the role of popular media in constituting an evangelical public, the gendered nature of evangelical subjectivity, the role of sex and sexuality in evangelical self-definition, and the ways that evangelical theological categories have shaped what we think of as "the secular" in the United States.
Is there a particularly “queer” way to live? Does a queer perspective mitigate for certain forms of social, interpersonal or political action? Are there sets of vocations, engagements or relationship formations that are, in and of themselves, distinctly queer? Or is queerness something that can infuse or transform pre-existing modes of personal or relational action? How does any of this relate to the version of “queer” one learns in college? Is a university education necessary, or even useful, for living a queer life? Does academic queer theory have any relevance to “real-world” politics, affects or activisms? Do classroom projects within Gender & Sexuality Studies prepare us to engage in projects of social change, political efforts, or in any meaningful way, to work more closely with others on shared goals related to social justice? Does a liberal arts education prepare us to navigate ideological, intellectual and interpersonal differences? To move from a critical gaze at social institutions into institutional change? To become more robust citizens of a world that includes a multiplicity of viewpoints, perspectives and values? Finally, at its best, what should the university classroom do to prepare students to forge their own social and political perspectives, and to move from gaze and consideration into movement and action?