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 2021

WINTER 2022

SPRING 2022

 

Graduate Courses

AUTUMN 2021

WINTER 2022

SPRING 2022

 

Undergraduate Course Descriptions

AUTUMN 2021

GNSE 12104 Foundations in Masculinity Studies
Instructor:
Rebecca Ewert
In recent years, the term “toxic masculinity” has been used in contexts from the #MeToo movement to the rise of Donald Trump, from Gillette advertisements to the behavior of men on the reality show The Bachelorette. Why is the conversation around “toxic masculinity” taking place in the United States at this moment? In this course, we will go beyond banal statements like “toxic masculinity” and “men are trash” to critically ask, What role does masculinity play in social life? How is masculinity produced, and are there different ways to be masculine? This course provides students with an intensive introduction to the foundational theory and research in the field of masculinities studies. We will use an intersectional lens to study the ways in which the concept and lived experience of masculinity are shaped by economic, social, cultural, and political forces. We will examine how the gendered social order influences the way people of all genders perform masculinity as well as the ways men perceive themselves and other men, women, and social situations. Verbally and in writing, students will develop an argument about the way contemporary masculinity is constructed and performed.
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors.

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

GNSE 12600 What is Socialism? Experiences from Eastern Europe
Instructor:
Michaela Appeltová
A specter is haunting US politics—the specter of socialism. On both sides of the aisle, politicians invoke "socialism" as shorthand for Cold War rivalries and contemporary international conflicts, as well as to condemn or praise domestic agendas. But what is socialism? What defines it ideologically? What do political and economic systems based on socialist ideology look like? Are they (just) totalitarian dictatorships or one-party states? Drawing upon examples from twentieth-century Central and Eastern Europe, this course explores the history of the region's socialist regimes. The course will do so from a variety of perspectives: ideological and philosophical writings (Marx, Fourier, Lenin, Lukacs, Havel), political and economic forms (from Stalinist dictatorships to "Goulash Communism"), gender arrangements, cultural production, and everyday life. Throughout the course, students will reflect on the differences between socialism and communism, between ideology and politics, and consider questions of individual agency and individual and collective rights.
THIS COURSE DOES NOT COUNT AS A FOUNDATIONS COURSE FOR GNSE MAJORS

GNSE 15002 Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations - I
Instructor:
various
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 meets the General Education Civilization Requirement if taken with GNSE 15003.

GNSE 15500 Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales
Instructor:
Mark Miller
Close reading of the Canterbury Tales, with particular attention to the ways Chaucer's experiments in literary form open onto problems in ethics, politics, gender and sexuality.

GNSE 15560 Modern Love
Instructor:
Korey Williams
What is erotic love? In “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” Audre Lorde defines it as “our deepest and nonrational knowledge,” associated with intimacy and attachment as well as the “measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings.” Similarly, in Plato’s Symposium, erotic love is defined as something “in between mortal and immortal,” akin to discernment which is “something in between wisdom and ignorance.” In this course, we will question the “in-betweenness” of erotic love, what this rhetoric implies, and what it seems to make known and knowable in modern life. Authors may include James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Sandra Cisneros, Andre Aciman, Maggie Nelson, and Ocean Vuong.

GNSE 17818 Reforming America: Social & Political Change from the Gilded Age to the New Deal
Instructor:
Gabriel Winant
At the beginning of the twentieth century, the American state was a creaking, antiquated apparatus struggling to manage the social and economic changes that had occurred in the previous fifty years. From the turn of the century through World War II, the country underwent a profound program of political change—earning this period the name "the age of reform." In this class we examine the relationship between social and economic upheaval (industrialization, urbanization, immigration, depression, war) and political movements and activism (agrarian populism, the Ku Klux Klan, the early civil and women's rights movements, organized labor) in order to explain how government in America was transformed for new conditions.

GNSE 18950 Nineties Feminisms
Instructor:
Caroline Heller
This course will survey feminist literatures of the 1790s, 1890s, and 1990s. We will cover works by authors like Mary Wollstonecraft, Sarah Grand, and Greta Gaard as well as feminist movements from New Woman ideal in the 1890s to ecofeminism and material feminisms in the 1990s. 

GNSE 20001 Theories of Sexuality and Gender
Instructors:
Kristen Schilt and Gabriel Ojeda-Sague
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.
Prior course experience in gender/sexuality studies (by way of the general education civilization studies courses or other course work) is strongly advised. This course is required for all GNSE majors and minors.

GNSE 20105 Archiving AIDS: Art, Literature, Theory
Instructor:
Kris Trujillo
The AIDS pandemic had a major impact on cultural production of the 1980s and the 1990s. But its effects did not end with the advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) in 1995. This course will examine the AIDS archive in its broadest sense—including art, literature, and theory produced in direct and indirect response to the pandemic from the 1980s to the present. What was the role of cultural production in political activism? What kinds of narratives did the allegorization of AIDS make possible and normalize? How has the AIDS pandemic been remembered and memorialized in more contemporary art and literature? Drawing from U.S., Latin American, and European texts, we will explore how AIDS has impacted sociopolitical issues related to sexuality, gender, class, and race.
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20111 History of Death
Instructor:
Katie Hickerson
This course introduces students to the historical study of death and the methods and approaches scholars have developed to understand the roles death has played in shaping societies across time and space. Drawing from the rich scholarship on the history of death, it will demonstrate the methodical diversity (textual, visual, and material culture studies) and analytical approaches (history of the body, religious studies, and the study of slavery and colonialism) used to examine the multivalent ways the dead have been sources of meaning-making for individuals, institutions, religious communities, and nations from early Islam to the aftermath of the Vietnam War. It examines how ruptures in ways of death through military encounters, epidemics, and colonialism have shaped and transformed societies. While the history of death is strongly situated in narratives of the rise of the West, students will consider case studies from across regional scholarly specializations, including Africa, the Middle East, the Caribbean, North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia.
THIS COURSE DOES NOT COUNT 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 20118 Gender, Agency, and Power in 19th C Russian Literature
Instructor:
Anne Eakin Moss
When members of Pussy Riot performed their “Punk Prayer” at the Cathedral of Christ Our Savior in Moscow in 2011, heads covered with neon balaclavas, it was as much the scandal of their female bodies in front of the iconostasis as the words of their song that constituted their protest against state and church. This course focuses on similarly scandalous provocations and quieter acts of resistance against normative gender expectations in 19th-century Russian literature. We read narratives of rebellion by individuals and collective actions by groups of women, and consider the surprising agency attributed to women’s cooperative work in Russian literature as well as the heavy burdens placed on women by family, state, and church. Readings include primarily short fiction in a variety of genres (sentimental, romantic, realist, and gothic) by canonized male writers and by women writers of the 19th C who are less often taught and translated, but were widely read in their own day. These works expand our understanding of the narrative possibilities for sexuality and gendered subjectivity in the Russian literary sphere, and of the ways in which possibility itself was made and remade by literary expression. The course also introduces students to methods of literary analysis informed by critical theories of gender, and asks how Russian literary and cultural history may offer new ways of thinking about gendered bodies, performance, and interrelations in the 19th C and today.
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors.

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 21303 Gender, Capital, and Desire: Jane Austen and Critical Interpretation
Instructor:
Tristan Schweiger
Today, Jane Austen is one of the most famous (perhaps the most famous), most widely read, and most beloved of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British novelists. In the two hundred years since her authorial career, her novels have spawned countless imitations, homages, parodies, films, and miniseries – not to mention a thriving “Janeite” fan culture. For just as long, her novels have been the objects of sustained attention by literary critics, theorists, and historians. This course will offer an in-depth examination of Austen, her literary corpus, and her cultural reception as well as a graduate-level introduction to several important schools of critical and theoretical methodology. We will read all six of Austen’s completed novels in addition to criticism spanning feminism, historicism, Marxism, queer studies, postcolonialism, and psychoanalysis. Readings may include Shoshana Felman, Frances Ferguson, William Galperin, Deidre Lynch, D.A. Miller, Edward Said, Eve Sedgwick, and Raymond Williams.

GNSE 21522 Leggere Al Femminile Nella Letteratura Italia
Instructor:
Fara Taddei
Il corso ha l’obiettivo di esplorare la figura della lettrice attraverso l’analisi di testi in lingua italiana di diverse epoche, includendo testi di Giovanni Boccaccio, Ludovico Ariosto, Tullia d’Aragona, ma anche testi più moderni di autori come Italo Calvino, Elsa Morante, Natalia Ginzburg. Alcuni temi che tratteremo sono la riscrittura di testi classici, le dinamiche della committenza nel Rinascimento, l’evoluzione delle pratiche di lettura. Per approfondire questi temi, useremo testi critici in italiano o inglese, con contributi di Elena Lombardi, Roland Barthes, Roman Jakobson, Barbara Johnson e altri. PQ: ITAL 20300 or equivalent. Taught in Italian.

GNSE 22048 Girlhood
Instructor:
Heather Keenleyside
This course focuses on narratives in which the category of “girl” or “girlhood” is under construction, or called into question. We’ll begin with a number of works from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (novels by Frances Burney, Jane Austen, Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Bronte), and will move into novels, films, comics, and memoirs from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries that draw on or depart from some of those earlier texts. Throughout, the course will draw on work from fields like sociology, history, and feminist and queer theory to consider changing conceptions of childhood, adolescence, and development, as well as the way that intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, and ability shape categories and narratives of “girlhood.”

GNSE 22148 Into to Genres: Speculative Women
Instructor:
Lina Ferreira Cabeza-Vanegas
Despite common misconceptions women have been at the forefront of the speculative genre from its earliest inceptions. Not merely defying the limitations and restraints of literature as defined by their contemporary society’, but inventing whole worlds and genres which continue to influence writers and writing as a whole today. Mary Shelley’s 1818 publication of Frankenstein, to Virginia Woolf’s 1928’s publication of Orlando, and even Margaret Cavendish’s 1666’s novel, “The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World. This course will be a brief foray into the strange and yet familiar worlds of various women across the history of speculative writing. From Mary Shelley to Ursula K. Leguin, from Lady Cavendish to Margaret Atwood, from Alice Walker to Octavia E. Butler.

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

GNSE 22509 Intersections of Gender and Race throughout the 20th Century Middle East.
Instructor:
Chelsie May
This course will explore how parts of the modern Middle East confronted questions and definitions of race and gender that were often first defined in the west.
Organized thematically and covering a region that spans from North Africa to Iran, we will use the analytics of race and gender in an intersecting way to explore topics in the Middle East such as: colonialism, slavery, Arab Nationalism, Zionism, whiteness, racism, eugenics and scientific racism, and global solidarity movements. In so doing, our course will reveal that race is an operative category in the study of Middle East history, the historical racial logics operating in various Middle Eastern countries, and how race and gender intersect at the site of individual as well as the effects of this.
This course is designed for anyone interested in race theory, gender theory, intersectionality, and Middle East history. By the end of this course, students will have the tools to think in a gendered and raced multidimensional way about aspects of Middle East history that do not often receive such an intersectional treatment. Additionally, they will develop the methodological tools to discern local race and gender logics that might be different than what they’re most familiar with. Finally, through coming to understand their relationship to the knowledge of our course, students will also be able to use the course as a springboard for continued learning in other courses that treat race, gender, and the Middle East.

GNSE 22823 Global Horrors: Film, Literature, Theory
Instructor:
Hoda El Shakry
This course explores literary and cinematic works of horror from around the world. Subgenres of horror include gothic/uncanny, sci-fi horror, post-apocalyptic, paranormal, monsters, psychological horror, thrillers, killer/slasher, and gore/body-horror, among others. As a mode of speculative fiction, horror envisions possible or imagined worlds that center on curiosities, dreads, fears, terrors, phobias, and paranoias that simultaneously repel and attract. Works of horror are most commonly concerned with anxieties about death, the unknown, the other, and our selves. Horror frequently explores the boundaries of what it means to be human by dwelling on societal, cultural, and political imaginaries of the non-human and Other. The genre often exploits the markers of difference that preoccupy our psychic, libidinal, and social lifeworlds—such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality, but also the fundamental otherness that is other peoples’ minds and bodies. Horror subsequently dwells within the uncomfortable corners of our collective unconscious where the line blurs between that which we fear and that which we desire. Works of literature, film, and art will be paired with theoretical readings that contextualize the genre’s history, as well as its aesthetic, formal, and thematic tropes. We will also interrogate the critical implications and possibilities of horror in relationship to affect theory, biopolitics, gender studies, queer theory, critical race studies, postcolonial criticism, Afropessimism and black ontology. Content warning: Course materials will feature graphic, violent, and oftentimes disturbing images and subjects. Enrolled students will be expected to watch, read, and discuss all course materials.

GNSE 23129 Gender and Consumption
Instructor:
Yaniv Ron-El
The course looks at the intricate relationship between consumption and gender and sexuality. Drawing on the sociology and history of consumer capitalism, it examines how consumer culture has been predicated on patriarchal and hierarchical notions of gender and sexuality, and how it also provided opportunities to challenge them. The course will ask and answer questions such as: What are the social and political meanings of consumption and how it has been gendered? How did consumer society and consumer culture develop in light of gendered ideologies and practices? And what are the models to challenge and change these institutions and their gendered reality? How has consumerism been related to the development of feminism? And how has feminist thought contributed to the critique of consumer capitalism? The course will examine the relationship of gender and sexuality to consumption through major sociological terms and concepts: How consumption, and gender, are practiced and experienced through space; how does consumption perpetuate and facilitate notions of class and class-distinction; how do consumption practices construct identities and gender-identities in particular; how have citizens, and especially women, used their status as consumers to promote political and feminist goals; and what are the relationships between consumption and the body? The course is recommended to students who are interested in the study of gender and sexuality, sociology, history, and anthropology.
This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors

GNSE 23131 Witches, Shrews, and Whores: Transgressive Women in the Early Modern Period
Instructor:
Stephanie Painter
What did it mean to be a “bad” woman in the early modern world? In this course, we will explore the lives of transgressive women from around the world whose behavior did not conform to traditional expectations of femininity. From late imperial China to Victorian England, we will study the representation and lived experience of non-conforming women in history throughout the early modern period. We will read scholarly texts and primary sources, learning how to view history from a feminist lens as we analyze the concept of woman as “witch,” “shrew,” and “whore” in patriarchal societies. We will use gender theory to investigate and analyze the different ways women challenged and subverted gender norms. Some of the women we encounter will include murderers, prostitutes, pirates, cross dressers, rebellious slaves, feminists, and their stories speak to themes of love, sex, violence, family, and law. Exploring the interactions between gendered relationships of power and other social categories, like religion, class, race, and sexuality, we will learn how women navigated traditional gender systems in defiance of the social norms in which they lived.
This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors

GNSE 24520 Postcolonial Openings: World Literature after 1955
Instructor:
Darrel Chia
In this course, you will become familiar with the perspectives, debates, and attitudes that characterize postcolonial theory, literature, and cinema. We examine a range of interdisciplinary scholarship that engages us in conversations around publics, climate change, gender, complicity/compromise and human rights. By so doing, we register the impulses that animate the field, and sketch its possible futures. A specific focus will be on how postcolonial and queer theory speak to each other. Alongside this, we analyze novels and poetry in English from the latter half of the twentieth century that bear on transnationalism, migration, multiculturalism, anti-colonialism, and globalization. What are the claims made on behalf of literary texts in orienting us to other lives and possibilities, and in registering experiences of displacement in this milieu? We consider works by Arun Kolatkar, Claudia Rankine, Hanif Kureishi, Deepa Mehta, J.M. Coetzee, Jean Rhys, Richard Powers, and Amitav Ghosh.

GNSE 24701 Un/Making Citizenship: The Politics of the Intimate
Instructors:
Kathryn Takabvirwa and Raffaella Taylor-Seymour
The state is like a gravitational force that holds people in relation to itself, tugging and turning each person to different degrees. Citizenship is the mediation of that relationship. In this course, we examine different dimensions of citizenship across the life course, considering the ways people are formed into certain kinds of subjects. We ask: how and why are intimate life events of interest not only to those involved, but also to governing authorities? From the governance of conception and birth, to the (non)conferral of legal identities, the state manages legitimacy through documents like birth certificates, whose contents or absence can shape a person’s entire life trajectory. In childhood, schools work to transform children into certain kinds of future citizens. From legal adulthood's gradual accrual of rights -- to vote, to have sex, to drink, to stand trial -- to old age and long after death, citizenship extends beyond the lifecourse. Over the course of the quarter, we investigate the ways people negotiate attempts to transform them into citizens, examining in particular how citizenship is mediated in relation to religion, sexuality, migration, disability, marriage, pregnancy, old age, and death.

GNSE 24802 Foucault and the Christians: On Ethics, Desire, and The History of Sexuality
Instructor:
Maureen Kelly
In this course, we will examine the importance of early Christianity in Foucault’s History of Sexuality project, with attention to the grounds on which he contrasts sexual ethics in Greco-Roman Antiquity and early Christianity. The course will proceed through close readings of passages of Foucault’s late work, in conversation with his interlocutors, and key texts by Plato, Seneca, Marcus Aurelius, Tertullian, Cassian, and Augustine. Over the course of the readings, we will understand the question Foucault poses on sexual ethics in Antiquity, the nature of the shift in early Christianity, and the stakes of these distinctions for the genealogy of the modern subject. In our philosophical and historical investigation, we will address themes of body, sexuality, and desire; history, tradition, and religion; and the relationship between politics, ethics, and truth.

GNSE 25020 Opera Across Media
Instructor:
Martha Feldman
“Opera is a type of theater in which most or all of the characters sing most or all of the time,” write Carolyn Abbate and Roger Parker in their recent history of opera. Opera, they note, is also (usually) outlandishly expensive as well as widely beloved, even fetishized. But there is something else opera is: an object of radical cultural translation, imported from different literary genres (novels, plays, fairy tales, myths, epics, other operas), exported to different languages and lands (France, Italy, China, Germany, Spain, Russia, South Korea, Argentina, South Africa, etc.), and exchanged between different races, classes, and ethnicities. It has been a changing index and modulator of gender, expressed in different genres, from Singspiel to opera buffa, opera seria to intermezzo, opera to operetta or farce, Peking opera to kunqu, opéra comique to Broadway musical, all with their own venues. Especially since the turn of the twentieth century, operas have also been newly reproduced, broadcast, digitized, and otherwise remediated through ever-evolving technological means.
What does the assemblage of cultural markers that have long characterized opera production and consumption have to do with the new affordances given opera in the era of film, digital HD live streaming, radio broadcasts, cinecasts, podcasts, Facebook streams, and so on, as well as experimental “mediatized” stagings? Where do these stand amid the extremes of extravagant performance supposedly inherent to opera and the “realism” supposedly intrinsic to recording and moving pictures (a dichotomy that quickly breaks down under scrutiny)? This course addresses those questions “across media,” engaging their rich possibilities for remaking and transformation. No prior background in music performance, music theory, opera, or music notation is needed to succeed in this course. Students may write final papers based on their own skills and interests, as relevant to the conjuncture of opera and media. All materials will be made available in English translation. The course is open to all College students.

GNSE 25222 Feminist Perspectives in Science
Instructor:
Parysa Mostajir
Feminist perspectives on science come from anthropology, sociology, history, and philosophy. What they have in common is a determination to uproot the deepest and least visible forms of oppression in our society: those pertaining to facts and methods we unquestioningly take to be true, known, and valid. We will first acquaint ourselves with the value-free ideal of science as an objective, rational process of discovery, and the ways this ideal has been wielded as an instrument of domination. We will spend the rest of the quarter challenging this dogma by (1) historically demonstrating science’s symbiotic alliances with political ideologies of gender and race, (2) ethnographically examining structural and interactive practicalities of knowledge-construction and -circulation that reproduce social oppression, and (3) epistemologically deconstructing the very notions of objectivity and rationality that are used to insulate science from feminist critique. Works include but are not limited to authors Londa Schiebinger, Evelynn Hammonds, Emily Martin, Sharon Traweek, Susan Leigh Star, Joan Fijimura, Helen Longino, Heather Douglas, Donna Haraway, Elizabeth Anderson, Sandra Harding, and Susan Haack.

GNSE 25506 Grandes voix féminines des Lettres africaines
Instructor:
Khalid Lyamlahy
Ce cours s’intéresse aux œuvres des écrivaines francophones majeures de l’Afrique sub-saharienne dont Mariama Bâ, Aminata Sow Fall, Fatou Diome, Léonora Miano, Scholastique Mukasonga, et Véronique Tadjo. Il s’agit d’étudier les thématiques abordées par ces auteures et les techniques qu’elles utilisent non seulement pour représenter et repenser la condition de la femme africaine mais aussi pour contribuer activement aux débats socioculturels et politiques qui résonnent à travers le continent et sa diaspora. Dans ce cours, on analysera les questions d’engagement, de résistance et d’émancipation telles que mises en scène par des voix féminines africaines qui luttent contre les préjugés et opposent aux stéréotypes la diversité et le dynamisme de leurs créations. Taught in French.

GNSE 26104 Ecstasy
Instructor:
Kris Trujillo
The concept of ecstasy is often associated with an extraordinary experience of the philosophical, sexual, and religious varieties, but in what way is ecstasy also bound to rituals of the ordinary? In this course we will explore numerous ways that ecstasy and synonymous terms like “orgasm,” “bliss,” and “jouissance” have been conceptualized in philosophical, theological, and literary texts from late antiquity to the present. What does the figural relationship between ecstasy and orgasm suggest about the broader relationship between philosophy, theology, sexuality, and desire? What role do pleasure and pain play in philosophical and theological reflection? How has ecstasy been deployed both as a form of political resistance and as complicit in the perpetuation of histories of violence? Focusing on the Christian tradition and its impact on queer theory, our readings may include, but are not limited to, texts by Plotinus, Pseudo-Dionysius, Margaret Ebner, Hadewijch, Margery Kempe, Teresa of Ávila, Lacan, Glück, Edelman, and Muñoz.

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

GNSE 27545 Miscegenation, Family, and the State: A Global History of Racial Hybridity
Instructor:
Carl Kubler
For as long as race has been a concept for categorizing peoples around the world, states have grappled with the problem of racial hybridity. This course examines the history of this "problem" in a global context. Why have interracial relations and identities been such sensitive issues across so many historical time periods and places? Why have states been so invested in policing interracial boundaries? And how have individual people, couples, and families navigated the legal and societal challenges to interracial existence? We will examine these questions with a focus on four thematic topics: sex and intimacy, marriage, children, and citizenship and national belonging. Drawing on historical case studies from the colonial Caribbean, Latin America, India, China, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the United States, students will come to situate the history of racial hybridity in a new critical perspective as they reflect on both parallel and intersecting social constructions of race and ethnicity around the world.

GNSE 27549 American Hustle: Conning, Scamming, and Hoaxing in America
Instructor:
Shirl Yang
What can be learned about social ties—how they are defined, enforced, and sustained—from the people and institutions that take advantage of them? This course traces a fascination with cheats and cheating that pervades 20th and 21st-century American culture. Tracking several genres of fraudulent activity—the con, the scam, and the hoax—through a series of novels and films, we’ll analyze the narrative forms that emerge, incorporating criticism on revenge narratives, comedy, and historical fiction. In turn, our cultural analysis raises broader questions about shifting notions of social trust: what is trust under capitalism, when relations between buyer and seller, employer and employee, state and citizen are conditioned not only by transaction and contract, but also by negotiations of race, gender, and sexuality central to them? We’ll discuss the politics of suspicion—both the privilege of assumed trustworthiness that allows some to cheat, as well as the presumption of guilt that precludes other subjects from moving in the same way. We’ll address uneven distribution of susceptibility across racial and socioeconomic positions, and the nonsensicality of “individual responsibility” when financial and governmental institutions are doing the swindling. Finally, we’ll ask whether gaming the system might offer a critique from within. Texts include novels such as Passing, Fixer Chao, and The Talented Mr. Ripley, films such as The Lady Eve, The Matrix, and Ocean’s 11, and critical texts.

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

GNSE 28498 Women, Development and Politics
Instructors:
Maria Bautista and 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 28600 Pasolini
Instructor:
Armando Maggi
This course examines each aspect of Pasolini's artistic production according to the most recent literary and cultural theories, including gender studies. We shall analyze his poetry (in particular "Le Ceneri di Gramsci" and "Poesie informa di rosa"), some of his novels ("Ragazzi di vita," "Una vita violenta," "Teorema," "Petrolio"), and his numerous essays on the relationship between standard Italian and dialects, semiotics and cinema, and the role of intellectuals in contemporary Western culture. We shall also discuss the following films: "Accattone," "La ricotta," "Edipo Re," "Teorema," and "Salo." Taught in English.

GNSE 29000 The American Culture Wars
Instructor:
Will Schultz
Should we rename institutions named for people who advocated--or accepted--white supremacy? Should the religious views of judges be subject to public scrutiny? Should religious institutions be exempt from certain public health regulations? These questions are only the latest battlefields in the “culture wars,” the long-running conversation—or, more often, shouting match—about what the United States ought to stand for and how Americans ought to live. This course will explore how Americans have wrestled with questions of morality and national identity since the country’s founding. It will put contemporary struggles in context by examining past cultural conflicts. Potential topics include: the establishment and disestablishment of religion in the early United States; debates over how many and what kind of immigrants to allow into the country; conflicts over the regulation of sexuality; and campaigns to control or prohibit dangerous substances, especially alcohol.

 

WINTER 2022

GNSE 12102 Defining the Feminist Fourth Wave
Instructor:
Lara Janson
Intersectionality, Breaking the Binary, Hashtag Feminism, TERFs, SWERFs, Whimpsters, Woke Misogynists, Commodity Feminists, & Femocracies, Oh My! If contemporary feminism is characterized by its diversity of purpose, then what defines the current, so-called “fourth wave” of feminism? Students in this course will explore precisely that question and – in keeping with one characteristic of contemporary feminists, namely their resurged interest in learning about past feminist efforts – will examine the history of feminist movements in the US. As an intellectual community, we will work together to consider and analyze contemporary writings about fourth wave feminist movements and build our own timeline and analytical and conceptual terminology for studying defining features of “the fourth wave.”
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors

GNSE 12108 Feminist Perspectives in Social Studies of Science and Technology
Instructor:
Sophie Reichert
This seminar is an introduction to foundational theories, methods and case studies in science and technology studies (STS), with a focus on feminist contributions to the field. Over the last five decades, the interdisciplinary domain of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has shown how scientific practice is a process of making the world rather than one of discovering and describing the world. Feminist STS scholars in particular have pointed out the normative dimensions in the construction of scientific objectivity, for example the euro-centric bias of Western science and the marginalization of BIPOC, women* and LGBTQ in science and technology. In the first half of the seminar, we will review debates and interventions in feminist STS. Understanding feminist critique as an intersectional endeavor, we will consider the importance of the entanglement of gender, race, (dis)ability and class for critical studies of science. Showing that scientific facts are cultural and historical products does not make them less powerful agents in the world and thus, the way forward does not lie in deconstruction alone (Haraway 1991). In the second half of the seminar, we will therefore review how feminist intersectional STS scholars propose to engage science and scientist’s work productively in order to take responsibility for the social relations of science and technology. Lastly, we will consider how to research issues in STS from a feminist, intersectional perspective in practice.
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors

GNSE 12109 Gender, Health and Medicine
Instructor:
Rebecca Ewert
In this course, we will examine the way gender organizes health and medicine, as well as how the medical system and health practices create and organize gender. Using interdisciplinary research with a focus on sociological studies, we will interrogate the social, institutional, and biological links between gender and health. We will discuss inequalities in between women, men, and trans* individuals from different race, ethnic, and class backgrounds, using sociological research to understand why these inequalities and forms of difference emerge and are sustained. We will explore how modern Western medicine views male and female bodies and defines their health and illnesses accordingly. Students will complete two short research projects over the term in which they use different data sources (interviews and media content) to examine gendered perceptions of health, health behaviors, help-seeking behaviors, and experiences with medical institutions.
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors

GNSE 15003 Gender and Sexuality in World Civilizations - II
Instructor:
various
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. PQ: GNSE 15002 This course meets the General Education Civilization Requirement if taken with GNSE 15002.

GNSE 16730 The Politics of Eating: Food, Storytelling, and Power in America
Instructor:
Michelle Dinh
In the US, what does it mean to love all kinds of food but not the people who come with it? Reading the work of ethnic American writers, our course will consider how food has been used to celebrate a multicultural America while disavowing violent histories and maintaining oppressive structures of power. We will explore a range of literary genres, including fiction, memoir, poetry, and cookbooks, to think about food and its relationship to intersections of power, such as race, gender, sexuality, migration, and citizenship. Demonstrating the importance of art and literature in forming community in an uncertain world, the course will return to the following guiding questions: how is consumption inherently political? How is food a significant site of organizing and community building? And what is the role of storytelling in all of this?  

GNSE 18920 Camp: Notes on a Queer Sensibility
Instructor:
Steven Maye
By the time Susan Sontag’s “Notes on Camp” (1964) had defined its object in the (now notorious) terms of a “failed attempt at seriousness,” the word camp – as a noun, an adjective, and a verb—had enjoyed more than half a century of connotative associations with homosexuality and gender-non-conformity. The history of queer representation in the Anglophone world is intimately tied to the history of camp, as both a dominant style for the representation and encoding of non-normative gender and sexual positions, and a prevailing sensibility through which queer subjects might relate to the world.
This course studies the development of camp aesthetics in key texts works of Anglophone literature, cinema, and mass culture, from Oscar Wilde through RuPaul’s Drag Race. Readings from gay/lesbian, queer, and literary theory will frame our discussion of a range of themes animated by camp aesthetics, including: relationships between gender, sexuality, subjectivity and style; issues of taste; the aesthetics and politics of the outrageous; and the relationship between social abjection and bathos.
Possible texts by authors such as Oscar Wilde, Ronald Firbank, Edith Sitwell, Baroness Elsa Von Freytag-Loringhoven, Joe Orton, Djuna Barnes, and Gore Vidal ; cinematic texts might include films by John Waters, Andy Warhol, Annie Livingston (Paris is Burning); and a range of mass-cultural objects, including anything from Cher and the 2019 Met Gala to RPDR and Lady Gaga.

GNSE 20103 Trans-Bodies in Horror Cinema
Instructor:
Malynne Sternstein
Films presenting trans bodies or “psyches” have historically often othered these as "monstrous," and compelled a sense of the inevitable tragedy of living in sexual fluidity.  To fully contemplate such expressions of horror, tragedy, or pity, the course will screen and discuss films such as Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960), Dressed to Kill (Brian DePalma, 1980), Sleepaway Camp (Robert Hiltzick, 1983), Silence of the Lambs (Jonathan Demme, 1991), The Skin I Live In (Pedro Almodovar, 2011), Predestination (Michael and Peter Spierig, 2014), but also considers films of the trans body made ostensibly more calculable, at least in terms of moral and ethical stability, such as Robocop, the Alien films of Ridley Scott, Ghost in the Shell (Sanders, 2017), and the online choice map game Detroit: Become Human. The course is dedicated foremost to rupturing binary thinking (as a form of nonage), and the critical theory that will ballast our readings includes selections from Haraway, Halberstam, Garber, Benschoff, Reese’s The Fourth Age, Schelde’s Androids, Humanoids, and Other Science Fiction Monsters, and Foucault’s Abnormal.
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors

GNSE 20115 Women, Peace and Security
Instructor:
Maliha Chishti
Description TBD
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors

GNSE 20119 Language, Gender and Sexuality
Instructor:
Tulio Bermúdez
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, abolition of linguistic gender systems, 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 21321 Archival Methods: Slavery and Gender in the Americas
Instructor:
SJ Zhang
This class offers an in-depth introduction to archival research methodologies with a focus on gender and slavery in the Americas. Students will apply their knowledge by working in historical and contemporary archives via two trips to special collections: one to view archival texts from the period and another to find an archival object of the student’s choosing that will provide the topic of their final research paper.

GNSE 22225 Race in African History
Instructor:
Katie Hickerson
This course examines how the category of race has been identified and discussed in African history from the nineteenth century to the contemporary era. The course combines cultural and social history with recent research from the history of science, gender and sexuality studies, and the history of slavery in Islamic Africa to illuminate the debates, actors, and encounters that animate this dynamic field. Students will analyze case studies from across the continent—from Ghana to Sudan to South Africa—while also keeping an eye to transnational debates about difference, diaspora, imperialism, and nationalism. With readings ranging from classics in Pan-African thought to comparative studies of white settler colonialism, this course will highlight the ways in which race has shaped and continues to shape African states and societies. Students will also consider film, literature, music, and fashion, and studies of the built environment.

GNSE 23136 On being Ill: Feminist and Queer Cancer Narratives
Instructor:
Lee Jasperse
Two years after a breast cancer diagnosis, Susan Sontag wrote in Illness and Metaphor: “Cancer is considered to be desexualizaing…It is a rare and still scandalous subject for poetry; and it seems unimaginable to aestheticize the disease.” Still, cancer narratives have become a source of information and inspiration for doctors, patients, and carers alike. In this course, we will examine the genres useful to writing about cancer, and also writing from it, from inside the experience of sickness. We will compare medical attempts to write cancer’s abstract biography alongside feminist/queer accounts that foreground the dysphorias of cancer. We will pay particular attention to the ways writers experiment with the conventional limits of diary (Lorde), essay (Sontag, Sedgwick), memoir (Ensler, Boyer), and novel (Butler) to give meaning and form to shapeless experiences of sickness, treatment, and care. We will focus on the relationship between cancer narratives and feminist, queer, disability, and antiracist politics: Does it matter who writes cancer’s story? Can feminist and queer practices of care point to more endurable, collective ways of being sick? What insights does cancer offer feminist and queer political projects, especially those that center sexuality as a tool for liberation? Students will examine the narrative, intimate, and political possibilities of various cancer genres and forms, critically examining the deep relationship between storytelling and being ill.
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 class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23139 Theorizing the Politics of the Family
Instructor:
Silvia Fedi
What does it mean to speak of “politics” of the family? What is the relationship between family and state? What role has the family, as an institution, played in reproducing systems of oppression such as racism, patriarchy, and heteronormativity? Why have so many political actors and groups focused on rhetoric revolving around the family, using phrases such as “family values” and “sanctity of marriage,” to ground and describe their politics? In short, what does it mean to think of the family as a political question? This course is an introduction and exploration of these questions, tracking the ways in which scholars, writers, and activists have attempted to make sense of family and relations of kin. We will draw from texts from a wide range of fields – including the political philosophy of Simone de Beauvoir and Carol Pateman, literary fiction by Toni Morrison, empirical works such as those of Gayle Rubin and Nancy Burns, and manifestos penned by activist groups like the Radicalesbians – to discuss the multiple debates in which feminists and social scientists have engaged while thinking through the political implications of the family. In doing so, we will begin to theorize, question, and critique the work the family does in our society by thinking of it as a political problem as well as a site for both power and affection. This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23491 Gender and Sexuality in Modern Europe
Instructor:
Michaela Appeltová
This course will introduce students to the key developments in the history of gender and sexuality in Europe from the French Revolution to the present. Topics will include, but are not limited to, the struggle for suffrage and other women’s rights; gender and empire; the impact of WWI and WWII on gender and sexuality; the sexual revolution of the sixties; and gender in communist Eastern Europe. By examining a variety of visual and textual material—political pamphlets, medical literature, personal testimonies, posters, and films—students will explore the constructions of masculinity and femininity and sexual desire in a variety of domains, from political ideologies to everyday life. The course will show how categories of gender and sexuality change over time and not always in a linear fashion.

GNSE 24250 Race, Performance, Performativity
Instructor:
Tina Post
What does it mean to feel raced, and how does performance work with or against such feelings? Why and how does a performance of racial identity come to be perceived as “authentic?” What is at stake in performances that that cross real or imagined racial lines? This upper-level class delves into the topic of performativity as it intersects with race in the American context. Some historical background is studied, but we will mostly explore performativity’s intersection with race in contemporary America. Course assignments are a mix of the theoretical, dramatic, and performative. (In other words, some of our readings theorize performativity while others put theory into play.)  

GNSE 24440 Lyric Intimacies in the Renaissance
Instructor:
Sarah Kunjummen
This course will examine how writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth century used lyric verse as a tool for establishing, imagining or faking intimacy, with potential lovers, employers, friends, and God. We’ll begin by reading Thomas Wyatt’s adaptation of the Petrarchan sonnet to describe his doomed romance with Anne Boleyn, the mistress and later wife of King Henry VIII, and use of Italian satire to articulate a discourse of masculine friendship and citizenship. We’ll read the erotic verse of Phillip Sidney alongside his sister Mary Sidney’s adaptations of the Psalms, and examine the overlap between poems of seduction and poems to male and female patrons in two of the most influential seventeenth-century collections of intimate verse: William Shakespeare’s Sonnets and John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets. The course then turns to the poetry of devotion, taking up Richard Crashaw’s desire for closeness with the overflowing body of Christ, George Herbert’s poetic staging of conversations between himself and God, and Thomas Traherne’s memories of an ecstatic state of infant innocence and oneness with the world. We’ll conclude with works from the English Civil War and monarchical restoration.

GNSE 25030 The Politics of Reproduction
Instructor:
Kelsey Robbins
This course explores the politics of reproduction and reproductive health in the US and globally. We will approach reproductive politics by examining two related phenomena: (1) the everyday events, practices, and experiences related to fertility and family formation (such as conception, contraception, fertility treatment, childbirth, adoption, and abortion), and (2) the regulation of reproductive events by powerful institutions and authorities, including states, biomedicine, religious organizations, corporations, and international development agencies. Through a series of ethnographic case studies, we will look at how reproduction is constrained, coerced, and enabled across cultures and contexts. We will pay particular attention to how inequalities (along lines of race, class, gender, sexuality, disability, nationality, and geographic region) shape and are shaped by ideologies about social reproduction, biological reproduction, sex, and the body. Throughout, we will ask how and why reproductive regulations become key sites for conflicts around the globe about human rights, social justice, moral authority, national identity and state governance.

GNSE 27550 Black Power and Jews, Black Power and Palestine
Instructor:
Chelsie May
The racial justice protests in the United States during summer 2020 as well as calls for anti-racist action inspired by them received an outpouring of support from Arab, Jewish, and Arab Jewish individuals, organizations and institutions. These solidarities have been tested in part due to Israel’s ongoing occupation of Palestine. Arab, Jewish, and Arab Jewish support for anti-racism and solidarity with Black liberation has a rich history, worth exploring on its own terms and in order to understand both the limits and possibilities of solidarity. This course will focus on black internationalism and women of color feminism’s influence on the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, Arab (Jewish and non-Jewish) organizing in the U.S., the Israeli Black Panthers, and Jewish racial solidarities. Understanding Arab, Jewish, and Arab Jewish liberatory organizing is only buttressed through knowledge of how struggles against global whiteness and theories of identity politics influenced Palestinian liberation and Jews who supported it, non-Ashkenazi Jewish discrimination in Israel, and Jewish conceptualizations of power and race. By the end of this course, students will be able to appreciate the gravity of Black- Arab, Jewish, and Arab Jewish solidarity, feel empowered to conduct their own studies into Arab, Jewish, and Arab Jewish anti-racism, and navigate current anti-racist struggles using the examples of the past.

GNSE 27706 Bodies, Feelings, and Unmentionable Wounds: The Enlightenment and the Comic Novel
Instructor:
Tristan Schweiger
The Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries is often conceived as the beginning of European modernity itself. In the before times (the story goes), the world was ruled by tyrant kings, the Church had an ironclad grip on knowledge production, and science remained stuck in the Middle Ages. Then a few brave, wig-wearing thinkers got together and invented democracy, medicine, and the very concept of political rights. This is a reductive narrative that effaces, among other things, the way Enlightenment ideas could serve to further entrench structures of power and oppression. Moreover, it neglects the diverse critiques and counter-discourses that came out of the period – many of which anticipate twenty-first-century debates. Laurence Sterne’s raucous, satiric, and sprawling magnum opus, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-67) is a novel intimately engaged with all of that. Although critics of the 1700s were perplexed by the weirdness of its form (Tristram Shandy is a mock autobiography whose “author” isn’t born until Vol. III), Sterne has been tremendously influential to writers like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, and contemporary readers and critics are drawn to this strange, brilliant, and often “postmodern”-feeling novel for the complexity of how it works its way through discourses of the body, knowledge, race, gender, emotion, and more. In this course, we will read Tristram Shandy alongside many Enlightenment thinkers with whom Sterne is in dialogue. PQ: Third and Fourth Year Students by consent of instructor.

GNSE 27870 Midcentury Modern Fiction: Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Sylvia Townsend Warner
Instructor:
Maud Ellmann
In this course we will study three British (or in Bowen’s case, Anglo-Irish) novelists whose principal works were published between the 1920s and the 1970s. While Woolf is well-known, Bowen and Warner have only begun to receive the recognition they deserve. We will read a selection of their fiction, probably including Woolf’s To the Lighthouse and Between the Acts, Bowen’s The Last September and The Heat of the Day, and Warner’s Lolly Willowes and Summer Will Show. We will also read a selection of these writers’ shorter works, especially Bowen’s and Warner’s extraordinary stories about Britain in World War II. Assignments will consist of collaborative class presentations, regular contributions to the online discussion board, and a final paper.

 

SPRING 2022

GNSE 12111 Welcome to the Good Life: The Black/Queer Edition
Instructor:
Emily Bock
What do we mean when we say, “the good life”? In the United States, the good life has long been synonymous with the idea of the American dream (the white picket fence, secure union job, stable marriage with 2.5 kids). But over the past several years, this romanticized image has increasingly been thrown into crisis with the rise of a destabilized national economy, political infighting, and due to the global pandemic. It seems as though the veil has been lifted and the American Dream has been exposed as a fantasy object, if not a complete impossibility. But for black people, specifically black queer people, who have been historically disenfranchised and thus unable to access the housing, education, and medical resources necessary to make the American dream a reality, this fantasy has always already been understood as such. This class explores how black queer people have imagined, worked toward, and critiqued the idea of the good life. We will analyze music, films, novels, and academic texts to explore how black queer people have simultaneously desired the good life yet remained aware of how gender, sexuality and race have been barriers to it. As we investigate how black queer scholars and artists have shaped and reshaped concepts of the good life, this course explores the multiple ways that fantasy and imagination organize notions of belonging, community and citizenship.
This course counts as a Foundations course for GNSE majors

GNSE 15600 Medieval English Literature
Instructor:
Mark Miller
This course examines the relations among psychology, ethics, and social theory in fourteenth-century English literature. We pay particular attention to three central preoccupations of the period: sex, the human body, and the ambition of ethical perfection. Readings are drawn from Chaucer, Langland, the Gawain-poet, Gower, penitential literature, and saints' lives. There are also some supplementary readings in the social history of late medieval England.

GNSE 16004 Jewish Civilization III – Mothers and Motherhood in Modern Jewish Culture
Instructor:
Jessica Kirzane
From sentimentalized keepers of Jewish tradition to objects of ridicule burdened by stereotypes of overbearing, guilt-inducing behavior, Jewish mothers hold a prominent role in Jewish self-representations. Writing alongside or against these stereotypes, Jewish mothers themselves have struggled with the obligations and expectations of Jewish motherhood. Engaging with a variety of literary, theological, historical, and pop culture texts, this class explores Jewish feminisms in relation to motherhood, Jewish fictions of motherhood, and the role of motherhood in Jewish religious life and thought. This course includes material from a variety of different contexts for modern Jewish life, but places particular emphasis on American Jewish history and culture.

GNSE 19940 Reading Reality TV: How to Research Identity in Contemporary Culture
Instructor
: Brandon Truett
This course examines the cultural politics of reality television with a focus on how these wildly successful shows, often perceived as guilty pleasures, have in fact been responsible for mediating important conversations around issues of race, gender, and sexuality. This course is also a survey of reality tv, conceived simultaneously as an artifact and an archive of pop culture and mainstream politics. We will start with the “first” reality tv show An American Family, which aired in 1971, and examine the emergence of reality tv from genres of documentary and cinéma vérité (such as Andy Warhol’s Chelsea Girls, Grey Gardens, and Candid Camera). We will then analyze the advent of so-called unscripted television of the 1990s and early 2000s with special attention to shows like The Real World, Queer Eye, Laguna Beach: The Real O.C., Judge Judy, and The Apprentice. We will also consider more contemporary shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, RuPaul’s Drag Race, The Real Housewives, and 90 Day Fiancé. Student interest will factor into our selection. Above all, students will develop practical skills of research and methodology. In addition to viewing shows and reading theorists of identity and media, students will craft individual research projects about specific shows throughout the term, culminating in a symposium.

GNSE 19950 Filth as Genre
Instructor:
Beatrice Bradley
Is "filth" a genre? This course examines literary texts from antiquity to today that have been dismissed as smut, pulp, and/or trash in either their contemporary moment or reception, and it asks how we might develop as a class a theory of filth. Syllabus materials will range from Catullus's sparrow poems to Richard Crashaw's excremental poetry to Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre—labeled a "naughty book"—to contemporary objects such as: the romance novel (incl. the works of Melissa Blue, E.l. James, and Beverly Jenkins); film (John Waters' Trash Trilogy, Mark Robson's Valley of the Dolls); and online fanfiction databases. The course also provides an introduction to genre theory: we will explore established literary categories, with attention to intertextuality and periodization, and consider the construction of genre more broadly.

GNSE 20106 Capitalism, Gender and Intimate Life
Instructor:
Gabriel Winant
What is the relationship between the capitalist economy and the gendered organization of society and identity of individuals? Are these two systems, or one? This class pursues these questions, seeking to understand capitalism as an everyday and intimate experience. How have markets and production shaped and been shaped by personal identity and, in particular, gendered identity? We examine the historical interrelationships among practices of sexuality, marriage, family, reproduction, labor, and consumption—and trace the economic dimensions of masculinity and femininity over time, focusing largely but not exclusively on US history.

GNSE 20109 Gender and Policy
Instructor:
Yana Gallen
This course seeks to familiarize undergraduate students with historic and current policy in the US and in other developed countries concerning various aspects of women's lives at work and in the home. We will begin by discussing the reasons for the rise in female labor force participation between the 50s and the 80s. We will discuss the role of male deployment in WWII, the role of technological change in both fertility planning and in the invention of household appliances, and the role of changes in the demand for skilled labor. With this backdrop in mind, we will discuss the historic development of maternity leave policies in many European countries and evaluate the impact of these developments on female labor force participation. We will then turn to understanding the relative stagnation in female advancement in the past twenty-five years. The focus of this portion of the course will be to summarize recent trends in female labor force participation. This class counts as a Concepts 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 been taken up as an object of analysis within feminist thought; and to examine how this analysis has informed feminist theories of domination, freedom, rights, and justice. We will pursue these twin objectives by studying a wide range of texts in the history of feminist thought. Readings may include works by Anna Julia Cooper, Eleanor Rathbone, Simone de Beauvoir, Angela Davis, Nancy Fraser, and Chandra Talpade Mohanty.
This course counts as a Problems course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 20120 Introduction to Population
Instructor:
Linda Waite
This course provides an introduction to the field of demography, which examines the growth and characteristics of human populations. It also provides an overview of our knowledge of three fundamental population processes: fertility, mortality, and migration. We cover marriage, cohabitation, marital disruption, aging, and population and environment. In each case we examine historical trends. We also discuss causes and consequences of recent trends in population growth, and the current demographic situation in developing and developed countries.

GNSE 20242 States, Markets and 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 22404 Introduction to Critical Race Theory/Black Studies
Instructor:
Emily Bock
This course acquaints students to key theoretical and ethnographic texts on race with a particular focus on blackness as an important site for asking questions about nationalism, gender and sexuality, citizenship, belonging, and sovereignty around the world. Instead of being a chronological history of how “race” as a category emerges around the African Diaspora, the course will be organized around a series of questions and concepts essential to the study of migration, slavery, and struggles for emancipation so that we might to reframe our teleological investments in narratives of progress. We will begin the course by tracing the epistemological (concept) and phenomenological (experience) foundations of blackness in order to establish a common language from which to discuss future concepts and histories. Through the readings, our goal is to explore the various technologies, strategies, and discourses that have built particular systems of power and those which have sought to disrupt those same systems. Assigned readings will be paired with poetry, visual and performance art, films, and music so that the rarified questions of the texts might be posed anew with reference to more familiar media.

GNSE 23119 Transnational Queer Politics and Practices
Instructor:
Cate Fuggazola
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 23132 Activist Survival Kits: Feminism, Race, and the Politics of Movement Health 
Instructor:
Allison Reed
What makes activism sustainable and accessible? Not just ideologically or politically, but physically, emotionally, and some would ask, spiritually? How do actors in progressive social justice movements enact care for movement survival? Conversely, when might care serve to depoliticize or otherwise undermine political action? Including the contested topics of burnout and self-care, questions of movement survival and activist sustainability touch on Marxist, Black, and Disabled feminisms, queer theory, the sociology of health and illness, critical theory, and other theoretical lineages. This course takes as its starting points Sarah Ahmed’s concept of feminist “killjoy survival kits,” Black feminist epistemology, adrienne marie brown’s Pleasure Activism, and the sociology of lay health experiences. Ultimately, this course will analyze, theorize, and critique care in activism and social movements. At the same time, it will create space to discern what our own visions of sustainable, politically committed wellbeing look like.
This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23133 Queering Visual Culture in Modern India
Instructor:
Jenisha Borah
This course will examine the process of queering visual cultures in modern India, whereby it interrogates how popular visual cultures (primarily film and advertisements) have upheld normative regimes of gender/sexuality as well as how they have subverted, and ‘queered’ these regimes. It also asks how expressions of gender and sexuality have been shaped by the contingent and contentious politics of postcolonial India. This course will map three kinds of gender/sexuality visualities in Indian popular culture—ideal woman/femininity, men and masculinities, and queer identity and sexuality. We will pay particular attention to the ways in which films intervene in and shape histories of gendered representation, notably with regard to the figure of the courtesan or ‘tawa’if’ as mediated through blockbuster films. Similarly, we will look at how specific political and social moments construct particular gendered or sexualized representations. These include: the figure of the “mother” during India’s nation-building years (1950s); the trope of the “angry young man” set against the country’s emergency-era politics and massive unemployment (1970s); and the sexualized male hero, as expressed by the superstar Shah Rukh Khan in his films and adverts (2000s). For the final part of the course, we will consider queer visualities, and explore how gay and trans characters and identities have been represented in a more contemporary sense.
This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23135 Love, Desire, and Sexuality in Islamic Texts and Contexts
Instructor:
Allison Kanner-Botan
This class examines key texts in Islamic societies that together comprise a set of cultural narratives through which ideas about love, desire, and sexuality circulated. Throughout the course, we will engage with these broad themes by exploring the subjects of erotic and familial love; gender, sexuality, and the body; Orientalism and the politics of reading desire cross-culturally; and the enduring tensions between the particular and the universal in discourses of and about love, the passions and their vicissitudes in the histories of religion. Islam provides the historical framework through which we can assess shared and differentiated ideas about this important human phenomenon, from the Hellenism of late antiquity to contemporary media of South Asia. We will encounter various ways of understanding love in primary sources that range from the Qur’ān and pre-Islamic poetry; to mystics and philosophers such as Ibn al-‘Arabī and Ibn Sīnā (Avicenna); to the narratives of Rūmī’s Masnāvī and Niẓāmī’s Laylī o Majnūn; to the popular tales of the A Thousand and One Nights and the framing of Islamic cultural narratives in Bollywood cinema and American popular culture.
This course draws on the perspectives of Religious Studies, Medieval Studies, Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Comparative Literature, and students will have the opportunity over the course of the class to develop a project that relates our content to their own interests.
This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 23134 Encountering AIDS: Queer Representations, Loss and Memory
Instructor:
Sarah McDaniel
This course asks us to approach the representation and history of the HIV/AIDS pandemic through the lens of encounter. We will engage with a wide array of queer aesthetic, activist, and documentary artifacts produced in the 1980s and 1990s, attending to the multitudinous ways in which they respond to this ongoing emergency, and complicating received accounts of AIDS as a threat of the past. We will ask: What kinds of projects – artistic, educational, documentary, activist – do works and objects from the “archive of AIDS” envision? How do these objects challenge dominant popular cultural depictions of helpless “AIDS victims” and irresponsibly “promiscuous” gay men?
What encounters did queer writers, artists, activists, journalists, archivists, academics, policy-makers seek to enact in their specific contemporary circumstances, and what encounters do their works invite and demand in our own present? In addressing these questions, we will contend with the traumatic loss of life within queer communities in the first decades of the pandemic, the rupture of intergenerational queer community, and the elision of these losses in the so-called “post-AIDS era” of the 21st century.
This class counts as a Concepts course for GNSE majors.

GNSE 25121 Intimacy and Desire in German Cinema
Instructor:
Emily Dreyfus
This seminar explores representations of intimacy, sensuality and private life through the lens of German-language cinema from the Weimar period to New German Cinema of the 1960s. Departing from Richard Wagner’s revolutionary darkening of the auditorium in the late 19th century, this course considers the emergence of cinema as a social institution and site of desire, fantasy and fulfilment in the broader German cultural context. Close readings of canonic films including Der blaue Engel, Die Büchse der Pandora, La Habanera and Die Ehe der Maria Braun will be guided by literary and theoretical texts on the formation of the film viewer as a sensuous subject. We will integrate journalistic writings on sexuality, degeneracy and bourgeois morality in the public sphere and the historical phenomenon of modern stardom associated with the careers of Marlene Dietrich, Louise Brooks and Zarah Leander. Films by Joseph von Sternberg, G. W. Pabst, Douglas Sirk, Helmut Käutner and Rainer Werner Fassbinder are accompanied by texts by Irmgard Keun, Lotte H. Eisner, Siegfried Kracauer, Thomas Elsaesser and Erica Carter. Class will be conducted in German and structured around advanced language acquisition.

GNSE 25406: Race, Gender, and the Production of Knowledge
Instructor:
Emily Dupree
To what extent does “what we know” have to do with who we are? This advanced undergraduate seminar explores the field of “social epistemology” with a special emphasis on gender and race. We will examine classical models of knowledge in contrast to contemporary models of epistemic interdependence, focusing on how the production of knowledge is impacted by group social structures and what social practices must be in place to ensure that voices of the marginalized are heard and believed. Looking at examples from literature and our ordinary lives, we will investigate how race and gender intersect with these issues, especially on the topics of testimony, White ignorance, and epistemic injustice. Finally we will explore the possibility of an ethical epistemic future, asking how we can redress wrongdoing and construct communities of epistemic resistance and epistemic justice. PQ: Third-year and above philosophy or fundamentals majors, or by consent of instructor.

GNSE 26822 Women and Food in Latin America
Instructor:
Daniela Gutierrez Flores
Taking on a transatlantic and trans-historic approach to understanding the role and representation of women in connection to food, this course will explore a diverse array of cultural artifacts ranging from 1583 to contemporary times. We will read authors such as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Spanish chronicles about the food cultures of the Mexica people, alongside cookbooks, and representations of women and food in Baroque, Colonial Latin American, and Latinx art. We will put premodern and modern sources in dialogue in order to flesh out the long-standing ideas and representations of women’s relation to food. Some of the questions we will explore are: How have notions of race shaped the experience of Latin American women in the kitchen? What modes of knowledge transmission has food enabled for women? How have Mexican and Latinx women re-appropriated the figure of a 17th-century poet as a culinary icon? How have poets re-imagined the religious meanings of food? Our focus will be on how notions of motherhood, femininity, and sexuality are expressed and constituted in practices and cultural beliefs about food. We will also explore how women have reimagined the space of the kitchen and challenged conventions such as domesticity, breastfeeding, health, and appetite. Today, gender inequality in the domestic space and the food industry is still very much a reality. For that reason, this class also aims to reflect upon women’s contemporary issues in relation to eating and cooking.

GNSE 27551 The Emotional Life of Work
Instructor:
Shirl Yang
Work is everywhere in cultural texts, but can be taken for granted as mere background, setting, or premise rather than an object of analysis in its own right. Analyzing work and its many representations means attending to how it structures experiences of time, space, and other people; it also means tracking how these conventions are shifting. The changing nature of work now poses new problems even as it raises old questions: What counts as work? What should our relation to it be? Should the objective be to ensure universal security in work or to abolish it altogether? This course explores the cultures of work by focusing in particular on its affective dimensions. What happens when emotional states themselves become a means for profit generation? How do the effects of a long workday, or an insecure one, register in the sensorium? What does it feel like to have one’s labor not count? Most importantly, what happens to understandings of labor when we consider that processes of extracting it are not uniform or universal, but inextricable from structures of race and gender? Guided by Marxist-feminists such as Angela Davis, Hazel Carby, Silvia Federici, and Nancy Fraser, sociologists such as Max Weber and Arlie Hochschild, and theorists like Saidiya Hartman, Shulamith Firestone and Wendy Brown, we track the myriad ways in which feelings on the job—exhaustion, anxiety, but also playfulness, relief—can be conceptualized. Readings for this course will primarily be theoretical texts.

GNSE 27714 Reproductive 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 27721 Relating Race and Religion: Critical Concepts of Blackness and Jewishness
Instructor:
Kirsten Collins
This course examines Blackness and Jewishness in order to untangle the intersections of race and religion as they are represented in political polemic, fiction, memoir and philosophy in France and the United States from the 1960s to the present. Founded on ideals of universalism, pluralism and secularism, France and the United States are fraught with contradictions when it comes to race and religion. You will critique these founding ideals in order to expose their contradictions, and in the process seek new ways to articulate how religion and race, along with intersecting categories such as gender and sexuality, can become tools of political resistance. Readings include works by thinkers such as Césaire, Fanon, Memmi, Levinas and Foucault, along with literary classics by Nella Larsen and Sarah Kofman, and contemporary critical essays by Judith Butler, Christina Sharpe and Talal Asad. Throughout this course, you will examine how the concepts of race and religion are key components of the political, philosophical and ethical projects of these authors, and develop historical and conceptual perspective on the origins and current forms of debates that trouble the boundaries between personal and political.

GNSE 29050 Religion, Race, and Gender in the (Un)Making of American Mass Incarceration
Instructor:
Emily Crews
The United States has the largest population of incarcerated people in the world; it imprisons a greater percentage of its citizens than any other country. Scholars, activists, and lawmakers have offered a number of explanations for the situation of mass incarceration, from theories about the war on drugs, the prison industrial complex, and “the new Jim Crow.” What the majority of these theories have in common is the significance given to race and gender in the long process of criminalization and incarceration. What most of them fail to take into account is the significance of religion, which has since the nation’s origins played an important role in shaping that process, and the growing resistance to it amongst activists, scholars, and currently and formerly incarcerated people themselves. This course will help us to interrogate the prevailing theories about mass incarceration by exploring the importance of not just race and gender, but also religion. Together we will trace the ways in which these factors are intertwined with the billion-dollar correctional industry in the United States, beginning with the Christian and racist origins of the American legal system and the underlying assumptions about our central categories in criminology and policing protocols. We will then proceed through sentencing, the experience of incarceration, and post-release rehabilitation and parole. Along the way we will consider, inter alia, the criminalization of blackness; the school to prison pipeline; discourses on mercy and penitence in judge and jury decisions; how prison policies on acceptable religious officiants and types of “scripture” produce local definitions of religion; the gendered divisions of prison labor; the gendering and sexualizing of inmates’ bodies; the role of faith-based prisons and prison ministries in rehabilitation programs and narratives; and the religious nature of radical Black feminist abolition activism. We will ultimately discover that mass incarceration has indelibly shaped and been shaped by the ways that gender, race, and religion are defined, performed, and contested in the United States.

GNSE 29105 Gendering Slavery
Instructor:
Mary Hicks
This reading seminar will introduce students to the key questions, methods, and theories of the burgeoning field of gendered histories of slavery. Global in scope, but with a focus on the early modern Atlantic world, we will explore a range of primary and secondary texts from various slave societies. Assigned monographs will cover a multitude of topics including women and law, sexualities, kinship and reproduction, and the intersection of race, labor, and market economies. In addition to examining historical narratives, students will discuss the ethical and methodological implications of reading and writing histories of violence, erasure, and domination. Learning to work within and against the limits imposed by hegemonic forms of representation, the fragmentary nature of the archive, and the afterlives of slavery, this course will examine how masculinity and femininity remade and were remade by bondage.

 

Graduate Course Descriptions

AUTUMN 2021

GNSE 30901 Biopsychology of Sex Differences
Instructor:
Jill Mateo
This course will explore the biological basis of mammalian sex differences and reproductive behaviors. We will consider a variety of species, including humans. We will address the physiological, hormonal, ecological and social basis of sex differences. To get the most from this course, students should have some background in biology, preferably from taking an introductory course in biology or biological psychology.

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 32509 Intersections of Gender and Race throughout the 20th Century Middle East
Instructor:
Chelsie May
This course will explore how parts of the modern Middle East confronted questions and definitions of race and gender that were often first defined in the west.
Organized thematically and covering a region that spans from North Africa to Iran, we will use the analytics of race and gender in an intersecting way to explore topics in the Middle East such as: colonialism, slavery, Arab Nationalism, Zionism, whiteness, racism, eugenics and scientific racism, and global solidarity movements. In so doing, our course will reveal that race is an operative category in the study of Middle East history, the historical racial logics operating in various Middle Eastern countries, and how race and gender intersect at the site of individual as well as the effects of this.
This course is designed for anyone interested in race theory, gender theory, intersectionality, and Middle East history. By the end of this course, students will have the tools to think in a gendered and raced multidimensional way about aspects of Middle East history that do not often receive such an intersectional treatment. Additionally, they will develop the methodological tools to discern local race and gender logics that might be different than what they’re most familiar with. Finally, through coming to understand their relationship to the knowledge of our course, students will also be able to use the course as a springboard for continued learning in other courses that treat race, gender, and the Middle East. 

GNSE 32823 Global Horrors: Film, Literature, Theory
Instructor:
Hoda El Shakry
This course explores literary and cinematic works of horror from around the world. Subgenres of horror include gothic/uncanny, sci-fi horror, post-apocalyptic, paranormal, monsters, psychological horror, thrillers, killer/slasher, and gore/body-horror, among others. As a mode of speculative fiction, horror envisions possible or imagined worlds that center on curiosities, dreads, fears, terrors, phobias, and paranoias that simultaneously repel and attract. Works of horror are most commonly concerned with anxieties about death, the unknown, the other, and our selves. Horror frequently explores the boundaries of what it means to be human by dwelling on societal, cultural, and political imaginaries of the non-human and Other. The genre often exploits the markers of difference that preoccupy our psychic, libidinal, and social lifeworlds—such as race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality, but also the fundamental otherness that is other peoples’ minds and bodies. Horror subsequently dwells within the uncomfortable corners of our collective unconscious where the line blurs between that which we fear and that which we desire. Works of literature, film, and art will be paired with theoretical readings that contextualize the genre’s history, as well as its aesthetic, formal, and thematic tropes. We will also interrogate the critical implications and possibilities of horror in relationship to affect theory, biopolitics, gender studies, queer theory, critical race studies, postcolonial criticism, Afropessimism and black ontology. Content warning: Course materials will feature graphic, violent, and oftentimes disturbing images and subjects. Enrolled students will be expected to watch, read, and discuss all course materials.

GNSE 34520 Postcolonial Openings: World Literature after 1955
Instructor:
Darrel Chia
In this course, you will become familiar with the perspectives, debates, and attitudes that characterize postcolonial theory, literature, and cinema. We examine a range of interdisciplinary scholarship that engages us in conversations around publics, climate change, gender, complicity/compromise and human rights. By so doing, we register the impulses that animate the field, and sketch its possible futures. A specific focus will be on how postcolonial and queer theory speak to each other. Alongside this, we analyze novels and poetry in English from the latter half of the twentieth century that bear on transnationalism, migration, multiculturalism, anti-colonialism, and globalization. What are the claims made on behalf of literary texts in orienting us to other lives and possibilities, and in registering experiences of displacement in this milieu? We consider works by Arun Kolatkar, Claudia Rankine, Hanif Kureishi, Deepa Mehta, J.M. Coetzee, Jean Rhys, Richard Powers, and Amitav Ghosh.

GNSE 35506 Grandes voix féminines des Lettres africaines
Instructor:
Khalid Lyamlahy
Ce cours s’intéresse aux œuvres des écrivaines francophones majeures de l’Afrique sub-saharienne dont Mariama Bâ, Aminata Sow Fall, Fatou Diome, Léonora Miano, Scholastique Mukasonga, et Véronique Tadjo. Il s’agit d’étudier les thématiques abordées par ces auteures et les techniques qu’elles utilisent non seulement pour représenter et repenser la condition de la femme africaine mais aussi pour contribuer activement aux débats socioculturels et politiques qui résonnent à travers le continent et sa diaspora. Dans ce cours, on analysera les questions d’engagement, de résistance et d’émancipation telles que mises en scène par des voix féminines africaines qui luttent contre les préjugés et opposent aux stéréotypes la diversité et le dynamisme de leurs créations. Taught in French. 

GNSE 36104 Ecstasy 
Instructor:
Kris Trujillo
The concept of ecstasy is often associated with an extraordinary experience of the philosophical, sexual, and religious varieties, but in what way is ecstasy also bound to rituals of the ordinary? In this course we will explore numerous ways that ecstasy and synonymous terms like “orgasm,” “bliss,” and “jouissance” have been conceptualized in philosophical, theological, and literary texts from late antiquity to the present. What does the figural relationship between ecstasy and orgasm suggest about the broader relationship between philosophy, theology, sexuality, and desire? What role do pleasure and pain play in philosophical and theological reflection? How has ecstasy been deployed both as a form of political resistance and as complicit in the perpetuation of histories of violence? Focusing on the Christian tradition and its impact on queer theory, our readings may include, but are not limited to, texts by Plotinus, Pseudo-Dionysius, Margaret Ebner, Hadewijch, Margery Kempe, Teresa of Ávila, Lacan, Glück, Edelman, and Muñoz.

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

GNSE 38600 Pasolini
Instructor:
Armando Maggi
This course examines each aspect of Pasolini's artistic production according to the most recent literary and cultural theories, including Gender Studies. We shall analyze his poetry (in particular "Le Ceneri di Gramsci" and "Poesie informa di rosa"), some of his novels ("Ragazzi di vita," "Una vita violenta," "Teorema," "Petrolio"), and his numerous essays on the relationship between standard Italian and dialects, semiotics and cinema, and the role of intellectuals in contemporary Western culture. We shall also discuss the following films: "Accattone," "La ricotta," "Edipo Re," "Teorema," and "Salo".

GNSE 41303 Gender, Capital, and Desire: Jane Austen and Critical Interpretation
Instructor:
Tristan Schweiger
Today, Jane Austen is one of the most famous (perhaps the most famous), most widely read, and most beloved of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British novelists. In the two hundred years since her authorial career, her novels have spawned countless imitations, homages, parodies, films, and miniseries – not to mention a thriving “Janeite” fan culture. For just as long, her novels have been the objects of sustained attention by literary critics, theorists, and historians. This course will offer an in-depth examination of Austen, her literary corpus, and her cultural reception as well as a graduate-level introduction to several important schools of critical and theoretical methodology. We will read all six of Austen’s completed novels in addition to criticism spanning feminism, historicism, Marxism, queer studies, postcolonialism, and psychoanalysis. Readings may include Shoshana Felman, Frances Ferguson, William Galperin, Deidre Lynch, D.A. Miller, Edward Said, Eve Sedgwick, and Raymond Williams.

GNSE 43421 Race, Gender and Genre in Music
Instructor:
Jennifer Iverson
Musical genres, like experiences of race and gender in culture, are constantly formed and reformed. This class studies how race, gender, and genre inform each other in reciprocal ways in music; that is, how perceptions of race and gender contribute to the tightening (and loosening) of musical genre categories, and how the characteristics of apparently settled genres inform ideas of what race and gender identities are and can be. How do we know what we think we know about these categories and identities? We will delve into critical race and gender theory to historicize and strengthen our understanding of the constructedness of racial and gendered perceptions. We will then explore genre from both musicological and sociological perspectives, asking how sounds, subcultures, marketing schemes, stereotypes, and more work together to produce the impression of categories. We will turn to four broad musical case studies—hip hop, rock and R&B, mainstream vs. subcultural scenes, and jazz—to interrogate how knowledge production flows between race, gender, and genre. This class exposes music as a site of ongoing, multifaceted social knowledge production.

GNSE 47400 Women, Development and Politics
Instructors:
Maria Bautista and 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.

 

WINTER 2022

GNSE 30119 Language, Gender and Sexuality
Instructor:
Tulio Bermúdez
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, abolition of linguistic gender systems, 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.

GNSE 34770 Digital Media Aesthetics: Interaction, Connection, and Improvisation
Instructor:
Patrick Jagoda
This course investigates the ways that digital and networked media have changed contemporary aesthetics, forms, storytelling practices, and cultures. Along the way, we will analyze electronic literature, Twine games, interactive dramas, video games, transmedia narratives, and more. Formally, we will explore concepts such as multilinear narrative, immersive and navigable worlds, network aesthetics, interactive difficulty, aleatory poetics, and videogame mechanics. Throughout the quarter, our analysis of computational media aesthetics will be haunted by matters of race, gender, sexuality, class, and other ghosts in the machine. Students need not be technologically gifted or savvy, but a wide-ranging imagination and interest in new media cultures will make for a more exciting quarter.

GNSE 37870 Midcentury Modern Fiction: Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bowen, Sylvia Townsend Warner
Instructor:
Maud Ellmann
In this course we will study three British (or in Bowen’s case, Anglo-Irish) novelists whose principal works were published between the 1920s and the 1970s. While Woolf is well-known, Bowen and Warner have only begun to receive the recognition they deserve. We will read a selection of their fiction, probably including Woolf’s To the Lighthouse and Between the Acts, Bowen’s The Last September and The Heat of the Day, and Warner’s Lolly Willowes and Summer Will Show. We will also read a selection of these writers’ shorter works, especially Bowen’s and Warner’s extraordinary stories about Britain in World War II. Assignments will consist of collaborative class presentations, regular contributions to the online discussion board, and a final paper.

GNSE 44021 Spectrality and Music History
Instructor:
Martha Feldman
The uncanny, the ghostly, the spectral, the dead: terms like these, often housed under the umbrella of “spectrality,” have lately haunted the borders of music history. This is especially true where its disciplinary objects—sounding music, listeners, histories, technologies--cannot easily be defined but also cannot be reduced away. They have forced music studies toward a reckoning with its past certainties, challenging its canons but also furnishing new modes of analysis and criticism for refractory sites of research. Most particularly, spectrality has emerged prominently in considerations of race and gender. This seminar will read recent literature, musicological and non, to ask how spectrality as a conceptual paradigm mediates anxious musical relationships to race, gender, and sexuality by focusing on death and mortality, including music’s own vanished pasts. Our inquiries will engage the sonic analogues to visibility / invisibility and presence / absence paradoxes conjured by death and haunting in the forms of inaudibility / audibility and silence / noise, especially as they pertain to phonography, film, and other media. We will find that far from circumventing the realms of the material and technological, the seemingly immaterial realms of spectrality turn out to engage and perpetuate them. Spectrality and Music History has adjacencies with my 2020 seminar on Errant Voices inasmuch as it aims to prepare graduate students for the conference of that title (now slated for April 28-30, 2022; see the conference website at https://voices.uchicago.edu/errantvoices/, password <errantry>). Students from departments outside Music are welcome in the seminar and can write research papers that draw on their own skills and interests as relevant to our themes.

GNSE 44440 Lyric Intimacies in the Renaissance
Instructor:
Sarah Kunjummen
This course will examine how writers of the sixteenth and seventeenth century used lyric verse as a tool for establishing, imagining or faking intimacy, with potential lovers, employers, friends, and God. We’ll begin by reading Thomas Wyatt’s adaptation of the Petrarchan sonnet to describe his doomed romance with Anne Boleyn, the mistress and later wife of King Henry VIII, and use of Italian satire to articulate a discourse of masculine friendship and citizenship. We’ll read the erotic verse of Phillip Sidney alongside his sister Mary Sidney’s adaptations of the Psalms, and examine the overlap between poems of seduction and poems to male and female patrons in two of the most influential seventeenth-century collections of intimate verse: William Shakespeare’s Sonnets and John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets. The course then turns to the poetry of devotion, taking up Richard Crashaw’s desire for closeness with the overflowing body of Christ, George Herbert’s poetic staging of conversations between himself and God, and Thomas Traherne’s memories of an ecstatic state of infant innocence and oneness with the world. We’ll conclude with works from the English Civil War and monarchical restoration.

GNSE 47702 Queer Modernism
Instructor:
Anges 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 47706 Bodies, Feelings, and Unmentionable Wounds: The Enlightenment and the Comic Novel
Instructor:
Tristan Schweiger
The Enlightenment of the 17th and 18th centuries is often conceived as the beginning of European modernity itself. In the before times (the story goes), the world was ruled by tyrant kings, the Church had an ironclad grip on knowledge production, and science remained stuck in the Middle Ages. Then a few brave, wig-wearing thinkers got together and invented democracy, medicine, and the very concept of political rights. This is a reductive narrative that effaces, among other things, the way Enlightenment ideas could serve to further entrench structures of power and oppression. Moreover, it neglects the diverse critiques and counter-discourses that came out of the period – many of which anticipate twenty-first-century debates. Laurence Sterne’s raucous, satiric, and sprawling magnum opus, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman (1759-67) is a novel intimately engaged with all of that. Although critics of the 1700s were perplexed by the weirdness of its form (Tristram Shandy is a mock autobiography whose “author” isn’t born until Vol. III), Sterne has been tremendously influential to writers like James Joyce and Virginia Woolf, and contemporary readers and critics are drawn to this strange, brilliant, and often “postmodern”-feeling novel for the complexity of how it works its way through discourses of the body, knowledge, race, gender, emotion, and more. In this course, we will read Tristram Shandy alongside many Enlightenment thinkers with whom Sterne is in dialogue.

SPRING 2022

GNSE 30106 Capitalism, Gender and Intimate Life
Instructor:
Gabriel Winant
What is the relationship between the capitalist economy and the gendered organization of society and identity of individuals? Are these two systems, or one? This class pursues these questions, seeking to understand capitalism as an everyday and intimate experience. How have markets and production shaped and been shaped by personal identity and, in particular, gendered identity? We examine the historical interrelationships among practices of sexuality, marriage, family, reproduction, labor, and consumption—and trace the economic dimensions of masculinity and femininity over time, focusing largely but not exclusively on US history.

GNSE 33119 Transnational Queer Politics and Practices
Instructor:
Cate Fuggazola
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 34220 Anxious Spaces
Instructor:
Malynne Sternstein
This course explores built (architectural), filmic, and narrative spaces that disturb our bearings, un-situate us, and defy neurotypical cognition. In the sense that “angst” is a mode that can be understood as both stalling and generative, we analyze spaces and representations of spaces such as corridors, attics, basements, canals, viaducts, labyrinths, forests, ruins, etc., spaces that are ‘felt’ as estranging, foreboding, in short, anxiety-provoking, in order to understand why—despite or because these topoi are hostile—they are produced, reproduced, and craved. We will pay special attention to abject spaces of racial and sexual exclusivity, sites of spoliation, and of memory and erasure. Among our primary texts are films by Kubrick, Tarkovksy, and Antonioni, and Chytilová, short fiction by Borges, Kafka, Nabokov, and selections from the philosophical/theoretical writings of Bachelard, Deleuze & Guattari, Debord, Foucault, Kracauer, and the edited volume, Mapping Desire, Geographies of Sexuality.

GNSE 34221 New York, Capital of the Twentieth Century
Instructor:
John Wilkinson
From the late 1950s New York became a world center for innovative poetry, painting, jazz and dance. This course explores the networks that linked uptown and downtown, black and white, queer and straight and other scenes, with the tensions both productive and destructive these created.

GNSE 47714 Reproductive 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.

 

Course Archive