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).

Winter 2015

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

SOC 387 – Sexuality and Society
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)

Spring 2015

Amherst College

SWAG 328 – Science and Sexuality
Tuesday, 2:30-5:00 p.m.
Sahar Sadjadi

This seminar explores the role of science in the understanding and making of human sexuality. The notion of “sexuality”--its emergence and its recent history--has an intimate relation to biology, medicine and psychology. In this course we explore the historical emergence of the scientific model of sexuality and the challenges to this model posed from other worldviews and social forces, mainly religion, social sciences, and political movements. We examine how sex has intersected with race and nationality in the medical model (for instance, in the notion of degeneration), and we look closely at the conceptualization of feminine and masculine sexual difference. We briefly address studies of animal models for human sexuality, and we examine in more depth case histories of “perversion,” venereal disease, orgasm and sex hormones. We also compare contemporary biological explanations of sexuality with the nineteenth-century ones, for instance, the notion of the “gay gene” as compared to the hereditary model of “sexual inversion.” Course readings include historical and contemporary sexological and biological texts (Darwin, Freud, Kinsey, etc.), their critiques, and contemporary literature in science studies, including feminist and queer studies of science. This seminar requires active participation, reading an array of diverse and interdisciplinary texts and preparing research-based papers and presentations.

Hampshire College

CSS 144 – Contested Bodies: Race, Sex, and the Cultures of Biology
Tuesday, Thursday, 2:00-3:20 p.m.
Jennifer Hamilton

Using primary and secondary materials as well as documentaries and feature films, this course explores conceptualizations and representations of race and sex in various domains of scientific thought. We begin by looking at the histories of race and sex in Western science. We will examine gendered and racialized pathologies, such as hysteria and drapetomania, and consider how scientific thought intersected with larger political and economic movements. We will then move into a discussion of the uses of race and sex in the contemporary life sciences. Why is the pharmaceutical industry developing drugs geared toward different racial groups? How have advances in reproductive technologies challenged or reinforced our understandings of our bodies? Why and how is sexuality a key site of scientific debate? Finally, how has the genomic age reshaped (or reinforced) our understandings of race, sex, and sexuality?

CSI 222 – Race and Queer Politics of the Prison State
Tuesday, Thursday, 12:30-1:50 p.m.
S. Dillon

This course explores the history and politics of gender and sexuality in relation to the racial politics of prisons and the police. By engaging recent work in queer studies, feminist studies, transgender studies, and critical prison studies, we will consider how prisons and police have shaped the making and remaking of race, gender, and sexuality from slavery and conquest to the contemporary period. We will examine how police and prisons have regulated the body, identity, and populations, and how larger social, political, and cultural changes connect to these processes. While we will focus on the prison itself, we will also think of policing in a more expansive way by analyzing the racialized regulation of gender and sexuality on the plantation, in the colony, at the border, in the welfare office, and in the hospital, among other spaces, historical periods, and places.

CSI 241 – Renaissance Bodies: Sex, Art, Religion, Medicine
Monday, Wednesday, 4:00-5:20 p.m.
Jutta Sperling

Ever since Leonardo da Vinci produced his anatomical drawings and German artists studied corpses of executed prisoners, the visual arts and the medical sciences converged. While artists strove for the anatomically "correct" representation of eroticized male and female nudes, scientists enhanced the truth-value of their anatomical drawings by employing the new classicizing style. Also in religious art, spiritual truths were conveyed in a sensuous, erotic manner, as the many depictions of semi-nude saints, Christ, and the Virgin Mary demonstrate. In addition to viewing Renaissance and Baroque artworks, we will read recent historical scholarship and primary literature on the discovery of the clitoris and the emergence of lesbian desire; anatomical representations of gender difference; the professionalization of midwifery; the debates surrounding wet-nursing and virginal lactations; male menstruation; homoeroticism in Renaissance portraits; and the invention of the erotic nude in Venetian art.

Mount Holyoke College

GNDST 221QF – Feminist and Queer Theory
Tuesday, Thursday, 11:30-12:45 p.m.
Christian Gundermann

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 333QE – Queer Ecologies
Monday, Wednesday, 11:00-12:15 p.m.
Stina Soderling

Despite cries of non-heterosexual behavior as 'unnatural,' a closer look at 'nature' shows that the more-than-human world is quite queer, indeed. Animals, plants, and fungi exceed and ignore the binary models humans have imposed on them. In this course, we will use a study of the environment as an entry point into contemporary queer theory. We will engage questions of natural and unnatural; the boundary between human and non-human; and the intersections of fact, fiction, and magic. Course materials will include texts, but also an engagement with the campus and surrounding area, through short outings beyond the classroom.

GNDST 241/ANTHR 216 – 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.

Smith College

SOC 253 – Sociology of Sexuality: Institutions, Identities, and Culture
Tuesday, Thursday, 9:00-10:20 a.m.
Nancy Whittier

This course examines sexuality from a sociological perspective, focusing on how sexuality is constructed by and structures major social institutions. We examine the social construction of individual and collective identities, norms and behaviors, discourses, institutional regulation, and the place of sexuality in the state, education, science, and other institutions, and social movements. Consideration of gender, race, class, time, and place are integrated throughout. Topics include the social construction of sexual desire and practice, sexuality and labor, reproduction, science, technology, sexuality and the state, sexuality education, globalization, commodification, and social movements for sexual purity, sexual freedom, and against sexual violence.

SPAN 332 - The Middle Ages Today: Queer Andalus and North Africa
Tuesday, Thursday, 3:00-4:50 p.m.
Ibtissam Bouachrine

This course examines the medieval and early-modern Iberian and North African understanding of sexuality in light of modern critical theory. Special attention is given to Maghrebi and Iberian representations of same-sex desire. Readings include texts by Ibn Hazm, al-Tifashi, al-Nafwazi, Wallada, Ibn Sahl of Seville and Ibn Quzman. Course taught in Spanish.

SWG 271 – Reproductive Justice
Monday, Wednesday, 1:10-2:30 p.m.
Carrie Baker

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of reproductive rights, restrictions and resistance in the United States, examining history, activism, public policy, science and discourses related to reproduction. A central framework for analysis is how gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, disability and nationality intersect to shape women’s experiences of reproductive oppression and their resistance strategies. Topics include eugenics and the birth control movement in the United States; the reproductive rights and justice movements; U.S. population control policies; criminalization of pregnant women; fetal personhood and women’s citizenship; the medicalization of women’s bodies; reproductive technologies; the influence of disability, incarceration and poverty on women’s ability to control their reproduction; the anti-abortion movement and reproductive coercion.

SWG 300 – The Gay 80’s
Tuesday, 1:00-4:00 p.m.
Kevin Quashie

In this seminar, we look at the gay culture in the 1980s. In this regard, we consider four particular aspects: the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and the activism that engages this crisis; the explosion of underground and mainstream art (visual art, music, literature, film, theater) that showcases an interest in thinking about sexuality, gender and gender normativity, sex and eroticism, and intersectionality; the decade’s culture of conservatism, especially in relationship to the legacy of the ’60s and the ’70s; and the emergence of queer studies scholarship.

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

WOMENSST 290B – Transnational Approaches to Queer and Sexuality Studies
Monday, Wednesday, 11:15-12:05 p.m.
Discussion sections: Friday, 10:10, 11:15
Svati Shah

This interdisciplinary course will help students to understand what the term “sexuality studies” means, by providing a foundation in the key concepts, historical and social contexts, topics, and politics that inform the fields of sexuality studies, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender studies, and queer studies. Course instruction will be carried out through readings, lectures, films, and discussions, as well as individual and group assignments. Over the course of the semester, students will develop and use critical thinking skills to discern how “sexuality” becomes consolidated as a distinct category of analysis in the late nineteenth century, and what it means to speak about sexuality and transgender politics and categories today. Topics include queer theories and politics, trans theories and politics, LGBTQ social movements within and outside of the U.S., relationships with feminist reproductive justice movements, heterosexuality, homophobia, and HIV/AIDS and health discourses. The range of materials covered will prioritize developing analyses that examine the interplay between sexuality and class, gender, race, ethnicity, and neoliberalism.

WOMENSST 295Q – Black Queer Feminisms
Tuesday, Thursday, 11:30-12:45 p.m.
Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

This course will explore the writing, music, art, media and cultural thought of queer feminist figures of the African Diaspora. Pairing important creative works with key texts in black queer and feminist theory from various Diaspora locations, we will explore the landscape of contemporary cultural production among black queer feminist communities on a transnational stage. Our work will take us through several genres including poetry, fiction, hip-hop music and videos, blogs and web communities, film, webseries, and drama, and will take up the work of contemporary black LGBT and queer feminist artists from several Diaspora locales including South Africa, England, Germany, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Canada, Cuba, the U.S. and others. Throughout our discussions, we’ll examine the shifting meanings of terms like “black,” “feminist,” and “queer” in each of the settings, and consider how they expand and challenge our own understandings of difference and power. Assignments include regular participation, in-class writing, a short paper, a final paper, a final project, and some creative work. Prior coursework in WGSS, Afro-American Studies, and/or English will be helpful.

WOMENSST 392EF – Sex and European Feminism
Tuesday, Thursday, 1:00-2:15 p.m.
Kirsten Leng

Why has sex been a central issue for feminism throughout its history? How have feminist attitudes towards sex changed over time, and how have attitudes varied amongst feminists themselves? What connections did feminists make between sexual reform, women’s rights, and broader social, political, and economic change? And what are the legacies of past feminist sexual politics for the present day? This course addresses these questions by exploring the history of feminist sexual politics in Europe over the course of the “long nineteenth century,” that is, between the years 1789 and 1918, and will focus on developments in Britain, France, and Germany. From the French Revolution to the First World War, we will examine feminists’ writing and activism regarding intimacy, heterosexuality, same-sex desire, prostitution, and birth control to understand how definitions of “sex,” “feminism,” and “sexual politics” have changed over time. We will also analyze how feminist sexual politics have been shaped by race and class, and will assess similarities and differences amongst feminists from different national backgrounds. Finally, we will explore the ways in which feminism and sexual politics have been shaped by major developments in modern European history—and how these same developments have been profoundly shaped by gender, sexuality, and feminist activism.

WOMENSST 395SB – Sex, Gender and Health
Tuesday, Thursday, 11:30-12:45 p.m.
Josefa Scherer

This class is designed for students interested in women, gender, sexuality and /or queer studies and social science approaches to biomedical and allied health topics. Through readings, lectures, discussions, films and writing we will broaden our understandings of the body (the material body) and the social life of that body (identity and subjectivity). We will discuss potential answers to questions about the relationship between health and medicine and the construction of health, wellness, illness and disease. We will use the creative and scholarly resources we have at our disposal to think critically about the medical encounter and its impact on embodiment and identity. You should take this course if you are interested in spending time thinking about potential answers to questions like: How is the gendered and sexed body seen and experienced in the medical encounter? What do we expect from a medical encounter in terms of providing information about our bodies? What does the medical encounter tell us about ourselves? How are identities, communities and programs of research informed by bodies that look similar to each other and bodies that look different from each other? What does that mean?

WOMENSST 395M – Politics of Abortion in the Americas
Tuesday, Thursday, 1:00-2:15 p.m.
Cora Fernandez Anderson

The Americas have been characterized by the strictness of its laws in the criminalization of abortion. The only countries in the hemisphere in which the practice is legal are Canada, Cuba, the Guyanas and the US. There are countries such as Chile, El Salvador and Nicaragua in which abortion is criminalized even in cases in which the mother’s life is at risk. This course introduces students to the politics of abortion in the Americas. Some of the questions we will consider are: what role have women’s movements played in advancing abortion rights in the region? What has mattered most for the movements' success, their internal characteristics or external forces? Has the way the movement framed the demand for the right to abortion mattered? Has the increase in the number of women in positions of power made a difference? What about the coming to power of leftist governments in many Latin American countries? How has the political influence of the Catholic and Evangelical churches influenced policies in this area? What about the role of the anti choice movement? We will answer these questions by exploring examples from all across the region through primary and secondary sources.

WOMENSST 397TC – Transgender Politics and Critical Thought
Tuesday, Thursday, 2:30-3:45 p.m.
Sonny Nordmarken

Transgender studies is a new and rapidly-growing interdisciplinary field today. This course will examine both long-standing and recent political debates, critiques, and practices of resistance in the field, among scholars, activists, and artists. Investigating these issues, we will consider the following questions. How are trans and gender diverse individuals' lives implicated by interrelated regulatory regimes of gender, racism, colonization, neoliberal global capitalism, nationalism and homonationalism, ableism, medicalization, empire, state governmentality, and ideals of normative embodiment? How do cultural assumptions of sex as fixed and binary shape interpretive frames and thus policies, institutions, administrative systems and social practices that trans people must negotiate? What discursive processes produce, discipline, expel, and erase bodies, and which bodies do they expel and erase? What political debates animate trans and gender diverse communities in the U.S. and across global sites, in this historical moment? How are trans and gender diverse people resisting complex systems of oppression? Through active engagement, both in and outside of class, we will build a critical analytical framework around contemporary trans politics and theory. This is an advanced course requiring basic knowledge of transgender issues.

COMP-LIT 591L – Sex, Love, and Marriage in the Middle Ages
Tuesday, Thursday, 10:00-11:15 a.m.
Sean Gilsdorf

This course explores representations of passion, obligation, and love from the ancient Roman world to sixteenth-century France, in a broad range of literary and historical texts read in translation. In particular, we focus on the formal ways in which relationships were organized under the rubric of "marriage", on the relationship (or lack thereof) between marriage, love, and sexual passion, and the role of homosocial and homosexual desire within this complex set of relationships.

HISTORY 365H/697LG – U.S. LGBT & Queer History
Tuesday, Thursday, 10:00-11:15 a.m.
Julio Capo

This honors general education course (HS,U) 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 charges, 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 the on-going debate concerning same-sex marriage.

LEGAL 392SS – Same Sex Marriage
Wednesday, 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Christopher Sweetapple

This course homes in on the nexus of political contestation and legal interventions over the question of same-sex marriage. Drawing on legal studies, sociology, anthropology, comparative religion, history and other interdisciplinary scholarship, we will investigate how same-sex marriage fits into post-Cold War American political and legal culture, with an emphasis on the social movements and political entities which have forced the issue via traditional activism, media spectacle and lawfare. Open to Undergraduate Seniors & Juniors only. Prerequisite: LEGAL 250. Students who have not taken Legal 250 may enroll with Instructor consent.

PSYCH 391ZZ – Psychology of the Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Experience
Tuesday, Thursday, 2:30-3:45 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. Senior Psychology Majors only. Prerequisite: PSYCH 241

SOCIOL 387 – Sexuality and Society
Tuesday, Thursday, 8:30-9:45 a.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)

SOCIOL 392D – Surveying Sex
Tuesday, Thursday, 11:30-12:45 p.m.
Anthony Paik

In this course, we will examine several areas of the social demography of sexuality, including theoretical and conceptual developments and patterns of sexual expression, with an emphasis on populations in the United States. Specific topics include theoretical perspectives, historical and cross-cultural variation, sexuality across the life course, sexualities and sexual identities, sexually transmitted infections, and the politics of sexuality. Fulfills Junior Year Writing Requirement for Sociol majors. SOCIOL 396B (1 credit) will be added to student's schedule before the end of add/drop. Open to all sociology majors on Thursday, November 20th. Same course as " Social Demography of Sexuality" offered Fall 2014 as Social Demography of Sexuality.