Fall 2020 Graduate Courses
WST 601 - Feminist Theories
Mary Jo Bona
Mondays 1:00 - 3:50 pm ONLINE
This course is designed to introduce graduate students to a wide range of readings in feminist theories and the impact of gender and sexuality studies criticism on literary studies and feminist narratology. Taking an intersectional approach to argue that multiple modalities—gender, race, ethnicity, class, nationality, ability, geographical location—create social positions and representations structured by inequalities, we will examine and critique a variety of literary/critical texts that anticipate, intervene in, and embody feminist and queer representations in narrative. Loosely organized around feminist chronologies, we will examine early feminisms alongside second-wave and sexuality studies; we then examine critical race studies and black feminisms, and shift to queer of color and transnational feminisms. Readings range from Mary Wollstonecraft and Julia C. Collins to Gloria Anzaldúa, Hortense Spillers, and Maggie Nelson. French feminists, Wittig, Kristeva, Cixous, and Irigaray are read in conjunction with earlier works by Simone de Beauvoir and Virginia Woolf ( A Room of One’s Own , e.g.) and alongside Spivak, Butler, Fuss, and Ahmed. Longer works include Morrison’s Beloved , Rankin’s Citizen and Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek. Collaborative praxis is expected in this class as such work comprises education as a “practice of freedom,” as bell hooks has written.
WST 610 - Advanced Topics in Women's Studies: " Historicity and the Political in Feminist Media Cultures"
Tuesdays 4:45 - 7:35 p.m.
In this seminar we will draw upon feminist and queer media and film studies in order to explore the relations between mass and subcultural media cultures, gender, race, sexuality, and feminism. Our focus will be on examining the role television and film played in the production and dissemination of new forms of gendered and raced political identities and collectivities in the post1945 era. Specifically, we will ask how the media shaped the ways in which forms of cultural belonging and political collectivity were imagined and constituted and how, in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, new forms of gendered and sexual belonging were produced that both challenge and also continue the political and economic expansion of a globalized (late) modernity. We will read texts from feminist and queer media studies including, Amy Villarejo, Ethereal Queer: Television, Historicity, Desire ; Damon R. Young, Making Sex Public and Other Cinematic Fantasies , and Kara Keeling, The Witch’s Flight: The Cinematic, the Black Femme, and the Image of Common Sense , as well as studies in new media and feminist media cultures, including essays by Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Rox Samer, and Cait McKinney.
WST 610 - Advanced Topics in Women's Studies: "Performance Studies: Theories, Methods, Activism"
Wednesdays 4:25 - 7:15 p.m.
What “is” performance, this contested term? What does it “do”? How does what performance “is” and what it “does” change when we interrogate the circumstances under which it “is” and “does”? When we investigate the when, how, and for whom it “is” and “does”? How is understanding performance as an object, a lens, a modality, and a method useful in interdisciplinary studies? And how is performance linked to activism? These are some of the questions we will grapple with in this graduate course.
While mapping the history of the field of performance studies, this course will approach performance from multiple angles. We will analyze performance as a means of creative expression. We will examine it as a mode of critical inquiry. We will discuss its potential as a tactic for public engagement and activism. As we do so, we will attend to both the practice of performance (ex: gestures, behavior, and artistic enactment) and the study of performance (ex: reproduction, observation, and analysis).
Beyond analyzing and critiquing select foundational texts, this course will take care to emphasize the relationship between theory and practice through experiential activities.
[Electives Outside of WGSS] - *Updating Daily*
AFS 533 - Race, Gender, and Globalization
Mondays 2:40 - 5:30 pm ONLINE
This seminar explores current issues and debates relating to the racialized and gendered effects of globalization. Topics include an overview of the sociology of globalization and theories of globalism/the global system, transnational classes and a transnational state, global culture and ideology, transnational migrations and the new global labor market, globalization and race/ethnicity, women and globalization, local-global linkages, and resistance to globalization.
EGL/WRT 506 - Studies in Literary Theory: "Queer Ecologies: Race, Gender, Sexuality, and the Environment in Literature and Culture"
Jeffrey Santa Ana
Tuesdays 6:30 - 9:20 pm ONLINE
This graduate seminar uses ecocriticism and queer theory as its critical lens to explore the concept of queer ecologies in relation to race, gender, sexuality, and the environment in recent literature and culture. As understood and defined in ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, the term queer ecology refers to interdisciplinary scholarly practices that reimagine nature, biology, and sexuality in light of queer theory. As Catriona Sandilands explains, “queer ecology currently highlights the complexity of contemporary biopolitics [as conceptualized by Michel Foucault], draws important connections between the material and cultural dimensions of environmental issues, and insists on an articulatory practice in which sex and nature are understood in light of multiple trajectories of power and matter” (“Queer Ecology” in Keywords for Environmental Studies). Queer ecology upends and resists heterosexist concepts of nature and the natural, drawing from a diverse array of disciplines, including the natural and biological sciences, environmental justice, ecofeminism, and queer studies. At its heart, queer ecology deconstructs various hierarchical binaries and dichotomies that exist particularly within Western human notions of nature and culture. This seminar examines literature and prose (fiction and nonfiction), films, TV shows, and comics/graphic narrative that feature a variety of modern and contemporary representations of human and nonhuman or more-than-human relations in the context of race, gender, sexuality, and the environment. We will examine and explore cultural works (our course’s textual and visual materials) through a queer ecologies critical lens to reimagine nature, biology, and sexuality in light of queer theory. Our goal will be to produce new critical understandings through the lenses of ecocriticism and queer theory as we read and discuss the cultural works for our class. By the end of this course, you should be able to: 1) Understand the methods of and major debates within ecocriticism and queer theory; 2) efficiently locate and comprehend the main arguments in a scholarly work; 3) analyze a variety of cultural works (both textual and visual) from our course’s critical/theoretical perspectives; 4) engage in an intellectually productive and collaborative manner with your fellow seminar members; and 5) produce your own quality scholarly work that both reflects and expresses your own unique voice.
HIS 601 - The Origins of Race & Ethnicity
Mondays 4:25 - 7:15 pm ONLINE
This seminar is designed to help train graduate students in the research and writing of graduate-level research papers, with a focus on issues related to the origins, development, and deployment of ideas about race and/or ethnicity. We will start by reading some short primary sources, scientific discussions, theoretical works, and case studies treating race and ethnicity in the ancient, premodern, and modern worlds. We shall be asking such questions as: When and why did ideas of biological human difference develop? What forms of 'difference' are given salience in various times and cultures? How is 'difference' represented and enacted? How do ideas about race and ethnicity affect politics, social relations, art making, scientific investigation, and civic life? And throughout, we shall discuss how historians frame a question, shape a research project, and present an argument and set of conclusions. Requirements consist of completing all reading assignments and participating actively in class, as well as researching and writing a research paper. In addition, each student will contribute at least one document for general analysis over the course of the term. The second half of the course will be devoted to researching, writing, and presenting working drafts of students’ research papers. The final research paper of ca. 20-30 pages will be due on Dec. 15 .
MUS 542 - Ethnomusicology and Social Theory
Tuesdays 1:15 - 4:05 pm ONLINE
An introduction to major schools of social theory as they may be applied to the analysis of music and related performance forms. Theoretical writings in sociology, anthropology, philosophy, cultural studies and related fields will be paired with case studies that situate musical creation, performance and dissemination within the unfolding of societal processes.
SOC 556 - Political Sociology
Mondays 5:00 - 7:50 pm ONLINE
The study of political institutions and of the politically relevant actions and attitudes of individuals and groups. Particular stress is placed on the reciprocal relationship between social movements and political institutions.
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