Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies Program Courses, Fall 2011


WOMENSST 187A - Gender, Sexuality and Culture IU
Alexandrina Deschamps
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Faculty in Residence RAP course with collaborative/research/community project.  Same general description as WOMENSST 187 with specific focus on reading and analyzing social media from interdisciplinary perspectives.  Taught in Orchard Hill. 

WOMENSST 187B - Gender, Sexuality and Culture IU
Alexandrina Deschamps
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:10-11:00 a.m.

Placing women’s experiences at the center of interpretation, this class introduces basic concepts and key areas of gender both historically and contemporaneously.  It is an inter-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and cross cultural study of gender as well as an overview of theoretical perspectives of its intersection with other social constructs of difference (race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, and age).  We will move beyond the theme of “gender difference” and examine the ongoing debate about the politics of gender inequality and inequity in our societies and cultures.  Students will engage in critical reading and thinking about these interlocking systems which have shaped and influenced the historical, cultural, social, political, and economical contexts of our lives.  Specific attention will be given to resistance of those gendered inequalities, and the various ways that social movements have created new systems of change by engaging in national and global transformational politics.

WOMENSST 201 - Gender & Difference: Critical Analyses
Banu Subramaniam
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Introduction to fundamental questions and concepts of feminist thought and to the basic intellectual tools of analysis integrating economic and cultural imperialism, gender, class, race, and sexual orientation.  Also addresses the multifaceted dimensions of women’s lived experiences within a global context.

WOMENSST 201H - Gender & Difference: Critical Analyses – Community Service Learning
Miliann Kang
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Introduction to fundamental questions and concepts of feminist thought and to the basic intellectual tools of analysis integrating economic and cultural imperialism, gender, class, race, and sexual orientation.  Also addresses the multifaceted dimensions of women’s lived experiences within a global context.  Course readings, lectures and assignments will center the importance of Community Service Learning in the field of women, gender and sexuality studies.

WOMENSST 291A - Gender & Resistance in African American Women’s History
Dayo Gore
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-3:45 p.m.

This course examines the political thought and activism of black women in the United States from emancipation to the present.  Through primary sources, life stories, and essays, this course will explore some of the central concerns that have profoundly shaped black women's experiences in the U.S., including interracial relations, constructions of black women's sexuality, women's labor, state sanctioned racial terror, and the boundaries of citizenship.  We will pay particular attention to the range of politics and theoretical analysis black women employed to articulate their own visions of freedom.  We will also discuss and think critically about the ways identity politics has fueled solidarities and divisions within African American communities and the U.S. more broadly.  In the end, this course strives to provide a overview of black women's political thought, which not only highlights a range of women’s voices, but also complicates the historical narrative of U.S. politics and feminism.

WOMENSST 292G - Crazy Ladies!?!: Feminism(s) and the Diaspora
Allia Matta & Rani Varghese
Tuesday, Thursday 4:00-5:15 p.m.

"...that definition of me, and millions like us, formulated by others to serve out their fantasies, a definition we have to combat at unconscionable cost to the self and even use, at times, in order to survive; the cause of so much shame and rage as well as oddly enough, a source of pride..." ("Reena" Paule Marshall)
Using multi-media sources, including film, images, music and texts, this course examines the interplay of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, and other aspects of social identity in women's lives and communities. Emphasizing intersectionality, transnational feminist  frameworks,intergroup and psychological theories as a critical lenses, we will examine the historical and cultural narratives of women of color. Drawing on authors such as Audre Lorde, June Jordan, bell hooks, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Chandra Mohanty, Suheir Hammad, Gloria Anzaldúa, and Andrea Smith, this course further complicates how history, positionality and culture work to create diverse narratives of women of color in the U.S.

WOMENSST 294D - Introduction to Sexuality Studies
Svati Shah
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.

This interdisciplinary course will provide an overview of the key historical contexts, topics, debates, and politics that inform the emerging field of sexuality 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 nineteen century, and what it means to speak about sexuality studies today.  Topics include LGBTQ studies, queer theories and politics, trans theories and politics, LGBTQ social movements within and outside of the U.S., feminist reproductive justice movements, heterosexuality, homophobia, and HIV/AIDS.  The range of materials covered will prioritize developing analyses that examine the interplay between sexuality and class, gender, race, ethnicity, and neoliberalism. 

WOMENSST 297B - Race, Gender, Sexuality & Science
Angela Willey
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:10-11:00 a.m.

This course will function as an introduction to feminist science studies with a particular focus on the production of race, gender, and sexuality in the biosciences.  We will consider such questions as: What knowledges count as “science?” What is objectivity?  How do cultural assumptions shape scientific knowledge production in different historical periods?  What is the relationship between “the body” and scientific data?  Is feminist science possible?  We will draw on a range of sources including theories and critiques of science, primary science publications (historical and contemporary), pop science bestsellers, and the Science section of the NY Times.

WOMENSST 301- Theorizing Gender, Race & Power
Dayo Gore
Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:30 p.m.

This course provides a historical overview and critical analysis of controversies and current issues in feminist theory.  In particular the course will explore the ways intersections of race, gender, class, nation and sexuality, as well as the politics of difference and power, have shaped feminist thought.  In addition, the course will take into account the ways such theories address practical questions and debates regarding gender relations, women's lived experiences and strategies for social change.  Topics may include work and international economic development, violence against women, racism, class and poverty, heterosexism, the social construction of gender, race and sexuality, nationalism and the state, reproductive issues, pornography and media representations of women.

WOMENSST 391W - Jr. Yr. Writing
Rachel Daniel
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:15-12:05 p.m.

Course acquaints students with the many genres of writing within Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies and is structured around a set of readings selected to represent a large variety of stylist approaches including scholarly writings in a number of fields, book and film reviews, journal writing, letters to the editor, zines, web pages, personal and self-reflexive prose, newsletter prose, and conference reports. The readings will be short, and each will be intended to serve as a model of it’s kind to be analyzed, emulated, and/or critiqued. The course allows students to hone skills on modes of expository writing and argumentation useful for research and writing in a variety of fields. Fulfills University’s Junior Year Writing Requirement. Offered fall semester only.

WOMENSST 392G - Race/Gender: Genealogies, Formations, Politics
Laura Briggs
Tues, Thurs 2:30-3:45 p.m.


A persistent critique of feminism is that its notion of "gender" privileges white women to the exclusion of non-white women. At the same time, policy debates about race in the United States return relentlessly to center on women and reproduction--from the "welfare queen" stereotype that was used to destroyed AFDC (or "welfare," the largest government program in history to serve women and children) to "affirmative action" arguments that suggest that the presence of non-whites in higher education and "good" jobs is illegitimate (a belief that turns ultimately on the assumption of inherited racial differences in IQ, rather than, say, vicious racial differences in opportunities in public school or a racially segmented labor market). Furthermore, while the conventional account of what ails feminism with respect to race is the relative absence of women of color, in the contemporary period and historically, it is not all clear from either the historical record or current opinion surveys that women of color are not or have not been well-represented among those who call themselves "feminists." This course explores these paradoxes and the responses to them by examining what might be called "race/gender," or the gendered constitution of race in the U.S. It begins in the twenty-first century and works backward through the twentieth and nineteenth.The course starts by asking how we might fashion the analytical tools to examine this thing we are calling "race/gender," and then looks at how race/gender has been productive of public policy, feminist activism, theory, and literary texts.

WOMENSST 397D - Body Matters: Race, Gender & the Politics of Bodies  
Miliann Kang
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.

What is a body, and what is its relationship to the self and to society? What contemporary and historical body politics shape how different bodies are perceived, valued and controlled? How do these politics vary in different communities, societies and time periods?  This course will study the body as the container and expression of the self, as the target of shifting race, gender, class and sexual meanings and struggles, and as the product of complex social processes, including culture, science, commodification and globalization.   Specific topics and debates will address; global politics of reproduction; body labor; eating disorders; incarceration; tattooing and other forms of body art;  embodied resistance and activism; Foucault’s analysis of discipline and punishment of bodies; and feminist critiques of the social body.

WOMENSST 791B - Feminist Theory
Svati Shah
Tuesday 4:00-6:30 p.m.

This is a graduate seminar in feminist theory, and constitutes a core course for students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate Program. The seminar will be organized around questions that emerge for feminism from contemporary discourses of transnationalism, economic development, and human rights. We will also be thinking through feminist critiques of free trade, neoliberal economic policies, and the growing prison industrial complex. The course readings will draw from multiple fields, including history, anthropology, and legal studies, with an emphasis on interventions and developments in feminist theory that have emerged since 1985. It will also draw from numerously located feminist work, including much work that is being produced by feminists in India. Given that students will be approaching the work from multiple disciplines, and with a range of theoretical expertise, we will be emphasizing the methodological and historical contexts for each of the works we will be discussing in class. The course readings ultimately trace a narrative arc, from the question of borders and the ways in which feminist subjectivities have been constituted across them, to the intersections of race, sexuality, and contemporary discourses on security, and culminating in questions that arise from instantiations of social movements and subversive practices.