Current Courses

Fall 2021

A complete list of courses, including those cross listed in other units, may be found under the WMST listing on the Directory of Courses here:

WGSS Courses

Call Number: 00675

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 2:40PM-3:55PM

Instructor: Marisa Solomon

This course examines the conceptual foundations that support feminist and queer analyses of racial capitalism, security and incarceration, the politics of life and health, and colonial and postcolonial studies, among others.

Call Number: 00628

Day, Time & Location: M W 10:10AM-11:25AM

Instructor: Kimberly Springer

This introductory course for the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE) is open to all students. We focus on the critical study of social difference as an interdisciplinary practice, using texts with diverse modes of argumentation and evidence to analyze social differences as fundamentally entangled and co-produced. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this course, the professor will frequently be joined by other faculty from the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS), who bring distinct disciplinary and subject matter expertise. Some keywords for this course include hybridity, diaspora, borderlands, migration, and intersectionality.

Call Number: 00674

Day, Time & Location: Tu 4:10PM-6:00PM

Instructor: Laura E Kay

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 18 students. History and politics of womens involvement with science. Womens contributions to scientific discovery in various fields, accounts by women scientists, engineers, and physicians, issues of science education. Feminist critiques of biological research and of the institution of science.

Call Number: 00629

Day, Time & Location: W 4:10PM-6:00PM

Instructor: Janet Jakobsen

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

Call Number: 00630

Day, Time & Location: Th 11:00AM-12:10PM

Instructor: Neferti Tadiar

Comparative study of gender, race, and sexuality through specific historical, socio-cultural contexts in which these systems of power have operated. With a focus on social contexts of slavery, colonialism, and modern capitalism for the elaboration of sex-gender categories and systems across historical time.

Call Number: 12727

Day, Time & Location: Tu 2:10PM-4:00PM

Instructor: Marianne Hirsch

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, performance, activism and social media in transnational perspective.

Call Number: 12726

Day, Time & Location: M 4:10PM-6:00PM

Instructor: Lila Abu-Lughod

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 will be determined by the instructor and the advisor. Students receiving a grade of B+ or higher in Senior Seminar I will be invited to register for Senior Seminar II by the Instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Senior Seminar II students will complete a senior thesis of 40-60 pages. Please note, the seminar is restricted to Columbia College and GS senior majors.

Call Number: 00631

Day, Time & Location: W 10:00AM-11:50AM

Instructor: Rebecca Jordan-Young

Student-designed capstone research projects offer practical lessons about how knowledge is produced, the relationship between knowledge and power, and the application of interdisciplinary feminist methodologies.

Call Number: 00632

Day, Time & Location: Th 2:10PM-4:00PM

Instructor: Neferti Tadiar

This advanced seminar examines materialist conceptions of labor and life as approached through feminist, black, anti-racist, indigenous, queer, postcolonial, and Marxist perspectives. We will trace the ways that labor and life as well as their constitutive relations have been understood in historical and contemporary radical critiques of capitalism, with a focus on gender, race and sexuality as analytical categories for understanding their shifting roles in structures and practices of social reproduction, the production and expropriation of value, the logic and exercise of violence, the organization of sociality and culture, and the practice and imagination of freedom, justice, and new forms and potentials of collective existence. Finally, we will consider the limits and possibilities of different conceptions of “material life” for understanding politics today.

Call Number: 12725

Day, Time & Location: M W 2:40PM-3:55PM

Instructor: Jack Halberstam



Call Number: 10356

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 2:40PM-3:55PM

Instructor: Christia Mercer

Is there an essential difference between women and men? How do questions about race conflict or overlap with those about gender? Is there a normal way of being queer? Introduction to philosophy and feminism through a critical discussion of these and other questions using historical and contemporary texts, art, and public lectures. Focus includes essentialism, difference, identity, knowledge, objectivity, and queerness.

Call Number: 10499

Day, Time & Location: M W 11:40AM-12:55PM

Instructor: George Chauncey

This course explores the social, cultural, and political history of lesbians, gay men, and other socially constituted sexual and gender minorities, primarily in the twentieth century. Since the production and regulation of queer life has always been intimately linked to the production and policing of “normal” sexuality and gender, we will also pay attention to the shifting boundaries of normative sexuality, especially heterosexuality, as well as other developments in American history that shaped gay life, such as the Second World War, Cold War, urbanization, and the minority rights revolution. Themes include the emergence of homosexuality and heterosexuality as categories of experience and identity; the changing relationship between homosexuality and transgenderism; the development of diverse lesbian and gay subcultures and their representation in popular culture; the sources of antigay hostility; religion and sexual science; generational change and everyday life; AIDS; and gay, antigay, feminist, and queer movements.

Call Number: 10317

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 1:10PM-2:25PM

Instructor: Rhiannon Stephens

Call Number: 10438

Day, Time & Location: Tu 12:10PM-2:00PM

Instructor: George Chauncey

The city has classically been represented as the site of sexual freedom, but also of sexual immorality and danger. This course explores the interrelated histories of sexuality and the city in the twentieth-century United States (especially New York) by exploring how urban conditions and processes shaped sexual practices, identities, communities, and ethics, and how sexual matters shaped urban processes, politics, and representation.

Call Number: 11149

Day, Time & Location: W 6:10PM-8:00PM

Instructor: Sharon Marcus

Victorian England remains known for its rigid definitions of femininity, but it also produced a remarkable number of “odd women”: female outlaws, eccentrics, and activists including spinsters, feminists, working women, women who desired other women, and people assigned female at birth who lived as men.

This undergraduate seminar will explore the pains and pleasures of gender non-conformity through the lens of nineteenth-century literary works, historical documents, and foundational theories of gender and sexuality.

Readings will include the diaries of Anne Lister, a wealthy Yorkshire lesbian libertine; a slander trial involving accusations of lesbianism at a Scottish all-girls school; the diaries of Hannah Munby, a London servant whose upper-class lover fetishized her physical strength; the autobiography of Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse who traveled the world; and fiction, including Charlotte Bronte’s novel *Villette; *Margaret Oliphant’s novel *Miss Marjoribanks; *Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market”; and Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire tale “Carmilla.”

Application instructions: E-mail Professor Marcus ([email protected]) with your name, school, major, year of study, and a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course.

Call Number: 11414

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 10:10AM-11:25AM

Instructor: Yannik Thiem

For the most part queer studies and religious studies have met each other with great suspicion and little interest in the conceptual resources of the respectively other field. Our guiding questions will be: What does religion have to do with queerness? What does queerness have to do with religion? Queer theory and activists, unless they already identify as religious, often have little or little good to say about religion. Conversely, many religious traditions intensively regulate gender, sex, sexuality, and especially queerness. Beyond the mutual disinterest, anxieties, and animosities, this course will explore how religious studies can enrich queer theory and how queer theory can reshape our thinking about religious studies. Our course will examine how our questions about religion shift once we start paying attention to queerness, gender, sexuality, pleasure, pain, and desire. Equally, we will examine how queer discourses mobilize religious and theological images and ideas, especially where these images and ideas are no longer clearly recognizable as having religious origins. Together we will wonder about a variety of core issues in queer studies and religion, such as embodiment, sexuality, gender-variability, coloniality, race appearing as religious identity and religious identity as gendered, as well as the role of catastrophe, utopia, and redemption in our experience of the world. Rather than trying to settle on definitive answers, this course will cultivate a process of open-ended collective inquiry in which students will be encouraged to think autonomously and challenge facile solutions. Students should come away from the course with an expanded sense of how we grapple with issues related to gender, sexuality, desire, and embodiment in our everyday lives and how religion and religious formations are entangled with these issues well beyond religious communities. Moreover, students should experience this course as enlarging the set of critical tools at their hands for creative and rigorous thinking.

Section Number: 003

Call Number: 11270

Day, Time & Location: M 2:10PM-4:00PM

Instructor: Hilary-Anne Hallett

This seminar explores the history of American gender through the history of the American film industry from the first features in the 1910s through the crumbling of the Hollywood Studio System and Production Code in 1968. The industry’s movies and stars offer important sites to examine transformations associated with the development of modern sex roles and racial attitudes over the half-century comprising Hollywood’s Studio Era. During this period, much of the controversy sparked by the industry stemmed from its depictions of new ideals of womanhood, manhood, and sexuality. Moreover, in this era, Hollywood targeted specific audiences and movies were not afforded the protection of free speech. This made films and movie stars peculiarly reflective of, and vulnerable to, broader societal fantasies and fears about changes involving gender roles, sexuality, and racial attitudes. We will use motion pictures and movie stars as primary sources and consider how the changing institutional history of film production connected to the images it sold. Students will write one short paper and a paper proposal in preparation for a short research-based essay on a topic relating to how some aspect of film history reflected a particular problem in gender history. Join waitlist and attend first class.

Call Number:10326

Day, Time & Location: Tu 4:10PM-6:00PM

Instructor: Audra Simpson

This course examines the relationship between colonialism, settlement and anthropology and the specific ways in which these processes have been engaged in the broader literature and locally in North America. We aim to understand colonialism as a theory of political legitimacy, as a set of governmental practices and as a subject of inquiry. Thus we will re-imagine North America in light of the colonial project and its ?technologies of rule? such as education, law and policy that worked to transform Indigenous notions of gender, property and territory. Our case studies will dwell in several specific areas of inquiry, among them: the Indian Act in Canada and its transformations of gender relations, governance and property; the residential and boarding school systems in the US and Canada, the murdered and missing women in Juarez and Canada and the politics of allotment in the US. Although this course will be comparative in scope, it will be grounded heavily within the literature from Native North America.

Call Number: 10466

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 4:10PM-5:25PM

Instructor: Lena Edlund 

Prerequisites: ECON UN3211 and ECON UN3213 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.

Call Number: 00639

Day, Time & Location: Tu 4:10PM-6:00PM

Instructor: Janet Jakobsen

Investigates relations among religion, gender, and violence in the world today. Focuses on specific traditions with emphasis on historical change, variation, and differences in geopolitical location within each tradition, as well as among them at given historical moments.

Call Number: 13954

Day, Time & Location: Tu 6:10PM-8:00PM

Instructor: Karen R Van Dyck

This course introduces students to the rich tradition of literature about and by Greeks in America over the past two centuries exploring questions of multilingualism, translation, migration and gender with particular attention to the look and sound of different alphabets and foreign accents – “It’s all Greek to me!” To what extent can migration be understood as translation and vice versa? How might debates in Diaspora and Translation Studies inform each other and how might both, in turn, elucidate the writing of and about Greeks and other ethnic minorities, especially women? Authors include Olga Broumas, Elia Kazan, Alexandros Papadiamantis, Irini Spanidou, Ellery Queen, Eleni Sikelianos and Thanasis Valtinos as well as performance artists such as Diamanda Galas. Theoretical and comparative texts include works by Walter Benjamin, Rey Chow, Jacques Derrida, Xiaolu Guo, Eva Hoffman, Franz Kafka, Toni Morrison, Vicente Rafael, and Lawrence Venuti, as well as films such as The Immigrant and The Wizard of Oz. No knowledge of Greek is necessary, although an extra-credit directed reading is open to those wishing to read texts in Greek.

Call Number: 13249

Day, Time & Location: F 12:10PM-2:00PM

Instructor: Mana Kia

Explores gender, culture, power in India, c. 1500-1800 by reading theoretical works on gender and sexuality, historical scholarship relevant to early modern India, and a variety of primary sources. Topics include morality, mysticism, devotion, desire, kingship, heroism, homosocial relations, and homoerotic practices. The focus is largely on Persianate contexts, in conversation with broader South Asian and Islamic studies. This discussion seminar is designed for graduate and advanced undergraduate students, with some previous background in South Asian, Islamic, or gender studies.

Call Number: 13936

Day, Time & Location: M 10:10AM-12:00PM

Instructor: Tey Meadow

Eroticism has long been a problem for sociology. Sutured to animality, sex, desire and the body tend to appear in social theory as the counterpoints to social order, rationality and economic life. How did it come to be that way, and what does that mean for theories of love, attachment and social relations? In this course, we will read deeply in the history of social theories of love and eroticism for some clues to this predicament. From the earliest sociological foundations in Weber and Durkheim, through Simmel’s important work on individuality and conflict, to contemporary theories of postmodern love, we will pay careful attention to the antecedents of current thinking about racial difference, masculine domination, heteronormativity and capitalism. Students will be expected to read dense theoretical texts, but make practical meaning of their contents, through guided discussion and written reflection. They will be invited, not discouraged from applying these theories to their own lives and affective ties.

A Note on Studying Sexuality:  Participation in group projects to understand sexuality, love and eroticism requires both intellectual and personal maturity. If you elect to take this course, I expect that you will approach your studies and course discussions with a spirit of openness, curiosity and respect for the unique and diverse ways individuals (including your classmates) understand and experience their own identities, bodies and desires. If you are concerned that this material may pose significant challenges for you, come see Professor Meadow during the first week of class, so that we may discuss whether this is, in fact, the right course for you.

Call Number: 10303

Day, Time & Location: W 10:10AM-12:00PM

Instructor: Vanessa L Agard-Jones

How are bodies in the world? How is the world in bodies? Building from these deceptively simple questions, ours will be an interdisciplinary reading seminar on how bodies (mostly human, but sometimes nonhuman) are made and remade in and through their environments and via their relationships to the material world. Privileging porosity as a rubric, we consider the ever-permeable boundaries between bodies and the other beings (be they viral, chemical, microbial or otherwise) with which they become entangled. Alongside the monographs under study, we will tackle article-length engagements with theories of new feminist/queer materialisms, decolonial and critical science studies. Further, a key aim of this course is to provide students the opportunity to hone some of the most important skills we have in our toolbox as academics, relative to our teaching, our public voice/s as critics, and to our own research.