Five-College Queer and Sexuality Studies Courses
These courses count toward the Five-College Certificate in Queer and Sexuality Studies (available at all Five Colleges).
Anthropology of Sexuality
SWAG 210/ANTH 210
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00-11:20 a.m.
This course draws on anthropological literature to study the socio-cultural making of human sexuality and its variations. We will critically examine theories of sexuality as a domain of human experience and locate sexual acts, desires and relations in particular historical and cultural contexts. The course offers analytical tools to understand and evaluate different methods and approaches to the study of human sexuality. We will examine the relation of sex to kinship/family, to reproduction and to romance. As we read about the bodily experience of sexual pleasure, we will explore how sexual taboos, norms and morality develop in various cultures and why sex acquires explosive political dimensions during certain historical periods. The course will explore the gendered and racial dimensions of human sexual experience in the context of class, nation and empire. How do class divisions produce different sexual cultures? What economies of sex are involved in sex work, marriage and immigration? What has been the role of sexuality in projects of nation building and in colonial encounters? When, where and how did sexuality become a matter of identity? In addition to a focus on contemporary ethnographic studies of sexuality in various parts of the world, we will read theoretical and historical texts that have been influential in shaping the anthropological approaches to sexuality. We will also briefly address scientific theories of sexuality.
Introduction to Queer Studies
Monday, Wednesday 10:30-11:50 a.m.
Introduction to Queer Studies explores the emergence and development of the field of queer studies since the 1990s. Together, we will examine the relationship between queer studies and fields like postcolonial studies, feminist studies, transgender studies, disability studies, and critical race studies. Students will come away with a broad understanding of the field, particularly foundational debates, key words, theories, and concepts. The course begins by examining the ways queerness has been defined and theorized and then explores the ways artists, scholars, and activists have engaged the queer politics of topics like: the racial state; science and medicine; the U.S.
Mexico-Border; slavery and colonialism; sex and love. The course also focuses on critical thinking, reading, and writing skills. Students will have a broad understanding of Queer studies while also working to reimagine its history and future.
The Battle Between Science and Religion in Reproductive Health Policy
Tuesday, Thursday 2-3:20 p.m.
This course explores past and current debates over the role of religion and science in public policy, specifically in the areas reproductive rights, health and justice. We look both at claims that science and religion are inevitably in conflict, as well as arguments for their compatibility. Topics may include: the FDA's initial refusal to approve over the counter distribution of emergency contraception; claims that abortion is linked to breast cancer and causes a form of post-traumatic stress disorder; the debates over public funding for abstinence-only sexuality education, and coverage of abortion and contraception in the Affordable Care Act. We will look at these issues in the context of broader societal debates over the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in public schools and challenges to claims about the objectivity of science.
Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Digital Age
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m.
This seminar will explore the interface of technology with gender and race, how the concepts of gender, race, and sexuality are embodied in technologies, and conversely, how technologies shape our notions of gender, race, and sexuality. It will examine how contemporary products - such as film, TV, video games, science fiction, social networking technologies, and biotech - reflect and mediate long-standing but ever-shifting anxieties about race, gender, and sexuality. The course will consider the following questions: How do cybertechnologies enter into our personal, social, and work lives? Do these technologies offer new perspectives on cultural difference? How does cyberculture reinscribe or rewrite gender, racial, and sexual dichotomies? Does it open up room for alternative identities, cultures, and communities? Does it offer the possibility of transcending the sociocultural limits of the body? Finally, what are the political implications of these digital technologies?
Mount Holyoke College
Sexuality and Women’s Writing
GNDST 204SW/ENGL 286
Monday, Wednesday 1:15-2:30 p.m.
An examination of how U.S. women writers in the twentieth and twenty-first century represent sexuality in prose. Topics to include: lesbian, queer, homoerotic, and transgender possibilities; literary strategies for encoding sexuality, including modernist experiment and uses of genre; thematic interdependencies between sexuality and race; historical contexts, including the 'inversion' model of homosexuality and the Stonewall rebellion. Authors studied may include Barnes, Bechdel, Cather, Chopin, Feinberg, Highsmith, Jackson, Larsen, McCullers, Moraga, Nestle, Stein, and Truong; supplemental critical readings may include Butler, Lorde, Rich, and Sedgwick.
Feminist Health Politics
GNDST 241/ANTHR 216
Tuesday, Thursday 2:40-3:55 p.m.
Health is about bodies, selves and politics. We will explore a series of health topics from feminist perspectives. How do gender, sexuality, class, disability, and age influence the ways in which one perceives and experiences health and the access one has to health information and health care? Are heteronormativity, cissexism, or one's place of living related to one's health status or one's health risk? By paying close attention to the relationships between community-based narratives, activities of health networks and organizations and theory, we will develop a solid understanding of the historical, political and cultural specificities of health issues, practices, services and movements.
Eggs and Embryos: Innovations in Reproductive and Genetic Technology
GNDST 333EG/ANTHR 316
Friday 1:15-4:05 p.m.
This seminar will focus on emerging innovations in the development, use and governance of reproductive and genetic technologies (RGTs). How do novel developments at the interface of fertility treatment and biomedical research raise both new and enduring questions about the "naturalness" of procreation, the politics of queer families, the im/possibilities of disabilities, and transnational citizenship? Who has a say in what can be done and for which purposes? We will engage with ethnographic texts, documentaries, policy statements, citizen science activist projects, and social media in order to closely explore the diversity of perspectives in this field. We will also experiment with "public engagement" activities designed to foster knowledge and conversations about RGTs and the questions and concerns they might raise.
Anthropology and Sexualities
GNDST 333AS/ANTHR 331
Tuesday 1:15-4:05 p.m.
This seminar focuses on contemporary anthropological scholarship concerned with the varieties of sexual expression in diverse cultural settings. We will read ethnographic accounts of sexual ideologies and the politics and practices of sexuality in Brazil, Japan, Native North America, India, and elsewhere. We will examine anthropological theories of sexuality with an emphasis on contemporary issues, including performance theory, 'third gender' theories, sexual identity formulation, and techniques used by various societies to discipline the body.
Dance Music, Sex, Romance: Popular, Gender and Sexuality from Rock to Rap
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 p.m.
Since the 1950s rock-n-roll and other forms of youth-oriented popular music in the U.S. have embodied rebellion. Yet the rebellion that rock and other popular music styles like rap have offered has often been more available to men than women. Similarly, the sexual liberation associated with popular music in the rock and rap eras has been far more open to “straight” desires over “queer.” This course will examine how popular music from the 1950s to the present has been shaped by gender and sexuality, and the extent to which the music and its associated cultural practices have allowed artists and audiences to challenge gender and sexual norms, or alternately have served to reinforce those norms albeit with loud guitars and a heavy beat.
Queering Don Quixote
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 p.m.
This course is devoted to a slow reading of Don Quijote de la Mancha (1605-1615), allegedly the first and most influential modern novel.Our approach to this hilarious masterpiece by Cervantes is through a "queering" focus, i.e., as a text that exposes all sorts of binary oppositions (literary, sexual, social, religious and ethnic), such as: high-low; tradition vs individual creativity; historical vs literary truth; man vs woman; authenticity vs performance; Moor vs Christian; humorous vs tragic. The course also covers the crucial role played by Don Quixote in the development of modern and postmodern novelistic concepts (multiple narrators, fictional authors, palimpsest, dialogism) and examples of its world-wide impact. With an optional 1-credit course in Spanish (SPN 356) for those who want to perfect their linguistic and literary skills by reading, translating and commenting selected sections of Miguel de Cervantes' masterpiece and additional secondary literature in Spanish F 1:10-2:30; see under Spanish and Portuguese).
Queer of Color Critique
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 p.m.
Students in this course will gain a thorough and sustained understanding of queer of color critique by tracking this theoretical framework from its emergence in women of color feminism through the contemporary moment using historical and canonical texts along with the most cutting edge scholarship being produced in the field. In our exploration of this critical framework we will engage with independent films, novels and short stories, popular music, as well as television and digital media platforms such as Netflix and Amazon. We will discuss what is ruptured and what is generated at intersection of race, gender, class, and sexuality.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Policing, Protest, and Politics: Queers, Feminists, and #BlackLivesMatter
WOMENSST 295P/AFROAM 295P
Tuesday, Thursday, 4-5:15 p.m.
Over the past year few years, a powerful social movement has emerged to affirm to the country and world that Black Lives Matter. Sparked by the killing of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Stanford, Florida, and Zimmerman’s acquittal as well as the police killings of other black men and women, including Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, and Freddie Gray, this movement challenges police violence and other policing that makes black communities unsafe as well as social constructions of black people as inherently dangerous and criminal. Police violence against black people and the interrelated criminalization of black communities have a long history, older than the US itself. There is a similarly long and important history of activism and social movements against police violence and criminalization. Today, black people are disproportionately subject to police surveillance and violence, arrest, and incarceration. So, too, are other people of color (both men and women) and queer, trans, and gender nonconforming people of all races but especially those of color. This course will examine the history of policing and criminalization of black, queer, and trans people and communities and related anti-racist, feminist, and queer/trans activism. In doing so, we will interrogate how policing and understandings of criminality—or the view that certain people or groups are inherently dangerous or criminal—in the US have long been deeply shaped by race, gender, and sexuality.
Reproductive Justice (formerly titled Politics of Reproduction and Mothering)
Monday, Wednesday 2:30-3:45 p.m.
From the Black Panther Party and Young Lords in the 1970s to SisterSong and Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice in the 1990s to Ferguson and Familia: Trans Queer Liberation Movement in the present, communities of color and socialist feminists have fought for a comprehensive reproductive freedom platform--birth control and abortion to be sure, but also the right to raise wanted children that are safe, cherished, and educated. The names of these issues have included freedom from sterilization, high quality affordable day care, IVF, immigrant justice, social reproduction and wages for housework, welfare and neoliberalism, foreclosure and affordable housing.
Sex and Liberation: The 1970s
Tuesday, Thursday 4-5:15 p.m.
As a result of changing understandings of and attitudes towards women’s sexuality, homosexuality, and premarital sexuality, as well as the rise of new social movements such as the women’s and gay liberation movement, new technologies such as the birth control pill, and legal triumphs like Roe v. Wade, the 1960s and 1970s witnessed a “sexual revolution” in the United States and indeed in much of the world. Among other things, the sexual revolution was marked by new forms of sexual expression and practices and new visions for sexual relations, ethics, and sexual-social organization. Central to the sexual revolution was the concept of sexual liberation, the idea that repressed sexual subjects, desires, and practices were now freed of their previous constraints. This claim was seen as particularly true for women and for gay men and lesbians. But what did sexual liberation really mean for these actors? Did it mean the same thing to all? How did women differ in their understanding and experience of sexual liberation? Was liberation synonymous with pleasure? With emotional fulfillment? With independence? Was sexual liberation even financially tenable for women? And what did a politics of sexual liberation look like for different actors? This course will explore the complexity of sexual liberation by examining the history of the “sexual revolution” in the US from the 1960s and the 1980s, focusing on feminist and gay liberation thought and cultural products from the period. Moreover, we will consider the legacy of diverse visions and experiences of “sexual liberation” between 1960-1980 for the present day.
Monogamy: Queer Feminism and the Politics of Social Belonging
Monday 4-6:30 p.m.
Grounded in queer and feminist concerns with marriage and coupled forms of social belonging, this class will consider "monogamy" from a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. From the history of marriage to the science of mating systems to the politics of polyamory, the class will explore monogamy's meanings. Students will become familiar with these and other debates about monogamy, a variety of critical approaches to reading and engaging them, and fields of resistance to a variety of "monogamy stories" within and beyond the academy. The course will draw in particular on feminist critiques of the nuclear family, queer historicizations of sexuality, and science studies approaches to frame critical questions about what monogamy is and what discourses surrounding it can do. Through historical analysis and critical theory, the class will foreground the racial and national formations that produce "monogamy" as we know it. Students will develop skills in critical science literacy, interdisciplinary and collaborative research methodologies, and writing in a variety of modalities.
Sexual and Reproductive Justice
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-3:45 p.m.
This course is an interdisciplinary approach to studying sexuality, reproduction, politics, and social inequality that draws on literatures in gender and sexuality studies, public health, sociology, and public policy. The key objective of this course is to identify how racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of social oppression shape sexual and reproductive health. We will also explore the relationship between social movements, law, and public policy with regards to sexual and reproductive freedom. The course will be organized around basic concepts with added content tailored to students' learning needs.
Sex in History: A Global History of the Modern World
Monday, Wednesday 11:15-12:05 p.m.
Discussions Friday, 9:05, 10:10 and 12:20
This course will survey topics in the global history of sex and sexuality from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. We will explore continuities and changes in the definitions of sex and sexualities, the science and politics of sex and reproduction, the relationships between sex, sexuality, and imperialism, the sexual construction of social and cultural differences in different countries, changing portrayals of sex and sexuality by the state and by the media, social and legal activism with regard to issues of sex and sexuality, and the value of using sex and sexuality as a historical framework for issues in social, cultural, and political history. No prerequisites. (Gen Ed HS, G)
Topics in European Society: Sex and Society
Monday, Wednesday 2:30-3:45 p.m.
This honors course examines the social organization and cultural construction of gender and sexuality. We will look at how women and men experienced the dramatic changes that have affected Europe since 1789 and consider how much these developments were themselves influenced by ideas about masculinity and femininity. We will explore topics such as revolutionary definitions of citizenship; changing patterns of work and family life; fin-de-siecle links between crime, madness, and sexual perversion; the fascist cult of the body; battle grounds and home fronts during the world wars; gendered aspects of nationalism and European colonialism, and the sexual revolution of the post-war era.
U.S. LBGT and Queer History
Tuesday, Thursday 10-10:50 a.m.
Discussions Friday, 9:05 a.m., 10:10, 12:20
Course surveys how queer individuals and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities have influenced the social, cultural, economic, and political landscape in modern American history.
Psychology of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Experience
Tuesday, Thursday 1-2:15 p.m.
Students in this course will explore psychological theory and research pertaining to gay, lesbian, and bisexual people. Topics include sexual orientation, sexual identity development, stigma management, heterosexism & homonegativity, gender roles, same-sex relationships, LGB families, LGB diversity, and LGB mental health
Sexuality and Society
Tuesday, Thursday 4-5:15 p.m.
The many ways in which social factors shape sexuality. Focus on cultural diversity, including such factors as race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity in organizing sexuality in both individuals and social groups. Prerequisite: 100-level Sociology course. (Gen.Ed. SB, U)
Queer Performance and Publics
Tuesday, Thursday 1-2:15 p.m.
The culture and legislature of the United States shape discourses that produce the rights, recognitions, relations, im/mobilities, in/visibility, and mis/understandings of LGBTQIA persons and groups. In the context of history and from various social positions, these changes are read and enacted in multiple ways. This course considers the ways LGBTQIA persons and groups use performance, on the stage and in everyday life, as a form of communication, as communicative strategies that generate dialogue, resistance, and social action in order to more fully participate in mainstream publics as well as create counterpublics and queer world-making.