Click here to view the undergraduate Summer 2014 schedule.
M 1:15-5:35, W (Online) 1:15-5:10 May 27-July 3 SC-221 CAC
Instructor: Carolina Alonso Bejarano
In this class we will analyze mainstream U.S. media and discuss everything Pop Culture from memes to advertising, music videos, TV shows, news, sports and reality TV: What are we being told to believe? We will talk about ideas as trivialized (and political) as sex, love, war and freedom; and we will explore how the field of gender studies can transform our understandings of knowledge, power, history and -ultimately- what we've come to call society.
Yup! You guessed it. This will not be your everyday class. There will be no papers and no final, so active participation is key. We will read a little and watch lots of media –for example, check out Beyoncé’s awesome video Grown Woman, http://goo.gl/QAihTr; AXE’s 2014 Super Bowl Commercial, http://goo.gl/39LeYg; and Shit Girls Say, http://goo.gl/cBFhZh – to inquire what it means to stop for a minute, look around, and ask “why.”
TTH 1:45-5:25 June 23-July 31 FH-A1 CAC
Instructor: Jenna Brager
We will be looking at a variety of kinds of texts and methods to think about the ways in which Women's and Gender Studies confronts a set of key social and political issues. This course intends to offer a set of critical and conceptual tools, to open up rather than answer a set of questions.
In accordance to the SAS learning goals, “21st Century Challenges,” this course fulfills the following goals:
a. Analyze the degree to which forms of human difference shape a person’s experiences of and perspectives on the world.
b. Analyze a contemporary global issue from a multidisciplinary perspective.
c. Analyze issues of social justice across local and global contexts.
M 1:45-5:25, W (Online) July 7-August 13 SC-207 CAC
Instructor: Rosemary Ndubuizu
WNBA v. NBA? How does gender shape our understanding of sports?
‘Arranged’ marriage v. ‘love’ marriage? How do gender, cultural imperialism, and consumerism affect our contemporary understanding of marriage?
Beyonce v. India Arie: How does skin color affect one’s popularity and gender performance?
If these questions interest you –and you enjoy an interactive learning experience—then this class is for you!
This introductory course to Women and Gender Studies (WGS) explores how gender, class, ethnicity, and race define and shape contemporary societies and our everyday lives. This interdisciplinary course requires you to interrogate your lived experiences and compels you to situate your evolving socio-political positions within a global context. Scholastically, you will sharpen your analytical skills, improve your academic writing and develop pedagogical skills. By using popular education, this course exposes and expects you to learn how to translate complex socio-political theories into interactive and popularized workshops.
In this hybrid course, we will have only three assignments: two papers and a final presentation.
For more questions about this course, please contact instructor Rosemary Ndubuizu at
T 1:45-5:25, TH (Online) June 23- July 31 SC-115 CAC
Instructor: Kathe Sandler
Taught by Guggenheim award-winning documentary filmmaker Kathe Sandler, this hybrid course explores the interplay of Black feminism and the work of Black women independent filmmakers including Dee Rees, Julie Dash, Ada Gay Griffith and Michelle Parkerson, Euzhan Palcy, Kiri Davis, Cheryl Dunye, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Zina Saro-Wiwa, Shola Lynch, Shari Frilot, Pratibha Parmar, Mickalene Thomas, and Yoruba Richen. One book is required—Push, a novel by Sapphire—and all other readings are available on Sakai. In addition to films screened in class, you will watch approximately five more feature-length films, either at the RU Media Center, or through a streaming or DVD rental source on your own. Written responses are due twice per week as well as a 5-7 page final paper.
MW 1:15-5:15 May 27–July 3 SC-201 CAC
MW 1:45-5:25 July 7–August 13 SC-121 CAC
Instructor: Kevin Allred
Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is known as many things: singer, songwriter, actress, performer, half of hip hop and R&B’s most powerful couple, even fashion designer. But few take her seriously as a political figure. This course will attempt to think about our contemporary U.S. society and its current class, racial, gender, and sexual politics through the music and career of Beyoncé. On the surface, she might deploy messages about race, gender, class, and sexuality that appear conservative in relation to social norms, but during this course we will ask: how does she also challenge our very understanding of these categories? How does Beyoncé push the boundaries of these categories to make space for and embrace other perhaps more “deviant” bodies, desires, and/or politics? We will attempt to position Beyoncé as a progressive, feminist, and even queer figure through close examination of her music alongside readings on political issues, both contemporary and historical. We will juxtapose Beyoncé’s music with writings on black feminism and the black female experience in the U.S. (and beyond), to attempt to answer: can Beyoncé’s music be seen as a blueprint for progressive social change?
T 1:45-5:25, W (Online) June 23-July 31 SC-102 CAC
Instructor: Lindsey Whitmore
This course fulfills requirements for the WGS major and/or any of the three minors.
In this hybrid course, we will consider pop culture, feminist, and activist perspectives on sex work (i.e. escorting, pornography, digital and web-based sex services, erotic dancing) in order to unpack how sex and pleasure are imagined, produced, and consumed in U.S. and transnational contexts today. How do we encounter and produce pleasure in our own lives? When do sex and pleasure become work? Who engages in sex work and why? How do race, class, gender identity, and other modes of difference affect one’s ability to do sex work safely? With a specific focus on sex worker-led movements for rights and justice across the globe and with the emergence of feminist, queer, and indie porn movements in the U.S., we will think creatively and collaboratively about how struggles over health and safety, criminalization, bodily autonomy, and self- and community-determination impact the making and selling of sex and pleasure today.
01:988:396:H1 Topics in Women's and Gender Studies: Social media and social movements - HYBRID
W 1:45-5:25, Online July 7-August 13 SC-207 CAC
Instructor: Nafisa Tanjeem
Are social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube changing the world of social movements? How does social media frame social justice issues at the intersection of race, gender, class, sexuality, nation, and ethnicity? Does social media substitute, complement, or distract conventional organizing? How does online activism transform into offline protest, and vice versa? Which strategies do social media activists adopt to keep their campaigns alive?
“Social Media and Social Movements” addresses these exciting questions drawing on interdisciplinary scholarships of social movement studies, critical race theories, geography and cultural studies, media studies, and transnational feminist framework. It examines how social media continues to redefine what constitutes activism, community, collective identity, and public space. It explores the role of social media in inspiring movements, decentralized networks, civic engagement, and transnational collaboration between activists. Using a wide array of examples such as Barack Obama’s 2008 electoral campaign, the Occupy Wall Street movement, and the Arab uprisings, the course inquires whether social media challenges power hierarchies and shifts the balance of power toward more bottom-up efforts.
This is a 3/3 hybrid course. The first three weeks will be conducted online. The class will meet on-site during the last three weeks.
01:988:416 Women’s Global Health: Medicine and Biopolitics: 1850-Present - ONLINE
“Health is the new morality,” the editors of the provocative recent book Against Health proclaim. Their comment diagnoses the way a range of laws and cultural norms currently treat physical wellness as an individual’s duty to society, rather than an aspect of personal well-being. How did this come to be? Who profits from placing such a premium on the vitality of the body, and whose bodies are deemed “problems” standing in the way of national productivity?
We will explore how we can work toward reducing disease and suffering, while also developing a critical perspective on the ways “health” currently functions as a normalized set of bodily practices that benefits some groups at the expense of others. We will begin in the United States during the 1850s, a time when a small group of women became the first licensed female physicians in the modern world. As we will learn, these advances for (white) women often came at the cost of racial justice, as female physicians justified their unusual professional ambitions by their belief that they were contributing to the gradual perfection of the Anglo Saxon race. We will also examine how, concurrently, male physicians worked to clamp down on white women’s rising political and social power by illegalizing abortion and thus bringing women’s reproductive lives under the control of the nation-state and the medical community. Next, we will explore the eugenics movements of the early twentieth century in the U.S. and Latin America, which sought to improve the racial stock of the nation by preventing “unfit” women from reproducing and encouraging “fit” women to have more children. Readings include studies of mandatory health examinations for immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border as well as accounts of the forced sterilization of thousands of working-class women. Finally, we will consider how the U.S. and other advanced economies have recently framed individual health as a moral imperative. We will consider topics such as the efforts of the South African government to access affordable AIDS drugs, the new politics of breastfeeding, the rise of cosmetic surgery in the developed world, and the stigmatization of mental and physical disability. We will also look at examples of how marginalized groups are actively intervening in medical and health discourse as a strategy of social justice and individual self-determination. To this end, we will explore the role of U.S. women of color in the fight for reproductive justice, fat-positive feminism, and the struggles of transgender folks for increased access to health care. Overall, students will learn how modern political and economic power often functions through optimizing the biological life itself of the population.
Readings include both primary sources and scholarship by authors including Elizabeth Blackwell, Alexandra Stern, Melinda Cooper, Dorothy Roberts, and Lennerd Davis. The course requires regular reading quizzes, postings to our online forum, and short writing assignments.