FYS 177 Sex and Sexualities
This course studies the representation of sex and sexualities, both “queer” and “straight,” in a variety of cultural products ranging from advertising and novels to music videos and movies. Topics may include connections between sex and gender queerness suggested by the increasingly common acronym LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer); the advantages and inadequacies of using such labels; definitions and debates concerning pornography, sex education, public sex, and stigmatized sexual practices such as BDSM; the interrelations between constructions of sexuality and those of race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, and class; and the necessities and complexities of ensuring consent.
FYS 419 Tobacco in History and Culture
This interdisciplinary seminar examines the role tobacco has played in shaping global political economies, cultures, and health. Students pay particular attention to how gender, race, class, and nationalism influence and have been influenced by tobacco. From the use of slave labor in seventeenth-century Chesapeake Bay colony to wooden Indians flanking the entrance of tobacco shops, to feminist slogans invoked to sell cigarettes, tobacco has functioned as a signifier and shaper of social norms and divides. Topics include labor and tobacco production, ethics of corporate power, the visual culture of tobacco, health and human rights, smoking and stigma, the global epidemiology of tobacco related illness, and tobacco regulation.
FYS 523 Poetry and Resistance beyond the Gender Binary
What is the gender binary? Who are those who resist it, circumvent it, or otherwise exist beyond it? Can the constraint of this binary be a site of creative production? This course examines the work of trans*, nonbinary, and Two-Spirit poets and writers. Topics include a range of marginalized and gender-expansive identities, the use of language to expand gender, movements for justice and liberation, and the function of poetry in the work of resistance. Students pay particular attention to the role of race, socioeconomic class, citizenship, and ability and the writing of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian poets.
FYS 548 Queer Gender, Race, Representation, Writing
While terms like genderqueer, nonbinary, and cisgender have gained increasing public attention, they often travel without attention to the ways that gender norms, ideals, and privilege depend on matters such as race, ability, sexuality, and settler colonialism, as well as on resources for gender expression and self-determination. Using examples from diverse areas, including fiction, poetry, visual media, art, and sport, this course focuses on the interworkings of queer gender and race, including how those interworkings might factor into our writing practices.
GSS 100 Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies
Interdisciplinary, intersectional study of gender and sexuality in cross-cultural and historical perspective. Attention is given to the dynamic relations of race, class, ethnicity, age, (dis)ability, sexuality, nationality, citizenship, and religion drawing on antiracist, decolonial, queer, and trans perspectives.
GSS 106 TechnoGenderCulture
Two premises inform this course: technologies have histories and cultures; technologies are gendered. The course brings together the disciplinary approaches of science and technology studies and gender and sexuality studies to explore contemporary problems at the intersection of gender and technology. Students explore classic texts in these fields and undertake design processes that help them apply those texts to real-world problems.
GSS 121G Asian American Women Writers
This course introduces students to some major themes and concerns addressed in the literature of Asian American and Pacific Islander women writers. The course spans the twentieth century into the twenty-first, covering canonical and noncanonical texts, including novels, poetry, short stories, memoirs, and experimental and visual texts by Sui Sin Far, Maxine Hong Kingston, Hisaye Yamamoto, Lisa Linn Kanae, Caroline Sinavaiana, Jessica Hagedorn, Nora Okja Keller, and Miné Okubo. This course combines literary analysis with empire studies, cultural studies, women of color feminisms, and queer theory. Students explore the social, political, economic, and historical realities that shape the literature Asian American and Pacific Islander women produce, particularly the authors’ resistances to U.S. military histories and legal policies. They examine writers’ decolonial practices in spaces of U.S. imperialism and their responses to American immigration policies, war, and adoption practices.
GSS 151 Gender, Race, and Social Class in French and Francophone Film
This course explores representations of gender, race, and class including the intersectionality and historical evolution of these categories of difference. Students acquire analytical tools to better appreciate and contextualize French and Francophone films and look critically at their various aesthetic frameworks. How do classic French cinema, surrealism, avant-garde cinema, the New Wave, and postcolonial cinema question social norms and values? How do French and Francophone films represent personal memory, national history, gender relations, and colonial and postcolonial gazes? How do filmmakers address social change and capture shifting identities within French and Francophone history and cultures? Course and reading materials are in English; films are in the original with English subtitles.
GSS 155 Gender, Power, and Politics
This course scrutinizes several sites where power is produced-constitutions, international politics, political theory, social movements, and globalization- in order to assess the impact of gender on the status, behavior, and authority of different political actors. Recognizing how race, class, sexuality, and citizen status matter, students consider why women are under-represented in nearly all governments and how differences in national and international settings occur. Students examine questions, concepts, and theories that acknowledge women’s political agency and help assess their influence across a range of political systems.
GSS 200 Women’s Movements and Religion across East Asia
What are the key challenges faced by women’s movements across East Asia? What roles do religious ethics and cultural norms play in creating either obstacles or opportunities for women activists who seek to counter gender disparity in the pursuit of economic development? Do religious traditions offer challenges or resources for socioeconomic reform? From Islam among Malay and Hui Chinese communities to Confucian-influenced Christianity among South Korean communities, this course provides an opportunity to explore how women’s movements in East Asia engage with religious and cultural traditions in their struggles for human rights and civil liberties, as well as equal access to education, labor markets, affordable childcare, and other development opportunities. Recommended background: one course in anthropology, economics, history, sociology, or politics. Cross-listed in Asian studies, gender and sexuality studies, and religious studies.
GSS 201 Race, Ethnicity, and Feminist Thought
This course focuses on race, ethnicity, and national power at their intersections with gender. Acknowledging the realities of white supremacy and patriarchy, students develop their understanding of these systemic and interlocking oppressions, while exploring the resistance to such oppressions that continues to give rise to critical feminist theory. Using a range of transdisciplinary perspectives, students examine the work of BIPOC feminist scholars and activists and encounter modes of critical and liberatory theorizing that productively challenge notions of what constitutes theory. Additionally, students practice ongoing self-reflection, or awareness of their own positionality and the ways it affects their journey through the course.
GSS 202 Queer and Trans Sports Studies
This course brings queer studies and trans studies perspectives to sport, looking at practice, representation, discourse, and relations among them. Topics include the reach into the lives of all athletes of gender binarism and gender segregation; the regulation of transgender, gender nonconforming, and intersex athletes, including through the delineation of those categories, in the context of other discourses around human variation in sport; the roles of raced masculinities, femininities, heteronormativities, and homonormativities in the valuation of athleticism, athletes, and sports; and issues from pleasure to pink-washing. Recommended background: one course on the study of gender, sexuality, queer studies, trans studies, and/or sports studies.
GSS 204 Classics and the History of Sexuality
This course investigates how the language and culture of ancient Greece and Rome has shaped many of our contemporary ideas on sexuality in the United States. Students explore the role of Greco-Roman material in discourses of sexual identity, freedom, and oppression from the first scientific studies of sexual behavior in the late nineteenth century to notions of sex, gender, and sexuality in the modern day. Throughout the course, students analyze texts from both ancient and modern contexts to see how classical culture has acted as an explanatory force in the fields of medicine, psychology, law, and politics. Students also explore how marginalized groups, especially LGBTQI peoples, have used Greco-Roman antiquity as a means both for forming community and for arguing their equal rights.
GSS 205 Queer Indigenous Studies
This course examines the complex intersections of Indigenousness and queerness within the prevailing context of colonialism. Students investigate experiences at the nexus of LGBTQ+ and Indigenous cultural identities and expressions. What do we mean by “queer”? What do we mean by “Indigenous”? How have the relationships between queer Indigenous peoples-like the muxe (Zapotec), Two-Spirit (North American), or fa’afatama (Samoa)-and their respective communities changed? How are queer Indigenous social movements distinct from general LGBTQ+ social movements? Through theoretical essays, personal narratives, film, fiction, and poetry, students consider a range of cultures to comprehend the global impact of colonization on Indigenous genders and sexualities and recognize ongoing decolonial movements for reclamation. Recommended background: one course on the study of gender, sexuality, queer studies, and/or trans studies.
GSS 206 Gender Traditions and Transformations in the Americas
Beginning with a survey of traditional Indigenous gender systems across the Americas, this transdisciplinary course examines changes over time in the concepts and contexts of gender normativity and nonconformity from precolonial eras through the present. Students explore topics ranging from the meaning of “gender” and “the Americas” to settler colonialism and peoplehood, from #MMIWG2S (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit people) to Black trans feminisms, from surveillance and state violence to the prison industrial complex, in order to investigate the impact of pivotal political and legal changes and cross-cultural movements of resistance and liberation on the lives of people embodying marginalized genders throughout the Americas, in particular those who are multiply marginalized by such factors as race, socioeconomic class, citizenship, and ability. Recommended background: one course on the study of gender, sexuality, queer studies, and/or trans studies
GSS 207 Eve, Adam, and the Serpent
This course examines the historical formation of Genesis 1-4 against the background of its literary, cultural, and historical context and its subsequent interpretation and use in Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions. Special attention is given to the ways in which the biblical texts have been interpreted and used to imagine, promote, and justify social orders – both hierarchical and egalitarian – as well as how the construction of gender relations links to the ways in which other social institutions are articulated and justified. Topics include the creation of the cosmos, characterizations of the Creator, the origins and perfection of humanity, the origins of evil, and the nature of the garden.
GSS 208 Transgender Studies
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies. Students consider questions that challenge the simplistic binaries of woman/man and sex/gender; trace the Euro-Western conceptualization of “transgender” with critical attention to the elision of non-Euro-Western conceptualizations; and investigate the development of transgender studies as an academic field distinct from queer studies. What impact have pivotal political and legal changes and social movements had on the lived experiences of transgender and gender-expansive people, in particular those who are multiply marginalized by such factors as race, socioeconomic class, citizenship, and ability? How are these lived experiences reflected in the scholarship of the field? Recommended background: one course on the study of gender and/or queer studies.
GSS 209 Pixelated Parts: Race, Gender, Video Games
This course considers the politics of race, gender, and sexuality as they emerge in video games and their surrounding ecosystems: in games and their conditions and processes of production, in the representations and spaces of identification that come with the play of games, in the communities that players generate among themselves, and in the affective and material interactions that result when players look at a screen, hold a controller, type on a keyboard, and move a mouse.
GSS 210 Technology in U.S. History
Surveys the development, distribution, and use of technology in the United States drawing on primary and secondary source material. Subjects treated include racialized and gendered divisions of labor, militarism and colonial dispossession, and the ecological consequences of technological change.
GSS 217 Sex and Gender in Ancient Rome
This course investigates Roman categories of gender and sex through ancient and modern theories of gender and sexuality, especially Michel Foucault’s controversial thesis on ancient sexuality. Students examine ancient philosophy, rhetoric, poetry, graffiti, novels, and visual culture to discuss the lived experiences of Roman people, whether gladiators, senators, sex workers, or matrons. Special attention is paid to the diversity of experiences recorded outside of canonical texts, and the influence of foreign cultures on Roman thought and practices. Recommended background: CM/HI 101, 108, or 109.
GSS 219 Social Movements in Latin America
Social movements have often played key roles in Latin American politics. In the 1980s, grassroots movements against dictatorships raised hopes that poor and marginalized groups might spur processes of democratization and development. In the new democratic regimes, however, significant social and economic inequalities persist, marking political and social space in acute ways. This course explores the struggle by poor and marginalized groups for space, both theoretically and literally, through examination of rural landless movements, urban squatter movements, LGBT movements, and women’s movements in the region.
GSS 238 Queer Power: Political Sociology of U.S. Sexuality Movements
This course introduces students to social movement theory and interest group politics in the United States via the case study of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) politics from the immediate post-World War II period to the present, and it examines the relationship of sexuality to the racial and gender dynamics of U.S. identity-based social movements. The course traces the development of research methodologies to study collective action from early rational choice models to resource mobilization theory to new social movement models and political opportunity and process models. How the LGBTQ+ movements drew upon, expanded, and challenged foundations established by both African American civil rights and feminism is also explored. Prerequisite(s): any 100-level course in gender and sexuality studies, politics, or sociology.
GSS 250 Interdisciplinary Studies: Methods and Modes of Inquiry
Interdisciplinarity involves more than a meeting of disciplines. Practitioners stretch methodological norms and reach across disciplinary boundaries. Through examination of a single topic, this course introduces students to interdisciplinary methods of analysis. Students examine what practitioners actually do and work to become practitioners themselves. Prerequisite(s): AFR 100, AMST 200, or GSS 100, and one other course in Africana, American studies, or gender and sexuality studies.
GSS 257 African American Women’s History and Social Transformation
This course examines the political, social, and cultural traditions created by Black women from slavery to the present. Students consider their transformative influence on major questions and social movements. Through novels, plays, autobiography, music, and nonfiction produced by and about Black women, students explore a range of intellectual and cultural traditions. Recommended background: one course in gender and sexuality studies and/or one course in Africana.
GSS 262 Feminist Philosophy
What is gender? What is race? What is oppression? What does it mean to experience discrimination or oppression? Feminist philosophy uses philosophical methods to think carefully about gender, the way gender intersects with other identities, the lives of historically marginalized voices, and the concepts employed in feminist political movements and similar social movements such as those centered around race, class, sexual identity and orientation, and disability. Additional areas of study may include science and society; gender and science; sex and sexuality; reproduction; family; gender in popular culture; and the body and appearance.
GSS 267 Blood, Genes, and American Culture
Places recent popular and scientific discussions of human heredity and genetics in broader social, political, and historical context, focusing on shifting definitions of personhood. Topics include the commodification of human bodies and body parts; racial, colonial, and gendered disparities in science and medicine; and the emergence of new forms of biological citizenship. Recommended background: course work in biology and/or gender and sexuality studies.
GSS 270 Sociology of Gender
This course focuses on the social construction of gender through a consideration of a series of interrelated social institutions and practices central to gender inequality. Emphasis is placed on the intersections between gender inequality and inequalities of race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, and nation. Recommended background: one previous course in gender and sexuality studies or sociology.
GSS 273 US Immigration: From the “Uprooted” to the Rise of the Immigration Regime
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” encapsulates the belief that the United States is a nation of immigrants, yet that can be an oversimplification of a deeply complex issue. This course explores the various reasons people migrate, acculturate, and what it means to be an “American” and an immigrant. Students review immigration records to examine how issues of poverty, sexual orientation, gender, race, and political affiliation affected how people “breathe free” and navigated the US immigration regime from the late-nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries.
GSS 281 Upstairs, Downstairs, and Outside: Gender, Class, and the Household in British History
If the home was the “Englishman’s castle,” its walls were porous. Liberal culture insisted upon separating private from public life, yet households were key sites for negotiating classed, gendered, and racial relationships. Fear that family units might break down spurred social movements and governmental reform. Modern life tends to be understood as the rise of the presumptively white, male individual, someone independent of his surroundings. By flipping the script, this course demonstrates the centrality of women, family, and community in defining and redefining society. Topics explored include work, motherhood, property rights, and the everyday life of politics, capitalism, and empire.
GSS 282 Constitutional Law II: Rights and Identities
An introduction to constitutional interpretation and development in civil rights and race equality jurisprudence, gender equality jurisprudence, sexual orientation law, and matters related to privacy and autonomy (particularly sexual autonomy involving contraception and abortion access). Expanding, contracting, or otherwise altering the meaning of a right involves a range of actors in a variety of venues, not only courts. Therefore, students consider rights from a “law and society” perspective, analyzing judicial rulings as well as evaluating the social conceptualization, representation, and grassroots mobilization around these rights. Prerequisite(s): PLTC 115 or 191 or any course in gender and sexuality studies. Recommended background: PLTC 216.
GSS 283 Early Modern Sex and Sexuality
This course applies the methods of gender and sexuality studies to early modern literature. Taking up Michel Foucault’s contention that sexual identity was an “invention” of the nineteenth century, students theorize and historicize sex and sexuality in the three centuries prior to this moment. Can we see the traces of identity in sexual desire in early modernity? How is sexual desire related to gender? To race? To class? To other intersectional identities? What might it mean to queer an early modern text? And how do literary genres from the period – poetry, drama, prose – enable the exploration of these questions? Recommended background: ENG 213 or 214.
GSS 287 Gender and Visual Culture
This course concerns gender in the making and viewing of visual culture, with emphasis on the later twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and the roles of visual culture in the construction of gendered identities. Topics include the use of the visual in artistic, political, and historical representations of gendered people; queer and trans genderings; the visualization of gender in relation to race, ethnicity, nationality, class, age, sex, and sexuality; and matters of censorship, circulation, and resources that affect the cultural production of people oppressed and/or marginalized by sex and/or gender.
GSS 295 The Decorated Body
This course analyzes the arts associated with the body, using the body as subject and as lens for theoretical discussions in relation to non-Western and Western cultures. Cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary, with particular attention to the body as gendered and raced, the course addresses the ways that the body has been adorned and manipulated as an artistic medium through practices including painting, scarification, surgical manipulation, tattooing, piercing, branding, and hair adornment.
GSS 299 Gender in African Art
This course examines the complex role of gender in African art and visual culture. Focused topics include gender divisions in artistic production, women in royal traditions, gender restrictions in viewing sacred arts, arts and visual culture celebrating women’s power, performative cross-dressing, gender identities in cultural performance, the personification of spirit spouses, and cis- and transgender expressions in contemporary art.
GSS 301Z Race and U.S. Women’s Movements
This course considers how racial formations have developed in and influenced gendered and feminist movements. Movements examined may include woman’s suffrage, anti-lynching, civil rights, Black Power, LGBTQ+, moral reform, welfare rights, women’s liberation, and peace. Topics examined include citizenship, colonization, immigration, reproductive justice, and gender-based violence. Cross-listed in gender and sexuality studies, history, and politics.
GSS 302 Black Feminist Activist and Intellectual Traditions
This seminar examines the intersections of gender with Black racial and ethnic identities as they have been and are constructed, expressed, and lived throughout the anglophone and francophone African/Black diaspora. The course not only pays special attention to U.S. women and the movements where they lead or participate; but it also devotes substantial consideration to African, Caribbean, Canadian, European, and Australian women of African descent. The course combines approaches and methodologies employed in the humanities, social sciences, and arts to structure interdisciplinary analyses. Using Black feminist (womanist), critical-race, and queer theories, students examine Black women’s histories; activism; resistance; and cultural, intellectual, and theoretical productions, as well as digital literacy. Prerequisite(s): one course in Africana, American studies, or gender and sexuality studies.
GSS 303 Birthing while Black
This course explores the complex and intense history of Black reproduction in the United States and abroad. Students examine the social value of Black life both during and after enslavement. They mine contentious topics such as welfare caps, compulsory sterilization, abortion access, and the disparate experiences of Black mothers in the U.S. healthcare system that have led to maternal death rates twice the national average. The course considers both the ordinary experiences of Black women birthing as well as the sensationalized experiences of mothers such as activist Erica Garner, athlete Serena Williams, and pop icon Beyoncé.
GSS 304 Intersectional Political Theory: Lesbian, Black, and Indigenous Feminisms
In the era of the Women’s March, #MeToo, and #SayHerName, “intersectionality” has become a watchword in feminist and queer politics. But what does it mean to think, act, or organize intersectionally? What conflicts and inequalities do intersectional frameworks identify? Can–or should–intersectional approaches attempt to solve these challenges once and for all? This course examines how lesbian, black, and indigenous feminists have differently encountered these challenges from the 1960s to the present. Prerequisite(s): PLTC 191.
GSS 305 College for Coming Times
Why attend class in the era of instantaneously streaming information? What purposes might educational institutions such as Bates, created as nineteenth-century Protestant seminaries, hold for lives framed by the pressing global challenges of the twenty-first century? This advanced discussion seminar, grounded in the emerging field of Critical University Studies, addresses these and related questions. Drawing insight from feminist, queer, disability, and critical race approaches, students consider the role of small residential colleges in confronting issues such as student debt, workplace automation, health disparities, and climate justice. Prerequisite(s): GSS 100.
GSS 307 Spaces of Black Liberation
This course examines Black Feminisms in the Americas through an anthropological lens. Using decolonial frameworks, students engage with media created by Black womxn with an emphasis on Brazil and the United States. They analyze how Black communities exercise everyday forms of resistance through knowledge sharing, communal care, art (music, visual and performance), refusal, abolition, and other forms of social and political activism. Prerequisite(s), which may be taken concurrently: one course in Africana, anthropology, gender and sexuality studies, or sociology. Recommended background: coursework in the humanities or social sciences. Crosslisted in Africana, Anthropology, and Gender and Sexuality Studies.
GSS 309 The Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
This course examines the experiences of LGBTQ people from a psychological perspective. Topics include identity development, coming out, LGBTQ relationships and communities, prejudice toward LGBTQ people, mental health outcomes and disparities, and resilience and thriving in LGBTQ people. Emphasis is placed on psychological experiences at intersections of sexual orientation/gender identity and other social identities, including ethnicity, religion, age, and ability status. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level psychology course. Only open to juniors and seniors.
GSS 310 Gender, Race, and Judaism
In this course, students explore aspects of Jewish culture and images of Jews and Judaism through intersectional lenses, with a particular focus on gender, sexuality, and race. They examine ideologies, images, and practices related to gender, sexuality, and race with an eye to the ways these are constructed, maintained, contested, transformed, and queered in Jewish contexts. Feminist/womanist scholars and practitioners of Judaism serve as sources for insight and critique as well as a constructive resource for religious reflection, ritual, and visions of Judaism’s future.
GSS 311 Buddhism and Gender
This course examines the role of gender in Buddhist communities from the inception of the religious tradition to the modern day. How has gender identity influenced the development of this tradition? Where do we see gender in Buddhist literature, doctrine, and art? How do modern ideas of what “Buddhism” is affect change in the North American context, and how is this different from the Buddhist past? The course draws on a variety of sources, including literary, cinematic, and visual materials, to answer these questions. Special attention is given to how gender is presented in doctrinal texts, and the (dis)connection between these documents and the lived experiences of Buddhist people, as presented in interviews and autobiographies by Buddhist practitioners from a variety of moments and communities.
GSS 312 Transgender Narratives
Many transgender and gender-expansive authors have written about navigating the experiences of childhood, coming out, transition, passing or not passing, or not trying to pass, and living within a cis-normative society. What is compelling or relatable about these narratives? Are there similar patterns or arcs among them? How do these differ from the trans experiences depicted by cisgender authors? Using memoir, blogs, vlogs, prison letters, interviews, poems, and diary entries, students examine the narratives that transgender and other gender-expansive people construct and present about their experiences.This interdisciplinary course considers the telling of one’s own story and the impetus to do so for people embodying marginalized genders, especially those who are multiply marginalized by such factors as race, socioeconomic class, ability, citizenship, and place. Recommended background: one course on the study of gender, sexuality, queer studies, and/or trans studies.
GSS 313 Gender in American Indian Literature
This course investigates the portrayal of gender in American Indian literature, especially as contrasted with depictions of American Indian gender in U.S.-American settler culture. This seminar outlines a chronology of American Indian literature, highlights the significance of the oral tradition, and foregrounds the ever-relevant role of story to Indigenous peoplehood. Students also consider the social constructions of gender; tribal, Native-national, and regional perspectives; and the ongoing, pervasive effects of settler colonialism in defining the historical and contemporary cultural contexts of the literary works. Prerequisite(s): GSS 100. Recommended background: one course in gender and sexuality studies, queer studies, trans studies, or Indigenous studies.
GSS 314 Sex and the Modern City: European Cultures at the Fin-de-Siècle
Economic and political change during the 1800s revolutionized the daily lives of Europeans more profoundly than any previous century. By the last third of the century, the modern city became the stage for exploring and enacting new roles, new gender identities in particular. This course examines the cultural reverberations of these cataclysmic changes by focusing on sex, gender, and new urban spaces the decades around the turn of the twentieth century. Students consider the writings of Zola and Freud, investigate middle-class flirtations with the occult, and read about sensational crimes like those of Jack the Ripper.
GSS 322 Gender, Race, and Power in Christianity
This course explores relationships among constructions of gender, sexuality, race, and religious power in Christian cultures from antiquity through modernity. Recommended background: at least one course in gender and sexuality studies or religious studies.
GSS 323D Feminist Epistemology
In this course, students read feminist accounts and critiques of how we know what we know as well as how and what we value, and why. Students consider questions such as: Is rationality gendered? Are conceptions of philosophy “masculine”? What role do “subjects” play in knowledge production? What epistemic role does ignorance play in knowing and unknowing? What role does epistemic responsibility play in being justified? What is epistemic injustice and how can such injustice be addressed? Prerequisite(s): two courses in philosophy; or two courses in gender and sexuality studies; or one course in philosophy and one course in gender and sexuality studies. Recommended background: PHIL 236 and GS/PL 262.
GSS 325 Black Feminist Literary Theory and Practice
This seminar examines literary theories that address the representation and construction of race, gender, and sexuality, particularly, but not exclusively, theories formulated and articulated by Afra-diasporic women such as Spillers, Ogunyemi, Carby, Christian, Cobham, Valerie Smith, Busia, Lubiano, and Davies. Students not only analyze theoretical essays but also use the theories as lenses through which to explore literary productions of women writers of Africa and the African diaspora in Europe and in the Americas, including Philip, Dangarembga, Morrison, Gayl Jones, Head, Condé, Brodber, Brand, Evariston, Zadie Smith and Harriet Wilson. Cross-listed in Africana, English, and gender and sexuality studies. Strongly recommended: at least one literature course.
GSS 326 The Politics of Authenticity
Is there such a thing as an authentic self? If so, can politics help us realize it? In this writing-attentive course, students discuss what the politics of authenticity is or might be, how it has been conceptualized in American politics and Western political theory, and why it has become an object of widespread suspicion and continuing appeal. Students examine how authenticity has been posited and contested in three different domains: in the history of Western political thought; in feminist, queer, and transgender writings; and in discussions of race. Authors include Rousseau, Freud, Butler, Malcolm X, Yoshino, and Coates.
GSS 327 Gendered Experiences in the Américas Borderlands
Students become acquainted with film, comics, music, fiction and nonfiction narratives that engage border tensions and issues of immigration in English and Spanish. Concepts such as sense of place, mobility, and permanence; histories of place; place of enunciation; transnational historical memory of migration; and transnational historical networks are utilized as critical lenses to analyze gendered experiences of migration. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level Hispanic studies course above HISP 211. Only open to juniors and seniors. Recommended background: HISP 230.
GSS 335 Tobacco: Gender Matters
In “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes,” the opening episode of the television show Mad Men, cigarettes feature as the primary signifier of mid-twentieth-century social norms. In this reading- and research-intensive seminar, students use gender and queer theory to examine the global history of tobacco production, consumption, and control. Through historical and comparative study, they explore the role of tobacco in shaping intersecting ideas about gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and class. Topics include the political economy of tobacco, tobacco control movements, tobacco and human rights, and health equity. Prerequisite(s): GSS 100.
GSS 340 Work, Family, and Social Inclusion
This seminar explores debates in the research and policy literature on work, family, and social inequality, particularly in the United States. Topics include family policy, poverty, reproduction, partnerships, parenting, and the integration of work and family. All of these topics are addressed with attention to social inclusion and exclusion on the basis of intersecting social inequalities, including race, class, gender, sexuality, and nation, as well as critical analysis of neoliberal approaches to work and family. Prerequisite(s): INDS 250 or SOC 205.
GSS 343 Women, Culture, and Health
This course examines a variety of perspectives on women’s health issues, including reproductive health, body image, sexuality, substance use and abuse, mental health, cancer, AIDS, heart disease, poverty, work, violence, access to health care, and aging. Each topic is examined in sociocultural context, and the complex relationship between individual health and cultural demands or standards is explored. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level psychology course.
GSS 344 Gendering Social Awareness in Contemporary Spain
In this course, students use gender as the main category of analysis, paying particular attention to its interconnectedness with power. Carefully examining texts written by women in contemporary Spain, students explore the deliberate use of gender as a lens through which to understand different forms of domination-economic, political, and social. Taught in Spanish. Prerequisite(s): one 200-level Hispanic studies course above HISP 211. Recommended background: HISP 231. Only open to juniors and seniors.
GSS 345 Trans Studies in the Politics of Visibility
Many people have welcomed the increased visibility of trans and/or gender-nonconforming people as a sign of progress. Yet who is visible, what constitutes visibility, and whom do particular visibilities benefit? This course uses a trans studies framework to consider both the products and the politics of visibility. Topics include the representation of queer gender and trans and/or gender-nonconforming people in contemporary visual culture; critiques of visibility in relation to state surveillance and white supremacy; and the interconnected roles of norms regarding race, sexuality, ethnicity, class, and ability in perceptions and practices of gender normativity and transgression. Recommended background: at least one course with substantial work in gender, queer, or trans studies or the study of visual culture.
GSS 346 Knowledge, Action, and Social ChangeKnowledge, Action, and Social Change
This seminar explores the politics of knowledge and the potential role of research in advancing social justice and social change. Students consider competing perspectives on the public relevance of academic research, including debates within sociology and feminist studies. With those debates as context, students conduct publicly-engaged work through community-based research projects on issues related to social inequality. Prerequisite(s): INDS 250 or SOC 205.
GSS 353 Critical Theory/Critical Acts
Critical theory unravels streams of repressive discourses and hierarchies in our contemporary world, and artists have fostered ruptures and fissures in everyday life. This seminar ponders the concept of “cultural worker” and laments the domain of theory by exploring the intersections between critical theory, art, and cultural politics. Students engage in the ruptures, the fragments of knowledge, and making sense of the residue of “social change” while not forgetting the problematization of the aesthetic. They consider U.S.-based interdisciplinary artists such as Thiong’o, Fusco, Ana Mediata, Tania Bruguera, David Hammon, Jay-Z, Pope.L, and Lady Gaga with critical theorists such as Fanon, Butler, Foucault, Phalen, Muñoz, Moten, Adorno, Barthes, Olkowski, and Benjamin. This seminar is based on close readings of theoretical texts and connecting those texts with contemporary cultural politics.
GSS 356 Marriage in America
Investigates the surprising history of ideas and practices of marriage in the United States and U.S. territories from the eighteenth century to the present. Paying special attention to the idealization of intimate romantic love in contemporary popular culture, readings and discussions explore the interplay of citizenship, religion, consumption, labor, reproduction, sexuality, and racialized gender in an institution often portrayed as at the center of American life. Prerequisite(s): GSS 100.
GSS 360 Independent Study
Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study per semester.
GSS 365 Special Topics
A course or seminar offered from time to time and reserved for a special topic selected by the Committee on Gender and Sexuality Studies.
GSS 377 Colon/Colonisé: Récits de l’Expérience Nord-Africaine
This course studies the colonial, postcolonial, and immigrant experience of North Africans as portrayed in Francophone literature. Readings include narratives and journals from the beginning of the colonial period in Algeria (1830), as well as the contemporary novels and discourse of feminists such as Assia Djebar, Malika Mokeddem, and Leïla Sebbar. Gender is highlighted as a category of analysis. Prerequisite(s): FRE 240, 250, or 251.
GSS 384 Education in a Globalized World
We live in an era characterized by global flows of ideas and information, commodities, and people. In this course students examine the impacts of globalization on education policy and practice. Students explore how these transformative forces influence schools and schooling in different geographical, national, and cultural contexts. Topics address a set of concerns with enduring resonance to the field of educational studies, including social inequity and change; relations of power; and constructions of race, gender, and social class. A thirty-hour field experience is required.
GSS 391M Rhetorics of the Body: Intersections of Identity, Power, and Culture
Bodies are profoundly rhetorical: they compel audiences to act, think, and be in the world differently. Rhetoric is also profoundly embodied: rhetorical messages are articulated through bodies that exist at the intersection of various dynamics of identity and power. As both vehicles and artifacts of rhetoric, bodies hold the power to reveal, maintain, and disrupt the underlying beliefs, norms, and values of a given culture. This course explores the relationship between the body and rhetoric, including how bodies communicate rhetorical messages as well as how broader discourses enable, constrain, and define bodies in particular ways. Prerequisite(s): one course in rhetoric, film, and screen studies.
GSS 395D Gender and Species
Grappling with gender and species at once, this course considers two concepts that have enforced binary thinking about what defines and divides human life. Reaching back to medieval and early modern literature, students examine representations that push against received formulations of man/woman and human/animal. How have categories of gender and species reinforced one another in figurations of living bodies and their experiences? Can we liberate our reading from either of these binaries? What are the promises of such a liberation? Readings include theoretical interventions from animal studies, posthumanism, queer and transgender theory, and ecofeminism. Prerequisite(s): one 100-level English course.
GSS 395Q Reading Feeling: Literature and Affect Theory
What does it mean to recognize the body as affectable? How might this recognition inform our understanding of power? How has affect contributed to the study of literature, and how might literature contribute to the study of affect? Students read literature of various genres side-by-side with the development of “affect theory.” They trace the tendrils of feeling and emotion to some foundational roots in philosophy, psychology and psychoanalysis, and cognitive science, but the focus is on the affect theory that develops out of feminism, queer theory, and women of color- and queer of color-critique. Prerequisite(s): one 100-level English course. Recommended background: ENG 296.
GSS 400 Junior-Senior Seminar
This seminar is an advanced inquiry into feminist and queer theories and methods. Drawing on work in several disciplinary fields, students ask how using gender and sexuality as categories of analysis illuminates and/or alters work in other disciplines. Students also investigate the development of core theories and methods within gender and sexuality studies. Required of all majors and minors. Normally, one 400-level seminar is offered each year.
GSS 400A On Gender and Tyranny
The contemporary turn toward more authoritarian rule in the Global North has aroused intense popular and scholarly concern. Much of the mainstream commentary on the present tilt toward authoritarianism, however, ignores both longer histories of enslavement, captivity, and colonization, and the complex connections between shifting forms of governance and gendered relations of power and resistance. This reading-intensive seminar is designed to hone students’ engagement with the intricacies of gender, sexuality, tyranny, and freedom in our times.
GSS 400C Understanding Disease
Intensive reading seminar examining the nature, causes, and consequences of human disease and illness. Students consider biomedical models of disease; the professionalization of medical care; and the role of class, nation, gender, sexuality, and race in disease research and treatment. Prerequisite(s): five core courses in gender and sexuality studies.
GSS 400D Global Feminisms
Explores feminist, queer, and trans movements in transnational perspective. Topics may include divisions of labor, health, capitalism, immigration and migration, decolonization, and cultural imperialism. Students analyze local and international social movements and examine, among others, definitions of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and nationhood. Prerequisite(s): five core courses in gender and sexuality studies.
GSS 400F Gender and Material Culture
This intensive reading junior/senior seminar explores material culture and the production of gender, sexuality, race, and nation. It examines how identities, circuits of power, and value are constructed and negotiated through commodity culture and capitalism. It considers how objects like hoodies, cigarettes, and vanity license plates come to have meaning, and asks what role material culture plays in expressions of pain, pleasure, grief, and resilience. Prerequisite(s): five courses in gender and sexuality studies.
GSS 457 Senior Thesis
The research and writing of an extended essay or report, or the completion of a creative project, under the supervision of a faculty member. Majors normally register for GSS 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both GSS 457 and 458.
GSS 458 Senior Thesis
The research and writing of an extended essay or report, or the completion of a creative project, under the supervision of a faculty member. Majors normally register for GSS 458 in the winter semester. Majors writing an honors thesis register for both GSS 457 and 458.
GSSS 50 Independent Study
Students, in consultation with a faculty advisor, individually design and plan a course of study or research not offered in the curriculum. Course work includes a reflective component, evaluation, and completion of an agreed-upon product. Sponsorship by a faculty member in the program/department, a course prospectus, and permission of the chair are required. Students may register for no more than one independent study during a Short Term.