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Fall 2021 Courses

MA Program in Women’s and Gender Studies
Women’s Studies Certificate Program

CORE COURSES

WGS 71001/WSCP 81001 – Feminist Texts and Theories
GC: TUES, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Red Washburn

**WGS 71001 is open to WGS students only. To enroll in WSCP 81001, you must be a WSCP student. Please email APO, Eileen Liang, at eliang@gc.cuny.edu. We will verify if you have registered for the certificate, and grant you permission to enroll accordingly.**

This course will explore the work of reading, writing, and publishing feminist texts and theories, emphasizing the historical context and means of production of feminist scholarship. Topics will include inquiries into various feminist presses, writing and media collectives, women’s studies journals, and digital archives (such as the Kitchen Table/Women of Color Press, the Feminist Press, the Combahee River Collective, Triple Jeopardy, Hijas de Cuauhtémoc, off our backs, Feminist Theory, Meridians, WSQ, GLQ, TSQ; feministkilljoys, equalityarchives). The course will also demystify the work of submitting to and editing for an interdisciplinary journal of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.

WGS 71701/WSCP 71700 – Global Feminisms
GC: WED, 9:30AM-11:30AM, 3 Credits, Prof. Rupal Oza
Cross-listed with Earth and Environmental Sciences.

**WGS 71601 is open to WGS students only. To enroll in WSCP 81601, you must be a WSCP student. Please email APO, Eileen Liang, at eliang@gc.cuny.edu. We will verify if you have registered for the certificate, and grant you permission to enroll accordingly.**

With the rise of authoritarian regimes around the world, what insights do feminist movements and theorizing offer? What are the fault lines between different forms of feminisms? How do liberal feminist ideals and principles intertwine with an imperial agenda? What are the links and divergences between Islamaphobia and racism? Who should be the arbiter of “equality,” “fairness,” and “human rights”? What ethical questions shape the practices of feminism and feminist politics both domestically and internationally? What is the relationship between modes of production, political economy, and gender politics? What are the possibilities and limits of a transnational feminist politics?  What are the material conditions/structural factors which enable and/or undermine transnational feminist solidarity? This course grapples with some of these questions in the wake of rapid world altering changes.

We will explore the gender dynamics of racial, ethnic, and economic relations of power in domestic, international, and transnational settings. We will examine feminist scholarship produced by and about American women of color, women from the global south, and other social and political actors whose experiences and thinking have shaped contemporary ideas about gender, power, and international political economies. We will explore how both self-identified feminists and people who do not consider themselves feminists write about and understand gender, justice, human rights, tolerance, agency, imperialism, and other relevant topics. We will also examine how women and self-identified feminists practice solidarity across and within national boundaries, paying attention to the possibilities and constraints that shape transnational feminist activism. We will look at both empirical and theoretical texts from a range of academic disciplines.

WGS 79600 – Independent Study
3 Credits.
By Permission.

WGS 79601 – Internship
3 Credits.

WGS 79602 – Thesis Supervision
3 Credits.

CROSS-LISTED ELECTIVE COURSES

ANTHROPOLOGY

*THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELLED*

WSCP 81000 – Rethinking the Commons: Culture, Power, and Political Economy
GC: WED, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Ida Susser
Cross-listed with Anthropology.

BIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIR

WSCP 81000 – Case Histories: Patient and Physician Narratives of Self and Disease
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Allison Kavey
Cross-listed with Biography and Memoir.

Disease is the great equalizer.  We will all be patients eventually.  But who are we to the physicians who encounter our pathological selves, who are we to ourselves, and who are doctors under those white coats?  This class endeavors to use disease as a common ground to discuss case histories as autobiographical and biographical tools.  We will read physician memoirs to better understand how they imagine themselves as people and professionals, and how they relate to their oddly narrative art–the act of writing is embedded in medical practice through case notes.  We will read patient memoirs and think about the nature of pain, the ways in which disease shapes us and how we resist its warping, and think about the person behind the case histories.  In short, this is a course that looks through both sides of the patient-physician mirror to try to grasp some very human truths.

ENGLISH

WSCP 81000 – Colonial Sex Life
GC: TUES, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Tanya Agathocleous
Cross-listed with English.

This course takes its title from Durba Mitra’s recent publication, Indian Sex Life: Sexuality and the Colonial Origins of Modern Social Thought (Princeton 2020).  Mitra argues that the figure of the prostitute, a concept embodying deviant female sexuality, was crucial to modern ideas of the social and to the study of society as such. Both British and Indian social analysts used deviant female sexuality to define the contours and limits of the social, and to understand and classify caste, race, and religious difference as constitutive elements of social life. Expanding Mitra’s focus on the prostitute to other concepts embodied in social types that played a central role in colonial forms of knowledge (such as the mother, the prude, the veiled woman, and the homosexual), this course will trace these figures through nineteenth and early-twentieth century texts from a range of disciplines that defined the social (philology, law, criminology, sexology, and anthropology) in order to understand their relationship to imperial governance and to postcolonial state. We will also read literary texts by writers such as Rudyard Kipling, E. M. Forster, Rokheya Hossain, Tayeb Salih, Assia Djebar, and Mahasweta Devi and theoretical texts by Fanon, Foucault, Spivak, Mrinalini Sinha, Joan Scott, Neville Hoad, Deborah Cherry, Tanika Sarkar, Z.S. Strother, Svati Shah, Jasbir Puar, and of course Durba Mitra, among others.   

WSCP 81000 – Early Modern Embodiment: Race, Gender, and Sexuality
GC: TUES, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Mario DiGangi
Cross-listed with English.

In this seminar we will explore race, gender, and sexuality as overlapping and intersecting modes of embodiment in the literature and culture of premodern England. While our focus will be sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England, we will consider continuities and differences between medieval, early modern, and modern constructions of race/gender/sexuality. Drama will be at the center of our investigations, but we will also examine a variety of texts from multiple genres, including poetry, visual art, prose romance, court masque, and travel narrative, in an effort to understand the tropes and formal conventions through which racial, gender, and sexual differences were made to signify. Readings will include Shakespeare, Titus Andronicus, The Merchant of Venice, Othello, and Sonnets; Jonson, The Masque of Blackness; Lanyer, Salve Deus Rex Judaeorum; Massinger, The Renegado; Fletcher, The Island Princess; Dekker, Lust’s Dominion; Heywood, The Fair Maid of the West; Ligon, A True and Exact History of the Island of Barbados; and Day, Rowley, and Wilkins, The Travels of the Three English Brothers. Through the work of scholars such as Abdulhamit Arvas, Dennis Britton, Kim Hall, Geraldine Heng, Carol Mejia LaPerle, Arthur Little, Ania Loomba, Joyce Green Macdonald, Jeffrey Masten, Jennifer Morgan, Carmen Nocentelli, Melissa Sanchez, Ian Smith, and Valerie Traub, we will also consider how different theoretical and historical approaches have produced varying accounts of race/gender/sex as objects of inquiry in the premodern and contemporary eras.

WSCP 81000 – Post / Modern Memoir
GC: THURS, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Nancy K. Miller
Cross-listed with English.

“I do not know how far I differ from other people,” Virginia Woolf remarks in Moments of Being, thus summarizing the memoirist’s dilemma. In this course we will explore strategies of self-representation in the works of twentieth and twenty-first century writers and artists, for whom questions of identity have led to experiments in form. Readings include works by Lynda Barry, Roland Barthes, Alison Bechdel, Teresa Cha, Nan Goldin, Zora Neale Hurston, Maxine Hong Kingston, Maggie Nelson, Gertrude Stein and Virginia Woolf.

Weekly responses, in-class presentations, and a final paper, which may be a creative exercise.

FRENCH

WSCP 81000 – Writing the Self: From Augustine to Covidity
GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Domna Stanton
Course taught in English.
Cross-listed with French.

How is the self written, constructed? What forms and shapes does this writing take over time, in different genres? what purposes does it serve, what work does it accomplish for the several selves inscribed in the text and for others (including the self) who will read it? This course will begin by tracing self-writing from the Middle Ages to today, in theoretical texts (Derrida, Butler, Lacan, Lejeune), and primary works, beginning with confession (St Augustine, Rousseau); then early-modern discursive forms of interiority (Gentileschi, Sévigné) that steadily enlarge both the scope of self writing and the figures of the self. We will consider the centuries that women’s autogynography and the self-writing of persons of color and other others took to be recognized — from Kempe, Heloise and Pisan to slave narratives (Equiano, Jacobs, Douglass), and letters, diaries and journals (Woolf, Nin, de Beauvoir). Our readings will culminate with the proliferation of forms in the 20th- and 21st century: from autofiction (Colette, Stein, Eggers) and pictorial modes (Leonard, Bourgeois, Abramovic); Holocaust memorials, trauma narratives (Frank, Levi, Agamben) and testimonials (Manchu); to AIDS memoirs (Arenas, Guibert), the matter of black lives (Cullors, Kendi and Blain), and the global pandemic that engender terror and dying along with possible transformation and rebirth. Finally, given the untraceable lines between the ‘real’ and ‘the fictive,’ we will end by debating whether all writing is self-writing.​

HISTORY

WSCP 81000 – The Black Freedom Movement
GC: THURS, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Robyn Spencer
Cross-listed with History.

The emergence of the movement for Black Lives has moved racial justice in America to center stage and resulted in wide scale re-examination of the impact and legacy of the Black freedom movement of the post WWII period. This course will examine the major campaigns, personalities, organizations and guiding themes of the civil rights and Black Power movement.  In particular, we will analyze the major historical interpretive debates about the Civil Rights/Black Power movements and place the movements in the broader context of Cuban independence, the Cold War, the US war in Vietnam and African liberation movements. A close examination of the intersections between the Black freedom movement and the new left, women’s movement, and anti-war movement will broaden how the movement is traditionally conceptualized and foreground the movement’s anti-capitalist, anti-patriarchal and anti-imperial engagements. We will also examine the afterlives and historical memory of these movements and how they continue to animate the contemporary political landscape.

INTERDISCIPLINARY / THE FUTURES INITIATIVE

WSCP 81000 – Black Visuality, Black Performance
GC: TUES, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Michael Gillespie and Prof. Amber Musser
Cross-listed with The Futures Initiative.

The class is an introduction to the study of black visual and expressive culture. Structured around topics and themes, the class focuses on film, fine art, television, music, literature, graphic art, installation art, and photography, among other art forms, to illustrate methodologies and critical traditions devoted to black history, culture, and the arts. The content of the course will develop during the term (including in group projects led by students in the course) but will always address the relationship between art practice and the idea of race.  Some class sessions will take place in museums or art galleries and other off-site locations. The active learning methods we will be using in this course will be invaluable for those embarking on teaching careers and will prove equally invaluable in any workplace where the techniques of participation, engagement, creative management, collaboration, and conflict resolution might prove useful (including but not limited to situations where one must address and counter overt or implicit racism).

WSCP 81000 – American Social Institutions
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Karen Miller and Prof. Saadia Toor
Cross-listed with The Futures Initiative.

This class will examine American Studies through the lens of social, cultural, political and other kinds of institutions. We will begin by exploring what we mean when we say “institution.” We will think together about why this may be a productive lens for assessing and interrogating the world around us. What does it offer? And what might it elide? How do studies of institutions help expose the myriad ways that power functions in culture, society, and politics? How do institutions, themselves, shape these power relations? And how do different approaches to understanding institutions give us different sorts of answers? American Studies scholars have been asking these questions for decades. We will turn to their texts as sites for exploration.

The texts that we will explore together will put questions about inequality and how it operates at their core. Thus, we will ask how institutions can help amplify or mitigate the often-crushing hierarchies that have been (and continue to be) based on racial, gender, sexual, national, and other forms of difference.

The class will be organized thematically, arranged around a series of inquiries drawn from recent scholarship. Each week, we will take a specific institution as our starting point. These institutions may include (but will not be limited to) the family, the state, courts, race, colonialism, hospitals, prisons, schools, the military, libraries, social networks, media, the corporation, capitalism, etc. We will examine how scholars within a range of American Studies subfields have developed different approaches for exploring institutions. They have used both creative and conventional scholarly tools to explore questions about life, infrastructure, health, race, ethnicity, indigeneity, gender, sexuality, transnationality, borders, architecture, foreign relations, language, politics, economics, literature, art, music, work, social movements, and more. Finally, we will discuss how these institutions may help offer us strategies for teaching American Studies and other kinds of courses.

LATIN AMERICAN, IBERIAN, AND LATINO CULTURES

WSCP 81000 – Visualidad, ‘Mujeres’, y Archivo
GC: THURS, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Angeles Donoso-Macaya
Course taught in Spanish.
Cross-listed with Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures.

What is rendered (in)visible when “women” are rescued from/in the archive? What does the category “women” name and erase? What does the gesture of “rescue” reproduce? Is it possible to articulate forms of feminist criticism that do not attend to the politics of identity and representation, to develop methodologies that do not reinforce patriarchal paradigms and discursive tropes? These questions are the starting point for this course (taught in Spanish), which proposes to critically reflect on the notions of “visuality,” “women,” and “archive,” as well as to consider theoretical and methodological problems that emerge when addressing these notions together. The reflection will be guided both by academic studies that intersect archive, historiography, visuality and a critical perspective of gender—Licia Fiol-Matta, Donna Haraway, Saidiya Hartman, Andrea Noble, Ann Stoler, among others—as well as by literary essays and theoretical and activists texts by South American (trans)feminist authors—Panchiba Bustos, Alejandra Castillo, Jorge Díaz, Val Flores, Verónica Gago, Olga Grau, Marlene Guayar, Julieta Kirkwood, Lina Meruane, Julieta Paredes, Nelly Richard, and Alia Trabucco Zerán, among others.

M.A.L.S.

WSCP 81000 – Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies
GC: MON, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. James Wilson
Cross-listed with MALS.

MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES

WSCP 81000 – New Ethnographic Writings on the Middle East
GC: MON, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Christa Salamandra
Cross-listed with Middle Eastern Studies.

PHILOSOPHY

WSCP 81000 – Race, Racism, and Racial Justice
GC: MON, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Charles Mills
Cross-listed with Philosophy.

This course will look at the interlinked themes of race, racism, and racial justice. The timing is particularly appropriate given the summer of 2020’s massive national and global protests sparked by George Floyd’s killing by the Minneapolis police, and the new Biden Administration’s declared commitment to making the achievement of racial equity a central policy. We will consider such issues as the history of racism, the “metaphysics” of race, and competing analyses of racism, before turning to the central theme of institutional and structural racial injustice. How should they be understood, and what normative framework is best suited for conceptualizing and remedying them?

Recent work by political theorists such as Iris Marion Young, Tommie Shelby, Andrew Valls, Charles Mills, Christopher Lebron, Shatema Threadcraft, and others will be canvassed, but we will also take a look at some popular/grassroots framing of the issues. If there is time, we may also glance at some of the legal literature, and how “equal protection” has historically been interpreted.

POLITICAL SCIENCE

WSCP 81000 – Rethinking Democracy, Socialism, and Feminism
GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Carol Gould
Cross-listed with Political Science.

WSCP 81000 – Social Policy and Socio-Economic Outcomes in Industrialized Countries
GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Janet Gornick
MA students: please email Prof. Janet Gornick if you are interested in enrolling, JGornick@gc.cuny.edu, and cc APO, Eileen Liang, eliang@gc.cuny.edu.
Cross-listed with Political Science.

WSCP 81000 – American Political Thought
GC: THURS, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Ruth O’Brien
Cross-listed with Political Science.

PSYCHOLOGY

WSCP 81000 – Social Construction of Space and Time
GC: THURS, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Cindi Katz
Cross-listed with Psychology.

WSCP 81000 – COVID City
GC: THURS, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Setha Low
Cross-listed with Psychology.

WSCP 81000 – Using Archives in Social Justice Research
GC: TUES, 9:30AM-11:30AM, 3 Credits, Prof. Susan Opotow
Cross-listed with Psychology.

Archives offer rich textual and material data that can deepen our understanding of societal issues. They can place individual and collective social justice efforts within particular socio-political and historical contexts. The graduate course is designed to foster students’ knowledge, skills, and strategies for using physical, digital, or hybrid archives to study research questions of interest to them. The course, grounded in the social science and humanities literatures on archival theory and practice, will deepen students’ knowledge of archive as a construct, a societal resource, and a repository vulnerable to politicization. To learn how social science and humanities scholars use archives to advance social justice, we read, for example, about community-based archives; archives documenting oppression and human rights; and archival ethics. Alongside our attention to theory and method, this is also structured as a studio course in its attention to the empirical development of students’ ideas and research. By the course’s end, students will have begun and progressed on their own archival projects.

SOCIOLOGY

WSCP 81000 – Capitalism, Culture, and Crisis
GC: TUES, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Roslyn Bologh
Cross-listed with Sociology.

WSCP 81000 – Global Social Stratification
GC: MON, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Liza Steele
Cross-listed with Sociology.

This course explores economic inequality and social stratification in global perspective. Students analyze economic and social inclusion and exclusion, with a particular focus on cases from the Global South. Sample topics include human rights, development, race in Brazil and South Africa, gender and Islam, the welfare state, and basic income.

URBAN EDUCATION

WSCP 81000 – Schooling and Education within the Black Imagination
GC: WED, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. LaKersha Smith
Cross-listed with Urban Education.

The legacy of schooling and education for Black Americans has transformed how we conceptualize teaching and learning.  It has also exposed how Black people have been excluded from traditional educational institutions and the powerful ways Black people have disrupted marginalization and disenfranchisement.  This course explores the education and schooling of Black Americans through an interdisciplinary lens. The course begins with an examination of the early efforts taken in educating Black Americans during slavery, the period right after Emancipation, and throughout Reconstruction.  The second portion of the course investigates political movements that coincide with the Black American educational imagination.  Using case studies that focus on Brown v. Board of Education, The Mississippi Freedom Schools, and the Ocean-Hill Brownsville movement, students will probe the intersections between politics and education.  The course then moves to feature Black cultural ethos.  Literature and case studies that elucidate the work of culturally relevant pedagogies and African-centered schools will be employed to understand the indelible ways Black culture can be a channel to foster knowledge.  The final theme of the course examines Black excellence in higher education.  Here, the focus accentuates Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their role in educating generations of Black students.  HBCUs provide a critical case study in history, politics, and culture.  The overall aim of the course is to, by employing a variety of texts and mediums, examine the ways Black people have maintained a steadfast yet creative commitment to education and schooling.

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