Spring 2018

Note: Course times are subject to change, and information on this page may occasionally be incorrect. The official timetable published by the Registrar's Office is the final and correct version of course listings and distributive credits.

WGSS 07.01 He, She, and It: Gender and Science Fiction (First-Year Seminar)

Speculative or "science" fiction has often been the domain of male-oriented, rocket-propelled, fantasy writers who have often relegated women into secondary roles of submission or exploitation. However, feminist writers of speculative fiction have created alternative worlds and explored radical feminist theory in order to challenge concepts of gender, genetics, and the intractability of patriarchal societies. In this class we will explore these worlds of resistance which confront our current conceptions of gender as we boldly go where no man has gone before. Some of our course readings include: Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Donna Harraway, Marge Piercy, and Joanna Russ. Dist: LIT.

Professor Moody
10 Hour

 

WGSS 07.16 The Body: The Nude in Western Visual Culture (First Year Seminar)

This course focuses on the concept of the nude in art from antiquity to the 20th century, particularly the differing meanings, modes, and motifs of the male vs. the female nude in western art. While the ideal male nude represents the heroism and athletic or military prowess from the classical period onward, the female nude stands as a figure of danger (Eve) and/or an icon of beauty presented through sexuality and physicality (Venus). In the modern period, the male nude all but disappeared whereas the female nude as subject became a marker of innovative and avant-­garde art. The course will look at traditional art (painting & sculpture) along with more contemporary forms (film, advertising, photography, graphic art) to explore how the body is displayed and used in visual images. We will think about issues of gender and identity, religion and society, ideal form vs. the “ugly,” clothing and drapery vs. nudity, eroticism vs. subversion, the artist and the model, spectatorship and identification. This course aims to improve your writing and speaking skills in analyzing the image-­saturated world around us. DIST: Art; WCult: W.

Professor O'Rourke
12 Hour

WGSS 16 Contemporary Issues in Feminism

This course explores the theoretical underpinnings of some of the most highly contested issues in society today. We will look at a spectrum of positions on such issues as: questions of difference and equality; women’s health and reproductive rights; identity and identity politics; morality-pornography-violence; eco-feminism-environmentalism; children, family, and human rights; and the representation/performance of femininity/masculinity. Special emphasis will be placed on the connection between theory and practice. Open to all students. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Gallagher
11 Hour

WGSS 18 Introduction to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies

This course will examine the ways in which "deviant" sexual and gender behavior and identities, and the political movements that emerge from them, have been conceptualized in U.S. culture. We will cover basic LGBT cultural and political history and the interplay between sexuality, gender, race, class, ethnicity, and economics. Classes will be a mix of lecture and discussion. Students will be expected to work with primary documents (including novels and film), recent work in queer theory and historical analysis. Open to all students. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Lim
6B Hour

WGSS 23.01/HIST 27 Gender and Power in American History from the Colonial Period to the Civil War

This course examines the history of men and women from the period of colonial settlement to the achievement of woman's suffrage. We will explore the construction of gender particularly as it relates to social, political, economic, and cultural power. Topics will include: the role of gender in political thought and practice, the intersection of gender with categories of class and race; gender in the debate over slavery and the Civil War; and the rise and evolution of the woman's rights movement. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.

Professor Butler
2 Hour

WGSS 24.01/ARAB 61.08 (New Cross-List Underway)

This course is an introduction to the history of feminism in the Arab world from the 19th century to the present. It examines some of the most important socioeconomic and political issues as well as aesthetic trends that were or continue to be central to feminist activism and cultural production in the region. Throughout the term students will engage with a wide range of primary sources (newspaper articles and op-eds, memoirs, novels, poems, photographs and films) that will help them develop a nuanced and critical understanding of the diverse and dynamic experiences of women in the Arab world. Dist: INT or LIT; WCult: NW.

Professor Morsi
10 Hour

WGSS 31.04/GOV 20.01 Women and Politics

This is a general course about gender and politics in which we will examine the roles of women and men as voters, activists, and politicians. We will begin by examining a wide range of relevant issues, including: how gender affects political participation and partisan preferences, how boys and girls are socialized differently into politics, how public opinion regarding domestic and foreign policy sometimes differs for women and men, and how a different gender balance among office holders might be expected to affect representation, policy, and governance. The course will then critically examine various barriers that women may face in the pursuit of elected office in the U.S., and we will also expand our view beyond politics, by analyzing women in non-political leadership positions in order to draw useful comparisons. Finally, the course will examine the role of gender in an international context, comparing gender dynamics in the U.S. with those of other countries in order to better understand the future of women in politics in the U.S. and in the world at large. This course is appropriate for all students, from all majors (there are no prerequisites). Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor D. Brooks
12 Hour

WGSS 33.07/SOCY 62 Love, Romance, Intimacy, and Dating

Why do you connect with some people and not others? What exactly is love? And how do you make smart, romantic choices for yourself? In this course, we examine the social aspects of love, romance, intimacy and dating. Using sociological theories and methods, we will investigate how cultural beliefs and structural arrangements affect our most intimate feelings and experiences, and how you can avoid that 50% divorce rate in your own life. Dist: SOC.

Professor Lively
10A Hour

WGSS 33.08/SOCY 36 Sociology of Family

The sociological study of the family involves our ability to take a step back to assess structures that pattern our personal experiences and how the private decisions that happen in families matter to society as a whole. We will examine how private affairs in family life interact with important public issues, particularly discussing intersections with gender, social class, race and ethnicity, marriage and cohabitation, divorce, remarriage and stepfamilies, childhood and adolescence, work, and social policy. Dist: SOC; WCult: W.

Professor Walton
2 Hour

WGSS 34.02/AAAS 40 Gender Identities and Politics in Africa

This interdisciplinary course explores the constructions of gender identities in different African sociocultural contexts. The emphasis is on contemporary Africa, although we will discuss some of the historical frameworks of these identities. We will read historical accounts of gender in some pre-colonial African societies, investigate the impact of colonialism, and examine gender in some anticolonial movements. We will also analyze gender in urban and rural contexts, and address such questions as homosexuality and gay rights. Dist: INT; WCult: CI.

Professor Coly
10A Hour

WGSS 42.06 Gender and the Global War on Terror (NEW)

New in Spring 2018!

This course examines the gendered and sexual politics of “The Global War on Terror” in post-9/11 worlds. We will critically examine how everyday people and feminist activists/scholars identify, theorize, and challenge the systems of value and power relationships that historically and presently structure the ongoing U.S.-led “Global War on Terror,” with a particular focus on the effects of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also explore how the “Global War on Terror”––America’s longest “official” war, which has been ongoing for sixteen years––is diffuse and continually changing as those persons deemed internal/external “threats” to national security shift over periods of time. In order to examine these relationships of power, we turn to the stories of women and men in the U.S. military, women in Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans, and de-militarization activists and artists in the U.S. and globally over the course of these sixteen years.

Professor Gallagher
12 Hour

WGSS 42.05/ANTH 28/AAAS 88.08 Ethnography of Violence

Violence is widely recognized as a problem in modern society, with policies and interventions to combat violence, or to employ it, dominating local and global politics. Yet the meaning of violence is seldom analyzed. This course explores violence as both an embodied experience and a socially and culturally mediated problem. Particular attention is paid to understanding how violence relates to manifestations of power, configurations of legitimacy, structures of inequality, and perceptions of difference. Using personal, collective, and institutional perspectives, this course raises key questions concerning security, resistance, suffering, and criminality in a globalized world. 

Professor Kivland
11 Hour

WGSS 59.07/LATS 30.01 Latinx Performance

This course offers a critical investigation of performance in the Americas through a queer and transgender/travesti lens. We explore specific social, political, and economic contexts in which artists are performing and interweave written texts with audio, visual, and other modes of doing theory. Our texts are interdisciplinary: we listen to music, watch films, do written performance responses, and read memoir, history, ethnography, manifesto, and critical theory. The course will be organized around various themes that can be transposed to many other areas of study. Creative and critical written assignments provide opportunities to develop self-reflexivity, writing and thinking skills, and making connections betwen our everyday lives and larger workings of power. Ultimately, the course invites students to think about how queer and trans/trava performance is imbricated with social justice artistic formations in the contemporary world. Dist: INT or ART; WCult: CI.

Professor Krell
10A Hour

WGSS 62.02 A Global History of Sexual Science (NEW)

New in Spring 2018!

This course provides an introduction to the global history of sexual science from the late 19th Century through the mid-20th Century.  The beginnings of scientific approaches to sex, gender and sexuality were very diverse and thus we will read—among others—historical medical, psychiatric, anthropological, journalistic, philosophical and literary texts.  Scientific notions of sexuality did not simply migrate from the “West” to the “rest,” but developed as a result of complex, mutually constitutive interactions and global networks.  The field of sexual science emerged not just in Europe and North America but in a variety of places, such as India, Chile, or China.  Its proponents in different parts of the world were intensely aware of each other and interacted through publications, conferences, or travel. Moreover, proponents of sexual science in Europe and North America adopted notions forged in exchange with actors in Asia, Latin America and Africa, e.g., the US practice of gender reassignment surgery was heavily influenced by earlier Mexican cases or the German legal understanding of homosexuality was tested and contested in its colonial African courts.  We will study many figures who have been forgotten in contemporary work on sexuality or sexual science.  Some of these figures drew from the repressive legal, social and cultural discourses that limited sexual expression and gave the ideological grounds to discrimination and persecution.  But others—and they were at times the very same figures—connected to the liberating discourses, the power of which we are experiencing today. Dist: INT or SOC; WCult: NW.

Professor Fuechtner
10A Hour

WGSS 96 Advanced Research in Gender Studies

In Spring 2018: Queer New York City

Just what can the city of New York offer in terms of queer experiential learning that is transcultural, intersectional, radical and fabulous? From queer night life, drag queens, activist enclaves to artist colonies, students will learn first-hand how the theories posed by scholars in the field work on the ground. Each student will be asked to answer the following question: how do you materialize your own intellectual, creative, emotional and physical inquiries about race and sexuality as a queer project in an urban versus a rural setting? We will visit the Guggenheim Museum, the Leslie Lohman Museum for Gay and Lesbian Art, the Audre Lorde Project, the Chinese American Museum, the Stonewall Inn, a few drag bars and other underground sites to enter in substantive dialogues with people from very different backgrounds. Through these encounters with artists, curators, thinkers and activists, students will experience directly the works, shows and sites they read in class. They will actively learn to apply intersectional theory by thinking, feeling, re-creating or embodying the imagination and labor of queer artists, activists and scholars.

The course in by instructor permission only and has a limited enrollment of 12 students. As part of the experiential learning process, students are required to be in New York City for one week after final exams conclude, and have another optional trip. Interested students are asked to email the WGSS Office at [email protected] in order to receive an application.

Professor Lim
3A Hour