Critical Sexualities Courses (888)

01:888:290; Introduction to Critical Sexuality Studies

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Instructor: Louisa Schein
Course Delivery: M/W 0300 P - 0420

This introductory course engages the study of sexuality from historical, cross-cultural, contemporary and global perspectives. We will look at the different meanings given to sexuality and how sexual practices manifest in diverse contexts and consider how they are shaped by culture and media, economy, race and ethnicity, social structure, policy, stigma etc. We ask: what is defined as sex and what is prescribed and prohibited in diverse communities? What is considered normal and what perverse? How is sexuality related to gender, to homoerotics, to trans? What defines a sexual minority? We will look at questions of persecution, discrimination and activism, and at transnational flows and interactions between societies and peoples. In Fall 2021 we will zoom in on topics related to our times. We will analyze COVID-19 through the lens of the earlier HIV/AIDS crisis. We will delve into sexuality in relation to racial representation as well as sexuality, violence, policing and incarceration. Readings, guest lectures and lots of films cover historical, ethnographic, theoretical, sexological, literary and creative approaches to both the U.S. and many other parts of the world. This course is open to all with no prerequisites, and is also the foundation for those who want to consider the Minor in Critical Sexuality Studies.

Social Justice Courses (904)

01:904:201; Introduction to Social Justice

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Instructor: Elmira Nazombe
Course Delivery: T/F 1100 A - 1220

The events and realities of 2020 and 2021, the years of the Covid pandemic and the rise of the Black Live Matter movement in response to police violence and impunity, have been a critical time for reexamining understandings and definitions of social justice within the United States and around the world. In the context of a national polarized conversation, a variety of voices representing different identity perspectives, perhaps unheard in earlier times, are being heard loudly and clearly in public spaces. Terms like “essential workers” , and “white supremacy” and “abolition” vie for space within public discourse against the backdrop of the global climate crisis. This course will seek to understand these current contexts as the stage on which social justice and the intersecting hierarchies of power which are grounded in race, ethnicity, gender and class etc. are playing out and being redefined. Our starting point will be these contexts rather than classical abstract definitions of social justice in order to develop new understandings and articulations of social justice and its imperatives relevant for this present moment.

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

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

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Instructor: Paloma Caravantes
Course Delivery: T/F 0900 A - 1020 & T/F 1100 A - 1220

This course introduces students to the theoretical study of differences based on categories of gender, race, sexuality, and class. We will collectively investigate the mechanisms that produce (and maintain) structural inequalities in society, such as sexism, racism, and heteronormativity as well as how 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.

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

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Instructor: Sam Brooks
Course Delivery: W 0900 A - 1020 / F 0300 P - 0420

This course is an introduction into race, gender, and sexuality as social and political power formations. We will explore how these categories are institutionalized in U.S. prisons and policing, medicine, and education, among other institutions, and how people resist those systems. We will unravel these issues through theoretical works from the following academic traditions: Black Feminism, critical race studies, feminist studies, and LGBTQ studies. We will also research documentaries, popular culture, novels, and social media activism as social texts that are central to these considerations.

01:988:101:06, 08; Introduction to Race, Gender and Sexuality

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Instructor: Heather Van Uxem Lewis
Course Delivery: M/H 0900A-1020 & T/H 0100P-0220

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.

01:988:101:11; Introduction to Race, Gender and Sexuality

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Instructor: Tiffany Marra
Course Delivery: T/H 0500P - 0620

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.

01:988:101:90; Introduction to Race, Gender and Sexuality

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Instructor: Amir Mohamed Aziz
Course Delivery: Online

This fully-online course offers an introduction to major theories, debates, and social issues in the interdisciplinary fields of Feminist Theory, Transgender Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies, Critical Race/Ethnic Studies, and Queer Studies. We will unpack terms and conceptions of race, ethnicity, sex, gender, and sexuality. Along with investigating how these concepts, identities, perspectives, and structures of power shape our world, we will also learn to challenge the naturalization (or ‘biologization’) of these categories, interrogating precisely why/how they organize our lives and shape the ways in which we understand our selves, bodies, identities, groups, and structures around us. The course will also utilize a transnational feminist and critical race lens to examine geopolitical, cultural, and historical contexts beyond northern America, as well as interrogate some of our deeply-held notions regarding ‘the West’, ‘First World/the developed world’, and ‘modernity.’ We will learn to develop alternative or distinct vocabularies, conceptions, and epistemologies about the world with which to articulate perspectives, identities, and histories without reproducing colonial, settler, and/or biologizing categories of difference. Learning how to talk, write about, and critically analyze social issues, social movements, and issues of oppression, privilege, and power is a critical intellectual skill we will navigate in class.

Some of the thematic topics include: undocumented rights and immigration justice; reproductive justice; trans, queer, and non-binary lives; Black feminist theory; gendered Islamophobia and anti-Muslim racism; transnational feminist movements and knowledge production; settler colonialism; Orientalism and Eurocentrism; and Whiteness, White privilege, and structural racisms. The course will also offer a variety of engaging material content including short films, music, performance art, social media platforms, academic texts, documentaries, and interactive online media that will be made accessible online.

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

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Instructor: Tiffany Marra
Course Delivery: M/W 0500P - 0620

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: T/F 1100 A - 1220

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.

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

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Instructor: Lindsey Whitmore
Course Delivery: Online

Have you ever wondered why the majority of artwork that hangs in museums is credited to dead 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, film, textiles, 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 design and the built environment. This is primarily a writing- and research-based course that runs asynchronously.

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

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Instructor: Katy Gray
Course Delivery: Online

This course asks you to consider how art – and visual culture more generally – both reinforces and breaks down gender as a system of representation. While thinking through gender, broadly construed, this course focuses primarily, on the representation of marginalized genders. Women, gender-nonconforming, and trans* people have played a major role in shaping art past and present, yet their work has historically been ignored and/or undervalued. This course addresses the representation of gender and gender inequality in various forms of visual art and public culture. Throughout this process we will examine how representations of gender, race, and sexuality are co-constitutive, meaning that our understandings of these categories are shaped mutually.

We will begin by examining the representation of femininity and women’s bodies as a patriarchal project, as well as the question of how art made by women has been historically marginalized. In subsequent weeks we will take on gender as a political lens through which to engage with a wide variety of visual culture: looking at feminist and queer art, gender(non-conformity) and fashion, and the representation of gender in film and television. Over the course of this semester, we will engage with work by a range of artists using a variety of media, and through this process, the course will introduce you to the conceptual foundations of representation. We will use those conceptual foundations of representation to think about how gender, race, and sexuality work in fine art and visual culture more broadly.

01:988:257,90,91,92; Gender & the Body: Representation and Pornography

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Instructor: Tara Burk
Course Delivery: Online

We’ll look at “gender and the body” in terms of the makers, subjects, and audiences of art and pornography. In other words, we’ll look at artistic intention in relation to representing the body and the ways ideas about gender, race, and sexuality have shaped depictions and interpretations. Many artists have considered and engaged pornography in different ways in their art and used pornography as a liberating force. Some contemporary art has been regarded as pornographic because the artist incorporated the nude body or reference to bodily functions. In this course, we’ll consider the range of ways the nude body and pornography exist in contemporary art. Although we’ll focus primarily on contemporary feminist art and pornography (since 1970) made in the United States, we’ll also examine the broader history of cultural conflict in U.S. America regarding the representation of certain types of bodies.

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

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Instructor: Lindsey 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 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 in order to 1) critique systems of power and 2) build coalitions at the intersections of art and politics. You will also become familiar with the theoretical frameworks and foundational texts used by art critics and art historians 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 asynchronously.

01:988:259:90, 91; 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 and is conducted fully in Canvas.

01:988:301; Feminist Theory in Historical Perspective

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Instructor: Kyla Schuller
Course Delivery: T 0100P - 0400

Debates between white feminist and intersectional feminist perspectives currently dominate the internet and grassroots organizing. Are these new contentions, or do they have a long history in feminist theory? This course provides a pre-history of the present by tracing the debates between white feminism and intersectional feminism back to the beginning of feminist organizing in the United States. We will pay particular attention to the period before 1965 and to work by women of color fighting against settler colonialism, white supremacy, and enslavement, sometimes in ways that may not immediately register as “feminism.” In this way, the course will challenge traditional, white-centered ideas about what counts as feminist theory and activism.

01:988:302:01; Feminist Theory: Contemporary Engagements

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Instructor: Asli Zengin
Course Delivery: M/W 0100 P - 0220

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. 

01:988:317; Gender & Consumption

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Instructor: Voichita Nachescu
Course Delivery: T/H 0300 P - 0420

In this course, we explore the significance of mass consumption in relation to gender and racial capitalism. What does it mean to be a consumer? What are the possibilities and limits of consumer activism? Over the course of the semester we will be tackling these questions as we explore different aspects of consumer culture, its institutions and sub-cultures, and its global reach. In addition, we examine consumption from a historical and transnational perspective, beginning with the emergence of the raced and gendered consumer in relationship with capitalism and modernity, and linking consumption with citizenship, race, class, and sexuality.

01:988:318; The Gendered Body

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Instructor: Al Valentin
Course Delivery: T 0300 P - 0600

This course explores how categories of difference such as race, gender, sexuality, class, size and disability produce some people as human and others as less than human within film and society. By analyzing the representational politics of horror films, we will understand how society sees difference as monstrous and as a means of legitimizing the oppression and elimination of those framed as “other.” Who we fear as a society (and as individuals) is dependent on structural power dynamics and discourses of normalcy that produce “others” as deviant. Our fears are shaped and reshaped through the genre of horror where filmmakers and audiences work out cultural anxieties together.

01:988:336; Women and American Politics

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Instructor: Kira Sanbonmatsu
Course Delivery: W 0100P - 0400

This course is designed to introduce students to the study of gender and U.S. politics including the central questions, concepts, and debates in the field. Students will be expected to develop a theoretical framework and analytic tools for studying the relationship between gender and politics. The course is also intended to teach students about the research process and to strengthen students’ analytic, critical thinking, written, and oral communication skills.

We will analyze the participation of women in American political life; examine women’s public roles and the effects of feminism in altering women’s public roles in both historical and contemporary contexts; delve into women’s participation in electoral politics; study women’s behavior and influence as public officials; analyze the intersection of gender with other categories such as race/ethnicity and political party; and consider the relationship between gender and policymaking. Over the course of the semester, we will analyze recent elections and the activities of the Biden-Harris administration.  Cross-listed:01:790:335:01

01:988:344; Women & Leadership

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Instructor: Charlotte Bunch
Course Delivery: T 0100P - 0400

This seminar explores women’s leadership on the local, national and global levels. Readings and discussions will investigate themes in leadership, including feminist scholarship on the theory and practice of leadership and reflections by women on their experiences as leaders in a variety of diverse contemporary and historical settings. The Learning Goals are for students to better understand issues of women’s leadership, to become acquainted with diverse women leaders, and to further develop their own leadership potential.

01:988:410; Debt, Crisis and Women's Health

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Instructor: Sophie Smith
Course Delivery: Online

This course will investigate the meaning of debt and its origins. We will examine how debt functions as an economic mechanism of wealth accumulation by dispossession, tracing its historical function in systems of slavery, peonage, and colonial expansion. We will explore the onset of debt as dominant social and economic formation in the 1970s with the rise of complex global financial markets and speculative securitization. We will conduct cultural analyses of how debt-based economic forces have come to pervade our daily lives, wherein marketplace logics shape our ideas of personhood, moral character, and sociality. And we will examine the way in which debt economies depend upon, exacerbate, and even engineer various forms of crisis, from health and housing emergencies to failed democracies, to militarized conflict and climate disasters. Along the way, we will learn from the human dignity struggles that have perpetually challenged the course of financial power, focusing on how it is that debts are resisted, reversed, or abolished on the path to economic justice.

01:988:497:01 Honors Research in Women's and Gender Studies

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Instructor: Asli Zengin
Course Delivery: M 0300P - 0600

The purpose of this Honors Research Seminar is to guide you through the development and construction of your senior honor thesis project in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. The seminar will provide you with empirical, methodological, and theoretical toolkits, as well as practical writing strategies to help you bring your thesis to fruition. You will learn how you can you produce an original research piece; what constitutes a valid research question; the best method for answering your question; how to best plan this seemingly overwhelming task; the kind of institutional help available at Rutgers; and the ways in which a community of peers can help you achieve your goals.