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

Courses

Undergraduate Courses

WINTER 2023

SPRING 2023

 

Graduate Courses

WINTER 2023

SPRING 2023

 

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

WINTER 2023

GNSE 12103 Treating Trans-: Practices of Medicine, Practices of Theory
Instructor:
Paula Martin
Medical disciplines from psychiatry to surgery have all attempted to identify and to treat gendered misalignment, while queer theory and feminisms have simultaneously tried to understand if and how trans- theories should be integrated into their respective intellectual projects. This course looks at the logics of the medical treatment of transgender (and trans- more broadly) in order to consider the mutual entanglement of clinical processes with theoretical ones. Over the quarter we will read ethnographic accounts and theoretical essays, listen to oral histories, discuss the intersections of race and ability with gender, and interrogate concepts like "material bodies" and "objective science". Primary course questions include: (1) How is “trans-” conceptualized, experienced, and lived? How has trans-studies distinguished itself from feminisms and queer theories? (2) What are the objects, processes, and problematics trans-medicine identifies and treats? How is “trans-” understood and operationalized through medical practices? (3) What meanings of health, power, knowledge, gender, and the body are utilized or defined by our authors? What relations can we draw between them?
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 12118 Sexual and Reproductive Health and Gender
Instructor:
Virginia Rangos
This course will cover topics related to medicine, gender, and sexuality, including: the medicalization of sexual desire and performance; medical, sociocultural, and public health responses to sexually transmitted infections; caring for and criminalizing pregnant (and potentially) pregnant bodies; commodification of reproduction and markets in reproductive materials; and the medicalization of gender and the history and sociology of gender confirming treatment. We will primarily focus on medical cultures in the United States, but will draw on counter-examples from other countries. The readings will approach the material through an intersectional lens.
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 12120 Gender, Sexuality and Sport
Instructor:
Zoya Sameen
This course will examine how the categories of gender and sexuality have shaped the contemporary life of sport. We will begin by unpacking the complexity of gender and sex as concepts in the study of sport while also considering the origins of gender-based segregation in sport. Major topics in this course include: Title IX protections; intersectionality and race; sexuality, homophobia, and sport; hyperandrogenism; trans inclusion; and cultural nationalism and sport. This is an interdisciplinary course that will draw on methods in philosophy, history, bioethics, and the study of gender and sexuality. Our texts will comprise of readings as well as visual media across multiple regions, including India, South Africa, and the United States. Students will broadly learn to critically think about sport in relation to concepts of gender, sexual orientation, and race along with the ideals of law, social justice, and inclusivity. This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 15003 Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations – II
Instructors:
multiple
The second half of the civ sequence will extend our earlier interrogation of bodies, sex, and gender into an examination of sexualities and socialities. Through an encounter with theoretical texts, literature, and art, we will investigate a series of important critiques of biopower, or statist strategies for regulating bodies and controlling populations. These interventions include critiques of nationalism, colonialism, capitalism, and heteronormativity, all of which, as we will see, contribute to our understanding of sexuality. Throughout the course, feminist and queer critique will fundamentally frame our analyses of power, desire, and sexuality.
This course (+ GNSE 15002) meets the Civilizations Requirement for the Core.

GNSE 20112 From the Harem to Helem: Gender and Sexuality in the Modern Middle East 
Instructor:
Ghenwa Hayek
This course will provide a historical and theoretical survey of issues pertaining to gender and sexuality in the modern Middle East. First, we will outline the colonial legacies of gender politics and gendered discourses in modern Middle Eastern history. We will discuss orientalist constructions of the harem and the veil (Allouche, Laila Ahmed, Lila Abu-Loghod), and their contested afterlives across the Middle East. We will also explore colonial (homo)sexuality, and attendant critiques (Najmabadi, Massad). We will pay especial attention to local discourses about gender and sexuality, and trouble facile assumptions of “writing back” while attending to the various specificities of local discourses of everyday life across various sites of the Middle East. Eschewing reductive traps for more nuanced explorations of the specifics of life in Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul, or Tehran – as well as to rural areas – we will show how gender and sexuality are constructed and practiced in these locales. In addition to foundational scholarly texts in the field, we will also engage with an array of cultural texts (films, novels, poetry, comics) and – where possible – have conversations with activists who are working in these sites via Skype/teleconferencing.
This course counts as a Problems Course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20117 Feminist Theory and Political Economy
Instructor:
Sarah Johnson
This course has two related aims: to consider how the regulation of economic life—from the household to the global economy—has figured as an object of analysis within feminist thought; and to examine how this analysis, together with the conceptual resources of political economy, has informed feminist theories of domination, freedom, equality, rights, and justice. Readings may include works by Simone de Beauvoir, Angela Davis, bell hooks, Iris Marion Young, Catharine MacKinnon, Nancy Fraser, and Aihwa Ong. The course includes a substantial research requirement, which invites students to draw upon the insights of these theorists as they use archival sources to conduct their own analyses of economic life. PQ: SOSC Core.
This class counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors 

GNSE 20121 Women and Work in Modern East Asia
Instructor:
Jacob Eyferth
Worldwide, women do about 75 percent of the world’s unpaid care and domestic work. They spend up to three hours more per day cooking and cleaning than men do, and anywhere from two to ten hours more per day looking after children and the elderly. Women’s underpaid work at home and in industry subsidized the early stages of industrialization in nineteenth-century Britain, early twentieth-century Japan, and contemporary China, and women’s unpaid contributions to their households enable employers worldwide to keep wages low. We know, at least in outline, how women came to carry double burdens in Europe and North America, but little research has been done so far about this process in East Asia. In this course, we will discuss when and how China, Japan, and Korea developed a division of labor in which most wage work was gendered male and reproductive work was marked female. Are current divisions of labor between men and women rooted in local cultures, or are they the result of industrial capitalist development? How do divisions of labor differ between the three East Asian countries, and how did developments in one East Asian country affect others?
This course counts as a Problems Course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20125 Global Feminist and Queer Aesthetics
Instructor:
Kaneesha Parsard
This course examines ways of seeing, or representation, in the making of gender and sexuality across time and place. We will study feminist and queer literature and arts, and theories of representation across disciplines, on questions from migration and borders to care. For example, how do practices of mapmaking, or narratives of crossing, help us understand intimacy or estrangement? And how might visualizing care move us toward repair or a new world? In taking this lens, we will also consider how gender and sexuality are co-constituted with race, the nation-state, and labor. Through a workshop model, we will build on these foundational and new approaches to representing gender and sexuality together. Participants are encouraged to bring in supplementary texts to build out our archive of transnational gender and sexuality. Our class will culminate in a glossary, made up of short essays by participants on aesthetics, interpretative approaches, and imaginaries.
This course counts as a Problems Course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20126 Shrews! Unladylike Conduct on Stage and Page in Early Modern England
Instructor:
Ellen MacKay
This course will move between three sites of inquiry to investigate the social and material history of an evergreen trope: the domestication of a refractory servant or wife. From rare book libraries and museum collections, we will track the common features of popular entertainments that traffic in this scenario. We will then bring our findings to bear in a theatre lab environment, where we will assay scenes from The Taming of the Shrew, The Tamer Tamed, and the City Madam.
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20128 Creating a Different Image: Black Women’s Filmmaking of the 1970s-90s
Instructor:
Allyson Field
This course will explore the rich intersections between African American women’s filmmaking, literary production, and feminist thought from the 1970s to the early 1990s, with an emphasis on the formation of a Black women’s film culture beginning in the 1970s. We will examine the range of Black feminisms presented through film and the ways that these films have challenged, countered, and reimagined dominant narratives about race, class, gender, and sexuality in America. We will explore the power and limitations of filmmaking as a mode of Black feminist activism; the range of Black feminisms presented through film; and the specific filmic engagements of well-known Black feminist critics such as bell hooks, Toni Cade Bambara, and Michele Wallace. As many Black feminist writers were engaged with filmmaking and film culture, we will look at these films alongside Black women’s creative and critical writing from the period. Approaching filmmaking in the context of Black feminist thought will allow us to examine the possibilities of interdisciplinary approaches to film studies broadly, as well as to think specifically about the research methods and theories that are demanded by Black women’s filmmaking in particular. We will discuss the form, aesthetics, and politics of individual films and we will examine larger efforts by artists and activists to build a Black women’s film culture, asking such questions as: What does a film history of Black feminism look like, and what scholarly and creative methods does such a history demand? To begin to answer these questions, we will revisit the 1976 Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts—believed to be the first ever Black women’s film festival—organized by Michele Wallace, Faith Ringgold, Patricia Jones, Margo Jefferson, and Monica Freeman. The class will collectively participate in a homage series inspired by the 1976 festival, featuring work by filmmakers from the original festival such as Monica Freeman, Madeline Anderson, Michelle Parkerson, Ayoka Chenzira, Carol Munday Lawrence, Edie Lynch, and Camille Billops; as well as others including Julie Dash, Zeinabu irene Davis, Maya Angelou, and Yvonne Welbon. The weekly course screenings will be open to the public and students will gain experience in the public presentation of films by actively engaging in public-facing aspects of film exhibition (writing program notes, delivering introductions, participating in discussions, etc.). The class will culminate with a two-day symposium that will bring together around 35 Black feminist filmmakers and artists, including a number from the 1976 festival, to revisit the threads and legacies of the original event and discuss the present and future of Black women’s film practices. This course is open to graduate and undergraduate students from across the disciplines; our conversations and presentations of the films will both depend on and be energized by different disciplinary perspectives. This course counts as a Problems Course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 20555 The Sociology of Work
Instructor
: Kristen Schilt
From the Great Depression to the Great Resignation, paid work has played a central role in American life.  The average American spends 1/3 of their life at work – making it an area of the social world heavily examined by politicians, journalists, and social scientists. In this course, we will look at the structural and interpersonal dynamics of work  to consider the questions of what makes a “good job” in America and who gets to decide?  Our topics will include low-wage work, the stigma of “dirty jobs,” gender and racial inequality at work, physical and emotional labor on the job, side hustles and the gig economy, and life after retirement. Students will be required to write a 15 page research paper that draws on interview data they will collect over the quarter. No prior background in doing interviews is required! 

GNSE 20620 Literature, Medicine, and Embodiment
Instructor:
Julie Orlemanski
This class explores the connections between imaginative writing and embodiment, especially as bodies have been understood, cared for, and experienced in the framework of medicine. We’ll read texts that address sickness, healing, diagnosis, disability, and expertise. The class also introduces a number of related theoretical approaches, including the medical humanities, disability studies, narrative medicine, the history of the body, and the history of science.

GNSE 21001 Cultural Psychology
Instructor:
Richard Shweder
There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space. At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism, which states that the study of "normal" psychology is the study of multiple psychologies and not just the study of a single or uniform fundamental psychology for all peoples of the world. Research findings in cultural psychology thus raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups. In this course we analyze the concept of "culture" and examine ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization, and reasoning.

GNSE 21353 Anthropology of Revolutions
Instructor:
Abhishek Bhattacharyya
There has been a recent upsurge of interest and scholarship on revolutionary processes, from the political seizure of power, to sweeping restructurings of intimate lives, to calls for abolition. In this context, we ask: what does a revolution imply? What has such a radical transformation of society meant in different places, at different times? This course has a twofold objective: to introduce students to different prominent revolutionary processes, and to ways of studying them. We will discuss struggles ranging from Haiti to France, Russia to China, Nicaragua to USA, Ethiopia to Nepal and more. While focusing on anthropological material we will examine scholarship from other disciplines, and work with various forms such as graphic narrative, documentary film, academic prose, fictionalized retellings, and pamphlets. We will learn about how the anthropological study of revolution – its questions and methods – has developed historically. To complement that we will ask: what modes of ethnographic attention can we learn from other disciplines? What insights can historically attuned ethnographic work yield? And how might it be helpful to think comparatively across different geopolitical contexts? This course does not require prior training in anthropology or a particular region.  

GNSE 21370 Ships, Tyrants, and Mutineers
Instructor:
Tristan Schweiger
Since the Renaissance beginnings of the “age of sail,” the ship has been one of literature’s most contested, exciting, fraught, and ominous concepts. Ships are, on the one hand, globe-traversing spaces of alterity and possibility that offer freedom from the repression of land-based systems of power. And they are Michel Foucault’s example of the heterotopia par excellence. From Lord Byron to Herman Melville to Anita Loos, the ship has been conceived as a site of queerness and one that puts great pressure on normative constructions of gender. At the same time, the ship has been a primary mechanism for the brutality of empire and hegemony of capital, the conduit by which vast wealth has been expropriated from the colony, military domination projected around the world, and millions of people kidnapped and enslaved. Indeed, the horror of the “Middle Passage” of the Atlantic slave trade has been a major focus of inquiry for theorists like Paul Gilroy and Hortense Spillers, interrogating how concepts of racial identity and structures of racism emerge out of oceanic violence. In the 20th and 21st centuries, science-fiction writers have sent ships deep into outer space, reimagining human social relations and even humans-as-species navigating the stars. While focusing on the Enlightenment and 19th century, this course will examine literary and filmic texts through the present that have centered on the ship, as well as theoretical texts that will help us to deepen our inquiries. 

GNSE 21404 More than Human Ethnography
Instructor:
Ella Wilhoit
In this course we explore the growing fields of more-than-human and ‘multispecies’ ethnography. We will examine theoretical antecedents promoting the inclusion of non-human social actors in ethnographic analysis and read many examples of such work, including foundational texts on interspecies engagements, exploitations, and dependencies by Deborah Bird Rose, Kim Tallbear, Eduardo Kohn, Anna Tsing, and Augustin Fuéntes among many others. We will consider the role other species and ‘actants’ played in early ethnology and archaeology and contemplate recent studies of “becoming with” other animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and mutants—encountering complex ecological kin relationships, examining naturalcultural borders, and querying decolonial legacies and the role of queer theory in the ‘more-than’ turn. Multispecies and posthumanist approaches encourage a decentering of traditional methodologies; we will couple ethnographic examples with literature by geographers, biologists, and philosophers. The course is a discussion-based seminar, with significant time devoted to understanding the logistical or methodological aspects of such work—to querying how more-than-human studies have been conducted in practice. The final paper in the course will take the form of an exploratory ethnographic essay based on data and observations collected during previous weeks.  

GNSE 22250 Economics of Gender in an International Context
Instructor:
Alessandra Gonzalez
In this class, students will engage basic issues, conflicts, and innovative field research in economics of gender in international contexts. In particular, we will review theoretical foundations, data and methods of research, and a review of recent work in international research related to economics of gender. At the end of the course, you will have a suite of research approaches, topics, and methods, to investigate gender differences in a variety of economic outcomes and contexts. ECON 10000 or PBPL 22200. STAT 22000 also recommended.

GNSE 22423 Gender and Sexuality in Early Modern Spain
Instructor:
Lizette Arellano
"How did men and women understand their roles in early modern Spanish society as dictated by their gender? Could individuals challenge, or even transgress, the societal—and, therefore, gendered—norms by which they were bound? How were the ideals of femininity and masculinity constructed in artistic and literary production? To what extent were gender and sexuality fixed or fluid in the early modern imaginary? These are but a few of the questions that will be addressed in this course, as we examine the complexities and nuances of gender and sexuality in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spanish culture. We will engage primarily with literary sources, such as poetry, narrative, theatrical works, and autobiographical writings from key literary figures (Garcilaso de la Vega, Teresa de Ávila, María de Zayas, Lope de Vega, to name a few). Moreover, we will examine visual art as well as medical and moral treatises in order to gain as comprehensive as possible an understanding of the notion of gender and sexuality during this time period. In addition to expanding their knowledge of Spanish literature and culture, this course will allow students to continue enhancing their Spanish linguistic competence.

GNSE 22510 Capturing the Stars: Exhibiting the History of Women at Yerkes Observatory in early twentieth- century America
Instructor:
Kristine Palmieri
“Capturing the Stars,” the exhibit, that will illuminate the history of women at Yerkes Observatory and demonstrate how their labor contributed to the advancement of astronomy and astrophysics in Fall 2023. In this experimental and hands-on course, students will actively participate in the creation of this physical exhibit for the Special Collections Research Center and its digital counterpart. Students will begin by learning about the history of women in science, the social, economic, and cultural history of early twentieth-century America, as well as the history of astronomy and astrophysics. They will then develop skills in historical research, exhibition development, community outreach, and science communication while working on final projects to be featured in the exhibit. No prior historical, scientific, or museum experience is required for this course. Students will learn how to conduct historical research and how to communicate with a public audience by contributing to the production of a physical exhibit on the history of women at Yerkes Observatory with an ambitious digital footprint. This highly experimental class will move beyond the confines of a traditional history seminar by involving students in the development and execution of an exhibit on the history of women at Yerkes Observatory.  

GNSE 22912 Work and Family Policy: Policy Considerations for Family Support
Instructor:
Julia Henly
This course examines contemporary policy questions of concern to families, caregiving and the labor market. We will consider (1) the demographic, labor market, and policy trends affecting family income, family structure, family time, and family care; (2) conceptual frameworks and policy debates concerning the responsibility of government, corporate, and informal sectors in addressing work and family issues; and (3) specific policy and program responses in such areas as family leave, child care, work hours and flexibility, and income assistance. Throughout the course, we will consider the ideological, conceptual, and empirical basis for the issues we study. Although our primary focus will be on issues affecting low-income American families, relevant comparisons will be made throughout the course –- cross-nationally, across race/ethnicity, and across income.

GNSE 23119 Transnational Queer Politics And Practice
Instructor:
Cate Fugazzola
This course aims to examine gender and sexual practices and identities in a transnational perspective. As people and ideas move across national, cultural, and racial borders, how is sexuality negotiated and redefined? How are concepts such as “global queerness” and the globalization of sexualities leveraged for change? How are queer identities and practices translated, both culturally and linguistically? To explore transnational articulations of queerness we will draw on a range of theoretical perspectives, including postcolonial, feminist, queer, and indigenous approaches to the study of sexualities. We will engage with scholarship on the politics of global gay rights discourses, on the sexual politics of migration, and on the effects of colonialism and neoliberal capitalism. By analyzing queer experiences and practices in a transnational context, our goal is to decenter and challenge Western-centric epistemologies and to dive into the complexities of cultural representations of queerness around the globe. This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors 

GNSE 23138 Queer Modernism 
Instructor:
Agnes Malinowska
This course examines the dramatic revisions in gender and sexuality that characterize Anglo-American modernity. Together, we will read literary texts by queer writers to investigate their role in shaping the period's emergent regimes of sex and gender. We'll consider queer revisions of these concepts for their effect on the broader social and political terrain of the early twentieth century and explore the intimate histories they made possible: What new horizons for kinship, care, affect, and the everyday reproduction of life did modernist ideas about sex and gender enable? At the same time, we will seek to “queer” modernism by shifting our attention away from high literary modernism and towards modernism’s less-canonical margins. Our examination will center on queer lives relegated to the social and political margins—lives of exile or those cut short by various forms of dispossession. This class will double as an advanced introduction to queer theory, with a particular emphasis on literary criticism.
This course counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23146 Religion, Sex, and Law in American History
Instructor:
Erin Simmonds
Religion and law both offer frameworks for how we ought to live and behave, and often these frameworks become entangled in ways that affect who we are, what we can do, and with whom we can do it. To make things even more complicated, religion is also an object of the law—the law tries to adjudicate the rights of religious Americans under a system of religious freedom, with varying degrees of success. Often, the tension between law and religion comes to a head on issues of sex. The collision of religion, sex, and law presents a whole host of problems and questions: How have religion and law historically related to each other when it comes to sex? How has religion shaped the law on issues of sex, and vice versa? What is, or should be, the role of the law in adjudicating issues of sexual morality and religion?
In this class, we will begin with the question: how do religion and law shape our lives? Through attention to issues of sex and gender, we will explore what it means to live within the institutions of law and religion and how those institutions interrelate. The class will focus on topics such as: marriage, anti-miscegenation laws, reproductive justice, sexual education, and religious freedom. This class is intended to be interdisciplinary and assumes no prior knowledge. This class is especially suitable for students interested in religious studies, law and letters/pre-law, gender studies, and history.
This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23147 Monstrous Women of Antiquity
Instructor:
Jordan Johansen
From rapacious bird-women to a serpent-haired petrifactrix, monstrous women pervade ancient Greco-Roman mythology. In this course, we will interrogate the mutual influence of monstrousness and misogyny in ancient Greco-Roman mythology and its legacy in the intervening millennia. Focusing on three case studies from ancient Greco-Roman mythology—Medea, the Furies, and Medusa, we will ask questions such as: how does mythologizing and storytelling encode cultural expectations onto women; how has media been used to support and subvert the patriarchy; what role does intersectionality play in Greco-Roman female monstrosity; how have monstrous women in Greco-Roman mythology influenced modern feminist theory? Our exploration will take us beyond Greco-Roman mythology to monstrous women from other ancient cultures to portrayals of female monstrosity today. Students will be assessed through regular writing assignments, quizzes, and a final project, which will allow students to synthesize and apply their knowledge with a topic of their own choice from antiquity or its legacy in an analytic and/or creative format of their choice, such as a short podcast series, a digital museum exhibit, or a piece of creative writing.
This course counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 23148 Bad Vibes Only?: Negative Emotions and the Politics of the Queer-Feminist Critique
Instructor:
Agatha Slupek
This course examines the role of negative emotions in the history of political thought and subsequently, in feminist and queer politics. Emotions in general, and negative emotions in particular, tend to be thought of as antithetical to politics. The liberal tradition in political theory boasts a longstanding view of emotions as personal and pre-political, needing to be transformed by reason in order to become suitable to liberal democratic societies. When the liberal tradition does take emotions seriously, it tends to emphasize the democratic value of ‘good vibes’ like love, empathy, and generosity. Feminist and queer critics of liberalism have long challenged this view of emotions, and indeed, have drawn upon negative emotions in particular to articulate their critiques of, as well as imagine alternatives to, liberal conceptions of justice, freedom, and equality. In the first part of this course, we will familiarize ourselves with the way negative emotions have been theorized in the writings of Aristotle, Nietzsche, and Freud, among other canonical thinkers in the history of political thought. In the second part, this seminar will turn to focus each week on the way ‘bad vibes’ like envy, resentment, rage, and grief have informed queer-feminist critiques of liberal notions of equality, justice, and freedom. Readings will include Sara Ahmed, Sianne Ngai, Judith Butler, and Saidiya Hartman. Students will consider how negative emotions or affects like rage, grief, and the like can be mobilized towards political ends, as well as the theoretical and practical consequences of these emotions’ characterization as political. This course is open to Master’s students and to advanced undergraduates.
This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 23150 "Dark Stairways Of Desire": Lusting beyond the Norm in Contemporary Catalan Literature
Instructor:
Bel Olid
Although we can find a significant number of authors exploring queer desire and identities throughout the history of Catalan Literature (from lesbian scenes in Joanot Martorell’s Tirant lo blanc to expanding gender identities in Maria Aurèlia Capmany’s Quim/Quima), more recent Catalan Literature is blooming with queerness and non-normative lust. This course will give an overview of contemporary Catalan works influenced by feminist and queer debates from the seventies on. Beginning with renowned poet Maria Mercè Marçal’s only novel, The Passion According to Rennée Vivien, winner of several of the most prestigious literary awards for Catalan Literature, we will go on to discover 21st century’s works by Eva Baltasar and Anna Punsoda. We will also read poems, short stories and excerpts from authors such as Maria Sevilla, Mireia Calafell, Raquel Santanera, Sebastià Portell, Sil Bel and Ian Bermúdez, among others. This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors 

GNSE 23151 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Politics in the United States
Instructor:
Andrew Proctor
This courses surveys academic research on sexuality and gender in American politics. Drawing from interdisciplinary perspectives, it focuses on key arguments and debates about how politics shapes and is shaped by sexuality and gender relations. We will pay particular attention to the development of sexuality and gender identity as analytic and political concepts; the role of the State and political institutions to the formation of sexuality and gender; the relationship between social movements, counter-movements, and political parties; the political behavior and attitudes of LGBT people; and the ways in which intersectional inequalities structure LGBT politics. This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors  

GNSE 23645 Body and the Digital
Instructor:
Crystal Beiersdorfer
As digital technology advances, the separation between IRL and URL blurs. Participants enrolled in this course will explore techniques that will help them create thought-provoking work, learn how to create a research-based digital artwork, strengthen their ability to give and receive critique, and build an understanding of how the corporeal interacts with the digital. Students will offer and receive constructive feedback during instructor-led critiques on peers' works throughout this course. Students will also explore the intersection of gender and digital spaces through weekly readings and discussions. By the end of this course, students will feel comfortable utilizing different processes of development to create digital artwork and speaking about digital spaces, including how different social identities affect our relationship with them.

GNSE 24205 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Queering the Essay
Instructor:
Victoria Flanagan
In Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Queering the Essay, we'll approach the essay as a vehicle for queer narratives, as a marker of both individual and collective memory, and as a necessary compliment to the journalism and scholarship that have shaped queer writing. Through readings and in-class exercises, we'll explore tenets of the personal essay, like narrative structure and pacing, alongside considerations of voice and vulnerability. After a brief historical survey, we'll look to contemporary essayists as our guides--writers like Billy-Ray Belcourt, Melissa Faliveno, Saeed Jones, Richard Rodriguez, and T. Fleischmann-- alongside more familiar writers like Alison Bechdel and Maggie Nelson. And through student-led workshops, we'll wrestle with concerns that often trouble narratives of otherness: What does it mean to write a personal narrative that has a potential social impact? How can we write trauma without playing into harmful stereotypes? How can our writing work as--or make demands toward--advocacy, rather than voyeurism? Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory.

GNSE 24511 Kawaii (cuteness) culture in Japan and the world
Instructor:
Nisha Kommattam
The Japanese word kawaii (commonly translated as “cute” or “adorable”) has long been a part of Japanese culture, but, originating from schoolgirl subculture of the 1970s, today’s conception of kawaiihas become ubiquitous as a cultural keyword of contemporary Japanese life. We now find kawaii in clothing, food, toys, engineering, films, music, personal appearance, behavior and mannerisms, and even in government. With the popularity of Japanese entertainment, fashion and other consumer products abroad, kawaii has also become a global cultural idiom in a process Christine Yano has called “Pink Globalization”. With the key figures of Hello Kitty and Rilakkuma as our guides, this course explores the many dimensions of kawaii culture, in Japan and globally, from beauty and aesthetics, affect and psychological dimensions, consumerism and marketing, gender, sexuality and queerness, to racism, orientalism and robot design.

GNSE 25020 Opera Across Media
Instructors:
Martha Feldman and Anne Monique Pace
Over the course of the last 120 years, opera and cinema have been sounded and seen together again and again. Where opera is commonly associated with extravagant performance and production, cinema is popularly associated with realism. Yet their encounter not only proves these assumptions wrong but produces some extraordinary third kinds--media hybrids. It also produces some extraordinary love affairs. Thomas Edison wanted a film of his to be “a grand opera,” and Federico Fellini and Woody Allen wanted opera to saturate their films. Thinking about these mutual attractions, “Opera across Media” explores different operatic and cinematic repertories as well as other media forms. Among films to be studied are Pabst’s Threepenny Opera (1931), Visconti’s Senso (1954), Powell and Pressburger’s Tales of Hoffmann (1951), Zeffirelli’s La traviata (1981), DeMille’s Carmen (1915), Losey’s Don Giovanni (1979), Bergman’s The Magic Flute (1975), and Fellini’s E la nave va (1983). No prior background in music performance, theory, or notation is needed. Students may write papers based on their own skills and interests relevant to the course. Required work includes attendance at all screenings and classes; weekly postings on Canvas about readings and viewings; attendances at a Met HD broadcast and a Lyric Opera live opera; a short “think piece” midway through the course; and a final term paper of 8-10 pages.

GNSE 25118 Islam, Politics and Gender
Instructor:
Hannah Ridge
This course examines the relationship Islam and politics with a focus on gender and sexuality. For this class, politics is broadly construed, including religious law, family law, social issues, and war. Gender is an inextricable part of Islamic law, and the connection between Islam and the state pervades scholars' understanding and interpretation of political development in the Muslim world. While many texts and discussions will focus on women, gender is considered expansively. We will consider the role of sex in religious law, as well as sexual identity, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We will also incorporate areas outside of the Islamic "heartland" of the Middle East, such as Europe and Asia.

GNSE 25180 Women Writing God 
Instructor:
Sarah Kunjummen 
This course examines imaginative works by women that take on the task of representing divine or supernatural being from the medieval era to the present. Drawing on the work of critics such as Luce Irigaray, Caroline Walker Bynum, and Judith Butler, we explore what strategies these writers employ to depict an entity simultaneously understood to be unrepresentable and to have a masculine image. Texts range from pre-modern mystics such as Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila to Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower.

GNSE 25300 Autobiographical Writing: Gender & Modern Korea
Instructor:
Kyeong-Hee Choi
This course explores the intersections between gender, the genre of autobiography, forms of media (written; oral; visual; audiovisual) and historical, cultural, and political contexts of modern Korea. The students read theoretical writings on autobiography and gender as well as selected Korean autobiographical writings while being introduced to Korean historical contexts especially as they relate to practice of publication in a broader sense. The focus of the course is placed on the female gender-on the relationship between Korean women's life-experience, self-formation, and writing practices in particular while dealing with the gender relationship in general, although some relevant discussions on the male gender proceeds in parallel.

GNSE 25560 Race, Religion, and the Formation of the Latinx Identity
Instructor:
Raúl Zegarra Medina
In this class, we will focus on the conditions of possibility, development, and problems surrounding the formation of the Latinx identity. We will pay special attention to how such an identity is expressed through and informed by our race, gender, and religion, and to how such experiences are theoretically articulated in Latinx theology and religious thought. To pursue this task, we will devote the first part of the class to the examination of the conditions of possibility of latinidad by focusing on the formation of the Latinx self. What makes Latines, Latines? Is this a forcefully assigned identity or one that can be claimed and embraced with pride? What is the role of gender and sexuality in the Latinx self? Is there such a thing as a unified Latinx self or shall we favor approaches that stress hybridity or multiplicity? In the second part of the class, we will shift from self-formation to community-formation by examining the experience of mestizaje (racial mixing) and its theoretical articulation in Latinx theology. Is this concept useful to describe the Latinx experience or does it romanticize the violence of European colonialism? Lastly, we will return to the formation of Latinx identity considering the ambiguities of religious ethnic identity through the examples of tensions between Catholic and Evangelical Latinos, and those emerging from the experiences of Latinos converting to non-Christian religions.  

GNSE 25910 bell hooks and Cornel West: Education for Resistance
Instructor:
Russell Johnson
Cornel West and bell hooks are two of the most influential philosophers and cultural critics of the past half-century. Their writings—including their co-authored book—address pressing questions about politics, religion, race, education, film, and gender. In different ways, they each find resources for hope, love, and liberation in an unjust social order. In this course, we will read selections from their writings over the last forty years alongside the authors who influenced their thinking (including Du Bois, Freire, Morrison, King, and Baldwin). We will pay special attention to how hooks and West communicate to popular audiences, how they engage religious traditions (their own and others’), and the role of dialogue in their thought and practice. The goal of the course is not just to think about hooks and West, but to think with them about ethics, writing, American culture, and the aims of education. No prior familiarity with either author is required. 

GNSE 26222 Like a Virgin: Being a Girl in Ancient Greece (and Beyond)
Instructor:
Rebekah Spearman
This course explores what is meant by the Greek concept of partheneia or virginity. By engaging primarily with texts written by, for, and about parthenoi, students in this class will work to develop an understanding of partheneia as it was understood by individuals who identified as parthenoi themselves. To do so, this course will first examine partheneia from an outsider’s perspective and will posit a rough definition of partheneia within a sociological context. Building upon this work, we will ask what partheneia means for members who do not conform to the outsider’s understanding of partheneia. What does it mean for a monster to be a parthenos? A goddess? A human girl? What are the modalities of relationship unique to partheneia? This course will be divided into three main units: Girls and Society, Girls and Technology, and Girls and Nature. We will read myths about Athena, Artemis, Medusa, and other mythological virgins, look at depictions of parthenoi in Greek art, and discuss lyric poems by Sappho, Alcman, and Pindar that describe the life of parthenoi. In addition, as a point of comparison, we will read or watch media about parthenos-like figures from non-Greek contexts including but not limited to Haioh Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke.  

GNSE 27006 Research in Archives: Human Bodies in History
Instructors:
Jordan Bimm and Iris Clever
How have we come to know and experience our bodies? This undergraduate seminar develops humanities research skills necessary to study the body in history. Spanning early modern cultural practices to modern medicine, science, and technology, this course explores how ideas and practices concerning the body have changed over time and how the body itself is shaped by culture and society. A major focus will be learning how to conduct different forms of historical research to produce cutting-edge humanities scholarship about the human body. Readings will introduce key themes and recent scholarship including work on disability, reproduction, race, gender, ethics, extreme environments, and identity. This dynamic research group will grapple with issues at the heart of our corporeal existence by combining perspectives from the history of science, medicine, and technology, cultural history, anthropology, and science and technology studies (STS).  

GNSE 27508 Women and the Mafia in Contemporary Italian Cinema
Instructor:
Veronica Vegna
This course will examine how gender dynamics within mafia contexts have been represented in a selection of Italian films. Students will engage in cinematic analysis by drawing from sociological and psychological studies on female roles in relation to organized crime. Both these fields, sociology and psychology, have underscored the important part that women play in relation to the mafia, notwithstanding the rigid patriarchal structure that allows only male affiliation. Although focusing primarily on Sicilian mafia, this course will include information on other types of Italian mafia, namely Camorra, ’Ndrangheta and Sacra Corona Unita. Vocabulary in Italian to identify formal elements of the films will be provided throughout the course. Taught in Italian. PQ: Ital 20300 or consent of instructor

GNSE 27554 Unfinished Business: Revenge and Narrative Form
Instructor:
Shirl Yang
What does it mean for something—a concept, an object, a historical inheritance—to “return with a vengeance”? Is revenge motivated by a desire for justice—a clear if ruthless commitment to equivalence—or does it demonstrate a drive towards excess? Does revenge restore order to a system of accounting, or does it compound wrongs that could not have been righted in the first place? Whom exactly is the post-breakup “revenge body” for? As these questions demonstrate, revenge possesses a special knack for confusing categories of self and other, and resurrecting inconvenient uncertainties when it comes to cause and effect. Its resistance to closure or commensurability makes it a complex model for social relation and narrative form. Revenge also has no respect for scale: making no pretension to being impersonal or detached, revenge is often associated with more minor forms like pettiness or holding grudges. Yet revenge plots also often address scales far beyond the personal: events or contexts unfolding at the register of the historical, the intergenerational, the global. Revenge thus undoes unsustainable dichotomies between subject and object, social and individual, and more. This course will explore revenge in novels and films alongside theories of revenge: psychoanalytic theories of fixation, drives, and the refusal to mourn, queer theorists and affect theorists writing on disaffection, discontent, and alien affects, not to mention self-help writers counseling against the self-destructive, corrosive effects of not letting something go. 

GNSE 27606 Beyond Ferrante: Italian Women Writers Rediscovered and the Global Editorial Market
Instructor:
Maria Anna Mariani
In this class we read selected works from some of the most influential Italian women writers who are not named Elena Ferrante. Some of these writers contributed to the cultural and literary background that produced Ferrante as well. Others can be seen as Ferrante’s peers and even heirs. The remarkable global success of Ferrante’s work has created the so-called “Ferrante effect.” Both in Italy and abroad, editors and scholars are finally paying attention to long overlooked Italian women writers. We will explore this trend of reissues, new publications, and new translations. How has the Ferrante effect recast our assumptions about literary value? Can restorative justice take place within the global editorial market? Is it legitimate to speak about an editorial affirmative action? What is the relationship between Italian periphery and the dominant literary empire? Among the authors we will read are classics--such as Elsa Morante, Natalia Ginzburg, and Anna Maria Ortese--but also new and overlooked voices--such as Fabrizia Ramondino, Fausta Cialente, Paola Masino, Brianna Carafa, Claudia Durastanti, and Veronica Raimo. Taught in Italian.

GNSE 28802 United States Labor History
Instructor:
Amy Dru Stanley
This course will explore the history of labor and laboring people in the United States. The significance of work will be considered from the vantage points of political economy, culture, and law. Key topics will include working-class life, industrialization and corporate capitalism, slavery and emancipation, the role of the state and trade unions, and race and sex difference in the workplace. 

GNSE 29237 Black Social Thought
Instructor:
Brianne Painia
This course will familiarize students with social science academic and lay intellectual theorists who speak to and about the political, economic, and gender ways of being within the African Diaspora. Most of the course will highlight the voices of Western scholars, pan-African international scholars and thought will be discussed as well.  

 

SPRING 2023

GNSE 12114 The Past, Present and Future of Feminist Ethics
Instructor:
Kat Myers
Many injustices in the world are related to gender oppression and inequality. In this introductory course, we will examine the ways that feminist ethics aims to identify, assess, and correct gender biases that cause this harm. We will begin by situating feminist ethics within its historical context to understand how and why it developed. We will then consider different methods that feminists use to identify and critique oppressive social structures. With these tools in hand, we will assess several acute sources of gender oppression and inequality, including the global labor market, reproductive mores, and climate change. In doing so, we will also consider proposals to remedy these harms. Throughout the course, we will ponder the intersection of gender with religion, race, class, and global location. We will be attentive to the role that Western feminism has had in shaping global views on oppression and inequality. We will also evaluate the influence of religion on feminist ethics. As we read, we will explore the normative commitments that are expressed in the texts, as well as the bases for these commitments and the sources of authority to which the authors appeal as they claim to advance gender justice. This course is an undergraduate course that assumes no prior knowledge in ethics, feminist studies, or religious studies. It will include some lectures but will be primarily seminar based. Students will be expected to participate in class discussion and will also be asked to write summaries of readings, create a social media post, and complete a final paper or TED-style talk.
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 12121 Contemporary Feminist Politics: From the Sex Wars to Beyonce
Instructor:
Rhiannon Love Auriemma
This course offers a survey of feminist politics and texts on feminist action from the 1980s to now. We look to texts and media from feminist scholars, activists, and scholar-activists in order to tackle questions of what feminism is and should be in theory and practice. This course will focus on key contentions and debates amongst feminists on questions of politics and culture, demonstrating that disagreement is characteristic and generative for feminist politics. With this in mind, we will cover topics such as the Sex Wars, the rise of Third Wave Feminism, #MeToo, and Beyonce in order to trace the contours of disagreement in our feminist present. Readings include works from bell hooks, Susan Faludi, Roxane Gay, Sara Ahmed, and Judith Butler.
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 15504 Bad Taste—Cultivation and Modern Society from Kitsch to Camp
Instructor:
Alice Goff
"To understand bad taste one must have very good taste," the filmmaker and "Pope of Trash" John Waters wrote in 1981. This course will put this claim to the test in a journey through the material, cultural, and intellectual history of bad taste and its pillar concepts, such as schlock, kitsch, and camp, from the mid-eighteenth century through the present day. Our focus will be primarily on Europe, where shifting notions of bad taste powerfully shaped the modern social order, both underwriting and undermining categories of race, gender, class, sexuality, and religion. Readings will be drawn from primary and secondary sources from the history of art, aesthetics, sociology, political theory, media studies, and the history of the senses. How was taste connected to morality in European society? What did it reveal about individual and collective identities, and about people’s understanding of their position in the world? How did the emergence of consumer culture, empire, urbanization, or technology influence normative standards of taste? How was bad taste mobilized in order to resist or uphold these standards? In answering these questions, we will be concerned not only with theories of bad taste, but also with its material cultural manifestations, using everything from fashion to food to visual art to music to become ourselves connoisseurs of this historically potent genre. Open to 1st- and 2nd-yr students who are interested in history.

GNSE 17002 Early Modern Love: Eros in British Literature 1500-1700
Instructor:
Michal Zechariah
This course examines an age-old problem of erotic love: how can love be a chief component of the well-lived life, when at its most celebrated it departs from reason, even to the point of madness? We will consider the challenges that love presents to human knowledge and ethics through the lens of early modern English literature, where the theme of love was at the center of aesthetic creativity, but our discussion will also draw on the philosophy of love, the history of emotions, Christian theology, and psychology. With these resources at hand, we will explore the phenomenon of erotic love, the relation of Eros to self and identity, and the reasons for love, finally leading up to the question: what does it mean to love well?  

GNSE 19500 Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley
Instructor:
Alexis Chema
This course examines the major works—novels, political treatises, letters, travel essays—of two of Romanticism’s most influential women writers. We will attend to historical, intellectual, and cultural contexts as well as matters of literary concern, such as their pioneering development of modes like gothic and science/speculative fiction, Wollstonecraft’s stylistic theories, and Shelley’s scenes of imaginative sympathy.

GNSE 19960 Comedy from the Margins
Instructor:
Shirl Yang
This course examines the centrality of normativity to our conceptions of funniness, reading theories of comedy alongside stand-up, sitcoms, dramedy, and romantic comedy. We will ask: in what ways do comedic formulas establish ideas of the “normal” in order to subvert (or perhaps reinforce) them? How, does comedy about the “strange”—as the foreign, the queer, the excessive or the abject—reframe structures of sociality often taken for granted, forcing us to grapple with questions of citizenship and belonging, gendered and sexual norms, racialization and power? In addition to theories of comedy and joke theory, students will analyze theoretical works on race, gender and sexuality alongside popular television series, talk shows, and comedy specials. Possible texts and comics include: Chewing Gum, Fleabag, Insecure, Reservation Dogs, Ramy, Atlanta, Awkwafina is Nora from Queens, Julio Torres, Hasan Minhaj, Ali Wong, Jacqueline Novak, Dave Chappelle, Hannah Gadsby, and Ronny Chieng.  

GNSE 20108 Feminist Political Philosophy
Instructor:
Emily Dupree
Feminist political philosophy has a two-fold history: both as a persistent critique of canonical political philosophy, as well as generative of new models of justice altogether. This course will be an exploration of the two sides of the history of feminist political philosophy. We will begin with a survey of feminist critiques of the canon, including from liberal feminism, Black feminist philosophy, and Marxist feminist philosophy. We will then move on to the positive accounts that have come out of this tradition, asking whether new models of the state, of the person, and of gender are required in order to construct theories that adequately represent what justice requires in a world with gender-based oppression. We will read philosophers such as Rousseau, Marx, Engels, John Rawls, Susan Okin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Catherine Mackinnon, and Christine Delphy.
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20115 Women, Peace and Security
Instructor:
Maliha Chishti
This course focuses on critical feminist theorizing and scholarship on militarization, war and masculinities, and on feminist articulations of peace and (demilitarized) security. Students will learn about the transnational feminist research, policy and advocacy network known as the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, and the important inroads this network has made in establishing international and national policies in the fields of gender, conflict, peace and development. The course highlights the background, history and policy significance of the historic Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, as well as subsequent and related UN resolutions. Students will also learn about alternative feminist approaches and visions for international peace and security, through powerful case study examples of feminist activism, solidarity and diplomacy.
This course counts as a Problems Course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20119 Language, Gender and Sexuality
Instructor:
Tulio Bermúdez Mejía
This course focuses on the relationship, in theory and in practice, between language, gender, and sexuality. We begin with a brief overview of the field and some of its major theoretical developments. Then we expand on themes of desire and identity; binaries and normativities; embodiment; “interstices”; and performativity. The practical component of the course includes critical analysis of language used to construct gender and sexuality (e.g. in drag shows, communities you belong to personally, social media, and current events). We also consider binary language reform, and emergence of identity categories as practices of everyday relationality that contest hegemonic systems. Readings are interdisciplinary and draw from fields including Linguistics, Anthropology, Performance Studies, Literary Studies, and Queer Studies.
This class counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20122 Medieval Masculinity 
Instructor:
Jonathan Lyon and Alexa Herland
This course will introduce students to concepts of masculinity in the Middle Ages, especially in the period between approximately 1000 and 1500 CE. Special attention will be paid to medieval notions of honor and to the roles that knighthood, chivalry, and monasticism played in promoting (often contradictory) masculine ideals. The course has two main goals. First, to assess and discuss recent scholarly debates and arguments about medieval masculinity. Second, to read closely a variety of medieval sources—including Arthurian literature, chronicles of the Crusades, biographical texts, and monastic histories—in order to develop new perspectives on masculinity during the Middle Ages.
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20124 Fictions of Patriarchy in German Literature and Thought
Instructor:
Sophie Salvo
In his 1861 study Mother Right, J. J. Bachofen argues that patriarchy is, at is most basic level, fictive. While the mother’s connection to the child is materially perceptible—she gestates, births, and nurses her offspring—the father is a “remoter potency” whose relationship to his progeny, because it is always mediated through the mother, can never be known for sure. Paternity, Bachofen suggests, is a juridical invention rather than a naturally evident fact.
Taking its cue from Bachofen, this course will investigate the relationship between notions of patriarchy and fictionality in German literature and thought. We will consider how philosophical texts use the figure of the father to ground their speculative claims, how literary narratives adapt changing ideas about the family and the state, and how concepts of patriarchy have structured thinking about fiction’s function and effects. Readings from: Herder, Schiller, Fichte, Kleist, Bachofen, Hauptmann, Freud, Werfel, Heiner Müller, and Jelinek, among others.
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20242 States Markets Bodies
Instructor:
Kimberly Hoang
An introduction to political economy, this course will introduce students to theories, concepts, and tools for studying relations between states and markets that affect the structure of power relationships. Taking a global approach, we will examine the different forms of state repression, the consequences of a neoliberal and decentralized global market, and its affects on individual people/workers. This course is motivated by three interrelated questions: (1) What is the appropriate role of the government in the economy? (2) How should states govern their citizens? (3) What is the role of the individuals who make up civil society?

GNSE 21725 Black in Colonial America: Three Women
Instructor:
SJ Zhang
Through a survey of texts by and about Sally Hemings, Phillis Wheatley and Tituba, “the Indian,” we will consider the lives of three black women in colonial America. In this period of expansion and contraction of the concepts of race and bondage, what kind of “tellings” were possible for these women? By reading texts written as early as 1692 and as late as 2008, we will also consider how representations of these women have changed over time. Simplified by history as a witch, a poet and a mistress, the details of the lives of Tituba, Phillis and Sally resists these epithets. This course will ask why and how they remain present in the written record today, and what this teaches us about the formation of literary and historical canons.

GNSE 22295 Morrissey's America: Contemporary Social Problems
Instructor:
René Flores
What are the most pressing social problems in the U.S.? What do we know about them and what can we do to address them? We will use the life and music of Morrissey, the controversial former frontman of The Smiths, as a lens through which to explore our country’s most critical social issues. An outspoken defender of animal rights and disaffected youth’s preeminent lyricist, Morrissey has also increasingly flirted with nationalist policies. As such, he embodies the tensions, complexities, and ambiguities around critical topics that characterize our time. Guided by sociological theory, we will examine the latest social science evidence on race, immigration, gender and sexuality, health, poverty, segregation, crime, and education as they are key sites in which social inequality is produced and reproduced today. Finally, we will discuss potential solutions to these problems.

GNSE 23143 Intro to Porn Studies
Instructor:
Gabriel Ojeda-Sague
This course is a multi-media introduction to the Western history and study of the mode/label/genre of aesthetic production called pornography and its other appearances as “obscenity,” “erotica,” “porn,” “filth,” “art,” “adult,” “hardcore,” “softcore,” “trash,” and “extremity.” We will study how others have approached this form, how they have sought to control it, uplift it, analyze it, destroy it, take it seriously, or learn to live with it. This course is both an introduction to the academic field of “porn studies” and to its equal and opposite: the endless repository of historical and current attempts to get pornography out of the way, to keep it somewhere else out of sight, to destroy it, or to deem it unworthy of study. We begin with a conversation about what the stakes are and have been in studying porn and how we might go about doing it, and then move through history and media technologies beginning with the category of pornography’s invention with regards to drawings from Pompeii. The course is meant to introduce students to various forms pornography has taken, various historical moments in its sociocultural existence, and various themes that have continued to trouble or enchant looking at pornography. The goal of this course is not to make an argument for or against porn wholesale, but to give students the ability to take this contentious form and its continued life seriously, intelligently, and ethically.
This course counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23144 Reading Nineteenth Century Feminisms
Instructor:
Emily Coit
Disputes about sexual difference set feminist factions against each other during the nineteenth century, as in the present; and, like the feminisms of our own moment, nineteenth-century feminisms diverged sharply on questions about race and racism. This course reads US and British prose from 1850-1915 in order to study the debates that shaped feminist thought during that period. Considering a range of varied feminisms (among them: liberal feminism, difference feminism, eugenic feminism, white feminism, etc.), we'll encounter conflicting arguments about the right to vote, access to education, marriage, mothering, and sex. Authors may include: Anna Julia Cooper, George Eliot, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Emma Goldman, Frances E.W. Harper, John Stuart Mill, Lucy Parsons, John Ruskin, Mary Arnold Ward, and Ida B. Wells-Barnett.
This course counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23702 Sexual Health: Identity, Behavior, and Outcomes
Instructor:
David Moskowitz
Sexual health is a growing component of public health outreach. The goal of this course is to provide students with a foundational understanding of sexual health from a public health perspective. Through participation in this course, students will increase their knowledge about the history of sexual health promotion in the public health sphere. They will delve into sexual and gender identity construction and explore identity-behavioral expressions. They will critically examine and discuss common sexual health issues addressed by public health practitioners, their epidemiology, and their underlying social determinants; a global health lens will be applied to such examinations. Additionally, recognition of the key methodological considerations in the measurement of sexual behavior and sexual health outcomes will be elucidated (including strengths and limitations of various methodological approaches -quantitative, qualitative, clinical, and biomedical). By the completion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and application of key theoretical foundations of sexual health promotion and sexual health behavior change and be able to promote sexual health messages through marketing and dissemination. From a policy perspective, students can expect an increased knowledge about issues related to social and legislative policy analyses, their applications, and implications.

GNSE 24003 Mind, Brain, and Mental Health
Instructor:
Virginia Rangos
This course will approach the medicalization of mental healthcare, through an intersectional lens, with particular attention to how diagnosis and treatment are gendered and racialized. Topics will include: the construction of diagnostic categories and the process of medicalization and de-medicalization (e.g. of addiction, sexual behavior and identity, etc.); stigma and disability activism; and experiencing and conceptualizing an injured or ill brain/mind. Course material will focus on the United States, with international case comparisons.

GNSE 25020 Opera Across Media
Instructor:
Martha Feldman
Over the course of the last 120 years, opera and cinema have been sounded and seen together again and again. Where opera is commonly associated with extravagant performance and production, cinema is popularly associated with realism. Yet their encounter not only proves these assumptions wrong but produces some extraordinary third kinds--media hybrids. It also produces some extraordinary love affairs. Thomas Edison wanted a film of his to be “a grand opera,” and Federico Fellini and Woody Allen wanted opera to saturate their films. Thinking about these mutual attractions, “Opera across Media” explores different operatic and cinematic repertories as well as other media forms. Among films to be studied are Pabst’s Threepenny Opera (1931), Visconti’s Senso (1954), Powell and Pressburger’s Tales of Hoffmann (1951), Zeffirelli’s La traviata (1981), DeMille’s Carmen (1915), Losey’s Don Giovanni (1979), Bergman’s The Magic Flute (1975), and Fellini’s E la nave va (1983). No prior background in music performance, theory, or notation is needed. Students may write papers based on their own skills and interests relevant to the course. Required work includes attendance at all screenings and classes; weekly postings on Canvas about readings and viewings; attendances at a Met HD broadcast and a Lyric Opera live opera; a short “think piece” midway through the course; and a final term paper of 8-10 pages.

GNSE 25706 Gender, Sex and Empire
Instructor:
Darcy Heuring
This course examines the complex and contested relationships between gender, sex, sexuality, social organization and power in histories of (primarily British) imperialism and colonialism from the early conquests in the New World through the twentieth century. Employing insights from gender history, postcolonial studies and feminist theory, we look at a broad range of historical case studies to explore themes such as the intersectionality of race, class and gender; the instability of gender ideologies; how power was articulated through the categories of gender and sexuality; the politics of intimacy; and the regulation and ‘improvement’ of colonial bodies. Our goal is to better understand the ways that gender, sex, sexuality and Western imperialism were co-constitutive in distinctive colonial contexts, and the ways that techniques of power were borrowed, adapted and homogenized across the Western imperial world in response to changing political and economic imperatives.

GNSE 26240 Black Experimentation in Dance
Instructor:
Tara Aisha Willis
In this course, experimentation is explored as a choreographic approach to dancing and making dances. Grounded in process, practice, inquiry, and improvisation, experimentation has a long history in Black expressive culture. This class pairs readings at the intersection of Black performance theory, feminist and queer of color theory, and Black dance studies with examples of dance performances and artists interrogating topics such as the problem of aesthetic categorization, navigating racial visibility/invisibility onstage, and the politics of Black dancing bodies. The class focuses on concert dance in the United States, but may cover examples from social dance, popular entertainment, performance art, and global contexts.  

GNSE 26320 Deviance and Medicalization
Instructor:
Blaize Gervais
Is a school shooter an evil sinner, an ordinary criminal, or mentally ill? Is homosexuality a natural mode of loving and living, an expression of moral weakness, a punishable criminal offense, or a sign of biological or psychological inversion? Is hearing voices a sign of madness to be shunned and locked away from society, or proof of being chosen by the gods? The way in which a society or individual answers these kinds of questions can help us to understand the ways in which that society medicalizes (or demedicalizes) different forms of deviance from hegemonic norms. In this course we will explore various arenas in which forms of deviance have shifted on the spectrum from sin to crime to sickness (and back again) through processes of medicalization and demedicalization. We will explore medicalization in connection with sexual, mental, and moral forms of deviance as well as the medicalization of identity in terms of race, gender, class, disability, and age in order to ask questions such as: How is medical knowledge and authority constituted? How and why do certain behaviors come to be framed as medical problems rather than moral or legal ones? What people, forces, or systems shape the way we view deviant behavior? What is at stake in such processes of (de)medicalization. How do such processes impact the lives of those involved? How has life been increasingly medicalized in the Covid era? No prior study of religion, critical theory, or the history of medicine is expected. 

GNSE 26700 Jeanne d’Arc, histoire et légende
Instructor:
Daisy Delogu
S’appuyant sur l’exemple de Jeanne d’Arc, ce cours s’intéressera à la manière dont nous transformons le passé à la lumière des besoins et des soucis du présent. Nous situerons Jeanne d’Arc dans son contexte historique à l’aide des documents légaux, littéraires, et ecclésiastiques. Nous considérerons ensuite les représentations multiples et variées de Jeanne au cours des siècles suivants, examinant par exemple des textes de Voltaire, de Michelet, d’Anouilh, et d’autres, ainsi que des films qui présentent la vie de Jeanne d’Arc. Taught in French.
PQ: FREN FREN 20500, 20503 or a literature course taught in French.

GNSE 27714 Race, Reproduction, and Modernism
Instructor:
Agnes Malinowska
In this class, we focus on the centrality of debates around women's reproductive capacity in shaping the culture of modernity in the U.S. around 1900. We look at the way that feminist politics, in conjunction with broader developments in industrial capitalist society, disrupted traditional pathways of reproduction, as these have revolved around woman's crucial role in sustaining the biological family and the home. We will read fiction, essays, and political tracts around the birth control movement, free love, sex work, the figure of the "new woman," the politics of the home, the rise of consumer culture, and the demands placed on both Black and white women during this period in reproducing "the race." Most generally, we will focus on texts that both trouble and shore up bourgeois motherhood as the central means of reproducing the biological life and social fabric of American culture. And we will likewise be interested in writers and political figures that imagine and advocate for non-reproductive intimacies that would dismantle this social reproductive order altogether.

GNSE 28230 Fashion and Change: Theory of Fashion
Instructor:
Tim Campbell
This course will offer a representative view of foundational and recent fashion theory and fashion history, with a historical focus on the long modern era extending from the eighteenth century to the present. While engaging the general aesthetic and commercial phenomenon of fashion, we will devote special attention to fashion as a discourse preoccupied with the problem of cultural change—the surprisingly difficult question of how and why change does or does not happen. We will aim for a broader appreciation of fashion’s inner workings, but we will also confront the long tradition of thinking culture through fashion, to ask how we might also do the same.

GNSE 29162 Masquerade as Critique
Instructor:
Leah Pires
Critique is most often figured as an act that reveals a reality that was previously hidden, as though one were pulling back a curtain or lifting a veil. But, as the critic Craig Owens points out, "in a culture in which visibility is always on the side of the male, invisibility on the side of the female…are not the activities of unveiling, stripping, laying bare…unmistakably male prerogatives"? This interdisciplinary seminar develops an alternate genealogy of critique informed by feminist, queer, and Black studies perspectives. It eschews the modernist drive toward transparency, instead examining tactics of resistance such as masquerade, disidentification, appropriation, drag, fugitivity, and critical fabulation. This course pairs readings by authors including Eve Sedgwick, bell hooks, José Muñoz, and Saidiya Hartman with art, performance, and films by figures like Claude Cahun, Carrie Mae Weems, Jack Smith, the Karrabing Film Collective, Cheryl Dunye, David Hammons, and Jennie Livingston. Together, we will ask: What is critique, and how does it relate to power? How have artists engaged strategically with visibility and invisibility, and what can their work teach us today? This course will incorporate guest lectures and fieldwork in museums and archives. Culminating in a creative final project, it aims to develop a toolkit for critique that thinks past the timeworn imperative to render the invisible visible.

 

Graduate Course Descriptions

WINTER 2023

GNSE 30112 From the Harem to Helem: Gender and Sexuality in the Modern Middle East 
Instructor:
Ghenwa Hayek
This course will provide a historical and theoretical survey of issues pertaining to gender and sexuality in the modern Middle East. First, we will outline the colonial legacies of gender politics and gendered discourses in modern Middle Eastern history. We will discuss orientalist constructions of the harem and the veil (Allouche, Laila Ahmed, Lila Abu-Loghod), and their contested afterlives across the Middle East. We will also explore colonial (homo)sexuality, and attendant critiques (Najmabadi, Massad). We will pay especial attention to local discourses about gender and sexuality, and trouble facile assumptions of “writing back” while attending to the various specificities of local discourses of everyday life across various sites of the Middle East. Eschewing reductive traps for more nuanced explorations of the specifics of life in Beirut, Cairo, Istanbul, or Tehran – as well as to rural areas – we will show how gender and sexuality are constructed and practiced in these locales. In addition to foundational scholarly texts in the field, we will also engage with an array of cultural texts (films, novels, poetry, comics) and – where possible – have conversations with activists who are working in these sites via Skype/teleconferencing. 

GNSE 30121 Women and Work in Modern East Asia
Instructor:
Jacob Eyferth
Worldwide, women do about 75 percent of the world’s unpaid care and domestic work. They spend up to three hours more per day cooking and cleaning than men do, and anywhere from two to ten hours more per day looking after children and the elderly. Women’s underpaid work at home and in industry subsidized the early stages of industrialization in nineteenth-century Britain, early twentieth-century Japan, and contemporary China, and women’s unpaid contributions to their households enable employers worldwide to keep wages low. We know, at least in outline, how women came to carry double burdens in Europe and North America, but little research has been done so far about this process in East Asia. In this course, we will discuss when and how China, Japan, and Korea developed a division of labor in which most wage work was gendered male and reproductive work was marked female. Are current divisions of labor between men and women rooted in local cultures, or are they the result of industrial capitalist development? How do divisions of labor differ between the three East Asian countries, and how did developments in one East Asian country affect others?  

GNSE 30128 Creating a Different Image: Black Women’s Filmmaking of the 1970s-90s
Instructor:
Allyson Field
This course will explore the rich intersections between African American women’s filmmaking, literary production, and feminist thought from the 1970s to the early 1990s, with an emphasis on the formation of a Black women’s film culture beginning in the 1970s. We will examine the range of Black feminisms presented through film and the ways that these films have challenged, countered, and reimagined dominant narratives about race, class, gender, and sexuality in America. We will explore the power and limitations of filmmaking as a mode of Black feminist activism; the range of Black feminisms presented through film; and the specific filmic engagements of well-known Black feminist critics such as bell hooks, Toni Cade Bambara, and Michele Wallace. As many Black feminist writers were engaged with filmmaking and film culture, we will look at these films alongside Black women’s creative and critical writing from the period. Approaching filmmaking in the context of Black feminist thought will allow us to examine the possibilities of interdisciplinary approaches to film studies broadly, as well as to think specifically about the research methods and theories that are demanded by Black women’s filmmaking in particular. We will discuss the form, aesthetics, and politics of individual films and we will examine larger efforts by artists and activists to build a Black women’s film culture, asking such questions as: What does a film history of Black feminism look like, and what scholarly and creative methods does such a history demand? To begin to answer these questions, we will revisit the 1976 Sojourner Truth Festival of the Arts—believed to be the first ever Black women’s film festival—organized by Michele Wallace, Faith Ringgold, Patricia Jones, Margo Jefferson, and Monica Freeman. The class will collectively participate in a homage series inspired by the 1976 festival, featuring work by filmmakers from the original festival such as Monica Freeman, Madeline Anderson, Michelle Parkerson, Ayoka Chenzira, Carol Munday Lawrence, Edie Lynch, and Camille Billops; as well as others including Julie Dash, Zeinabu irene Davis, Maya Angelou, and Yvonne Welbon. The weekly course screenings will be open to the public and students will gain experience in the public presentation of films by actively engaging in public-facing aspects of film exhibition (writing program notes, delivering introductions, participating in discussions, etc.). The class will culminate with a two-day symposium that will bring together around 35 Black feminist filmmakers and artists, including a number from the 1976 festival, to revisit the threads and legacies of the original event and discuss the present and future of Black women’s film practices. This course is open to graduate and undergraduate students from across the disciplines; our conversations and presentations of the films will both depend on and be energized by different disciplinary perspectives. This course counts as a Problems Course for GNSE majors. 

GNSE 30237 Black Social Thought
Instructor:
Brianne Painia
This course will familiarize students with social science academic and lay intellectual theorists who speak to and about the political, economic, and gender ways of being within the African Diaspora. Most of the course will highlight the voices of Western scholars, pan-African international scholars and thought will be discussed as well.  

GNSE 31000 Cultural Psychology
Instructor:
Richard Shweder
There is a substantial portion of the psychological nature of human beings that is neither homogeneous nor fixed across time and space. At the heart of the discipline of cultural psychology is the tenet of psychological pluralism, which states that the study of "normal" psychology is the study of multiple psychologies and not just the study of a single or uniform fundamental psychology for all peoples of the world. Research findings in cultural psychology thus raise provocative questions about the integrity and value of alternative forms of subjectivity across cultural groups. In this course we analyze the concept of "culture" and examine ethnic and cross-cultural variations in mental functioning with special attention to the cultural psychology of emotions, self, moral judgment, categorization, and reasoning.

GNSE 31404 More than Human Ethnography
Instructor:
Ella Wilhoit
In this course we explore the growing fields of more-than-human and ‘multispecies’ ethnography. We will examine theoretical antecedents promoting the inclusion of non-human social actors in ethnographic analysis and read many examples of such work, including foundational texts on interspecies engagements, exploitations, and dependencies by Deborah Bird Rose, Kim Tallbear, Eduardo Kohn, Anna Tsing, and Augustin Fuéntes among many others. We will consider the role other species and ‘actants’ played in early ethnology and archaeology and contemplate recent studies of “becoming with” other animals, plants, fungi, bacteria, and mutants—encountering complex ecological kin relationships, examining naturalcultural borders, and querying decolonial legacies and the role of queer theory in the ‘more-than’ turn. Multispecies and posthumanist approaches encourage a decentering of traditional methodologies; we will couple ethnographic examples with literature by geographers, biologists, and philosophers. The course is a discussion-based seminar, with significant time devoted to understanding the logistical or methodological aspects of such work—to querying how more-than-human studies have been conducted in practice. The final paper in the course will take the form of an exploratory ethnographic essay based on data and observations collected during previous weeks.  

GNSE 32510 Capturing the Stars: Exhibiting the History of Women at Yerkes Observatory in early twentieth- century America
Instructor:
Kristine Palmieri
“Capturing the Stars,” the exhibit that will illuminate the history of women at Yerkes Observatory and demonstrate how their labor contributed to the advancement of astronomy and astrophysics in Fall 2023. In this experimental and hands-on course, students will actively participate in the creation of this physical exhibit for the Special Collections Research Center and its digital counterpart. Students will begin by learning about the history of women in science, the social, economic, and cultural history of early twentieth-century America, as well as the history of astronomy and astrophysics. They will then develop skills in historical research, exhibition development, community outreach, and science communication while working on final projects to be featured in the exhibit. No prior historical, scientific, or museum experience is required for this course. Students will learn how to conduct historical research and how to communicate with a public audience by contributing to the production of a physical exhibit on the history of women at Yerkes Observatory with an ambitious digital footprint. This highly experimental class will move beyond the confines of a traditional history seminar by involving students in the development and execution of an exhibit on the history of women at Yerkes Observatory.  

GNSE 32805 Bad Vibes Only?: Negative Emotions and the Politics of the Queer-Feminist Critique
Instructor:
Agatha Slupek
This course examines the role of negative emotions in the history of political thought and subsequently, in feminist and queer politics. Emotions in general, and negative emotions in particular, tend to be thought of as antithetical to politics. The liberal tradition in political theory boasts a longstanding view of emotions as personal and pre-political, needing to be transformed by reason in order to become suitable to liberal democratic societies. When the liberal tradition does take emotions seriously, it tends to emphasize the democratic value of ‘good vibes’ like love, empathy, and generosity. Feminist and queer critics of liberalism have long challenged this view of emotions, and indeed, have drawn upon negative emotions in particular to articulate their critiques of, as well as imagine alternatives to, liberal conceptions of justice, freedom, and equality. In the first part of this course, we will familiarize ourselves with the way negative emotions have been theorized in the writings of Aristotle, Nietzsche, and Freud, among other canonical thinkers in the history of political thought. In the second part, this seminar will turn to focus each week on the way ‘bad vibes’ like envy, resentment, rage, and grief have informed queer-feminist critiques of liberal notions of equality, justice, and freedom. Readings will include Sara Ahmed, Sianne Ngai, Judith Butler, and Saidiya Hartman. Students will consider how negative emotions or affects like rage, grief, and the like can be mobilized towards political ends, as well as the theoretical and practical consequences of these emotions’ characterization as political. This course is open to Master’s students and to advanced undergraduates.

GNSE 33119 Transnational Queer Politics And Practice
Instructor:
Cate Fugazzola
This course aims to examine gender and sexual practices and identities in a transnational perspective. As people and ideas move across national, cultural, and racial borders, how is sexuality negotiated and redefined? How are concepts such as “global queerness” and the globalization of sexualities leveraged for change? How are queer identities and practices translated, both culturally and linguistically? To explore transnational articulations of queerness we will draw on a range of theoretical perspectives, including postcolonial, feminist, queer, and indigenous approaches to the study of sexualities. We will engage with scholarship on the politics of global gay rights discourses, on the sexual politics of migration, and on the effects of colonialism and neoliberal capitalism. By analyzing queer experiences and practices in a transnational context, our goal is to decenter and challenge Western-centric epistemologies and to dive into the complexities of cultural representations of queerness around the globe.  

GNSE 33147 Monstrous Women of Antiquity
Instructor:
Jordan Johansen
From rapacious bird-women to a serpent-haired petrifactrix, monstrous women pervade ancient Greco-Roman mythology. In this course, we will interrogate the mutual influence of monstrousness and misogyny in ancient Greco-Roman mythology and its legacy in the intervening millennia. Focusing on three case studies from ancient Greco-Roman mythology—Medea, the Furies, and Medusa, we will ask questions such as: how does mythologizing and storytelling encode cultural expectations onto women; how has media been used to support and subvert the patriarchy; what role does intersectionality play in Greco-Roman female monstrosity; how have monstrous women in Greco-Roman mythology influenced modern feminist theory? Our exploration will take us beyond Greco-Roman mythology to monstrous women from other ancient cultures to portrayals of female monstrosity today. Students will be assessed through regular writing assignments, quizzes, and a final project, which will allow students to synthesize and apply their knowledge with a topic of their own choice from antiquity or its legacy in an analytic and/or creative format of their choice, such as a short podcast series, a digital museum exhibit, or a piece of creative writing. 

GNSE 33805 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Politics in the United States
Instructor:
Andrew Proctor
This courses surveys academic research on sexuality and gender in American politics. Drawing from interdisciplinary perspectives, it focuses on key arguments and debates about how politics shapes and is shaped by sexuality and gender relations. We will pay particular attention to the development of sexuality and gender identity as analytic and political concepts; the role of the State and political institutions to the formation of sexuality and gender; the relationship between social movements, counter-movements, and political parties; the political behavior and attitudes of LGBT people; and the ways in which intersectional inequalities structure LGBT politics.  

GNSE 35118 Islam, Politics and Gender
Instructor:
Hannah Ridge
This course examines the relationship Islam and politics with a focus on gender and sexuality. For this class, politics is broadly construed, including religious law, family law, social issues, and war. Gender is an inextricable part of Islamic law, and the connection between Islam and the state pervades scholars' understanding and interpretation of political development in the Muslim world. While many texts and discussions will focus on women, gender is considered expansively. We will consider the role of sex in religious law, as well as sexual identity, gender identity, and sexual orientation. We will also incorporate areas outside of the Islamic "heartland" of the Middle East, such as Europe and Asia. 

GNSE 35305 Autobiographical Writing: Gender & Modern Korea
Instructor:
Kyeong-Hee Choi
This course explores the intersections between gender, the genre of autobiography, forms of media (written; oral; visual; audiovisual) and historical, cultural, and political contexts of modern Korea. The students read theoretical writings on autobiography and gender as well as selected Korean autobiographical writings while being introduced to Korean historical contexts especially as they relate to practice of publication in a broader sense. The focus of the course is placed on the female gender-on the relationship between Korean women's life-experience, self-formation, and writing practices in particular while dealing with the gender relationship in general, although some relevant discussions on the male gender proceeds in parallel.

GNSE 36222 Like a Virgin: Being a Girl in Ancient Greece (and Beyond)
Instructor:
Rebekah Spearman
This course explores what is meant by the Greek concept of partheneia or virginity. By engaging primarily with texts written by, for, and about parthenoi, students in this class will work to develop an understanding of partheneia as it was understood by individuals who identified as parthenoi themselves. To do so, this course will first examine partheneia from an outsider’s perspective and will posit a rough definition of partheneia within a sociological context. Building upon this work, we will ask what partheneia means for members who do not conform to the outsider’s understanding of partheneia. What does it mean for a monster to be a parthenos? A goddess? A human girl? What are the modalities of relationship unique to partheneia? This course will be divided into three main units: Girls and Society, Girls and Technology, and Girls and Nature. We will read myths about Athena, Artemis, Medusa, and other mythological virgins, look at depictions of parthenoi in Greek art, and discuss lyric poems by Sappho, Alcman, and Pindar that describe the life of parthenoi. In addition, as a point of comparison, we will read or watch media about parthenos-like figures from non-Greek contexts including but not limited to Haioh Miyazaki’s Princess Mononoke.

GNSE 40115 Women, Peace and Security
Instructor:
Maliha Chishti
This course focuses on critical feminist theorizing and scholarship on militarization, war and masculinities, and on feminist articulations of peace and (demilitarized) security. Students will learn about the transnational feminist research, policy and advocacy network known as the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, and the important inroads this network has made in establishing international and national policies in the fields of gender, conflict, peace and development. The course highlights the background, history and policy significance of the historic Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, as well as subsequent and related UN resolutions. Students will also learn about alternative feminist approaches and visions for international peace and security, through powerful case study examples of feminist activism, solidarity and diplomacy. 

GNSE 40252 Researching Gender and Sexuality
Instructor:
Kristen Schilt
The course is designed to aid graduate students and advanced undergraduates in developing a solid, executable qualitative research study focused on gender and sexuality. Over the ten-week course, students will read exemplary articles and books showcasing a variety of qualitative research methodologies in the social sciences. Additionally, they will read methodology articles that highlight the benefits and limitations of various methodologies and study designs. Students will be required to identify a research question at the beginning of the course. The course assignments will build toward the formation of a final project. For students at the beginning stages of their research, the project will focus on building a research proposal. For students currently conducting research, the project will focus on building an article or thesis. At the end of the course, students will not only have a deeper understanding of qualitative methods, but also gain experience in designing a viable research project. Open to MA students with instructors' permission only  

GNSE 40899 Opera Without Borders
Instructors:
Martha Feldman and Judith Zeitlin
“Crossing Borders in Opera” explores how markers of race, indigeneity, and other identities blur historical time and disrupt geopolitical space on the operatic stage. How does opera operate in the new arenas of cosmopolitan citizenship during our present historical moment, when the unitary monoliths of nations, citizens, and identities are no longer firmly in place and means of travel and communication are quickly transforming? How and why have patterns of exploration, trade, and migration, forced and voluntary, colonial and decolonial, generated new operatic genres, new means of operatic production, and new kinds of opera producers (librettists, composers, directors, choreographers, dramaturgs, etc.)? Among our cases are the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Orphan of Zhao (2012); the Paris Opera’s hiphop staging of Rameau’s Les indes galantes (2019); Schikaneder and Mozart’s Magic Flute (1791) reimagined as Impempe Yomlingo (2007-2011) by the township artists of Capetown; and circulations of Cantonese opera in Chinatowns from Vancouver and San Francisco to New York and Honolulu.  Advanced undergraduates may request permission to enroll.  

GNSE 41370 Ships, Tyrants, and Mutineers
Instructor:
Tristan Schweiger
Since the Renaissance beginnings of the “age of sail,” the ship has been one of literature’s most contested, exciting, fraught, and ominous concepts. Ships are, on the one hand, globe-traversing spaces of alterity and possibility that offer freedom from the repression of land-based systems of power. And they are Michel Foucault’s example of the heterotopia par excellence. From Lord Byron to Herman Melville to Anita Loos, the ship has been conceived as a site of queerness and one that puts great pressure on normative constructions of gender. At the same time, the ship has been a primary mechanism for the brutality of empire and hegemony of capital, the conduit by which vast wealth has been expropriated from the colony, military domination projected around the world, and millions of people kidnapped and enslaved. Indeed, the horror of the “Middle Passage” of the Atlantic slave trade has been a major focus of inquiry for theorists like Paul Gilroy and Hortense Spillers, interrogating how concepts of racial identity and structures of racism emerge out of oceanic violence. In the 20th and 21st centuries, science-fiction writers have sent ships deep into outer space, reimagining human social relations and even humans-as-species navigating the stars. While focusing on the Enlightenment and 19th century, this course will examine literary and filmic texts through the present that have centered on the ship, as well as theoretical texts that will help us to deepen our inquiries. 

GNSE 41740 Gender and Policy
Instructor:
Yana Gallen
For the past 70 years, women have made remarkable advances in the labor market in the US—the experiences of women in past generations are almost unimaginable in today’s labor market. Women are now more educated than men. However, progress has stalled and the lifetime labor market outcomes of women are different from those of men on average. Why? What is the role for policy? In this course we will think about how differences in preferences, norms, and abilities potentially contribute to differences in outcomes by gender. If there are such differences, does policy intervention hurt or help, and whom does policy intervention hurt or help? What should be the aims of policy with respect to gender?  

GNSE 42912 Work and Family Policy: Policy Considerations for Family Support
Instructor:
Julia Henly
This course examines contemporary policy questions of concern to families, caregiving and the labor market. We will consider (1) the demographic, labor market, and policy trends affecting family income, family structure, family time, and family care; (2) conceptual frameworks and policy debates concerning the responsibility of government, corporate, and informal sectors in addressing work and family issues; and (3) specific policy and program responses in such areas as family leave, child care, work hours and flexibility, and income assistance. Throughout the course, we will consider the ideological, conceptual, and empirical basis for the issues we study. Although our primary focus will be on issues affecting low-income American families, relevant comparisons will be made throughout the course –- cross-nationally, across race/ethnicity, and across income.  

GNSE 44205 Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Queering the Essay
Instructor:
Victoria Flanagan
In Advanced Nonfiction Workshop: Queering the Essay, we'll approach the essay as a vehicle for queer narratives, as a marker of both individual and collective memory, and as a necessary compliment to the journalism and scholarship that have shaped queer writing. Through readings and in-class exercises, we'll explore tenets of the personal essay, like narrative structure and pacing, alongside considerations of voice and vulnerability. After a brief historical survey, we'll look to contemporary essayists as our guides--writers like Billy-Ray Belcourt, Melissa Faliveno, Saeed Jones, Richard Rodriguez, and T. Fleischmann-- alongside more familiar writers like Alison Bechdel and Maggie Nelson. And through student-led workshops, we'll wrestle with concerns that often trouble narratives of otherness: What does it mean to write a personal narrative that has a potential social impact? How can we write trauma without playing into harmful stereotypes? How can our writing work as--or make demands toward--advocacy, rather than voyeurism? Instructor consent required. Apply via creativewriting.uchicago.edu. Attendance on the first day is mandatory. 

GNSE 45180 Women Writing God
Instructor:
Sarah Kunjummen 
This course examines imaginative works by women that take on the task of representing divine or supernatural being from the medieval era to the present. Drawing on the work of critics such as Luce Irigaray, Caroline Walker Bynum, and Judith Butler, we explore what strategies these writers employ to depict an entity simultaneously understood to be unrepresentable and to have a masculine image. Texts range from pre-modern mystics such as Julian of Norwich and Teresa of Avila to Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower.

GNSE 45600 When Cultures Collide
Instructor:
Richard Shweder
Coming to terms with diversity in an increasingly multicultural world has become one of the most pressing public policy projects for liberal democracies in the early 21st century. One way to come to terms with diversity is to try to understand the scope and limits of toleration for variety at different national sites where immigration from foreign lands has complicated the cultural landscape. This seminar examines a series of legal and moral questions about the proper response to norm conflict between mainstream populations and cultural minority groups (including old and new immigrants), with special reference to court cases that have arisen in the recent history of the United States.  

GNSE 47702 Queer Modernism                
Instructor:
Agnes Malinowska
This course examines the dramatic revisions in gender and sexuality that characterize Anglo-American modernity. Together, we will read literary texts by queer writers to investigate their role in shaping the period's emergent regimes of sex and gender. We'll consider queer revisions of these concepts for their effect on the broader social and political terrain of the early twentieth century and explore the intimate histories they made possible: What new horizons for kinship, care, affect, and the everyday reproduction of life did modernist ideas about sex and gender enable? At the same time, we will seek to “queer” modernism by shifting our attention away from high literary modernism and towards modernism’s less-canonical margins. Our examination will center on queer lives relegated to the social and political margins—lives of exile or those cut short by various forms of dispossession. This class will double as an advanced introduction to queer theory, with a particular emphasis on literary criticism.

GNSE 48701 Late Medieval Women: Authorship and Authority
Instructor:
Willemien Otten 
In recent decades there has been a great deal of interest in medieval vernacular theology, as complementing the more traditional division of medieval theological texts into monastic and scholastic. This course will focus on a number of medieval women writers, dealing mainly albeit not exclusively with vernacular texts. After a historical overview of the position of women in the early Middle Ages, the course will focus on Heloise and Hildegard of Bingen as transitional figures, and continue with four women writers writing in the vernacular, i.e., Mechtild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch, Marguerite Porete and Julian of Norwich. The course will link the spectrum of vernacular languages which they represent to the diversity of their individual positions and analyze that diversity in terms of ecclesiastical developments, gender division, authorial identity, and theological criticism. The final aim is to come to an assessment of the constructive contribution of these vernacular treatises to the tradition of late medieval theology and spirituality. Course Note: Undergraduates may petition to enroll. 

 

SPRING 2023

GNSE 30124 Fictions of Patriarchy in German Literature and Thought
Instructor:
Sophie Salvo
In his 1861 study Mother Right, J. J. Bachofen argues that patriarchy is, at is most basic level, fictive. While the mother’s connection to the child is materially perceptible—she gestates, births, and nurses her offspring—the father is a “remoter potency” whose relationship to his progeny, because it is always mediated through the mother, can never be known for sure. Paternity, Bachofen suggests, is a juridical invention rather than a naturally evident fact.
Taking its cue from Bachofen, this course will investigate the relationship between notions of patriarchy and fictionality in German literature and thought. We will consider how philosophical texts use the figure of the father to ground their speculative claims, how literary narratives adapt changing ideas about the family and the state, and how concepts of patriarchy have structured thinking about fiction’s function and effects. Readings from: Herder, Schiller, Fichte, Kleist, Bachofen, Hauptmann, Freud, Werfel, Heiner Müller, and Jelinek, among others.

GNSE 31285 Toni Morrison, Beloved and A Mercy
Instructor:
SJ Zhang
“How lovely it is, this thing we have done - together."
Beginning with Morrison’s 1993 Nobel Prize Lecture, this class will read (for many reread) two of Toni Morrison’s novels that pose the house and household as a “site of memory” in which to dramatize gendered histories of race in North America. Our class will annotate together Beloved and A Mercy with the essays, films, poetry of various scholars, in addition to some of Morrison’s literary critical and historical writings. Our in-depth reading of these two works will provide a foundation for engaging in ongoing debates about race and writing in literary studies, black feminists critiques of the classroom, and histories of race-based slavery in North America. If, as Morrison contends, “language” teaches us “how to see without pictures” and that “language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names,” we will aim to hold language close as we consider “what moves at the margin. What it is to have no home in this place. To be set adrift from the one you knew. What it is to live at the edge of towns that cannot bear your company.”

GNSE 33501 Gender, Sex and Empire
Instructor:
Darcy Heuring
This course examines the complex and contested relationships between gender, sex, sexuality, social organization and power in histories of (primarily British) imperialism and colonialism from the early conquests in the New World through the twentieth century. Employing insights from gender history, postcolonial studies and feminist theory, we look at a broad range of historical case studies to explore themes such as the intersectionality of race, class and gender; the instability of gender ideologies; how power was articulated through the categories of gender and sexuality; the politics of intimacy; and the regulation and ‘improvement’ of colonial bodies. Our goal is to better understand the ways that gender, sex, sexuality and Western imperialism were co-constitutive in distinctive colonial contexts, and the ways that techniques of power were borrowed, adapted and homogenized across the Western imperial world in response to changing political and economic imperatives.

GNSE 33702 Sexual Health: Identity, Behavior, and Outcomes
Instructor:
David Moskowitz
Sexual health is a growing component of public health outreach. The goal of this course is to provide students with a foundational understanding of sexual health from a public health perspective. Through participation in this course, students will increase their knowledge about the history of sexual health promotion in the public health sphere. They will delve into sexual and gender identity construction and explore identity-behavioral expressions. They will critically examine and discuss common sexual health issues addressed by public health practitioners, their epidemiology, and their underlying social determinants; a global health lens will be applied to such examinations. Additionally, recognition of the key methodological considerations in the measurement of sexual behavior and sexual health outcomes will be elucidated (including strengths and limitations of various methodological approaches -quantitative, qualitative, clinical, and biomedical). By the completion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate knowledge and application of key theoretical foundations of sexual health promotion and sexual health behavior change and be able to promote sexual health messages through marketing and dissemination. From a policy perspective, student can expect an increased knowledge about issues related to social and legislative policy analyses, their applications, and implications.

GNSE 35700 Sex, Gender, and Sexuality in the Middle Ages
Instructor:
Mark Miller
The field of gender and sexuality in medieval Western Europe is both familiar and exotic. Medieval poetry is fascinated by the paradoxical inner workings of desire, and poetic, theological, and philosophical texts develop sophisticated terms for analyzing it. Feminine agency is at once essential to figurations of sexual difference and a scandal to them. Ethical self-realization gets associated both with abstinence and with orgasmic rapture. This course will examine these and other topics in medieval gender and sexuality through reading a range of materials including poetry, theology, gynecological treatises, hagiography, and mystical writing.

GNSE 36240 Black Experimentation in Dance
Instructor:
Tara Aisha Willis
In this course, experimentation is explored as a choreographic approach to dancing and making dances. Grounded in process, practice, inquiry, and improvisation, experimentation has a long history in Black expressive culture. This class pairs readings at the intersection of Black performance theory, feminist and queer of color theory, and Black dance studies with examples of dance performances and artists interrogating topics such as the problem of aesthetic categorization, navigating racial visibility/invisibility onstage, and the politics of Black dancing bodies. The class focuses on concert dance in the United States, but may cover examples from social dance, popular entertainment, performance art, and global contexts.

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 38230 Fashion and Change: Theory of Fashion
Instructor:
Tim Campbell
This course will offer a representative view of foundational and recent fashion theory and fashion history, with a historical focus on the long modern era extending from the eighteenth century to the present. While engaging the general aesthetic and commercial phenomenon of fashion, we will devote special attention to fashion as a discourse preoccupied with the problem of cultural change—the surprisingly difficult question of how and why change does or does not happen. We will aim for a broader appreciation of fashion’s inner workings, but we will also confront the long tradition of thinking culture through fashion, to ask how we might also do the same.

GNSE 39162 Masquerade as Critique
Instructor:
Leah Pires
Critique is most often figured as an act that reveals a reality that was previously hidden, as though one were pulling back a curtain or lifting a veil. But, as the critic Craig Owens points out, "in a culture in which visibility is always on the side of the male, invisibility on the side of the female…are not the activities of unveiling, stripping, laying bare…unmistakably male prerogatives"? This interdisciplinary seminar develops an alternate genealogy of critique informed by feminist, queer, and Black studies perspectives. It eschews the modernist drive toward transparency, instead examining tactics of resistance such as masquerade, disidentification, appropriation, drag, fugitivity, and critical fabulation. This course pairs readings by authors including Eve Sedgwick, bell hooks, José Muñoz, and Saidiya Hartman with art, performance, and films by figures like Claude Cahun, Carrie Mae Weems, Jack Smith, the Karrabing Film Collective, Cheryl Dunye, David Hammons, and Jennie Livingston. Together, we will ask: What is critique, and how does it relate to power? How have artists engaged strategically with visibility and invisibility, and what can their work teach us today? This course will incorporate guest lectures and fieldwork in museums and archives. Culminating in a creative final project, it aims to develop a toolkit for critique that thinks past the timeworn imperative to render the invisible visible.

GNSE 40102 Womanist Theology: 1st Generation
Instructor:
Dwight Hopkins
Womanist Theology is a contemporary theological discipline in the American academy. It emerged in 1979 and has differentiated into various other disciplines, foci, and methodologies All scholars agree that womanist theology does the following work: (1) expands the theory and method of the academy; (2) broadens the intellectual conversation; (3) welcomes new voices into theological explorations; and (4) challenges the very notion of assumed epistemology. In 1979 Jacquelyn Grant wrote what has now been recognized as the first "womanist" article, "Black Theology and the Black Woman". In that essay, Grant astutely pointed out certain blind spots in black theology of liberation, the larger discussions about the academic study of religion, and the relation between theology and faith communities. 

GNSE 47714 Race, Reproduction, and Modernism
Instructor:
Agnes Malinowska
In this class, we focus on the centrality of debates around women's reproductive capacity in shaping the culture of modernity in the U.S. around 1900. We look at the way that feminist politics, in conjunction with broader developments in industrial capitalist society, disrupted traditional pathways of reproduction, as these have revolved around woman's crucial role in sustaining the biological family and the home. We will read fiction, essays, and political tracts around the birth control movement, free love, sex work, the figure of the "new woman," the politics of the home, the rise of consumer culture, and the demands placed on both Black and white women during this period in reproducing "the race." Most generally, we will focus on texts that both trouble and shore up bourgeois motherhood as the central means of reproducing the biological life and social fabric of American culture. And we will likewise be interested in writers and political figures that imagine and advocate for non-reproductive intimacies that would dismantle this social reproductive order altogether.

GNSE 53590 Colonialism, Slavery, Race & Gender: Archival Theory and Method
Instructor:
SJ Zhang
This class offers an in-depth introduction to archival theory and research methodologies that attend to colonialism and slavery between 1650 and 1865. With a focus on how scholars have used the analytics of race and gender to examine this history, our class will examine foundational primary materials and the bodies of scholarship that have grown up around them. We will read the work of Olaudah Equiano, Matthew Lewis, Phillis Wheatley, Mary Prince, Samuel Occom, Venture Smith, Black Hawk, Harriet Jacobs, as well as Salem Witch Trial transcripts. In addition, the class will visit UChicago’s Special Collections and the Newberry Library. Students will write on an archival object of their choosing from the period that is relevant to their individual research interests.

 

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