Summer "A" 2021 WMST Courses

The Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies program though the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality will offer the following courses for students during the Summer "A" 2021 Term. Summer "A" courses run from Monday, May 3, 2021 through Friday, June 18, 2021.

The below outline our planned offerings for the Summer "A" semester. Courses are mounted by Summer Sessions, and all up-to-date information will appear under "Summer Session (SUMM)" on the Directory of Classes, as well as under our WMST listing. 

Please contact the following people with questions about the courses listed below or with questions about undergraduate or graduate programs of study:

  • For undergraduate majors and concentrators, Professor Vanessa Agard-Jones, Director of Undergraduate Studies, vaj2116@columbia.edu
  • For graduate certificate students, Professor Marianne Hirsch, Director of Graduate Studies, mh2349@columbia.edu
  • For general questions, email irwgs@columbia.edu

Summer "A" 2021 WMST Courses

Instructor: Elizabeth Povinelli

Planned Day/Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00pm - 7:00pm

Modality: On-Line Only

Description: An exploration of the relationship between new feminist theory and feminist practice, both within the academy and in the realm of political organizing.

Instructor: Jack Halberstam

Planned Day/Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 1:10pm - 4:00pm

Modality: Hybrid

Description: This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies. While we will read about gender variable bodies within a long historical arc, the categories of both “transsexual” and "transgender" are recent social constructions. How did the many different forms of gender variance resolve into these singular forms and what has been lost in the medical and legal narrowing of gender variance to only these forms? Can we make any connections between witches in the 17th century (often accused on the grounds of cross-gender identification), mollies and dandies in the 19th century (often marked as effeminate), inverts in the late 19th and early 20th century and later constructions that assemble under the banner of “trans*”? Many academic disciplines-- including anthropology, history, gender studies, literary studies, and gay and lesbian/queer studies--have studied transgender identities, bodies and communities, but only very recently has the field become institutionalized in the academy as a discipline "Transgender Studies." In this course we examine the ongoing development of the concept of transgender as it is situated across social, cultural, historical, medical, and political contexts. Along the way, we will try to answer some fundamental questions: when did trans* emerge as a distinct social formation? What might be the differences between the understanding of gender variance in the second half of the 20th century and formulations of the phenomena of cross-dressing and passing and transvestism in earlier periods? Is the term "transgender" applicable to non-Western and previously occurring embodiments and practices?

Instructor: Elizabeth Bernstein

Planned Day/Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:00pm - 7:00pm

Modality: On-Line Only

Description: In this course, our point of departure will be the precariousness of embodied existence, in which precarity is understood as both an existential condition and as the socially uneven culmination of neoliberal political and economic trends.  We will draw upon a variety of interdisciplinary literatures—including feminist, critical race, and queer studies; science and technology studies; disability studies; and medical sociology and anthropology—to consider some of the ways in which our bodies have served as both the repository and substratum of recent social transformations. Within the context of current pandemic crises relating to both public health and to myriad forms of social inequality, we will also consider appeals to the beneficence of science, technology, medicine, and the rational governance of dis-ease. What can critical histories of plagues, epidemics, and quarantines teach us about emergent forms of biopolitics? We will conclude by considering the interventions of contemporary disability and social justice activists, and the alternative possibilities that they have posited for self-care and mutual aid.