Summer 2017

WGSS 10 Sex, Gender, and Society

How has current thinking about sex, gender, and sexuality formed our experiences and understandings of ourselves, the world we inhabit, and the world we envision? This course investigates basic concepts about sex, gender, and sexuality and considers how these categories intersect with issues of race, class, ethnicity, family, religion, age, and/or national identity. The course also considers the effects of sex, gender, and sexuality on participation in the work force and politics, on language, and on artistic expression. In addition to reading a range of foundational feminist texts, materials for analysis may be drawn from novels, films, the  news, popular culture, and archival resources. Open to all students. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Ayubi
10A Hour

WGSS 37.04/GEOG 27/AAAS 80.09 Carceral Geographies (NEW)

Why are there so many people incarcerated in the United States and why are young people across the US calling for an end to police violence, some even for the abolition of policing? Is mass incarceration an inevitable product of slavery and Jim Crow? Why has prison expansion and law and order been a rallying cry make America safe (again) precisely at moments when violent crime rates were going down?

This course is designed to explore and explain the role of surveillance, criminalization, policing to historical and contemporary US state formation and global racial capitalism. This course proceeds from the idea that carceral geographies such as prison towns, detention centers, police departments, welfare agencies, and surveillance apparatuses are spatial fixes for social, economic, and political crises. We will engage scholarship from critical prison studies, geography, gender and sexuality studies, and critical ethnic studies to understand the different dimensions and question that emerge from thinking about space, race, gender, sexuality, land, labor, and state capacity together. Students will have an opportunity to build their understanding of the historical and contemporary organization of people, places, ideas and infrastructure that makes up US carceral geographies. Student will also have a chance to familiarize themselves with the history of resistance to penal democracy. This course requires dedicated and rigorous reading. Each week we will read an entire book and analyze it in depth to create shared language and understandings about carceral geographies.

NOTE: Cross-list is in process. To register for this course during the first round of summer course enrollment, use GEOG 27.

Professor Ellison
11 Hour


WGSS 40.04/GEOG 62/AAAS 88.15 Black Women's Activism, 1970-present (NEW)

In this course we will explore several genres of writing, grounded in an intellectual engagement with the creative, scholarly, and activist writing of Black women of all genders from 1970 to the present. How does Black women’s activism constitute a political intellectual tradition that impacts how we do research and pose questions? How does black women’s activism refigure the categories and categorization of knowledge and knowledge production? What does it mean to write oneself into existence if and when knowledge is premised on their epistemic and actual disappearance? This course approaches Black women’s intellectual and cultural production as one entry point into the project of creating from nothing, writing to become, writing as an act of survival, and writing to envision and practice new worlds. These are all vital skills in a rapidly transforming social, economic, political and climatic landscapes. DIST: SOC; WCult: CI.

NOTE: Cross-list is in process. To register for this course during the first round of summer course enrollment, use WGSS 40.04.

Professor Ellison
10 Hour

WGSS 41.04/AMES 40.04/REL 28.03 Transnational Muslim Feminisms: History, Religion, and Praxis

This course introduces students to the diversity of feminist approaches on a transnational scale, by examining the movements, activism, media, literature, and Islamic debates produced in predominantly Muslim countries and beyond. We will interrogate concepts of transnationalism, feminism and modernity in terms of historical developments, theoretical usage, the context of colonialism, Islamic theologies, and the modern Muslim nation states. We will explore similarities and differences in women's experiences and feminist methodologies across global Muslim contexts. Course materials will be made up of several primary sources in translation that deal with intersectional issues such as religious and cultural practices, educational systems, politics, race and racism, socioeconomic class, legal rights for men and women, and marriage and the family. Dist: INT or SOC; WCult: NW

Professor Ayubi
2A Hour

WGSS 62.03 Gender and the Anthropocene (NEW)

The Anthropocene—the era of human impact on the planet—is a gendered concept as well as a geological one.  Humans have changed the planet, sparking extremes of liberation and oppression, hope and despair. Environmental change asks us to reimagine gender, race, class, and national identity as we consider the relationship between the human and the natural.  

Brides, monsters, witches, cyborgs, and aliens often figure as gendered avatars of the Anthropocene in literature.  We will examine literary works including The Tempest, Frankenstein, Ceremony, and The Handmaid’s Tale in the context of feminist ecology, science studies, and environmental criticism.  Feminist and queer theory have complicated kinships with ecocriticism: we will trace out theoretical conversations among Carolyn Merchant, Val Plumwood, Silvia Federici, Vandana Shiva, Donna Haraway, Gayatri Spivak, Jane Bennett, Monique Allewaert, Tim Morton, and others. Dist: LIT; WCult: CI.

Professor Bergland
3A Hour