Fall 2023 Graduate Courses
WST 601 - Feminist Theories
Tuesdays: 1:00 - 3:50pm
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 - "Queering Sci-Fi Comics"
Thursdays: 1:00 - 3:50pm
Sequential graphic narratives have had a long—and fraught—history. They have been deemed a threat to the moral fiber of society; they have been hailed as a new mode of resistance. In this seminar, we will examine some of that history, develop a vocabulary to discuss them, and read many post-2010 queer SF comics. We will read works by queer content creators, works featuring queer characters, and works that queer the SF comic form. Titles may include Bitch Planet, Decrypting Rita, The Infinite Loop, Kim & Kim, Merry Men, SfSX, Barbalien, Cyclopedia Exotica, Murenga, and Don’t Go without Me.
WST 610 - Advanced Topics in Women's Studies - "Black Feminist and Womanist Thought"
Wednesdays : 4:00-6:50pm
This course will explore the historical development of Black Feminist and Womanist Thought. It will mainly be taught through an African American Feminist and Womanist lens and include diasporic and continental contributions. It will explore how Black Feminist and Womanist thought can be utilized as a theory and method.
[WGSS-Related Electives] - (courses still being added)
EGL 608 - Relations of Literature & Other Disciplines - "Literature, Medical Humanities, and Disability Studies"
Well or sick, functioning or beleaguered, it behooves us always to acknowledge and protect thehumanity of the mortal human being in our midst. For caretakers, this means not seeing the one afflicted as merely suffering from a disease, per se (i.e. an objective pathogenic condition), but also as coping with an illness (i.e. the subjective distress, and possibly crisis, which ensues when one’s world is disrupted by falling sick). An “ill-ness” refers to the state in which one’s every relation to everything in one’s life becomes imperiled after one falls ill. When we are sick we are most vulnerable, and arguably most ourselves. Correspondingly, “compassionate care” is anything but a redundancy. For, in order for care to be compassionate, the one rendering care must look directly at, and attentively to, the other in need, which is to say, relationally. Just what this entails, and how best to harness the virtues of “compassionate care,” is the discipline of the medical humanities.
While we will all fall ill in our lives---and are guaranteed to know people we love who will fall ill---we are not all equally abled. In this respect, beyond our human existential predicament, there is an additional communal aspect to populations whose chronic experiences meeting the challenges of being variously abled is identity-forming for them while edifying for those who are fully abled. What assumptions about disability are revealed through literary analysis of fiction, memoir, and through the rhetorical analysis of published criticism of such texts? This further subset of issues, which both fall within and go beyond the field of medical humanities, constitute the discipline of disability studies.
With regard both to the medical humanities and to disability studies, throughout the semester we will examine literature which brings the reader into the room of the one acutely ailing or living with a chronic condition in order to investigate what life looks like from that person’s perspective. To this end, we will look closely at the un-, or only partially solvable, moral dilemmas precipitated by scenarios in which difficult outcomes are imminent, and we will take a hard look at harmful stereotypes in an endeavor to understand the subtle manner in which they came to be. We will, finally, pay some attention to these issues within the context of the ongoing burden of having had to cope with life during the Covid-19 pandemic. We will read a number of classic and contemporary authors in this course, possible examples which include, but are not limited to: Paul Kalanithi, Albert Camus, Francis Peabody, George Bernard Shaw, Leo Tolstoy, Fang Fang, Annie Dillard, Atul Gawande, Margaret Atwood, Eva Kittay, Harriet McBryde Johnson, Michael Bérubé, Alice Wong, Georgina Kleege, and John Lee Clark.
HIS 543 - Theme Seminars on Gender, Sexuality, and Reproduction - "Race, Sexuality & The Nation"
This course stands at the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, nation (origin and citizenship), and class. Of particular interest are communities formed as alternative and, at times, transformative spaces. In addition to reading both classic and pathbreaking historical works, you will be assembling your findings from the archive. How do we narrate the experiences of the undocumented, the marginalized, the colonized, the queer, the subaltern? To uncover those stories, the archive is broadly defined, ranging from traditional repositories to songs to the body to ephemeral spaces. The course is open to those who seek to craft academic narratives as well as to those who wish to explore innovative writing techniques.
MUS 536 - Areas Studies in Ethnomusicology: "Emcee Ethnographies"
Examination of the music of a selected world area, combining musical analysis with a consideration of historical, social, and performance contexts. Recent topics have included Brazilian music from 1822 to the present; music, politics, and society in Eastern Europe; and a century of Middle Eastern musics.
MUS 537 - Research Methods in Ethnomusicology: The Interpretation of Sound
This course is an intensive, hands-on introduction to research methods in the ethnographic study of sound. The study of sound (including musical sound) in the humanities has been approached through diverse methods drawn from linguistic anthropology, deep listening, affect theory, postcolonial studies, and musicology among others. We will read widely together to contextualize and practice these approaches, with all their divergent applications of metaphor, quantitative measurement, and cultural signification. We will read a combination of monographs, articles, and methods texts, including both very recent and very old writing. Students will emerge from the course with a robust toolkit for conducting ethnographies to which sound is central. Students will proceed through the semester with ears attuned and sound recorders in hand, gaining experience with different ways of attending to (and drawing meaning from) sound. We will approach terms like "interpretation" and "close listening" with care and theoretical attention, and we will put these ideas into direct practice throughout the semester, culminating in final research projects designed by students. Coursework includes weekly readings, Brightspace postings, one presentation on an assigned sound recording, and a substantial final paper (with formal presentation) based on an original research question. This course is primarily intended for MA/PhD students, though DMA students may enroll with permission from the instructor.
SOC 556 - Political Sociology
Tuesdays 1:00-3:50pmThe 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.
SOC 591 - Special Seminars - "Qualitative Methods"
Thursdays 4:00 - 6:50pm
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