Exterior at night

The Center at night

Side Entrance

The entrance of the CSGS

Heather Love audience

The audience listens as Lauren Berlant introduces Heather Love in 2014

Class discussion

Students participate in a classroom discussion at the Center

Héctor Carrillo

Héctor Carrillo talks with students after his book talk in 2018

Joan Scott

Joan Scott speaking at the Center in 2017

panel

Students listen to panelists present in 2017

Community room

The Community Room at 5733 S University

center door

Center entrance

5733 exterior

The exterior of 5733 S University

Bhanu Kapil

Poet Bhanu Kapil at the Center in 2016

2022-2023 Courses

Undergraduate Courses

AUTUMN 2022

 

Graduate Courses

AUTUMN 2022

 

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

AUTUMN 2022

GNSE 12110 Women in Hollywood
Instructor:
Aurore Spiers
In a video produced for InStyle in January 2020, the actress turned movie director Olivia Wilde expressed that "Hollywood used to be dominated by women and then we rolled back the clock and destroyed the evidence. We're bringing it back to that time and celebrating those ladies. The important, powerful, brilliant positions they held in this industry may have been buried and forgotten. But not by us." Taking the recent public debate about gender and racial discrimination in Hollywood as its starting place, this class explores-through historical, theoretical, and formal approaches, and close readings of texts and films-women's involvement in the US film industry, where women have served as actors, directors, screenwriters, producers, costume designers, technicians, and production secretaries since the early days. The focus of discussion will range from gender representation, spectatorship, and feminist film theory, including "the male gaze"; through questions of aesthetics and gender, race, and sexuality in films directed by women-identifying filmmakers; through feminized labor, access, and visibility; to women's film history, feminist historiography, and archival absences. Films discussed will include works by Dorothy Arzner, Sofia Coppola, Julie Dash, Cheryl Dunye, Zackary Drucker, Patty Jenkins, Ida Lupino, Claudia Weill, and Olivia Wilde.
This class counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 12116 The “Bad Moms” Renaissance*
Instructor: Sarah Gray Lesley
From the murderous matriarch to the overbearing stepmother, sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literary representations of mothers reveal the anxieties, fantasies, and social ideals of reproduction, family, and gender in the period. This course argues that what makes a mom “bad” in these texts is bound up in the racial, gendered, and sexual imagination of early modern England. We will read a broad range of early modern texts from epic poetry to prose fiction, from midwifery manuals to the plays of William Shakespeare and his contemporaries. In doing so, we will confront past (and present) understandings of motherhood, care, femininity, and family structures.
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors

GNSE 12117 Race, Gender, and Class: Introduction to Cultural Studies
Instructor:
Noah Hansen
This course provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Cultural Studies by way of a tripartite investigation of the field’s three key categories: Race, Class, and Gender. Where do these categories come from, and how have they functioned to organize understandings of human difference? How have the meanings of these concepts evolved historically, and what role do they continue to play in shaping our collective experience and representation of social reality? “Race, class and gender are not the answers in cultural studies, the bottom-line explanation to which all life may be reduced,” argues Michael Denning. Instead, “they are precisely the problems posed—their history, their formation, their ‘articulation’ with particular historical events or artistic works. These are the issues to be explained and understood.” Rather than advancing static or essential definitions of these three terms, then, the course will introduce students to a set of tools and strategies for “reading” race, class, and gender as evolving and intersecting modes of human differentiation. We will thus attend to these concepts’ dual status as real material structures and symbolic constructs which shape how we relate to larger social collectivities like “peoples” and “nations.” Readings will include theorizations of race, gender, and class from a variety of intellectual traditions, with an emphasis on writers who have employed these categories in various modes of cultural analysis (Stuart Hall, Paul Gilroy, Raymond Williams, Hazel Carby, Saidiya Hartman, Edward Said, Lisa Lowe, and Lauren Berlant, to name a few). Attention will also be given to dissident cultural formations which have adopted these categories as slogans and rallying cries whereby to challenge dominant political-economic orders (i.e., anti-racist movements, feminism, and subaltern and working-class mobilizations.) Students will develop their skills as cultural studies analysts through a sequence of exercises and assignments which ask them to interpret the raced, classed, and gendered dimensions of a variety of cultural objects: novels, songs, films, “memes,” advertisements, political speeches, etc.
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 15002 Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations – I
Instructors: multiple
The first quarter of the GNSE Civ sequence offers a historical examination of bodies, sex, and gender. Through a series of readings that include historical primary sources and examples of cultural production from antiquity to the present, we will investigate how bodies across a variety of cultures become sexed and gendered. In particular, we will ask how the very categories of sex and gender not only produce social meaning from bodies and their anatomical differences but may also be complicit in acts violence, oppression, and colonization. Thematically we will pay attention to the emergence and critique of the distinction between sex and gender; resistances to the gender binary; the relationship between gender, power, and authority; feminism and critiques of Western feminism; the category of woman as an object of scientific knowledge; and the flourishing of and violence against trans life. Finally, while we will be dealing with historical accounts in this course, the aim is to understand how the regulation of bodies in the past has informed and may challenge our understanding of the diversity of embodied experience in the present.
This course (+ GNSE 15003) meets the Civilizations Requirement for the Core.

GNSE 17501 Art and Feminism
Instructor:
Maggie Borowitz
How has feminism changed the landscape of artistic practices over the course of the 20th and 21st centuries? What does a history of feminist art look like and how does it relate to a feminist history of art? In this course, students will consider the relationship between art and feminism, focusing upon artwork produced in the Americas over the last century. Through course readings, seminar discussions, and the close analysis of artworks, the course will be structured around a series of thematic investigations across the geographical space of the Americas, focusing especially upon the U.S. and Mexico. We will consider texts by feminist art historians such as Linda Nochlin and Anne Wagner alongside key texts by feminist theorists such as Judith Butler, bell hooks, and Laura Mulvey; we will explore the work of artists who have identified as feminists (e.g., Judy Chicago, Howardena Pindell) as well as those who have complicated or even resisted such identification (e.g., Georgia O’Keeffe, Agnes Martin, Yayoi Kusama). Key themes will include: representations of bodies, eroticisms, domestic space and labor, the relationship between the personal and the political, and the politicization of materials and making processes. 

GNSE 17612 The Art of Michelangelo
Instructor:
Charles Cohen
The focus of this course will be Michelangelo’s sculpture, painting and architecture while making use of his writings and his extensive body of drawings to understand his artistic personality, creative processes, theories of art, and his intellectual and spiritual biography, including his changing attitudes towards Neoplatonism, Christianity and politics. Our structure will be chronological starting with his juvenilia of the 1490s in Florence at the court of Lorenzo the Magnificent through his death in Rome in 1564 as an old man who was simultaneously the deity of art and a lonely, troubled, repentant Christian. Beyond close examination of the works themselves, among the themes that will receive attention for the ways they bear upon his art are Michelangelo’s fraught relationship with patrons; his changing attitude towards religion, especially his engagement with the Catholic Reform; his sexuality and how it might bear on the representation of gender in his art and poetry; his “official” biographies during Michelangelo’s lifetime and complex, ambivalent, reception over the centuries; new ideas about Michelangelo that have emerged from the restoration and scientific imaging of many of his works. At the same time, the course will be an introduction of students with little or no background in art history to some of the major avenues for interpretation in this field, including formal, stylistic, iconographical, psychological, social, feminist, theoretical and reception. 

GNSE 17915 Women’s Work
Instructor:
Kindon Mills
As a haptic art, an art experienced through touch as well as the other senses, architecture operates at multiple scales: that of hand, building, city. The scale of the hand gives the most direct access to architecture and its furnishings: think of a handrail, a chair, a textile, a brick pattern, a wood detail. This is the realm of craft in architecture and was, for decades, the realm inhabited and ruled by women practitioners. Women designed furniture, made drawings, wove textiles, produced pottery and glasswork as a means of expression within the male world of architectural practice. As an introduction to the study of architecture, craft entails applying principles of proportion, scale, tactility, precision, materiality and assembly; in this way, craft is a microcosm of architecture. Through a series of projects and readings centered around the craft arts and the women who advanced them, this studio course will introduce students to small-scale making and translate that process to larger scales. Students will undertake three projects: (1) a small work of craft and a set of orthographic drawings describing the making process, (2) a design for a work space for a craft, and (3) a series of analytical drawings linking a work of architecture back to a traditional craft.

GNSE 18808 Asian American History Through the Novel
Instructor:
Carl Kubler
This course examines the interwoven histories of migration, language, and identity formation and re-formation in Asian American experience. How have migrant and diasporic identities been represented in fictional (or quasi-fictional) terms? How have factors such as race, religion, class, gender, and sexuality shaped everyday Asian American life? Course readings consist primarily of novels, representing a variety of Asian ethnicities and experiences, by writers of Chinese, Filipino, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, and Vietnamese descent. These works are supplemented by selected historical documents and short lectures to shed additional light onto the sociohistorical contexts and issues under study.  

GNSE 20001 Theories of Sexuality and Gender
Instructor:
Paula Martin
This is a one-quarter, seminar-style course for undergraduates. Its aim is triple: to engage scenes and concepts central to the interdisciplinary study of gender and sexuality; to provide familiarity with key theoretical anchors for that study; and to provide skills for deriving the theoretical bases of any kind of method. Students will produce descriptive, argumentative, and experimental engagements with theory and its scenes as the quarter progresses.
This course is required for all GNSE majors/minors.

GNSE 20127 Black Women Work: The Labor of Black Women in Communities, Families, and Institutions
Instructor:
Lisa Moore
This multidisciplinary course will explore the labor of Black women in three distinct arenas-communities, families, and institutions. Students will explore these areas through engaging with historical and contemporary narratives, research, and popular media, heavily drawing in a U.S. context, but not exclusively. Through an engagement of Black women in the U.S. labor force, this course will explore three questions. How has the labor of Black women contributed to the sustainability of communities, families, and institutions? What are the choices Black women make to engage and sustain their work? What is the future of the labor of Black women? Is the future one that is liberatory or not? Students will leave this course with an understanding of the ways intersectional experiences of oppression contribute to complex conditions and decision-making, that shape the labor of Black women, the function of certain labor decisions as sites of resistance, as well as the generative resources that support the professional success and well-being of Black women.
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 21111 History of Death
Instructor:
Katie Hickerson
This course introduces students to the historical study of death and the methods and approaches scholars have developed to understand the roles death has played in shaping societies across time and space. Drawing from the rich scholarship on the history of death, it will demonstrate the methodical diversity (textual, visual, and material culture studies) and analytical approaches (history of the body, religious studies, and the study of slavery and colonialism) used to examine the multivalent ways the dead have been sources of meaning-making for individuals, institutions, religious communities, and nations from early Islam to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. It examines how ruptures in ways of death through military encounters, epidemics, and colonialism have shaped and transformed societies. While the history of death is strongly situated in narratives of the rise of the West, students will consider case studies from across regional scholarly specializations, including Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.

GNSE 21303 Gender, Capital, and Desire: Jane Austen and Critical Interpretation
Instructor:
Tristan Schweiger
In this course, we read all six canonical Austen novels alongside numerous critical and theoretical texts. It provides both an in-depth discussion of Austen and a graduate-level introduction to various methodological, theoretical, and interpretive schools (e.g. queer theory, feminist theory, Marxist analysis, postcolonial theory, psychoanalytic criticism, historicism).

GNSE 21400 Advanced Theories in Gender and Sexuality
Instructors:
Linda Zerilli and Helen Galvin Ross
Beginning with the fraught legacy of the New Left and the proliferation of “new social movements” such as feminism and gay liberation, this seminar explores the key debates around which gender and sexuality were articulated as tenacious but open structures of power subject to political critique and social transformation. The relatively stable yet dynamic character of what Gayle Rubin in 1975 famously called “the sex/gender system” raises basic questions of structure and event: (1) how are systemic relations of domination and rule historically constituted and sustained over time?; and (2) how can that which is regularly reproduced be not only momentarily interrupted, but fundamentally altered through both quotidian and extraordinary forms of action and worlding? The unexpected character of the new social movements called for a radical rethinking of structures and their transformation. Haunted by unpredictable forms of resistance, heteropatriarchal structures challenged theorists and activists to forge new frameworks of critique that refigured basic concepts of power, subjectivity, and agency. These frameworks are examined with an eye to how racialized sexuality and gender are created and contested in the context of modern biopolitical capitalism and its constitution of naturalized conceptions of rule. Undergraduate enrollment by Consent.

GNSE 22260 Housekeeping: Domestic Drama and Material Culture
Instructor:
Ellen MacKay
This course puts in tension the long-held principle that the early modern theatre was an “empty space” for actors’ voices to resound in, uncluttered by props and set pieces, and the frequent representation of the manufacture, consumption, and use of household stuff in early modern English city comedy and domestic tragedy. We will reverse engineer the prop closet of the 17th stage to think about how objects disrupt the virtuosity of professional performers to elevate proficiencies that are home-borne. 

GNSE 22320 Critical Videogame Studies
Instructors:
Ashlyn Sparrow and Patrick Jagoda
Since the 1960s, games have arguably blossomed into the world's most profitable and experimental medium. This course attends specifically to video games, including popular arcade and console games, experimental art games, and educational serious games. Students will analyze both the formal properties and sociopolitical dynamics of video games. Readings by theorists such as Ian Bogost, Roger Caillois, Alenda Chang, Nick Dyer‐Witheford, Mary Flanagan, Jane McGonigal, Soraya Murray, Lisa Nakamura, Amanda Phillips, and Trea Andrea Russworm will help us think about the growing field of video game studies. Students will have opportunities to learn about game analysis and apply these lessons to a collaborative game design project. Students need not be technologically gifted or savvy, but a wide-ranging imagination and interest in digital media or game cultures will make for a more exciting quarter.

GNSE 22509 Intersections Of Gender And Race Throughout The Modern Middle East
Instructor:
Chelsie May
This course will explore how parts of the modern Middle East confronted notions, questions, and definitions of race and gender. Organized thematically and covering a region that spans from North Africa to Iran, we will use the analytics of race and gender in an intersecting way to explore topics in the Middle East such as: structural racism, colonialism, slavery, local nationalisms, whiteness, racialization in nation building, eugenics, scientific racism, and global solidarity movements. In so doing, our course will reveal that race is an operative category in the study of Middle East history, the historical racial logics operating in various Middle Eastern countries, and how race and gender intersect at the site of individual as well as the effects of this. This course is designed for anyone interested in race theory, gender theory, intersectionality, and Middle East history. By the end of this course, students will have the tools to think in a multidimensional way about aspects of Middle East history that do not often receive such an intersectional treatment. Additionally, they will develop the methodological tools to discern local race and gender logics that might be different from what they're most familiar with. Finally, through coming to understand their relationship to the knowledge of our course, students will also be able to use the course as a springboard for continued learning in other courses that treat race, gender, and the Middle East.

GNSE 23124 Prostitution in Global Perspective
Instructor
: Zoya Sameen
Prostitution has been a site of multiple regulations—whether institutional, social, or spatial. This course aims to examine various regimes and expressions of prostitution, and their transformations, from the eighteenth to the twentieth century in global perspective. We will consider the categories of gender, sex, and race, together with the processes of colonization, nation-building, and migration in order to uncover the norms and regulatory regimes that undergirded the historical life of prostitution. Readings will include area case-studies alongside comparative and transnational histories ranging from East-Asia to Latin America. We will discuss what kinds of evidence can be marshaled in service of writing these histories, and how historians of prostitution have approached archives limited by state-centric and official perspectives. Students in this course will develop the critical tools to interrogate the evolving practices of an everyday activity, and assess the possibilities and limitations of producing a global history of prostitution.
This course counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 23141 Social Reproduction: Labour, Life, and World-making
Instructor:
Tanima Sharma
Marxist feminists have defined social reproduction as the labour, with its attendant spaces and institutions, that is required for making and maintaining life in a capitalist world - from marriage to sexwork, schooling to child care, housing to healthcare, the affective to the intimate. This course explores theories, practices, histories and infrastructures of social reproduction in a transnational context, offering analytics for how life is constrained and sustained at different scales. It begins with an overview of early debates in social reproduction theory, and goes on to examine interventions from anthropology, geography, literature, history and political science that, both, focus on particular nodes that social reproduction feminists identify (such as domestic, education, service industry and healthcare spaces), as well as add other dimensions to the question of what sustains life in a capitalist world (such as fantasy and desire). Throughout our reading we will pay attention to how intersections of gender, sexuality, race, caste, class, and disability become integral to mobilizations of labour. The labour of social reproduction is often devalued and invisibilized, yet its life and world-making capacities can also offer contradictory and liberatory potentials for an everyday beyond capitalism. Thus the course also critically engages material that centres concepts of social reproduction to radically reimagine economies, bodies, the state, social relations, and futures. 
This course counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23142 Religion and AIDS
Instructor:
Mark Lambert
"The AIDS crisis was not an epoch that we survived. It is a battle that we are still fighting…when Americans talk about AIDS they are rarely just talking about a scientific problem or a pharmaceutical solution. They are instead offering a sociology of suffering and a plan for spiritual warfare." – Kathryn Lofton
Is it possible to understand current debates over public health or the role of religion in the public sphere without first examining religious responses to the AIDS crisis? This course focuses on the emergence of the AIDS epidemic during the peak of the American culture wars. As such, students will analyze the fraught intersection of political power structures, medical epistemologies, and religious views on bodies, sex, and public morality. Through a varied catalog of disciplinary frameworks, e.g., history, theology, medical ethics, sociology of religion, and history of medicine, students will weigh the accuracy of Lofton's claim that for Americans, AIDS is more than just a disease. Thus, we will scrutinize moral rhetoric surrounding contraception and its public availability. We will discuss the extent to which religious philanthropy, especially on the international stage, reshaped approaches to global health. Finally, we will revisit the role of religious communities in providing both care for the sick and theological responses to suffering. Prior knowledge of religious studies and/or medical history is not required for the course. 
This course counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23149 Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
Instructor:
Rania Sweis
This course focuses on the ways in which anthropologists have approached gender in the modern Middle East and North Africa. In addition to providing a survey of key anthropological theories and debates about gender in the discipline of anthropology, it also centers on the writings of local authors, social scientists, and critical theorists, such as Islamic feminists and “native” scholars. Key themes will be: kinship, sexuality, and the body; women and nationalism; post-colonialism; violence, war and displacement; the politics of childhood and youth; and globalization and neoliberalism. This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 23809 Pain, Truth, and Justice
Instructor:
Maureen Kelly
Why should the truth hurt? Does pain guarantee the truth told? Is pain the price of exposure to the truth? Does that make punishment just? In this course, we will take a historical and philosophical approach to examine the relations between pain, truth, and justice. In the premodern period, we will draw from Genesis, Sophocles’ Oedipus, Augustine, Tertullian, martyrdom accounts, and public penance in medieval Christianity. To study the theme in the early modern nation-state spectacles of punishment, colonial contexts, and contemporary scenes of justice, we will turn to the writings of Foucault, Fanon, and others. Over the course of the historical and philosophical examinations, we will trace the themes of body, affect, and performance; truth, law, and ritual; power, religion, and the nation-state. In the end, we will turn a critical eye to contemporary cultural discourses and representations of pain, truth, and justice in the arts, law, literature, philosophy, and politics.

GNSE 24900 Lolita
Instructor:
Malynne Sternstein
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul, Lolita: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate, to tap at three on the teeth.” Popular as Nabokov’s “all-American” novel is, it is rarely discussed beyond its psychosexual profile. This intensive text-centered and discussion-based course attempts to supersede the univocal obsession with the novel’s pedophiliac plot as such by concerning itself above all with the novel’s language: language as failure, as mania, and as conjuration.  

GNSE 26113 Queer South Asia
Instructor:
Nisha Kommattam
This course explores representations of queerness, same-sex love, sexualities and debates around them by introducing students to a variety of literary texts translated from South Asian languages as well as films, geographically ranging from India and Pakistan to Sri Lanka. We will also read scholarship that will help us place the production and reception of these primary sources in historical, political, cultural and religious contexts. In particular, we will examine questions of history and continuity (recurrent themes and images); form and genre (differences of representation in mythological narratives, poetry, biography, fiction, erotic/legal/medical treatises); the relationship of gender to sexuality (differences and similarities between representations of male-male and female-female relations); queerness as a site for exploring other differences, such as caste or religious difference; and questions of cross-cultural and transnational dialogue and cultural specificity.

GNSE 26210 Witches, Sinners and Saints
Instructor:
Larissa Brewer-Garcia
This course examines representations of women's bodies and sexualities in colonial Latin American writings. In doing so, we will study the body through a variety of lenses: the anatomical body as a site of construction of sexual difference, the witch's body as a site of sexual excess, the mystic's body as a double of the possessed body, the tortured body as a site of knowledge production, and the racialized bodies of New World women as sites to govern sexuality, spirituality, labor, and property in the reaches of the Spanish Empire. PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent of instructor. Taught in Spanish. 

GNSE 26305 Moral Reasoning Between Church and State: The Case of Abortion
Instructor:
Jonathan Tran
What is the moral reasoning of those inspired by Christianity to overturn Roe v. Wade? Given constitutional blocks on the state’s establishment of religion, how do Christians justify legislating religiously-grounded moral beliefs? How do these Christians imagine the role of the church in secular democratic space? What is the nature of their religious lives? Under what mandates do they operate? What scriptures do they read? What worship do they participate in? This course takes a close look at those vocationally—even, “spiritually”—called to severely limit women’s reproductive rights. Specific attention will be given to how these communities understand God, scripture, gender, family, government, democracy, law, freedom, etc. While much of the course’s attention will be given to arguments and rationales (including legal and judicial arguments and rationales), equal attention will be given to ethnographically understanding the lived experience of ardent pro-life advocacy. The course will conclude by examining religiously-inspired pro-choice alternatives to pro-life positions, with specific attention to how carefully pro-choice advocates attend to the arguments and worldviews of their pro-life counterparts. A wide range of texts and types of texts will be considered. 

GNSE 27605 United States Legal History
Instructor:
Evelyn Atkinson
This course focuses on the connections between law and society in modern America. It explores how legal doctrines and constitutional rules have defined individual rights and social relations in both the public and private spheres. It also examines political struggles that have transformed American law. Topics to be addressed include the meaning of rights; the regulation of property, work, race, and sexual relations; civil disobedience; and legal theory as cultural history. Readings include legal cases, judicial rulings, short stories, and legal and historical scholarship. 

GNSE 27608 Women and Islam
Instructor:
Maliha Chishti
This course is an introduction to the field of women and Islam. We will examine the literature on Islamic legal, historical, Quranic and sacred textual constructs of women as well as critically explore the lived realities and experiences of Muslim women living in Muslim-majority societies and in the west. In centering the work of Muslim feminist scholars, students will gain an understanding of the multiple and competing narratives and portrayals of women in the Qur’an and hadith literature, and will explore contemporary debates around women’s rights, violence against women, veiling, representational politics and gendered orientalism in the post. 9/11 era. The discursive constructions and social realities of Muslim women are critically examined through historic and literary representations, ethnographic accounts, human rights discourses and secular and Islamic feminism(s). This course explores this topic from an interdisciplinary perspective and primarily situates a decolonial feminist framework to understand Muslim women as complex, and multidimensional actors engaged in knowledge production and political and feminist studies. 

GNSE 28122 Diasporic Practices in Contemporary Art
Instructor:
Julia Phillips
The class will examine various phenomena of “Diasporic Practices in Contemporary Art”, such as fragmented histories, the question of origin(ality), the limits of translation, social belonging and “the chosen family”, and (over-)representation of origin. In class we will discuss readings by (a.o.) Grada Kilomba, Adrian Piper, Éduard Glissant, Langston Hughes, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Hito Steyerl. Students will be asked to present on contemporary artists highlighting their diasporic strategies, while also producing creative works through assignments that employ diasporic strategies and that will be discussed in class.

GNSE 28498 Women, Development and Politics
Instructors:
Maliha Chishti and Maria Bautista
This course will explore the dominant and emerging trends and debates in the field of women and international development. The major theoretical perspectives responding to global gender inequities will be explored alongside a wide range of themes impacting majority-world women, such as free market globalization, health and sexuality, race and representation, participatory development, human rights, the environment, and participation in politics. Course lectures will integrate policy and practitioner accounts and perspectives to reflect the strong influence development practice has in shaping and informing the field. Course materials will also include anti-racist, postcolonial, and post-development interruptions to dominant development discourse, specifically to challenge the underlying biases and assumptions of interventions that are predicated on transforming “them” into “us”. The material will also explore the challenges of women participating in politics and what are the consequences when they do or do not.

GNSE 28504 Law and Gender in the US and Israel: Comparative Perspectives
Instructor:
Yifat Bitton
This course will revolve around the axis of feminist critique of the law in Israel and the US. Various feminist approaches to the law will be introduced with attention to the main beneficiaries of the legal system. The interrelation between law and gender in contemporary Israel and the United States will be discussed in classic public law legal fields—for example, criminal law and the legal construction of gender-based violence, women’s representation in public space and offices—as well as in private law, with particular emphasis on personal injury law. The course will delve into the interrelations between the legal system, society and the perception of gender roles. We will consider the intersection of these topics with issues of race, class, sexual orientation, and immigrant status. Class discussions will feature abstract philosophical arguments as well as concrete legal questions concerning both Israeli and American societies. 

GNSE 28640 The Book of Ruth: Bible, Literature, Gender
Instructor:
Ilana Pardes
The Book of Ruth offers the most elaborate tale of a woman to be found in the Bible, but even this relatively detailed account is astonishingly laconic. The Book of Ruth is not really a book. It is only four chapters long – more of a short story, or a very short story, than a book. And yet, despite its ellipses, Ruth’s cryptic tale is remarkable for its capacity to provide, with but few vignettes, a vibrant portrait of one of the most intriguing characters in the Bible. The first part of this course will be devoted to the biblical text itself. We will consider literary and feminist readings of the Book of Ruth while exploring broader issues of biblical poetics. Special attention will be given to questions of migration – to different accounts of the Book of Ruth as a paradigmatic tale of a migrant woman. The second part of the course will be devoted to the reception of the Book of Ruth – from the Midrash and the Zohar to modern literature. Among the modern and contemporary writers to be considered: S. Y. Agnon, Allen Ginsberg, Toni Morrison, and Michal Ben-Naftali. The discussion will also entail an exploration of adaptations of the Book of Ruth in art – from Nicholas Poussin to Adi Nes.  

 

 

Graduate Course Descriptions

AUTUMN 2022

GNSE 30555 Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East
Instructor:
Rania Sweis
This course focuses on the ways in which anthropologists have approached gender in the modern Middle East and North Africa. In addition to providing a survey of key anthropological theories and debates about gender in the discipline of anthropology, it also centers on the writings of local authors, social scientists, and critical theorists, such as Islamic feminists and “native” scholars. Key themes will be: kinship, sexuality, and the body; women and nationalism; post-colonialism; violence, war and displacement; the politics of childhood and youth; and globalization and neoliberalism.

GNSE 31400 Advanced Theories in Gender and Sexuality
Instructors:
Linda Zerilli and Helen Galvin Ross
Beginning with the fraught legacy of the New Left and the proliferation of “new social movements” such as feminism and gay liberation, this seminar explores the key debates around which gender and sexuality were articulated as tenacious but open structures of power subject to political critique and social transformation. The relatively stable yet dynamic character of what Gayle Rubin in 1975 famously called “the sex/gender system” raises basic questions of structure and event: (1) how are systemic relations of domination and rule historically constituted and sustained over time?; and (2) how can that which is regularly reproduced be not only momentarily interrupted, but fundamentally altered through both quotidian and extraordinary forms of action and worlding? The unexpected character of the new social movements called for a radical rethinking of structures and their transformation. Haunted by unpredictable forms of resistance, heteropatriarchal structures challenged theorists and activists to forge new frameworks of critique that refigured basic concepts of power, subjectivity, and agency. These frameworks are examined with an eye to how racialized sexuality and gender are created and contested in the context of modern biopolitical capitalism and its constitution of naturalized conceptions of rule. 

GNSE 35623 Sexual Disorientation In Freud's Vienna
Instructor:
Eric Santner
In his Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (1905), Sigmund Freud argued that human sexuality is born out of a series of deviations from what would seem to be a naturally given norm. The seminar will take Freud’s Essays as a point of departure for an exploration of the larger literary and cultural world in which his ideas came to fruition. The main authors to be considered: Otto Weininger, Arthur Schnitzler, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Lou Andreas-Salomé, and Robert Musil. Reading knowledge of German required.

GNSE 36210 Witches, Sinners and Saints
Instructor:
Larissa Brewer-Garcia
This course examines representations of women's bodies and sexualities in colonial Latin American writings. In doing so, we will study the body through a variety of lenses: the anatomical body as a site of construction of sexual difference, the witch's body as a site of sexual excess, the mystic's body as a double of the possessed body, the tortured body as a site of knowledge production, and the racialized bodies of New World women as sites to govern sexuality, spirituality, labor, and property in the reaches of the Spanish Empire. PQ: SPAN 20300 or consent of instructor. Taught in Spanish. 

GNSE 36305 Moral Reasoning Between Church and State: The Case of Abortion
Instructor:
Jonathan Tran
What is the moral reasoning of those inspired by Christianity to overturn Roe v. Wade? Given constitutional blocks on the state’s establishment of religion, how do Christians justify legislating religiously-grounded moral beliefs? How do these Christians imagine the role of the church in secular democratic space? What is the nature of their religious lives? Under what mandates do they operate? What scriptures do they read? What worship do they participate in? This course takes a close look at those vocationally—even, “spiritually”—called to severely limit women’s reproductive rights. Specific attention will be given to how these communities understand God, scripture, gender, family, government, democracy, law, freedom, etc. While much of the course’s attention will be given to arguments and rationales (including legal and judicial arguments and rationales), equal attention will be given to ethnographically understanding the lived experience of ardent pro-life advocacy. The course will conclude by examining religiously-inspired pro-choice alternatives to pro-life positions, with specific attention to how carefully pro-choice advocates attend to the arguments and worldviews of their pro-life counterparts. A wide range of texts and types of texts will be considered. 

GNSE 37608 Women and Islam
Instructor:
Maliha Chishti
This course is an introduction to the field of women and Islam. We will examine the literature on Islamic legal, historical, Quranic and sacred textual constructs of women as well as critically explore the lived realities and experiences of Muslim women living in Muslim-majority societies and in the west. In centering the work of Muslim feminist scholars, students will gain an understanding of the multiple and competing narratives and portrayals of women in the Qur’an and hadith literature, and will explore contemporary debates around women’s rights, violence against women, veiling, representational politics and gendered orientalism in the post. 9/11 era. The discursive constructions and social realities of Muslim women are critically examined through historic and literary representations, ethnographic accounts, human rights discourses and secular and Islamic feminism(s). This course explores this topic from an interdisciplinary perspective and primarily situates a decolonial feminist framework to understand Muslim women as complex, and multidimensional actors engaged in knowledge production and political and feminist studies. 

GNSE 38100 Gender and Salvation in Jainism and Buddhism
Instructor:
Sarah Pierce Taylor
In 1991, Padmanbh Jaini published Gender and Salvation, a monograph that tracks the unfolding of debates within Jainism about the spiritual liberation of women. The book persuasively demonstrates how Jainism and, by extension, Buddhism began to question and subsequently answer questions about women and gender non-conforming people’s bodies, specific paths of women’s religiosity, and the (im)possibility of women’s liberation. This course takes Jaini’s book as its starting point, to explore secondary scholarship on Jainism and Buddhism published in its wake alongside primary source materials. 

GNSE 38122 Diasporic Practices in Contemporary Art
Instructor:
Julia Phillips
The class will examine various phenomena of “Diasporic Practices in Contemporary Art”, such as fragmented histories, the question of origin(ality), the limits of translation, social belonging and “the chosen family”, and (over-)representation of origin. In class we will discuss readings by (a.o.) Grada Kilomba, Adrian Piper, Éduard Glissant, Langston Hughes, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Hito Steyerl. Students will be asked to present on contemporary artists highlighting their diasporic strategies, while also producing creative works through assignments that employ diasporic strategies and that will be discussed in class.

GNSE 38504 Law and Gender in the US and Israel: Comparative Perspectives
Instructor:
Yifat Bitton
This course will revolve around the axis of feminist critique of the law in Israel and the US. Various feminist approaches to the law will be introduced with attention to the main beneficiaries of the legal system. The interrelation between law and gender in contemporary Israel and the United States will be discussed in classic public law legal fields—for example, criminal law and the legal construction of gender-based violence, women’s representation in public space and offices—as well as in private law, with particular emphasis on personal injury law. The course will delve into the interrelations between the legal system, society and the perception of gender roles. We will consider the intersection of these topics with issues of race, class, sexual orientation, and immigrant status. Class discussions will feature abstract philosophical arguments as well as concrete legal questions concerning both Israeli and American societies. 

GNSE 38640 The Book of Ruth: Bible, Literature, Gender
Instructor:
Ilana Pardes
The Book of Ruth offers the most elaborate tale of a woman to be found in the Bible, but even this relatively detailed account is astonishingly laconic. The Book of Ruth is not really a book. It is only four chapters long – more of a short story, or a very short story, than a book. And yet, despite its ellipses, Ruth’s cryptic tale is remarkable for its capacity to provide, with but few vignettes, a vibrant portrait of one of the most intriguing characters in the Bible. The first part of this course will be devoted to the biblical text itself. We will consider literary and feminist readings of the Book of Ruth while exploring broader issues of biblical poetics. Special attention will be given to questions of migration – to different accounts of the Book of Ruth as a paradigmatic tale of a migrant woman. The second part of the course will be devoted to the reception of the Book of Ruth – from the Midrash and the Zohar to modern literature. Among the modern and contemporary writers to be considered: S. Y. Agnon, Allen Ginsberg, Toni Morrison, and Michal Ben-Naftali. The discussion will also entail an exploration of adaptations of the Book of Ruth in art – from Nicholas Poussin to Adi Nes. 

GNSE 40192 Seminar: The Family Unit
Instructor:
Linda Waite
This seminar will focus on classic and current readings on the family, including the family as an institution, changes in family structure and function, new family forms, cohabitation, marriage, union dissolution, fertility, sexuality, working families, intergenerational relations, and family policy. We will discuss the readings for the week, with a focus on evaluating both the research and the ideas. Students will develop a research project on the family and prepare a paper outlining the project, providing a theoretical framework, background, hypotheses and approach. This might serve as the basis for a qualifying paper.

GNSE 40250 Housekeeping: Domestic Drama and Material Culture
Instructor:
Ellen MacKay
This course puts in tension the long-held principle that the early modern theatre was an “empty space” for actors’ voices to resound in, uncluttered by props and set pieces, and the frequent representation of the manufacture, consumption, and use of household stuff in early modern English city comedy and domestic tragedy. We will reverse engineer the prop closet of the 17th stage to think about how objects disrupt the virtuosity of professional performers to elevate proficiencies that are home-borne.

GNSE 41303 Gender, Capital, and Desire: Jane Austen and Critical Interpretation
Instructor:
Tristan Schweiger
In this course, we read all six canonical Austen novels alongside numerous critical and theoretical texts. It provides both an in-depth discussion of Austen and a graduate-level introduction to various methodological, theoretical, and interpretive schools (e.g. queer theory, feminist theory, Marxist analysis, postcolonial theory, psychoanalytic criticism, historicism).

GNSE 43000 Feminine Autobiographical Voices from the Maghreb
Instructor:
Khalid Lyamlahy
This course examines Maghrebi women’s autobiographies in relation to historical, social, and cultural contexts in the region. We will analyze the ways in which female Maghrebi writers engage with and respond to experiences of exile, separation, discrimination, linguistic divide, and political repression. We will focus on questions of gender, violence, imagination, and identity formation while investigating the interface between individual and collective memories and the liberating power of writing. Studied authors include Fatema Mernissi, Leïla Abouzeid, Fatna El Bouih, Zahia Rahmani, Leïla Sebbar, Malika Mokeddem, and Colette Fellous. TAUGHT IN ENGLISH

GNSE 47400 Women, Development and Politics
Instructors:
Maliha Chishti and Maria Bautista
This course will explore the dominant and emerging trends and debates in the field of women and international development. The major theoretical perspectives responding to global gender inequities will be explored alongside a wide range of themes impacting majority-world women, such as free market globalization, health and sexuality, race and representation, participatory development, human rights, the environment, and participation in politics. Course lectures will integrate policy and practitioner accounts and perspectives to reflect the strong influence development practice has in shaping and informing the field. Course materials will also include anti-racist, postcolonial, and post-development interruptions to dominant development discourse, specifically to challenge the underlying biases and assumptions of interventions that are predicated on transforming “them” into “us”. The material will also explore the challenges of women participating in politics and what are the consequences when they do or do not.

GNSE 50111 Contemporary Critical Theory: Aesthetics, Ethics, Politics
Instructor:
Hoda El Shakry
This graduate seminar introduces key debates in contemporary theory from a broad cross-section of disciplinary perspectives, fields, and cultural contexts. Adopting a comparative and interdisciplinary approach, we will explore critical models of aesthetics, ethics, and politics. These theories shape not only how we come to understand the nature of cultural objects (literature, film, art), but also the principles, methodologies, and ethical stakes of their analysis. Our seminar topics include: global Marxism; orientalism and anti-colonial discourse; (post)secularism; feminist and queer theory; embodiment and affect; as well as critical race theory. Engaging recent critical projects to “theorize from below,” we will put foundational texts of the Euro-American canon into conversation with translated works of theory from the global south. In so doing, our seminar asks: What comes to count as theory and how do we account for alternative practices of knowledge production? Where does theory come from and what are the political economies that structure its circulation? Finally, what is the relationship of theory to embodiment, affect, and experience?  

GNSE 53580 Debates and New Directions in Black Feminisms
Instructor:
Kaneesha Parsard
Following Jennifer Nash’s charge for Black feminists to “let go” of tightly held intellectual genealogies (intersectionality) and postures (defensiveness), this doctoral seminar takes up new directions and debates in the study of Black feminisms. We’ll study institutional debates and tensions between Black and transnational feminisms (where do we mean when we say Black, and who do we mean when we say transnational), the agonistic relationship between
Afropessimism and Black feminisms, among others. Alongside these new works in Black feminisms, we’ll consider the foundational works of Black feminist thought, literature, and art they’re reimagining. Scholars, writers, and artists under consideration include Jennifer Nash, Katherine McKittrick, Jennifer Morgan, Simone Leigh, Saidiya Hartman, Patrice Douglass, Torkwase Dyson, and Canisia Lubrin.

 

 

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