Spring 2018 Courses

WMST Courses

WMST UN1001 Intro to Women’s and Gender Studies

Days and times: Tu/Th 11:40am-12:55pm

Call number: 67958

Points: 3

Instructor: Laura Ciolkowski/Deborah Valenze

Description:  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 BC2140 Critical Approaches Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory

Days and times: Tu/Th 10:10a – 11:25p

Call number: 09334

Points: 3

Instructor: Alex Pittman

Description: 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

Days and times: Tu 4:10pm – 6pm

Call number: 05173

Points: 4

Instructor: Janet Jakobsen

Description:  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 UN3335 Gender and Wars: Perspectives from the Global South

Days and times: W 10:10am-12pm

Call number: 92397

Points: 3

Instructor: Selina Makana

Description: Wars are salient features of globalization. But, how can we understand the relationship between gender and war? How do notions of masculinities and femininities operate in the organizing, waging, protesting, and commemorating war? Starting from the premise that gender is crucial to explaining what happens in national revolutionary wars, postcolonial conflicts and civil wars, peacekeeping and humanitarian interventions, and the social and personal aspects when wars come to an end; this course considers a transnational feminist analysis to reflect on the relationship between gender and militarism. It pulls together literature from different disciplinary fields to explore the gendered dimensions of wars of national liberation, armed conflicts, wartime gender based/sexual violence, politics of victimhood, anti-war activism, resistance and agency. We will pay particular attention to case studies from the global South.
The gendered analyses of war will be explored from a multi-disciplinary framework including history, anthropology, sociology, political science, international relations, philosophy, literature and film. We will utilize film, journalistic accounts, ethnographic narratives and other resources to explore the complex ways in which people, especially men and women experience and respond to wars differently.

WMST BC3512 Art/Work

Days and times: W 4:10pm – 6pm

Call number: 07390

Points: 4

Instructor: Alex Pittman

Description: Prerequisites: none How can performances, theatrical texts, and other art/media objects illuminate the operations of gender, sexuality, and race in global capitalism? Drawing from a range of artistic media and critical traditions, we explore how aesthetic thought can help us analyze the sexual, racial, and national character of contemporary labor and life.

WMST UN3514 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions

Days and times: W 2:10pm-4pm

Call number: 61229

Points: 4

Instructor: Saidiya Hartman

Description: 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.

WMST BC3530 Feminist Media Theory

Days and times: W 12:10pm – 2pm

Call number: 08866

Points: 4

Instructor: Jonathan Beller

Description: 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.

WMST GU4000 Genealogies of Feminism: Gender, Culture and Rights (sec 001)

Days and times: T/Th 2:10pm-4pm

Call number: 75830

Points: 4

Instructor: Lila Abu-Lughod

Description: Please contact the Department for course description for this seminar.

WMST GU4000 Genealogies of Feminism: Labor and Life (sec 002)

Days and times: Th 2:10pm-4pm

Call number: 60925

Points: 4

Instructor: Neferti Xina Tadiar

Description: Please contact the Department for course description for this seminar.

WMST GU4165 The Sexual Difference of Psychoanalysis

Days and times: Th 4:10pm-6pm

Call number: 


Instructor: Marcus Coelen

Description: Psychoanalysis makes a difference.

This difference is both at its most fragile and most flagrant when it comes to sexuality. Since its invention by Freud, psychoanalysis may be seen as a place where sexuality, the difference that it makes in respect to any other determination of the “human”—philosophical, social, historical, or scientific—as well as the difference and differences that occur with and as the sexual, can invent their own language or speak in their own voice. And it cannot be excluded that these, language, voice, and speaking, appear in the name of a criticism or refusal of the very concepts linked to “sexual difference.” 

This seminar presents an occasion to read or reread some of the classical psychoanalytic texts on sex, sexuality, sexual difference, and sexuation as well as their commentaries, criticisms, or refutations.

The French contributions to this complex since the 1960s, coming from psychoanalysis as well as from philosophy and literature, have been extremely rich. Therefore, particular attention will be paid to some of these contributions.

WMST BC4302 Jewish Women Artistic Response 1939-1990

Days and times: M 4:10pm-6pm

Call number: 00295

Points: 4

Instructor: Irena Klepfisz

Description: 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.

WMST GU4506 Gender Justice

Days and times: M 2:10pm-4pm

Call number: 70748

Points: 3

Instructor: Katherine Franke

Description: 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 GR8001 Feminist Pedagogy

Days and times: Tu 6:10-8:10pm

Call number: 62211

Points: 1

Instructor: Marianne Hirsch

Description: This is a course is oriented to graduate students who are thinking about issues in teaching in the near and distant future and 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.

Crosslisted Courses

ENGL course

Days and times: W 12:10pm – 2pm

Call number: 


Instructor: Marianne Hirsch


ENGL Antigone course

Days and times: M 10:10am – 12:10pm

Call number: 


Instructor: Colm Toibin/Lisa Dwan


GERM GU4350 German Film after 1945

Days and times: 

Call number: 73760

Points: 3

Instructor: Claudia Breger

Description: Topic/Focus: Feelings. The course offers an introduction to German film since 1945 (in its European contexts) with a focus on ‘feelings.’ Methodologically highlighted by contemporary affect and emotion studies, feelings offer a lens for intersectional, multifaceted investigations of these cinematic histories. We will explore how feelings have been gendered and racialized; how they overlap with matters of sex (as closely associated with political revolt in Western Europe, while considered too private for public articulation in the socialist East, especially when queer); and how they foreground matters of nation and trauma (for example via the notions of German ‘coldness’ and inability to mourn the Holocaust). Simultaneously, the focus on feelings highlights questions of mediality (cinema as a prototypically affective medium?), genre and avant-garde aesthetics: in many films, ‘high-affect’ Hollywood cinema intriguingly meets ‘cold’ cinematic modernism. In pursuing these investigative vectors through theoretical readings and close film analysis, the course connects affect, gender, queer, and cultural studies approaches with cinema studies methodologies. The films discussed span postwar and New German Cinema, East German DEFA productions, the ‘Berlin School’ of the 2000s, and contemporary transnational cinema. The course is taught in English. All readings and films will be available in translation/with subtitles.

Related Courses

GRKM GU4150 C.P. Cavafy and The Poetics of Desire

Days and times: 

Call number: 

Points: 4

Instructor: Nikolas P. Kakkoufa

Description: This course takes C. P. Cavafy’s oeuvre as a departure point in order to discuss desire and the ways it is tied with a variety of topics. We will employ a number of methodological tools to examine key topics in Cavafy’s work such as eros, power, history, and gender. How can we define desire and how is desire staged, thematized, or transmitted through poetry? How does a gay poet write about desired bodies at the beginning of the previous century? What is Cavafy’s contribution to the formation of gay identities in the twentieth century? How do we understand the poet’s desire for an archive? How important is the city for activating desire? How do we trace a poet’s afterlife and how does the desire poetry transmits to readers transform through time? How does literature of the past address present concerns? These are some of the questions that we will examine during this course.

Though this course presupposes no knowledge of Modern Greek, students wanting to read Cavafy in the original are encouraged to take the 1-credit directed reading tutorial offered simultaneously.

PORT UN3490 Formations of Gender, Popular Culture and Nation in Brazil and the Lusophone World

Days and times: M/W 2:40pm – 3:55pm

Call number: 21198

Points: 3

Instructor: Daniel da Silva

Description: From carnival to kuduro, Beyoncé to Carmen Miranda, gender and sexuality have been shaped through popular culture into bodies of cultural heritage or dissent in narratives and projects of nation-building. This course will consider how they are mediated, their intersections with race, and their roles in the contemporary history of Brazil along with its intersections with the broader Lusophone World and cultures of African Diaspora from Angola to New York. Through an analysis of music,film, social media, literature and performance, we will locate these bodies, the genres within which they emerge or are occluded, and consider how they matter to the nation.