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Cognate Courses

Course Descriptions

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16:988:510 Technologies and Poetics of Gender and Sexuality (3 credits)

This course will focus on the technologies and poetics through which sexuality and gender are constructed, examining the ways in which cross-culturally and historically the gendered and sexed body has been socially and cultural will focus on the technologies and poetics through which sexuality and gender are constructed, examining the ways in which cross-culturally and historically the gendered and sexed body has been socially and culturally produced. Focuses particularly on how the construction of gender for men and women has been embedded in conceptions of cultures mapped through categories including race, class, ethnicity, age and sexuality

16:988:515 Feminism: Theory and Practice (3 credits)

This course aims to illuminate the interconnections of theory and practice by exploring particular modes of feminist activism and the complex theoretical issues that feminist praxis raises. The course seeks to foster an understanding of the multiple ways that feminist theory has opened our imaginations to the possibilities for inclusive democratic practices, and expanded the repertoire of strategies for realizing social change.

16:988:520 Agency, Subjectivity and Social Change (3 credits)

This course investigates women’s mobilizations to transform social and political institutions, which also transform women activists themselves. Examining global feminist movements in the past as well as in the contemporary world, this course seeks to explicate how women’s activism and agency continue to challenge dominant discourses on agency, subjectivity, culture, politics, authority, religion, and society.

16:988:520; Agency, Subjectivity and Social Change

This course focuses on new feminist and queer movements, and their knowledge production, in post-colonial and colonial contexts. How do these movements practice, theorize, and refuse agency and subjectivity as defining ways to understand queer and feminist life and politics?

16:988:520:01 (Spring 2014)

Course Descriptions: 988:520:01 Agency, Subjectivity, and Social Change T34 (12:35-3:35) RDJC-011 C/D Professor: Mary Gossy   We will be doing close readings of essays in feminist deconstruction by Barbara Johnson. Students will bring peer-reviewed articles of immediate personal academic interest to class; that way we will have a seminar that involves each student's work, with feminist deconstructionist thinking on difference at the core. Our work will be supplemented by Paul Virilio’s recent writing on speed. We will integrate that thinking with the concerns raised by the course rubric, and with a feminist approach to the problems he analyzes, as they are related to the matter of difference. The interdisciplinarity of our work thus enriches everyone's experience. We will have a genuine seminar in which all students contribute from their own research and interests, in a collaborative enterprise that creates new knowledge in an engagement with primary theoretical texts.

16:988:525; 526 Colloquium in Women's and Gender Studies (3 credits)

Thee topic varies depending on the specialization of the instructor.FALL 2020 COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

16:988:530 Gendered Borders/Changing Boundaries (3 credits)

Explores the gendered dimensions of boundary-making and feminist challenges to boundaries in various countries and regions world wide. This course will consider the ways in which particular economies of pleasure, work, violence and nation-building rely on the maintenance of borders and the deployment of boundaries, and in which ways feminist scholarship serves to topple over and/or recreate those borders.

16:988:530 The Mark of Gender

16:988:530 The Mark of Gender (“Gendered Borders, Changing Boundaries”) Tuesdays, 12:35-3:35 RJC 011 Professor Mary Gossy, Department of Women’s and Gender Studies Office hours: Thursdays, 1:15-3:15 This course analyzes questions of borders, frontiers, boundaries, separations, decisions, and other forms of cutting apart (–cis, that Latin root, will matter) and joining together with specific reference to the differences that gender makes. (Please bring your knowledge of languages other than English into class work.) The matter of gender and its making (its poeisis, a Greek word from which both the English words ‘pottery’ (container) and ‘poetry’ are derived) must be as fully theorized as possible, as language acts out on and with bodies. Theory and poetry, in their broadest senses, save lives in all sorts of interstitial places. The course has a Marxist materialist underpinning and an investment in close reading. We will read Roland Barthes’ S/Z: An Essay, with Monique Wittig, especially her “The Mark of Gender.” Current challenges and possibilities with reference to borders will arise in discussions of Slavoj Zizek’s The Year of Dreaming Dangerously. This text is Zizek’s reading of global attempts at revolution in 2011. Zizek is informed by Lacan, Marx, Hegel, and (should we need him) Alfred Hitchcock. Correctives and illuminations will be applied by way of Audre Lorde’s infinite essays, “Poetry Is Not a Luxury” and “Uses of the Erotic: the Erotic as Power.” One of my scholarly interests in this topic has to do with “enclosure,” or the monastic practice of choosing to set limits of space in which one will live out one’s practice of life. Given that most of us do not live in monasteries, and supposing that enclosure can be a life-giving feminist practice, how can that space be shaped, created, opened, closed, and protected? These questions arise for me with respect to a guiding statement about meaning-making, even in the worst of social and political circumstances: “Literature is the cultural work of giving-to-read that which cannot yet be spoken (Barbara Johnson).” Literature helps us live when life is intolerable. It gives rise to a meaning to which we could not say we had access, before we read of it; or before, for those who cannot yet read, to that poetry of meaning that had not yet sung itself free into the mouth. Students should prepare now to bring an article-length secondary text from the graduate program’s reading list or from their own research interests to class for discussion. A final research paper and engaged discussion are the course requirements.

16:988:530; Gendered Borders/Changing Boundaries

The course provides a multi-disciplinary materialist approach to understanding the way that capitalist development has created/es gendered borders and changes/ed boundaries. The course examines the global economic system and the ways in which it has changed over time. This is an advanced reading seminar that explores various (but especially feminist) approaches to theorizing how the global economy works to deconstruct and unmask the neoliberal, market-driven policy agenda and examine national and global alternatives. It will focus on how the changing nature of production with global flows of capital and people, have a gender differentiated impact on the lives of women in different locations. Particular attention will be paid to macro economic policy, supply chains and labor rights, financialization, development policy and inclusive growth.

16:988:535 Gender and Human Rights (3 credits)

The history and discourse of women's human rights, United Nations instruments, reframing of human rights as women's rights, gender-based violence, health, sexuality.

16:988:536 Gender and Development (3 credits)

This course analyzes women’s location in economic development processes within theoretical frameworks, reflects upon linkages between the global economy and gendered processes of development, and examines a rights-based approach to gender justice.

16:988:537 Poverty, Inequality, and Gender (3 credits)

This course examines the intersection of poverty, inequality and gender by exploring feminist approaches to theorizing, measuring, and experiencing the relationship between capitalist development and gender and race/ethnic inequality and poverty.

16:988:545 Qualitative Methods (3 credits)

Introduction to quantitative methods in feminist research, with an emphasis on interpretation of quantitative claims as well as feminist uses and critiques of quantitative methods.

16:988:555 Advanced Topics in Feminist Theory (3 credits)

Advanced study of particular feminist theories or theorists. The topics vary by instructor.

16:988:561 Black Feminist Theories (3 credits)

This course provides a broad survey of contemporary Black feminist theory, including the emergence of Black feminist thought and political action, key actors and debates, theoretical engagements with questions of gender, racial, and sexual difference.

16:988:582 Feminist Genealogies (3 credits)

As a methodology, genealogy seeks to trace concepts back not to their origins (a task which presupposes continuity), but to points at which contradictions and contestations erupted in a manner productive of later discursive formations. This course examines key modern theories whose contradictions provoked feminist thought and elicited feminist critiques. Hegelian, Liberal, Marxist, Existentialist and other theories will be examined with specific attention to the historical and comparative development of modern gender, racial, national, sexual, colonial, and class formations. Both primary and secondary texts will be examined from perspectives of the first wave of the 19th century feminism, and second and third wave twentieth century feminism.

16:988:582; Feminist Genealogies

This course examines a deceptively simple question: “Is feminism a modern problematic?”  Historically, the answer is obviously yes.  Before modernity feminism as such (or even as a word) had no meaning. But more critically, construing “the modern” itself as central to the question, we might ask: to what extent does what we now call “feminism” lean upon a series of “modern” antinomies, paradoxes, and contradictions that not only radically transformed, but indeed may have actually created “Europe,” simultaneously in relation to itself and to the rest of the world?  Moreover, does this particular geo-political legacy inform the domain “contemporary feminist theory”? And, if so, how? In order to meditate upon these questions, we will consider an archive of mostly European texts, written over the last three hundred years, which actively inform “modern personhood.”  Our readings of these texts will try to glean how “gender,” “sex,” and “sexuality” emerge throughout this period as salient “differences” that cut across and inflect these powerful new incarnations of “the human.” The project of this class is at once historical and philosophical; or, to be more precise, it is “genealogical.”  Genealogy refers to an interpretive process inaugurated by Friedrich Nietzsche and adapted by Michel Foucault, which Foucault famously described as a “history of the present.”  For Foucault, genealogy considers the past as an immediacy whose immanence in the present derives neither from its inevitability nor its determinacy.  Rather genealogy understands that the presentation of the past (i.e., the actualization of “past-ness” in and as “present-ness”) emerges from fragmentary and often random convergences whose accreted effects nonetheless confront us as “true,” if not “real.” Such genealogical endeavors seek to uncover the chance combinations and conjunctions, intersections and collisions, productive coalescings and violent rendings, that give rise to the ways we live now.  Genealogy’s basic premise holds that the world is much more virtual and much more mutable than it often (re)presents itself.  In genealogy we seek to disclose contingencies secreted within phenomena which offer themselves to us as essential dimensions of our world.  Through this disclosure, genealogy hopes that we might glimpse instabilities where we all too often see inevitabilities, that we might imagine possibilities where we resign ourselves to necessities, and thus that we might learn to think and live otherwise than we imagined possible heretofore.  This course’s genealogical undertaking, then, will attempt to divulge some of the contingent ways of thinking and knowing embedded both in “feminism” and “feminist theory”.

16:988:583 Contemporary Feminist Theory (3 credits)

This course examines contemporary feminist debates with structuralism, poststructuralism, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, ethnic studies and postmodernism. This course will examine how feminist theories have critiqued a variety of traditional boundaries such as theoretical categories of identity, global hierarchies of power, and disciplinary boundaries. The original contributions of feminist theories to conceptual thinking will be explored around key concepts such as agency, identity, difference, location, intersectionality, transnationalism and nationalism, representation, resistance, power and sexuality.

16:988:584,585 Practicum in Women's and Gender Studies (3,3 credits)

Field work for M.A. degree candidates.

16:988:587 Feminist Pedagogies (3 credits)

Advanced introduction to the classic works in feminist pedagogy with particular attention to the challenges of teaching interdisciplinary course material addressing race, class, gender, sexuality.

16:988:590 Independent Study: Women's and Gender Studies (3 credits)

16:988:601 Readings in Women's and Gender Studies (3 credits)

Open to Ph.D. students preparing for qualifying exams.

16:988:602 Feminist Methodologies (3 credits)

This course focuses on both the advantages and disadvantages of different philosophical, methodological, theoretical, and disciplinary traditions for contributing to our knowledge of central issues in Women’s and Gender Studies. The goal is to provide students with the critical tools to utilize and interrogate existing methodologies and to adapt them to the enterprise of feminist research. Since much of feminist scholarship has been concerned with the status and creation of knowledge—What counts as authoritative knowledge? What defines good research and bad research? What is the role of the social in the constitution of knowledge? What constitutes research as feminist?—the course will begin by debating several different perspectives on the definition of science, social science, and the humanities. The aim will be to understand the implications for feminist research of different philosophies of science, including positivism, realism, pragmatism, idealism, postmodernism, and others. We also consider the development of feminist hybrid epistemologies, such as strong objectivity, situated knowledge, and agential realism.   

16:988:602; Feminist Methodology

Our seminar approaches “methods” and “methodologies” as research, theoretical, and everyday praxis. By this I mean we will (1) consider various disciplinary, interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary frameworks for scholarly research and writing in WGSS, as well as critical race and ethnic studies, Black/Africana studies, queer/trans studies, religious studies, American Studies, and other inter/trans-disciplinary fields, and (2) discuss practical “methods” for living, working, and surviving in academia, in relation to the dissertation process, writing, publishing, teaching, the job market, and self-care. Students will learn the “conventional” methodologies and frameworks of our profession, and consider what it means—and what is at stake—in enacting insurgent methods and practices that challenge the status quo.

16:988:603 Feminist Knowledge Production (3 credits)

This course is an introduction to many of the methods used in feminist interdisciplinary research. The course looks at how to formulate a research question, collect data, interpret and analyze evidence, and report research results. This methodological overview raises broader issues about the relationship among theory, methods, and research goals. In other words, do certain research problems impose methodological restrictions? Does reliance on some methods rather than others limit what we can know? In addition, the course will review various assessments and critiques of different research methods. Finally, the course will be a forum to apply knowledge of methods and methodologies to students’ own research and research-activist interests.

16:988:604,605 Women's and Gender Studies Dissertation Proposal (3,3 credits)

Open to Ph.D. students preparing dissertation proposals.

16:988:701,702 Research in Women's and Gender Studies (3,3 credits)