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

AUTUMN 2022

WINTER 2023

SPRING 2023

 

Graduate Courses

AUTUMN 2022

WINTER 2023

SPRING 2023

 

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

AUTUMN 2022

GNSE 12115 Religion and Abortion in the United States
Instructor:
Emily Crews
In American public discourse, it is common to hear abortion referred to as a “religious issue.” But is abortion a religious issue? If so, in what ways, to whom, and since when?
In this course we will answer these questions by tracing the relationship between religion and abortion in American history. We will examine the kinds of claims religious groups have made about abortion; how religion has shaped the development of medical, legal, economic, and cultural perspectives on the topic; how debates over abortion have led to the rise of a certain kind of religious politics in the United States; and how issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, and the body are implicated in this conversation. Although the course will cover a range of time periods, religious traditions, and types of data (abortion records from Puritan New England, enslaved people’s use of root medicine to induce miscarriage, and Jewish considerations of the personhood of the fetus, among others), we will give particular attention to the significance of Christianity in legal and political debates about abortion in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. There are no prerequisites for this course and no background in Religious Studies is required. However, this course may be particularly well-suited to students interested in thinking about how their areas of study (medicine and medical sciences, gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, political science) converge with religion and Religious Studies. 
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors.

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

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

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

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

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

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

GNSE 22156 Staging Identity in the Eighteenth Century
Instructor:
Heather Keenleyside
This course will consider connections between theatre, performance, and identity in the eighteenth century, a time when selfhood is everywhere depicted as both metaphorically and literally theatrical. We will ask: How does actual theatrical practice shape the way that identity was understood in this period? What components of identity, particularly in terms of race, class, gender, and sexuality, are privileged or destabilized by the eighteenth-century stage? Course reading will focus primarily on Restoration and eighteenth-century British drama, but may also include short works of eighteenth century fiction and philosophy, as well as selected secondary readings in theatre history, performance studies, and gender and sexuality studies. The final syllabus will be shaped by what’s on in London in the fall; we will hopefully be able to attend a performance or two, and consider how recent playwrights look back to the eighteenth century in their own work. This course will be taught as part of the ENGL study abroad program in London.

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

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

GNSE 26113 Queer South Asia
Instructor:
Nisha Kommattam
Description TBD

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

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

 

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 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 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 20116 Queering the American Family Drama
Instructor:
Leslie Danzig
In this course, we’ll examine what happens to the American Family Drama on stage when the ‘family’ is queer. We will move beyond describing surface representations into an exploration of how queering the family implicates narrative, plot, character, formal conventions, aesthetics and production conditions (e.g. casting, venues, audiences, marketing and critical reception). Our texts will include theatrical plays, live and recorded productions, queer performance theory, and – where it’s useful to our exploration – select examples from film and television. This course will be a combined seminar and studio, inviting students to investigate through readings, discussion, staging experiments, and a choice of either a final paper or artistic project. A background in theater is not required.
This course 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 20123 Male Roles and Life Course Development in American Families, Communities and Civil Society
Instructor:
Waldo Johnson
This course examines the range and diversity of male social roles assumed by boys, adolescent males, and adult men within U.S. families, communities and society. As a nation of immigrants, political and religious refugees and descendants of African slaves, nativity and cultural origins of families residing in the United States often influence and potentially clash with historical and evolving American ideals and notions about normative male social roles within an evolving multi-racial and multi-cultural society. With respect to male social roles in families residing in the United States, particular attention is given to how race and/or ethnicity, citizenship and generational status, residence duration and stability, social class status and cultural expectations affect the assumption and performance of expected male social roles. Definitions of family and an overview of family structures are initially examined, followed by a developmental examination on male social roles within families and how boyhood, adolescent and adult male social roles are affected by family structure, socio-economic status, historical and cultural family origins, citizenship status, and individual/family engagement with the broader society. The succeeding component of the course examines male social roles within neighborhood and community contexts and how boyhood, adolescent and adult male social roles external to the family are influenced by engagement within these contexts.
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 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 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 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 23809 Pain, Truth, and Justice
Instructor:
Maureen Kelly
Why should the truth hurt? Does pain guarantee the truth told? Is pain the price of exposure to the truth? Does that make punishment just? In this class, we will take a historical and philosophical approach to examine the relations between pain, truth, and justice. In the premodern period, we will draw from Genesis, Sophocles’ Oedipus, Augustine, Tertullian, martyrdom accounts, and public penance in medieval Christianity. To study the theme in the early modern nation-state spectacles of punishment, colonial contexts, and contemporary scenes of justice we will turn to the writings of Foucault, Fanon, and others. Over the course of the historical and philosophical examinations, we will trace the themes of body, affect, and performance; truth, law, and ritual; power, religion, and the nation-state. In the end, we will turn a critical eye to contemporary cultural discourses and representations of pain, truth, and justice in the arts, law, literature, philosophy, and politics. No prerequisites.

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 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 25507 Make Love, Not Babies: A History of Population Control
Instructor:
Peggy O’Donnell
People have been worrying about population—and the strain that growing numbers of people have on natural resources and the environment—since at least the late eighteenth century, when Thomas Malthus penned his Essay on the Principle of Population. This course will follow the history of environmentally motivated population control movements, from Malthus to French feminists at the turn of the twentieth century, to the birth of the environmental movement in the United States in the late 1960s, to international efforts to control population in the developing world in the 1990s. Students will encounter the perspectives of feminists, environmentalists, and economists as we consider how racism, reproductive rights, and the legacy of humanitarian intervention have shaped global approaches to population.

GNSE 25700 Islam in African History
Instructor:
Katie Hickerson
From the early years of the spread of Islam to contemporary forms of religious expressive cultures, Islam has and continues to shape the lives of Muslims across Africa, where today roughly a third of the global Muslim populations resides. This course examines Islamic history in Africa as a religious orientation that informs architectural traditions, political elections, creative prose, and artistic expression. This class investigates the diversity of Islamic cultures in Africa through historical writings, art, literature, and film, as well as examining the experiences of diasporic African Muslims in North America and Europe and the writings of Black American Muslims on the continent. Students will examine debates that animate this field of scholarship: from the politics of the study of Islam, to debates about gender, race, and slavery within Islamic societies, to diverse encounters with colonial states and struggles for decolonization. In addition to scholarship based on textual analysis, students will use visual and material sources including mosque architecture, paintings, photography, films, and music to examine the past, present, and imagined futures of African Islamic expressive cultures in a global context.

GNSE 25702 Climate Justice
Instructor:
Sarah Fredericks
Climate injustice includes the disproportionate effects of climate change on people who benefit little from the activities that cause it, generally the poor, people of color, and people marginalized in other ways. Given the complex economic, physical, social, and political realities of climate change, what might climate justice entail? This course explores this complex question through an examination of classical and contemporary theories of justice; the gendered, colonial, and racial dimensions of climate change; and climate justice movements. Course Note: Graduate students need permission to enroll and will have additional requirements. 

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

GNSE 27703 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.

 

SPRING 2023

GNSE 12113 Jewish Civilization III: Gender and Jewish History in the Modern World 
Instructor:
Anna Band
This course examines how gender and sexuality shaped Jewish historical experience, identity, ideology, and imagination from the mid-seventeenth century until the present. Using the tools of gender analysis, we will explore the historical realities of women and men in Jewish society through critical reading of primary sources (in translation), and discussion of modern research. Topics include: the construction of gender in modern Jewish society; historical intersections of sexuality and Jewish practice; gender and power relations in the Jewish family; emancipation and assimilation; gender and Jewish literature; Jews and the rise of feminist movements; masculinity and Zionism; sex, gender, and the Holocaust.  
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 12114 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 24900 Lolita
Instructor:
Malynne Sternstein
“Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul, Lolita: the tip of the tongue taking a trip of three steps down the palate, to tap at three on the teeth.” Popular as Nabokov’s “all-American” novel is, it is rarely discussed beyond its psychosexual profile. This intensive text-centered and discussion-based course attempts to supersede the univocal obsession with the novel’s pedophiliac plot as such by concerning itself above all with the novel’s language: language as failure, as mania, and as conjuration.

GNSE 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 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.

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.

 

Graduate Course Descriptions

AUTUMN 2022

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

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

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

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

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

GNSE 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. 

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

 

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

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

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

GNSE 40899 Crossing Borders in Opera  
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 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 47703 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 52765 Disruptive Kin-Making
Instructor:
Mareike Winchell
Description TBD

 

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 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 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 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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