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.