Course Descriptions: Selected Undergraduate Courses - SPRING 2021

For a full list of all available WGSS classes, please see the Undergraduate Course Schedule

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Critical Sexualities Courses (888)

01:888:338; Transnational Sexualities

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Instructor: Louisa Schein
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, MW6 CAC

This course explores sexualities as they are lived across varying national locations and asks how geopolitics have shaped sexualities. We ask how conquest, imperialism, colonialism and war have impacted sexual interactions and perceptions of the perverse, the normal, the transgressive and the forbidden. Focusing on dynamics of nationality, race, ethnicity, citizenship and culture, we track sexualities through topics such as border-crossing, tourism, contagion, sex work, military bases, migration, trafficking, sexual violence, bodies and health, sexual commerce, media, internet and popular culture. Concerns of LGBTQ and sexual minorities, activism and constructions of sexual rights are threaded throughout.

Social Justice Courses (904)

01:904:202; Practicing Social Justice

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Instructor: Elmira Nazombe
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, TTh3 LIV

Purpose of The Course/Learning Objective: this course will focus its attention on current social justice organizing practice, with particular emphasis on organizing by impacted communities. The overall goal of the course build and strengthen student critical analysis tools for understanding and engaging the challenges of work toward social transformation and social justice. Case examples will explore both local and global organizing in areas such as: climate, identities: race, gender, class, caste and the ways in which narratives – personal, communal, and national influence and exacerbate global, national and local inequalities.

01:904:402; Social Justice Capstone

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Instructor: Voichita Nachescu
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, TTh6 CAC

How do we define social justice for the twenty-first century? In this course, we examine different definitions of social justice through feminist discourses of intersectionality, postcolonialism, human rights, and ecofeminism. Our framework is transnational, paying attention to interactions between the local, the regional, and the global. The course will use feminist thinking tools to investigate contemporary issues such as mass incarceration, mass deportation, and the critical study of whiteness.

Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies Courses (988)

01:988:101:02 & 01:988:101:05; Introduction to Race, Gender and Sexuality

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Instructor: Heather Lewis
Course Delivery: Asynchronous Remote

Intro to Race, Gender, & Sexuality is a course that explores identities, intersectional perspectives, and structural powers in relation to gender, race, and sexuality. Students will investigate the mechanisms through which these ideas are produced and reproduced. Meaningful connections will be made between the concepts offered in this course with the dynamic world around us. Students will have opportunities to consider how these concepts structure our social worlds and intimate lives through individual, collaborative, and multi-modal projects driven by their own personal experiences and knowledge. Each student will also engage with a wide variety of content including current videos, movies, podcasts, music, scholarly texts, mainstreams news outlets, and social media threads. By the end of the course, students will have clearer understanding of how their lived experiences relate to broader culture and society in all of its diversity.

01:988:101:04; Introduction to Race, Gender and Sexuality

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Instructor: JB Brager
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, TF3 C/D

In this introductory course, we will explore how categories such as race, gender, and sexuality come to have meaning. We will engage history, popular culture, and contemporary issues to explore how these categories, as power relationships and ways of knowing and being, have been produced, regulated, performed and resisted in a U.S.-based context. This course intends to offer a set of critical and conceptual tools, to open up rather than answer a set of questions. Students will learn to make connections between texts and moments, to think systemically, to critically interrogate texts, and to question the self-evident. 

01:988:101:06; Introduction to Race, Gender and Sexuality

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Instructor: Jillian Salazar
Course Delivery: Asynchronous Remote

Introductory survey examining key concepts and themes in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, including: body image and media; class; feminisms; gender/sex; globalization and neoliberalism; intersectionality; patriarchy and privilege; race; reproductive justice; sexuality and queer theory; social justice and human rights; and violence, conflict, and terrorism. 

01:988:101:07 & 16; Introduction to Race, Gender and Sexuality

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Instructor: Paloma Caravantes
Course Delivery: Asynchronous Remote

This course introduces students to the theoretical study of differences based on categories of gender, race, sexuality, class, and nation. We will collectively investigate the mechanisms that produce (and maintain) structural inequalities in society, such as sexism, racism, heteronormativity, and colonialism, and the ways in which these systems intersect. In what ways do sexism or racism shape our understanding of the world around us? How is difference experienced through diverse identities, bodies and/or cultural contexts? In what ways do gender and racial structures intersect with economic systems? This course explores these questions, as well as feminist responses to these structural inequalities. 

01:988:101:11 & 12

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Instructor: Tiffany Marra
Course Delivery: Asynchronous Remote

In this introductory course, you will learn about the ways gender, race, and sexuality come to have meaning in the world as social categories. We will interrogate these terms through a range of conceptual frameworks that emerge from the field of Women’s and Gender Studies. Lessons will give particular attention to the meaning, purpose, and applications of feminist thought. This section will have a narrower focus on sexuality, how race and gender relate to it, and the way sexuality is informed by our experiences and social environment. 

This course is highly collaborative – both at the levels of class discussion and practical application. The goal is to encourage and challenge students to be prepared to hold conversations regarding sensitive issues related to gender, race, and sexuality. 

01:988:130; Knowledge and Power; Issues in Women’s Leadership

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Instructor: Various
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote;Please review Schedule of Courses

Students at Douglass Residential College (DRC) typically enroll in this course in their first year at Rutgers. This unique opportunity offers students a common core of ideas, readings, critiques, and questions to explore how power generates and maintains knowledge. This transformative course is both academic and experiential, empowering students with the knowledge to articulate issues in women's leadership. Both inside and outside the classroom, students learn to claim their own education through participation in all that DRC and Rutgers has to offer.

01:988:200; Gender, Digital Media and Social Curation

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Instructor: Tiffany Marra
Course Delivery: Asynchronous Remote

Within our digitally ruled lives, everything seems to necessitate an online and visible presence to be deemed “real.” This begs the question of how do gender, race, and sexuality thrive or reach their demise in this digitalization. Furthermore, how do we curate (select, organize, and look after) what to include within our digital personas and how does this tie into power, privilege, & surveillance. 

This course is highly collaborative – both at the levels of class discussion and practical application. The goal is to encourage and challenge students to find and analyze everyday examples of curation and to consider the connections between social curation and categories of difference

01:988:201; Feminist Practices

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Instructor: Milton Achelpohl
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote TTh 4 CAC

Feminist Practices centers a core set of questions of feminist knowledge production, methodology and pedagogy. In the course we contend with a perennial debate around the relationship of theory and practice — drawing upon Black Feminist Theory, Queers Studies and Indigenous Studies, we will explore varying genealogies of how feminist theories have come to form and be informed by activism, teaching and scholarship. The course will provide students the opportunity not only to reflect on these histories, and the current moment in feminist theory, but apply the concepts of the course to their communities and lives. 

01:988:202; Gender, Culture, and Representation

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Instructor: Sarah Orsak
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote MW 4 CAC

In this course, students explore the relations between representation and power using feminist methods. The course addresses representations of gender, race, sexuality, disability, fatness, and transness in a variety of mediums. The first half of the course introduces feminist cultural studies methods. The second half of the course uses these frameworks to analyze representations of gender in science and representations of criminality. In final projects, students will apply these methods to topics of their own choosing. 

01:988:235; Dynamics of Class, Race, and Sex

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Instructor: Ed Cohen
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote M 5/6 LIV

Race, class, and sex are categories that are used to designate “sorts” of humans.  However, these categories are not natural, inevitable, or transhistorical; instead, they have been produced by sorting practices that first appeared in western cultures over the last 250-300 years.  As Europeans began to think of themselves politically and economically not as special kinds of beings endowed by God with immortal souls, but as living organisms who “had” bodies and belonged to the human species, they adopted the premise that different kinds of bodies represent different kinds of people.  Race, class, and sex designate three ways in which such differences have been framed as if they were attributes of the bodies they seek to describe.  Focusing on transformation that took place during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this class will explore the processes through which race, class, and sex came to organize the dynamics of human co-existence.  N.B.: if you’re not interested in history, don’t sign up for this class

01:988:255:90 & 92; Gender, Art and Society

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Instructor: Wendy Ritch
Course Delivery: Online

Have you ever visited a museum or art gallery and asked yourself, “Where are all the women artists?” How about all of the Black, Latinx, Asian, Native-American, multi-racial, non-Western, working-class, poor, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, and (dis)abled women artists? And where are the women who neither paint nor sculpt but who are photographers, film-makers, actors, musicians, performance artists, writers, poets, fashion designers, architects, and mixed-media artists? Well, I can tell you where they are not: they have been generally excluded from art history (HIS STORY) and the artistic canon. 

In this course, we will engage in an intersectional exploration of the interplay among gender, art, and society. The course is very demanding, in all senses of the word. There is a great deal of reading, viewing, writing, thinking, critiquing, and online participation. In order for us to have a lively and productive semester together we must be accountable to one another, as a community of learners, rather than accountable only to ourselves. You will have many opportunities to shine as scholars in this course – some will involve independent work and some group work. You may have just thought, “Group work? In an online course?” Yes, that’s correct – it has its challenges but most 255 students have found that the final group project is an invaluable experience so trust me when I say that you, too, will survive. If you devote the time and effort necessary to succeeding, engage deeply with the course materials and with one another, and keep your mind and heart open to the learning process, then you really can’t go wrong in this course. 

01:988:255:91; Gender, Art and Society

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Instructor: L. Whitmore
Course Delivery: Online

Have you ever wondered why the majority of artwork that hangs in museums is credited to white men? Are you interested in exploring alternative artistic traditions throughout history, including art by women, people of color, and others on the margins? This course will introduce you to the tools you need to analyze and engage with art and visual culture from the perspectives of race, gender, and sexuality. Focusing on dynamics of power in the history of art and visual culture, you will learn how to “read” painting, sculpture, digital media artifacts, film, and many other forms of artistic expression for historical, social, and cultural context as well as for aesthetic sensibility. Sample areas of discussion include: the nude body, still photography, Gods & Goddesses, and architecture/the build environment. This is primarily a writing- and research-based course that runs Asynchronous Remotely.  

01:988:258:90; Gender, Race, and Contemporary Art

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Instructor: L. Whitmore
Course Delivery: Online

Can art be a tool for social change? Can art perpetuate oppression and domination? In this course, we will explore these questions by looking critically at the intersections of race and gender in the field of contemporary American art. Centering the work of contemporary artists of color such as Chitra Ganesh, Mickalene Thomas, Betye Saar, and Kent Monkman (among many others), we will explore how black and indigenous artists and artists of color more broadly have engaged in both individual studio practice and collaborative creative endeavors to 1) critique systems of power and 2) build coalitions at the intersections of art and politics. You will also become familiar with theoretical frameworks and foundational texts that art critics and art historians use to critique and write about relationships of race and gender in contemporary art. Sample topics include: museum politics, art + decolonization, blackness & representation, and the visual politics of pleasure. This is a writing and research-intensive class conducted Asynchronous Remotely.

01:988:259:90; Homosexuality and Visual Culture

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Instructor: Kat Griefen
Course Delivery: Online

This course is an introduction to the roles GLBTQI individuals and communities have played in the creation of art and culture across various historical periods globally.  Course materials address how queer artists, critics, and patrons have continued to participate in cultural production in the face of marginalization and censorship. The course is Asynchronous Remote and is conducted fully in Canvas. 

01:988:282; Feminist Knowledge Production

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Instructor: Voichita Nachescu
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote TTh 4 CAC

What does it mean to do feminist research? What makes a certain research project feminist? How has feminism intervened in the way research is practiced—traditionally from the perspective of elite white men—to include the experiences and perspectives of women, people of color, gender non-conforming people etc.? In this course, you will engage in your own research project, and the result can be an academic paper, a performance piece, or a podcast. 

01:988:299; Mentoring and Leadership Practice

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Instructor: Rebecca Reynolds
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, W12 C/D

Students at Douglass Residential College (DRC) typically enroll in this course once accepted into the Barbara Voorhees Mentoring Program. This course prepares students to excel as peer mentors by examining the relationship between feminist pedagogical theory and feminist practice. Your classroom experiences, in this course seminar and simultaneously as a peer mentor in a section of the Knowledge and Power: Issues in Women's Leadership course, provide a unique opportunity to work collaboratively with instructors and students to develop your own intentional practice of effective peer mentoring.

01:988:301; Feminist Theory in Historical Perspective

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Instructor: Tyler Carson
Course Delivery: Asynchronous Remote

This course tracks the various developments within the history of feminist theory. It begins with its emergence in and out of liberal, psychoanalytic, and Marxist conceptualizations of the subject. In doing so, Part I of the course, “Western Origins of Feminist Theory,” considers the vexed and paradoxical nature of feminism’s relationship to these theories—they are what originally makes feminist theories thinkable in the West, yet at the same time, are what must be critique, resisted, reimagined, or altogether abandoned, according to many feminist theorists, as they insufficient and limited by their patriarchal, phallocentric, sexist, and often homophobic logics and dispositions. Part II of the course, “Axioms of Difference” maps the interventions of woman of colour feminists, who together seek to develop intersectional and transnational feminist theories that moves beyond the limited colonial confines of “Western Theory.” 

01:988:302; Feminist Theory; Contemporary Engagements

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Instructor: Asli Zengin
Course Delivery: Asynchronous Remote

This course covers some of the major issues, debates, and questions in the field of contemporary feminist theory. Readings are selected from a wide range of scholarship that represent an interdisciplinary approach and lines of inquiry that challenge the traditional boundaries between Social Sciences, Humanities and Natural Sciences. We will explore connections and disconnections between feminisms over a period starting from the 1970s and continuing to the present day. We will study which questions have emerged as “new” in contemporary feminist theories since the 1970s, and how they have been part of a larger theory of body, including queer and trans studies, postcolonial and transnational studies, critical race studies, indigenous studies, science and technology studies, and environmental studies. Through online discussion threads, response papers, audio or video presentation, and a final research project, students will explore the close associations between feminist theorization and a wide range of issues, such as sex/gender transgression, sexuality, race, indigeneity, ability, neoliberalism, war on terror, securitization, ecology, and science and technology. Throughout the course, we will study the limits and possibilities for feminism in our contemporary world.

01:988:317; Gender and Consumption

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Instructor: JB Brager
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, MTh3 CAC

In Gender and Consumption, we will take up the idea of “consuming” via the definition “to use up” in order to think about ecological devastation, stewardship, apocalypse, capitalism, consumption, and the relationship between humans, non-human animals, and the earth, via a gender studies critique.  

01:988:350; Gender and Spirituality

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Instructor: Karla Jackson-Brewer
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, MTh3 LIV

This course deepens students' understanding of the impact of Women's Spirituality on the 2nd wave of the feminist movement, Ecofeminism, and a transformation of the presence of the Divine Feminine in dominant religious systems, theologies, and rituals.  Through an exploration of the writing of religious scholars, spiritualities of communities of color and indigenous cultures, and meditative practices, students may gain access to tools that are useful during this tumultuous period in our history. 

01:988:396:06 The Corporate Self: Extraction, Enclosure and Escape Routes

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Instructor: Naomi Klein
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, W45 CAC

The Corporate Self: Extraction, Enclosure, & Escape Routes 

The purpose of this course is to provide a critical understanding of how humans are fashioned as commercial products and brands, and how data about everyday life fuels a lucrative market known as “surveillance capitalism.” We will consider the forces of surveillance capitalism as they relate to the self, and as they shape activism and social movements in the present day. We will pay particular attention to the intersection of brands, digital technologies, platforms, and surveillance capitalism within the context of COVID-19. Attention will especially focus on how large tech monopolies, alongside powerful surveillance tech companies, are using this window to push agendas that further entrench technologies of centralized control, surveillance of the self, and society, without guardrails or democratic oversight. 

01:988:405; Gender and Human Rights

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Instructor: Charlotte Bunch
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, Th45 C/D

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. 

01:988:426; Internship for IWL Leadership Scholars

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Instructor: Zainab Alam
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, W12 C/D

This seminar, open only to IWL Scholars, seeks to explore the connections between theory and practice by bringing together academic readings on women and work with a work experience in an internship site. The course is built on three pillars: (1) course content, (2) internship, and (3) social action project proposal. The course content will cover five key areas: gender and work, U.S. workplace issues and policies, women’s work in the global economy, productive and reproductive labor, and into action.

01:988:490, Seminar: Women and Contemporary Issues She Who Laughs Last: The Performance History of Women in Stand-Up Comedy

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Instructor: Rebecca Mark
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, W45 C/D

Exploring the history of the long story of women-identified stand-up comedians, we will read works by, and watch sets of from such performers as:  Mae West, Gracie Allen, Elaine May, Moms Mabley, Lucille Ball, Phyliss Diller, Bette Midler, Carole Burnett, Joan Rivers, Whoopi Goldberg, Lilly Tomlin, Wanda Sykes, Tracy Ullman, Ellen Degeneres, Margaret Cho, Tina Fey, Ali Wong, Nagin Farsad, Tig Nataro, Sarah Cooper, Tiffany Haddish, Hannah Gadsby, Nicole Byer, Mayshoon Zayid, Leslie Jones, Maria Bamford, Jenny Wong, Janelle James, Faiza Saleem, Gina Yashere, Jes Tom and others.  We will interrogate the role of stand-up comedy as a performance act within a democracy and question the kind of cultural change that comedy instigates. We will ask why women were not able to make inroads into the stand-up comedy circuit in the early years, and how transgendered, gender neutral, and gender liminal performers are currently transforming the world of stand-up. As we explore the history of women in stand-up, we will learn how to create a set, and everyone will have an opportunity to perform their own short routine. 

01:988:498; Honors Research in Women’s and Gender Studies

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Instructor: Yana Rodgers
Course Delivery: Synchronous Remote, F34 C/D

This Honors Research Seminar is designed to support your research and writing work in generating your senior honors thesis in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  The seminar provides a space to explore and critique the work you and your classmates are doing, and to discuss the knotty problems of interdisciplinary scholarship on gender.  We will combine intensive class work with independent work on your own research and writing.  This seminar (498) is the second of a two-semester sequence.