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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

16:988:510; Technologies and Poetics: Live Thinking

“[I]f thought and knowledge are inscribed within life so as to regulate it—as is the case with man—this very life cannot be the blind and stupid mechanical force that one likes to imagine when one contrasts it to thought.” Georges Canguilhem    To form concepts is a way of living, not of killing life. Michel Foucault Declarative? Imperative? Interrogative? The title of this course gestures towards the complication—if not the confusion—that the conjunction of living and thinking inspire.  In the introduction to the Use of Pleasure, the second volume of the History of Sexuality, Foucault explains the vital implications of thinking: There are times in life when the question of knowing if one can think differently than one thinks, and perceive differently than one sees, is absolutely necessary if one is to go on looking and reflecting at all. . . . In what does [philosophy today] consist if not in the endeavor to know how and to what extent it might be possible to think differently, instead of legitimating what is already known?   Adopting Foucault’s intellectual ethos, we will ask: what relation does life bear to/on thought and thought to/on life? And (how) does thinking differently entail living differently and vice versa?  In order to ruminate on these questions in a lively way, the syllabus will engage some key moments in the philosophical reflections on the relations between life and thought, including the following: Henri Bergson. Creative Evolution Georges Canguilhem. The Knowledge of Life Michel Serres. The Natural Contract Giorgio Agamben. The Open; Bernard Stiegler, “Take Care” Nikolas Rose. The Politics of Life Itself Melinda Cooper. Life as Surplus Vincenne Despret. What Animals Would Say If We Asked the Right Questions Francois Jullien. Vital Nourishment Isabelle Stengers. In the Time of Catastrophes Samantha Frost. Biocultural Creatures Julie Livingston. Self-Devouring Growth Robin Wall Kimmerer. Braiding Sweetgrass

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.

16:988:520:01 (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

16:988:525; Colloquium in WGSS: Trans and Sex/Gender Nonconforming Lives: A Global Approach

This graduate seminar traces out the terrain of “transgender” and its historical and contemporary articulations across the globe from an interdisciplinary perspective. Social, cultural, political, and historical changes will be our focus to gain a deeper insight into the formation and circulation of “transgender” as a category, as well as into trans and sex/gender transgressive lives, deaths, identities, and politics. A range of topics that we will cover includes racialization and racism, neoliberal capitalism, incarceration, ecology and environment, medicine and health, law and violence, security and surveillance, mobility and migration, arts and imagination, and futurity as they relate to transness and sex/gender nonconformity.

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.

16:988:535 (cross-listed as 01:988:405); Gender and Human Rights

This course offers students an opportunity to learn the basic history and discourse of women’s human rights. It will cover United Nations instruments of human rights law, the reframing of women’s rights as human rights as an example of feminist theory in action, and the application of human rights to issues of gender-based violence, health, and sexuality. It is grounded in the experience of the global movement for women's human rights and the diverse voices from around the world that have shaped it over the past two decades.

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: Decolonial Thinking and Indigenous

The course begins by contextualizing the recent feminist turn towards decoloniality in Latin America. In the first part of the course, we begin to make sense of what decoloniality entails by learning more about coloniality, as articulated by exponents of the Modernity/Coloniality Research Program. As we will see, coloniality has repercussions that exceed theory and academia. Coloniality structures all aspects of people’s lives, from their ways of thinking and being to how they organize labor and reproduction. In the second part of the course, we will engage thinkers like María Lugones and Julieta Paredes who, while theorizing the oppressive structures of coloniality, situate their thinking in what Gloria Anzaldúa calls the borderlands to theorize practices of resistance. In the last portion of the course, we will focus on Indigenous Latin American women who explore new epistemologies and practice decolonial feminism.

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.   

16:988:603 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.

16:988:603; Feminist Knowledge

Feminist and Gender studies as an academic field is primarily characterized by its orientation, rather than its objects. While gender is a key area of study, the most fundamental intervention Gender Studies makes concerns the act of producing knowledge itself. It challenges the biopolitical worldview that sees secular rationality as the only reliable method of discovering truth and overturns the hierarchical relationships between subject and object, observer and observed, culture and nature. Learning to think with the core accomplishments of feminist epistemologies will be a key theme of the seminar. We explore how feminist knowledge production interrogates the relationship of the ways of knowing to power, truth, and the material world. Can feminist scholarship be at once attentive to the social construction of all knowledge while still holding onto a notion of truth and reality? These are pressing concerns in light of climate crisis and the Disinformation Age. We will look at feminist interventions into epistemology from a variety of genres and perspectives: decolonial, spiritual, fictional, creative nonfiction, artistic, and activist. Weekly 1-page response papers will be required. Due to the demands of the pandemic, the schedule will include 1-week breaks every 3-4 weeks. Final projects will include the opportunity to write a research paper or produce a form of public knowledge.

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)