UMass Amherst Stonewall Center

The Stonewall Center at UMass Amherst
Photo - inside the Stonewall Center

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).

Summer 2016

University of Massachusetts

SOCIOL 287 – Sexuality and Society
Session 2 – Sarah Miller

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)

WOMENSST 291E – Feminist Health Politics
Session 2 – Kirsten Leng

What is health? What makes health a matter of feminism? And what might a feminist health politics look like? These questions lay at the heart of this course. In Feminist Health Politics, we will examine how health becomes defined, and will question whether health and disease are objectively measured conditions or subjective states. We will also consider why and how definitions and standards of health have changed over time; why and how standards and adjudications of health vary according to gender, race, sexuality, class, and nationality; and how definitions of health affect the way we value certain bodies and ways of living. Additionally, we will explore how knowledge about health is created; how environmental conditions, social location, politics, and economic conditions affect health; how various groups have fought for changes to health care practices and delivery; and how experiences of health and illness have been reported and represented.

Fall 2016

Amherst College

English 307 – Poetry of the Closet
Monday, Wednesday 8:30-9:50 a.m.
Daniel Hall

This will be an historical survey, from the nineteenth century to the present, of poetry written by gay men and lesbians, both in and out of the closet.

Political Science 160 – Sexualities in International Relations
Monday, Wednesday 12:30-1:50 p.m.
Manuela Picq

From abortion to gay rights, sexuality is deeply entangled in world politics. As LGBT rights become human rights principles, they not only enter the rights structure of the European Union and the United Nations but are also considered a barometer of political modernity. If some Latin American nations have depicted their recognition of gay rights as symbolic of their progressive character, certain North African nations have depicted their repression of homosexuality symbolic of their opposition to western imperialism. The results of sexual politics are often contradictory, with some countries enabling same-sex marriage but criminalizing abortion and others cutting aid in the name of human rights. This course explores the influence of sexual politics on international relations. We analyze how women and gay rights take shape in the international system, from the UN to security agendas, and evaluate how sexuality shapes the modus operandi of contemporary politics.


Hampshire College

CSI 169 – Constitutionally Queer: Law, Gender and Sexuality
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m.
F. Risech-Ozeguera

This course is an introduction to US constitutional law through an extended interrogation of the notion of equality. By reading historical analyses and court opinions that reflect and shape debates about the proper place of the State in queer people's bedrooms and lives, we will gain basic familiarity with modes of legal analysis, constitutional politics and the law as a historically contingent system of power. Until 2003, consensual sex between adult same-gender partners was a felony in many states. Though bans on same-sex marriage were struck down in 2014, the Court was deeply divided on the issue. Full legal personhood for the gender-queer and trans remains elusive. We will examine and critique many of the legal arguments and political strategies that have been deployed to challenge this legal landscape of inequality, and question the normative assumptions of state regulation of sexuality and gender expression. The course will include readings of many of the key race, gender and sexual civil rights rulings of the Supreme Court on what it means to enjoy the "equal protection of the law" promised to "all persons" by the Fourteenth Amendment.

CSI 225 – The Battle Between Science and Religion in Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m.
Marlene Fried

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: claims that abortion is linked to breast cancer and causes a form of post-traumatic stress disorder; the refusal of some public officials to issue marriage licenses to people who identify as LBGTQ; 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.

CSI 303 – Monogamy
Wednesday 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Angie Willey

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. This was previously offered at UMass as WOMENSST 391Q. You may not take this course if you've previously completed WOMENSST 391Q.

HACU 247 – Beyond the Riot: Zines in Archives and Digital Space
Tuesday 9:00-11:5 a.m.
Screening Thursday 10:00-11:50 a.m.
M. Hardesty, A. Kumbier

In this course, we will do hands-on library and archival research to examine queer, feminist, and POC zines from the 1990s and the contexts in which they were produced and circulated. Zines (an abbreviation of "fanzine") are self-published amateur print publications that have been part of U.S. subcultural scenes since at least the 1950s. In the 1990s, zines played a crucial role in sustaining queer and feminist subcultures-the best known being Riot Grrrl-at the cusp of the digital age, when "scenes" were still built through physical correspondence and in-person encounters. This course will explore several library and archival zine collections in the Pioneer Valley, including the Girl Zines collection at Smith, the Margaret Rooks papers at Mount Holyoke, the Zine Collection at Hampshire, and the Flywheel Arts Space zine library in Easthampton. The course will be co-taught by Professor Michele Hardesty and librarian Alana Kumbier of Hampshire College, in collaboration with archivist Leslie Fields and librarian Julie Adamo of Mount Holyoke College. There will be a rigorous schedule of readings in gender and queer studies (with a focus on "third wave" feminism, Riot Grrrl, queer activism, intersectionality, and the ethics of subcultural research) as well as histories of zines and alternative publishing. While the bulk of our primary sources will be physical zines, our research methods will emphasize digital tools (Twine games, GIS mapping, timelines), and students will share research findings on an open access website. Interested students should equally be willing to dig through archival boxes and to learn some very basic coding. This is a Five College Digital Humanities course that is based at Hampshire but will frequently travel to other 5C campuses and sites. email for details.

Mount Holyoke College

GNDST 221QF – Feminist and Queer Theory
Elias Vitulli

We will read a number of key feminist texts that theorize sexual difference, and challenge the oppression of women. We will then address queer theory, an offshoot and expansion of feminist theory, and study how it is both embedded in, and redefines, the feminist paradigms. This redefinition occurs roughly at the same time (1980s/90s) when race emerges as one of feminism's prominent blind spots. The postcolonial critique of feminism is a fourth vector we will examine, as well as anti-racist and postcolonial intersections with queerness. We will also study trans-theory and its challenge to the queer paradigm.

GNDST 241HP – Women and Gender in Science: Feminist Health Politics
Tuesday, Thursday 2:40-3:55 p.m.
Jacquelyne Luce

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.

GNDST 333EG – Reproductive and Genetic Technology
Friday 1:15-4:05 p.m.
Jacquelyne Luce

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.

GNDST 333SC – GLBT Issues in Education
Monday, Wednesday 1:15-:30 p.m.
J. Daigle-Matos

This course will examine heterosexism and transgender oppression in K-12 schools in the U.S. Additionally, this course will focus on how teachers and administrators can work to create transformative and liberatory spaces for GLBT youth in education. Students will be introduced to topics such as nontraditional family structures, bullying, bystander intervention, youth development and adultism. Essays and a final project are required.

GNDST 333TT – Sex and the Early Church
Monday, Wednesday 1:15 – 2:30 p.m.
M. Penn

This course examines the various ways first- through fifth-century Christians addressed questions regarding human sexuality. We will concentrate on the rise of sexual asceticism and pay particular attention to the relationship between sexuality and issues of gender, culture, power, and resistance. Primary readings will include letters, narrative accounts of female and male ascetics, monastic rules, and 'heretical' scriptures. These will be supplemented by modern scholarship in early Christian studies and the history of sexuality.

Smith College

SWG 200 – The Queer 90’s
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 p.m.
Jennifer Declue

This course examines the emergence of queer studies during the early 1990’s and explores the shape the decade takes through analyses of politics and popular culture. The Queer 90’s historically situates queer studies within the Clinton era—amid the AIDS crisis, the backlash against identity politics and conservative attacks against the National endowments of the Arts. By reading queer theories alongside 1990’s era queer independent films, music, science fiction and the mainstream media that represent queer bodies and sexualities, this course contends with the subversive popular culture and the duplicitous political climate that makes the 90’s so queer.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

WOMENSST 230 – Politics of Reproduction
Monday, Wednesday 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Laura Briggs

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. This was previously numbered under WOMENSST 295M. You may not take this course if you've previously completed WOMENSST 295M.

WOMENSST 293L – Introduction to LGBT Studies
Monday, Wednesday 5:30-6:45 p.m.
J. Jeanine Ruhsam

This course introduces Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies. Students will uncover the history of modern, western ideas about sexuality and sexual and gender identity through a wide variety of texts and images across a range of disciplines and methodologies. Sexuality and gender will be considered not as “natural” or consistent phenomena, but as sets of cultural beliefs that have changed over time, manifesting themselves differently in varied cultural and historical contexts. Students will learn how the categories of sexuality and gender relate to shifting regimes of normativity in the twentieth century. Students will also discuss controversies in the contemporary period while being tolerant and respectful of differing viewpoints.

WOMENSST 293Q – Queer Feminist Biologies
Monday 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Angie Willey

This course will serve as a semester-long exploration of bodies and how we know them. We will explore a wide range of queer and feminist approaches to "knowing bodies," and will draw in particular on disability, critical race, and queer feminist theories of embodiment, critical theories of materialism, debates about feminism's relationship to natural sciences, as well as on more creative treatments of these themes in queer and feminist art and non-academic writing. The course will revolve around a series of questions that arise when we think, talk, and write across disciplines, genres, and settings about bodies. These questions include (but are not limited to): What is biology? What is “the body”? What do we know and want to know about bodies? What is health? What is science? What is feminism? What relationships have been articulated among these concepts? How do we assess and bring into dialogue disparate types of knowledges about bodies? Over the course of the semester we will build a shared set of theoretical tools and language for thinking, talking, and writing about bodies and biology and for assessing different sorts of body knowledges. These will guide us in collaborative transdisciplinary research projects. This course is writing and research intensive, collaborative, and experimental. Please come curious!

WOMENSST 297TC – Introduction to Trans* Studies
Monday, Wednesday 2:30-3:45 p.m.
J. Jeanine Ruhsam

This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies. While the history of gender-variant identities in America far precedes that of the United States of America, and while gender diversity is and has been prevalent in most global societies, “transgender” is a recent social category and phenomenon. Many academic disciplines--including anthropology, history, gender studies, psychology and gay and lesbian/queer studies--have studied transgender identities, bodies and communities, but only very recently has the field become institutionalized in the academy as the discipline “Transgender Studies.” In this course we examine the ongoing development of the concept of transgender as it is situated across social, cultural, historical, legal, medical, and political contexts. Just as the discipline is interdisciplinary, so is our approach to it. We will engage with and critically discuss texts from the fields of legal studies, history, English, science, medicine, sociology, anthropology, ethnography and feminist studies in our quest to answer some fundamental questions: What is transgender studies and how does it differ from other forms of scholarship within gender, queer and sexuality studies? What are the key questions and debates within the field? How is the concept of transgender “remapping” the relationship among biological sex, gender, and sexuality, as well as reshaping the meanings of these categories? How does transgender politics compare or contrast to feminist politics, queer politics, and anti-racist politics? Is the term “transgender” applicable to non-Western and previously occurring embodiments and practices? As students immerse themselves in this course, they will consider the broad range of identities the category of transgender describes, the global political movement it has become, and how the community it embraces has emerged into visibility, popular discourse and the academy since the 1990s.

WOMENSST 395G - Gender, Sexuality, Race, and the Law: Critical Interventions
Tuesday, Thursday 4:00-5:15 p.m.
Adina Giannelli

This seminar will consider gender, sexuality, and race in the realm of the law, with a focus on questions of identity, privacy, and the family. Drawing on U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence, gender and sexuality studies, sociological literature, policy papers, documentary, and international law, we will examine the ways in which gender, sexuality, and race are constructed, contested, and regulated within legal, legislative, and juridical frameworks, across systems, spaces, and temporalities. Our course will explore relevant issues and problems within civil rights, constitutional, family, and criminal law, considering topics including: the legal construction of race, gender, and sexuality; feminist approaches to the law of gender, sexuality, and race; the role of privacy, morality, and “rights” in the regulation of sexuality and the family; reproductive rights; adoption, bioethics, family formation, immigration, reproductive technologies, and violence; and finally, the relationship between legal intervention, critical race & feminist theory, activism, and praxis.

WOMENSST 397TP – Trans Identities, Issues and Public Policies
Monday, Wednesday 4:00-5:15 p.m.
Jeanine Ruhsam

This course examines the social, cultural, legal and political issues transgender and gender non-conforming people face in the United States. We will explore historic issues this group of people have encountered and engendered both today and as they have evolved since the colony at Jamestown in 1607.Among the problems we will probe in this course are: The conceptual frameworks around gender, sex, gender identity, and sexual orientation; the categorization, medicalization and pathologization of trans identities and bodies; how media has portrayed trans people; how laws have shaped and been shaped by trans identities and bodies; and, finally, the politics of the trans equality and justice movement. We will seek to find the contexts within which transgender can be used to make claims of the state in a representative democracy. We will ask, what possibilities and problems are presented by using the term to describe people who refuse it as descriptive of their experiences? Similarly, we will inquire what issues arise when cisgender people question those who take the category transgender as meaningful and even essential to their lives. And we will seek to answer, what does transgender tell us about the organization of gender and sexuality in the contemporary United States?

ANTHRO 494BI – Global Bodies
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Elizabeth Krause

The human body has increasingly become an object of anthropological study. The body is rich as a site of meaning and materiality. Similarly, culture inscribes itself on the body in terms of “normalization” and governance. This course will explore pertinent issues surrounding the body today. Topics such as personhood, natural vs. artificial bodies, identity and subjectivity (nationality, race, class, sex, gender), domination and marginalization, and policy will be discussed. We will focus on the body in three main stages: birth, life, and death, with relevant case studies in each stage (e.g., embryos, reproduction, breastfeeding, organs, immigrant bodies, etc.) The course has a digital ethnography component as a final project option. Satisfies the Integrative Experience requirement for BA-Anth majors.

COMM 290AH – Media, Public Option, and LGBT
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.
Seth Goldman

Public opinion about LGBT people and rights has changed dramatically over the last several decades in the direction of increasing acceptance. How can we explain changes over time in public opinion? This course focuses on the role of mass media, thus we examine how portrayals of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have shifted over time. Then, we analyze how these portrayals impact attitudes about LGBT people, support for public policies, and voting in elections.

COMM 497QP – Queer Performance and Publics
Tuesday, Thursday 4:00-5:15 p.m.
Kimberlee Perez

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.

HISTORY 365H – U.S. LGBT and Queer History
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00-11:15 a.m.
Julio Capo

This honors general education course explores how queer individuals and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities have influenced the social, cultural, economic, and political landscape in United States history. Topics include sodomy, cross-dressing, industrialization, feminism, the construction of the homo/heterosexual binary, the "pansy" craze, the homophile, gay liberation, and gay rights movements, HIV/AIDS, immigration, and same-sex marriage. This four-credit course fulfills both "HS" (i.e., Historical Studies) and "U" (i.e.,Diversity: United States) general education requirements.

PSYCH 391ZZ – Psychology of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Experience
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.
John Bickford

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.

SOCIOL 287 – Sexuality and Society
Monday, Wednesday 5:30-6:45 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. Formerly offered as SOCIOL 387 (Gen.Ed. SB, U)