In this course we will be thinking about the ways that race, gender and sexuality structure our social worlds and intimate lives. We will ask what it means to describe these categories as ‘socially constructed’ and consider the mechanisms through which they are produced and reproduced. At the same time we will pay careful attention to the material ways in which power is organized and distributed through these categories. Assuming that these are not ‘natural’ categories we will look at the work that goes into making them appear so, and consider the ways in which their meanings and efficacy change over time. In the latter weeks of the course we will begin to think more about the value and pitfalls of using identity categories as analytical frameworks and organizing platforms.
The course is invested in an interdisciplinary approach and as such we will broach these questions by engaging a cross section of academic, literary, popular culture and activist texts. The course is designed to be not only an academic endeavor, but also an attempt to bridge our academic, personal and political investments, as such I encourage you to bring your life experiences and political investments into the course and classroom as a valuable set of knowledges that we will attempt to build upon and challenge.
This course will adhere to the SAS 21st Century Challenge goals by supporting students to
- Analyze the degree to which forms of human difference shape a person’s experiences of and perspectives the world
- Analyze a contemporary global issue from a multidisciplinary perspective
- Analyze issues of social justice across local and global contexts
WGS learning goals
- Understand and critique the formation of categories of gender and sexuality as they function in social, economic, cultural and/or political contexts and as they intersect with other categories of difference such as race and ethnicity.
- Communicate effectively using gender analytics as a tool for academic research, for creative production, for collaborative work, and/or for practices of social change.
- Know the complexity and variety of differently gendered lives and livelihoods around the globe.
- Recognize stereotypes and the naturalization of hierarchies of difference through analyzing power dynamics from the micro to the macro level.
- Identify the politics of issue framing and knowledge production.