Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies
Spring 2013 Courses


WOMENSST 187A - Gender, Sexuality & Culture
Alex Deschamps
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.

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

WOMENSST 187B - Gender, Sexuality & Culture
Svati Shah
Monday, Wednesday 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.  (Gen.Ed. I, U)

WOMENSST 201 - Gender & Difference: Critical Analyses
Tanisha Ford
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-Honors
Miliann Kang
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.

See above.  As an honors course, we will incorporate more advanced reading, extensive writing and reflection and provide opportunities for independent learning and community based projects. 

WOMENSST 285 - Biology of Difference
Laura  Briggs
Tuesday 4:00-5:15 classroom
Thursday 4:00-5:15 TBL lab, DuBois Library

The course centrally examines our understanding of the “body”. While humans have many similarities and differences, we are organized around certain axes of “difference” that have profound consequences – sex, gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, nationality etc. These differences can shape not only group affiliation and identity, but also claims about intellectual and behavioral capacities. This course will explore popular claims, critiques and understandings of “difference” as well as academic research, its claims, debates and critiques. This is an interdisciplinary course that will draw from the biological and social sciences and the humanities. We will explore principles of human biology – anatomy, physiology, sex/gender/sexuality, reproductive biology, genetics, as well as the scientific method(s) and experimental designs. The course will give students the tools to analyze scientific studies, to understand the relationship of nature and culture, science and society, biology and politics.  Gen Ed U, SI

WOMENSST 291E - Feminist Health Politics
Jacquelyne Luce
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Health is about bodies, selves and politics. In this course we will explore a series of health topics from feminist perspectives. In what ways do axes of difference such as 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? What is meant by the phrases “social determinants of health” or “racial disparities in health”? Are homophopia or transphobia, 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 informal health networks and formal organizations and theory, we will develop a solid understanding of the historical, political and cultural specificities of health issues, practices, services and movements.

In addition to our discussions of the course readings and films, we will be looking closely at health issues around us – What’s in the news? What issues don’t get coverage? Which organizations might we turn to? What might some of the barriers to access be? You will have the  opportunity  to  experiment  with  the  analysis  of  various  forms  of  health  literature  and communication  –  e.g. policy papers,  news  articles,  blogs,  self-help  books and  information brochures, as well as to create your own contributions, employing multiple methodologies to situate a particular health issue in its historical and contemporary context.

WOMENSST 293F - Radical or Respectable?: Black Women in Popular Culture
Tanisha Ford
Tuesday, Thurs 11:15-12:30

The American public is fascinated with black women’s sexuality, their performance of gender (non) normativity, and their perceived criminality. The language of “radical” and “respectable” is often used to describe black women both in popular culture and in scholarship. These terms are employed to denigrate and/or celebrate black women, their bodies, and their political and cultural contributions. But, is there a clear line between radical and respectable behavior? Have constructions of radical and respectable changed over time? Are these terms even relevant in the twenty-first century? These three questions will guide our discussions and debates on representations of black women in  contemporary popular culture and digital media. We will use feminist theory to explore  the various cultural constructions and problematic controlling images of black  womanhood. Our in-class debates and activities will focus on real and fictional women  such as Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Alike (Pariah), and Olivia Pope (“Scandal”) as well socially constructed images such as the jezebel, the sapphire, and the black lady. During  our class meetings, we will view and analyze a wide range of primary sources—including fashion magazines, films, novels, music videos, and album cover art. We will  also read classic black feminist texts as well as some cutting-edge scholarship on body politics and queer theory. Students will be expected to write two short essays and design  a creative portfolio of original and reproduced material.

WOMENSST 295C - Career & Life Choices
Karen Lederer
Monday 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies teaches critical thinking skills.  How can students use these skills to make informed career choices?  How is it possible to engage in planning one’s career while conscious of the realities of race, gender, sexuality, and class in today’s economy?  What are career options for students whose values include working for a better society?  Is it possible to put together a balanced life and pay the bills besides?  How can pressured college seniors, particularly activists, get all the career tasks they need to do done (resume writing, budgeting, researching career opportunities, networking, informational interviews) while finishing out their college degree?  Students will formulate their own career questions and choices.  The first part of the semester is self awareness, articulating interests, skills and values.  The 2nd part of the semester focuses on workforce information, practical job search skills, and research on a possible field.  Assignments include: self awareness exercises, informational interviews, budget, resume, cover letter, career research and more.

WOMENSST 391CS - Feminist Cultural Studies of Science
Jacquelyne Luce
Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:30 p.m.

In this course we will explore the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary field of feminist science studies. We will pay particular attention to feminist cultural studies of science, addressing the means by which scientific practices, knowledge, and technologies, as well as popular images of science are shaped by local and global dynamics, established and emerging forms of media, and forms of knowledge governance. In what ways do norms and lived experiences of body, gender, sexuality, race, and citizenship shape science? How can the complexities of intersectionality be addressed through feminist engagements with science? How can “science” be rendered visible as part of everyday life?

The course is divided into three parts. We will begin by exploring the genealogy of feminist cultural studies of science learning about the different narratives that accompany its development, as well as about key feminist scholars who have actively shaped this diverse field. Next, we will focus on selected topics such as hormones, chromosomes, transgressions of species boundaries, media and popular representations, imaging technologies and  contemporary configurations of ‘life’. In the third section of the course, we will focus on the relationship between technology, science policy, society and activism. We will do so by engaging in a close reading of contemporary text and simultaneously carrying out group projects in which we explore the possibilities for doing cultural studies of science as a feminist intervention.

WOMENSST 392 - Borders and Bodies: Racialization and Migration in the US and Europe
Jacquelyne luce
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 2:30-3:20 p.m.

In this course, we will take a close look at the ways in which notions of sexuality, citizenship and belonging are being reconfigured in nationalist and postnationalist discourses in the US and Europe. The course will begin with an introduction to comparative studies in processes of identification and racialization, paying close attention to the various ways in which feminist theory has informed engagements with the politics of race in the US and Europe. For example: How have histories of racial hygiene, ethnic wars and ethnic cleansing, colonialism, displacement and immigration shaped how we understand, talk and write about race and ethnicity in local contexts?  How have feminist engagements with migration, border-crossing and citizenship contributed to our understandings of the construction of nationhood and nation-states? Then, drawing on texts, films  and policy statements, we  will look  at key examples  of gendered, sexualized and racialized ‘othering’ through discourses of the US nation, an integrated Europe, human values, and common goals. Throughout the course, we will seek to gain a broader understanding of the role that state policies, media representations and individual and collective actions play in shaping experiences of belonging, exclusion and resistance.

WOMENSST 397 - Feminism, Science and Religion: A Comparative Analysis
Banu Subramaniam
Wednesday 3:35-6:05 p.m.

Science and religion represent two powerful institutions, their histories intertwined and inextricably interconnected. Patriarchal institutions, often hostile to women and gender, feminists have challenged both with great vigor. This course examines these contestations using a comparative analysis of the United States and India. The founders of the United States imagined secularism as a separation of church and state – religion being relegated to the private, and to non-state actors. In contrast, the founders of India imagined secularism as pluralism – the state actively supporting all religions. Despite these contrasting visions, there are animated challenges to secularism in both countries today. The “religious right” in the U. S. invokes its Judeo Christian origins to insist on the centrality of Christianity. Similarly, religious nationalists in India insist on privileging the dominant religion, Hinduism. The course will examine the complexities of the histories of science and religion, and our gendered visions of tradition and modernity. It will emphasize the defining role of gender, race, class and sexuality in the histories of science and religion in both contexts, and how these categories of difference continue to shape the gendered landscapes of religion and science India and the U. S. The course will include discussion on the new reproductive technologies, debates on evolution and the definitions of life, and our ecological futures.

WOMENSST 494TI - IE – Unthinking the Transnational: Political Activisms and the Geographies of Development and Power
Alex Deschamps
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-3:45 p.m.

This course is about the framework of transnational women’s and gendered activisms and scholarship.  We will survey the field of transnational feminist research and praxis, locating structures of power, practices of resistance, and the geographies of development at work in a range of theories and social movements. The course will not only examine the implementation of feminist politics and projects that have sought to ensure some measurable social, cultural, and economic changes, but also explore the ways conceptions of the ‘global’ and ‘transnational have informed these efforts.  We will focus not only on the agency of individuals, but also on the impact on people’s lives and their communities as they adopt strategies to improve material, social, cultural, and political conditions of their lives.

WOMENSST 691B - Feminist Research Methods
Miliann Kang
Thursday 4:00-6:30 p.m.

Description TBA

WOMENSST 692C - Issues in Feminist Theory
Ann Ferguson             
Tuesday 4:00-6:30 p.m.

This seminar is designed for graduate students who want to improve their background in feminist theory as it has developed in the 20th and 21st century United States. In 2013 it is one of the seminars which meets the feminist theory requirement for the graduate certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies.  Some background in social theory is presupposed. Some qualified upper level undergraduates may also be eligible to join the course with permission of the instructor. The seminar will focus on an intersectional approach to theorizing race, class, gender and sexuality, with special attention to the topics of love and solidarity as they develop in that strand of feminist theory sometimes known as materialist feminism. Although the course will be organized topically there will be some attention to historical writings of feminist theory. The theories of gender, sexuality and social domination of Marx, Freud and Foucault will be considered through those feminist theorists who have appropriated aspects of their theories and methods. Texts for the course will include an anthology of readings by Nicholson The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory, Hennessy Profit and Pleasure: Sexual Identities in Late Capitalism, and Alsop et al Theorizing Gender.  Relevant books will be available at Food for Thought books and there will be online readings as well.  There will be a short paper due the middle of the semester, a term paper, a class presentation, and short homework questions.