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


WGS 71600/WSCP 81600 – Research Methods in Women’s and Gender Studies
GC: WED, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof, Dána-Ain Davis

WGS 71601/WSCP 81601 – Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies: Decolonial Feminist Ethics and Epistemologies
GC: MON, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Linda Martin Alcoff and Prof. Serene Khader
Cross-listed with Philosophy.

This course explores the influence of regimes of colonization, racialization, and imperialism on conceptions of gender justice. It begins from the understanding of decolonial feminist philosophies as including both critical and constructive projects: the former involve exploring the ways Western concepts and histories promote a congruence between Western feminism and Western imperialism, and the latter involve constructing alternative visions of solidarity, as well as local and global gender justice. Developing feminist solidarity and coalition requires an analysis of epistemic justice, or the roadblocks to mutual engagement with respect and reciprocity between differently situated groups. Feminist solidarity also requires thinking through the narrow definitions of rationality found sometimes in the West, in which, as an example, secularism is assumed to be more rational in an a priori way, and the political history and economic context of scientific inquiry are ignored. Hence, this course will pursue both epistemological and ethical aspects of transnational feminism. We will also discuss and analyze links between gender formations and colonial conquest and settlement, changing patterns of violence against women, and racializing discourses and knowledge regimes, to challenge dominant understandings of knowledge and law, agency and politics.  We will also explore the philosophical theories for pluralizing a vision of women’s liberation. Some of the topics we will discuss include: the influence of the concept of modernity on conceptions of transnational justice and gender justice, the role of the concept of culture in feminist discourses, the difference between decolonial, postcolonial, and transnational feminist theoretical approaches, how to overcome racist and sexist patterns of epistemic prejudice, the idea that gender itself is a colonial imposition, and the ideal/non-ideal theory distinction.

WGS 79600 – Independent Study
3 Credits.

By Permission

WGS 79601 – Internship

3 Credits.

WGS 79602 – Thesis Supervision

3 Credits.





WSCP 81000 – Gender Violence, the State & Citizen Security
GC: THURS, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3/3 Credits, Prof. Victoria Sanford
Cross-listed with Anthropology.


WSCP 81000 – Feminist Criticism in Victorian Fiction: Recovery Feminism, and After
GC: MON, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Talia Schaffer
Cross-listed with English.

In this course we explore the history of academic feminist work in Victorian studies since the 1970s, intertwining critical work with literary texts, evaluating the ‘recovery feminist’ approach of second-wave feminism as we try to outline a contemporary feminist approach. We will, for instance, cover the first wave of feminist recovery work of the 70s and 80s by Showalter, Spacks, Gilbert and Gubar, Poovey, Spivak, along with “Cassandra” and Jane Eyre. We will then look at cultural feminist criticism of the 90s Armstrong and Gallagher with Middlemarch and Miss Marjoribank, and look at the 21st century queer, ethical, and digital turns of feminist work in criticism by Marcus, Ehnenn, Ahmed, Nowviskie, Berlant, with Mansfield Park. In assessing fifty years of Victorian feminist criticism, we will be looking at race, empire, bodies, and sexuality, but we will also be interrogating what kind of feminist criticism might be appropriate to a decentralized, gender-fluid, digital contemporary mode. We will read Sara Ahmed, Living a Feminist Life and Kate Manne, Down Girl, and students will find and present their own feminist case studies, which may include interrogating the place of feminist criticism in environmental humanities, critical race theory, disability studies, animal studies, postcolonialism. Presentation, blog, and final paper.

WSCP 81000 – Female Dicks: The Female Detective from the 19th to the 21st CenturyGC: TUES, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Caroline Reitz
Cross-listed with English.

The female detective is a speculative figure from the get-go. If the male detective in anglophone literature roughly corresponds to the history of policing in 19th century Britain, the female detective precedes her first official counterpart by over 50 years. Both rooted in and detached from history, the female detective figure is best approached from a transtemporal perspective. The genre of detective fiction is as old as Oedipus or as young as Dupin, depending on who you ask. Both rooted in and detached from specific critical traditions, female detective fiction is best approached from a transgeneric perspective. This course puts female detective fiction into conversation with N. K. Jemisin’s speculative fiction, with super hero comics featuring Captain Marvel and Kamala Khan, and with television series from Prime Suspect to Denmark’s The Killing. While we focus on anglophone literature and culture, we will look at ways in which the evolving genre serves as a framework to explore complexities of identity and justice in a postcolonial and transnational world.

The syllabus has four parts.  Part one begins with paradigmatic theories of the genre (Todorov, Derrida, Moretti) as well as responses to those ideas from feminist and postcolonial theorists. We will move onto representative works in the 19th century such as The Female Detective (1864), Revelations of a Lady Detective (1864), and Wilkie Collins’s The Law and the Lady (1875). Part two covers the end of the 19th and first half of the 20th century, including serialized female detective stories (featuring sleuths such as Hilda Wade and Lady Molly of Scotland Yard), Agatha Christie (Miss Marple) and Dorothy Sayers (Harriet Vane), the rise of the girl sleuth (such as Judith Lee and Nancy Drew) and the “problem” of the hard-boiled detective posed by Hammett and Chandler and embraced by writers such as Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky. Part three looks at the explosion of female crime fighters in contemporary literature, in graphic texts, and on screen. We look at works in a range of national contexts as we ask questions about identity politics, globalization, and transmediality. The final weeks of the course will be designed by students and will be centered around their research interests in conversation with but not necessarily contained by female detective fiction (think villains or vampire slayers, spies or missing persons, your own transtemporal or transgeneric figures). This part of the course will require an annotated bibliography, as well as a conference-length paper. Two class presentations will also be required. Reading will be heavy but thrilling.

WSCP 81000 – Early Modern Embodiment: Race, Gender, and Sexuality
GC: WED, 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 and early modern European discourses 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 love 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 cluster around five major topics: 1) Race/Gender/Sex and the Color of Beauty; 2) Race/Gender/Sex and Courtly Culture; 3) Race/Gender/Sex and Travel; 4) Race/Gender/Sex and Religion; 5) Race/Gender/Sex and the Global Circulation of English Honor. Readings will include Shakespeare, Titus AndronicusThe Merchant of VeniceOthello, 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; 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 – Biopunk and other Speculative Fictions
GC: FRI, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 4 Credits, Prof, Ashley Dawson
Cross-listed with English.

The ideologies that have supported modern liberalism’s purported “end of history” are wearing thin. The unsustainable nature of the current social order is becoming increasingly apparent. With the old social democratic left sullied by their embrace of neoliberalism, popular dissent is drifting towards the new right. We seem to be on the cusp of a whole series of radical changes. Climate chaos is already scrambling weather systems, melting glaciers that provide drinking water for hundreds of millions of people, and making urban life around the world increasingly difficult for all but the most wealthy. Entire ecosystems are being levelled by the inexorable drive of capitalism to expand at compound growth rates. Robots and AI are taking over jobs around the world and in every sector of the economy. Genetic editing and synthetic biology are radically altering existing life forms and may soon be employed on human populations to eliminate disease and prolong life, but who will be able to afford such post-human perks? Can we look forward to a world of unprecedented plenty powered by ubiquitous solar energy technologies, or will we descend into a Hobbesian war of all against all?

This course engages some of the most pressing questions of the present and near future through examination of three genres of speculative fiction: cyberpunk, biopunk, and solarpunk. Each of these genres ruptures the hegemony of what Mark Fisher called “capitalist realism,” the grating but nonetheless ubiquitous belief that it is easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. The guiding assumption of the course is that these and related genres of speculative fiction provide what Fredric Jameson called “archaeologies of the future,” toolkits for imagining tomorrow otherwise and instruction manuals to guide the work of activism and community-building for which the trying circumstances of the present call out.

The course very consciously engages with efforts to represent possible futures articulated from a variety of geographical locations around the world and from heterogeneous subject positions. In addition, the course toggles constantly between speculative fiction and nonfiction in an effort to assess the capacities of various genres to mobilize different affects (hope, fear, revulsion, etc.) in relation to possible futures.

Works we are likely to discuss, in full or in part, include:

  • Neel Ahuja, Bioinsecurities
  • Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood
  • Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl
  • Aaron Bastani, Fully Automated Luxury Communism
  • Georges Bataille, The Accursed Share
  • Lauren Beukes, Zoo City
  • Elly Blue, Biketopia: Feminist Bicycle Science Fiction Stories in Extreme Futures
  • Ryan Coogler, Black Panther
  • Melinda Cooper, Life as Surplus
  • Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism
  • William Gibson, Neuromancer
  • Amitav Ghosh, The Great Derangement
  • Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto
  • Michael Hardt & Toni Negri, Commonwealth
  • Katherine Hayles, How We Became Posthuman
  • Walidah Imarisha and Adrienne Brown, Octavia’s Brood
  • Fredric Jameson, Archaeologies of the Future
  • Larissa Lai, Salt Fish Girl
  • Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro, ed., Solarpunk
  • Andreas Malm, Fossil Capitalism
  • Andrew Niccol, Gattaca
  • Alex Rivera, Sleep Dealer
  • Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You
  • Sophia Roosth, Synthetic: How Life Got Made
  • Hermann Scheer, The Solar Economy
  • Shelby Streeby, Imagining the Future of Climate Change
  • Shoshona Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism


WSCP 81000 – On Passions, Emotions, Affects: In Theory, History, Texts
GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 (by permission of WSCP)/4 Credits, Prof. Domna Stanton
Cross-listed with French.

How are passions and emotions different from affects? How do bodies perform passions, sensibility, feelings, emotions and affects? What do affects do and how do they do it? How are they shaped by their contexts?  What is the meaning and significance of the “affective turn”?  Does it mark a rejection of the idea(l) of rational self-control? How is this turn connected to studies of women (and the feminine) and to work on gender and racial embodiments and sexualities?

This course will be structured around three areas: first, theories of affect and in tandem, a study of the cultural politics and ethics of specific affects, including anger, disgust, shame, compassion and happiness. Which emotions mobilize spectators/readers into collectives/communities. Are passions both a source and an obstacle to struggles for freedom and justice? How do they include and exclude? Among the theorists: Ahmed, Artaud, Berlant, Clough,  Cvetkovich, Deleuze and Guattari, Ghandi, M. Hardt, A. Lorde, Massumi, Scheer, Sedgwick, Stewart, M. Warner.

Second, we will grapple with the treatment of passions and emotions through history, especially in philosophy: from Aristotle and Cicero, Descartes, Pascal, Lebrun, Spinoza, and Kant to Darwin, W. James, Freud, Klein, and R. Williams.

And third, in conjunction with this philosophical and historical work, we will read texts (verbal, visual and musical) to see how they inscribe emotional content and how they generate affective responses from readers even when their semantics and narratives do not depict strong emotions. Is feeling as a response to cultural forms different from a human emotion? We will consider the cultural politics of emotion in the work of  Margerie of Kempe, Montaigne,  Gentileschi (Portraits of Judith) , Racine (Phedre),  Goethe (Sorrows of Young Werther), Wagner (“Leibestod”) , H. Jacobs (Life of a Slave Girl), H. James (Beast in the Jungle),  Woolf  (Mrs. Dalloway) , A. Nin (“Incest” Diary),  Lanzman ( Shoah),  Beckett (Happy Days), C. Churchill  (Far Away) , Irigaray (“When our Lips Speak Together”), Morrison (Beloved),  Darwish (Poems),  Labaki ( Capernaum), Moore (Watchman, 2019).

The syllabus will be uploaded onto Blackboard by the beginning of the spring semester; all course materials will be on blackboard, except for one or two complete texts which will be indicated on the syllabus.

Work for the course: Whether the course is taken for 2, 3, or 4 credits, all students will be responsible for doing the assigned texts closely and for engaging consistently in class discussion.

a Students who take the course for 2 credits will present in class a reading of one primary text, which will also be submitted in writing (c 5-7 pp); these students will also take the final exam.

b Students who take the course for 3 credits, will do all of the above, but instead of the 5-7 page paper, they will do a 10-13-page paper on a topic they select, after consultation with the instructor. They will also submit a thesis statement, a bibliography, an outline and the introduction (the schedule will be indicated on the syllabus).

c Students who take the course for 4 credits will do all of the above, but instead of a 10-13 page paper, they will do a 20-25-page paper on a topic they select, after consultation with the instructor. They will also submit a thesis statement, a bibliography, an outline, and an introduction (the schedule will be indicated on the syllabus).

Please contact Domna Stanton with any questions (dstanton112@yahoo.com).


WSCP 81000 – Jews and the Left
GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Elissa Bemporad
Cross-listed with History.

This course will explore the historical involvement of Jewish men and women in the political left from the French Revolution to the contemporary world, in Europe, America and Palestine/Israel. By discussing the political and ideological factors that attracted Jews to leftist political movements over time and in different geopolitical contexts, the course will study the ambivalent relationship between universalism and particularism that lied at the heart of these movements. Through a diverse selection of readings, which include memoirs, letters, fiction, press articles, and monographs, students will also be asked to disentangle facts from myth, as they ponder the reality and the limits of the Jewish alliance with the Left. This course will also explore the ways in which, at different times and in different places, the association between Jews and the Left have become a common thread in antisemitic thinking.

WSCP 81000 – Readings in 20th Century U.S. Women’s History
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Kathleen McCarthy
Cross-listed with History.

When women’s history emerged as a subfield in the 1960s, its initial goal was to write women into the historical record.  Since then, the analytical focus has shifted from an emphasis on “sisterhood” to class relations, political culture, the social construction of gender, transnationalism, and colonialism and empire.  Cultural analyses have also become increasingly important, illuminating the subtexts that shaped women’s lives in different regions and eras, while microhistories have excavated the lives of ordinary Americans in revealing ways.  This course will chart these historiographical shifts, as well as the ways in which women’s history has reshaped our understanding of American history for the period from 1900 to the late 20th century.

Within this framework a variety of topics will be explored, including (among others): 1) mainstreaming and microhistory; 2) gender and sexuality; 3) politics and political cultures; 4) transnationalism and empire; 5) race; 6) popular culture; 7) feminism and its discontents;  8) family and domesticity;  9) the women’s movement; 10) science and the politics of the body; 11) women and the welfare state; 12) power and money.

The goal of this course is threefold: 1) to help students prepare for their written and oral examinations; 2) to deepen their knowledge of the ways in which women’s history has reshaped our understanding of American history; and 3) to bolster their research, writing and analytical skills.

Students will lead one to three discussion sessions, and have a choice of doing weekly abstracts on the assigned readings for the weeks in which they are not presenting, or developing a research proposal on a women’s history topic of their choice for the period between 1900 and the 1990s.


WSCP 81000 – Psychological Disease Swelling in Contentious Times: Contributors, Sustainers, and Resisters
GC: WED, 9:30AM-11:30AM, 3 Credits, Prof. Michelle Fine and Prof. Desiree Byrd
Cross-listed with The Futures Initiative.

The lived experience of mental health in the US, and in NYC in particular, reveals systemic inequities that result in disparate levels of navigational burden for cultural minorities and other marginalized citizens living with mental illness.  This introductory graduate course shifts the framework of pathological analysis from age old psychological theories to applied sociopolitical realities that will critically interrogate literatures on anxiety, paranoia, immigration, trauma, crime, violence and mental health and deconstructs how psychopathology varies by race/ethnicity, immigration status, income level, religion, sexuality and gender. As this course traverses through mood, anxiety and thought disorders, students will read, critique and create interdisciplinary “documents” and performances at the intersection of research, law, policy and analysis to connect individual level “mental health” concerns with the sociopolitical realities of modern day NYC. Working in interdisciplinary groups, students will select an “angle” for critical analysis, blending scholarly reviews, popular media and participant observation/interviews with respect to a range of issues, including the racialized criminalization of mental health and  police violence against women of color suffering from mental illness. This course will also involve lectures from/visits with activists as well as organizers involved with interpersonal violence, mass incarceration, addiction communities, immigration justice groups, and community leaders who  have cultivated unique interventions at the grass roots level to counter the impact of mental health disparities within varied neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. Our analysis will move between pain and resistance; individual and structural enactments of dis-ease; prevention; and healing.

WSCP 81000 – Introduction to Engaged Teaching for Transformative Learning in the Humanities and Social Sciences
GC: THURS, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Cathy N. Davidson and Prof. Eduardo Vianna
Cross-listed with The Futures Initiative.

What does it mean to “introduce” a student to a field? This course is intended for any graduate student in the humanities or social sciences who is thinking seriously about the deepest “why” and “how” questions about their discipline and how those apply to their own research and teaching. We will begin with theoretical questions about disciplines, fields, foundations, pedagogy, research, aesthetics, and institutional structures alongside issues of equity, diversity, inclusion, social justice, engagement, and transformation. In each class and in final projects, we will encourage students to transform critique into engaged practice. Students will work collaboratively on analyzing and then designing: (1) a standard anthology or textbook in their field; (2) key articles or critical texts in their field; (3) standard syllabi of introductory or “core” courses in their field; (4) keywords in their field. Students will leave the course with a deeper understanding of the assumptions of their field and new methods for transformative learning that support diversity, inclusion, and a more equitable form of higher education. Our aim is to work toward “research with a transformative activist agenda” and teaching and mentoring as a “collaborative learning community project” that, in the end, contributes to education as a public good and a more just and equitable society.

Readings will be chosen from: Lev Vygotsky, Paulo Freire, bell hooks, Frantz Fanon, Audre Lorde, Anna Stetsenko, Michelle Fine, Ira Shor, Stuart Hall, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, José Munoz, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Judith Butler, Peter Galison, Sara Ahmed, Alfie Kohn, Christopher Newfield, John Warner, Kandice Chuh, Roderick Ferguson, Kurt Lewin, Lisa Lowe, Tressie McMillan Cottom, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Michael Fabricant, Stephen Brier, Cathy Davidson, Eduardo Vianna, as well as authors included in the crowdsourced “Progressive Pedagogy” bibliography being developed on hastac.org: (https://www.hastac.org/blogs/ckatopodis/2019/01/11/progressive-pedagogy-public-working-bibliography)


WSCP 81000 – Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies
GC: MON, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3/5 Credits, Prof. James Wilson
Cross-listed with MALS.

In Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us Kate Bornstein writes, “The first question we usually ask new parents is: ‘Is it a boy or a girl?’” Bornstein recommends the response, “We don’t know; it hasn’t told us yet.” This course explores the ways in which gender and sexuality are pronounced, embodied, and negotiated within specific historical and cultural contexts. Through a close reading of interdisciplinary, foundational, and recent scholarship the class will examine and theorize the ways in which categories of gender and sexuality inform and shape our understanding of the world. Investigating the intersections and collisions of gender and sexuality with race, class, ability, nationality, ethnicity, and age, the class will consider societal and institutional systems of power, privilege, oppression, and marginalization. Course requirements include an oral presentation, two 4-6 page response papers, and a 15-20 page, staged researched essay.

WSCP 81000 – Foundations of Legal Thought: The Theory and Practice of Justice
GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3/4 Credits, Prof. Leslie Paik and Prof. Julie Suk
Cross-listed with MALS.

This course introduces students to the basic methods of legal and social science analysis/research to study law and the legal system. It focuses on specific substantive topics (e.g., access to justice and reform in the civil, criminal and juvenile justice systems). As part of the course, we will do site visits to justice institutions, policy agencies and innovative programs; we also would have speakers present their work and agencies’ missions during class. The goal of the course is to provide students with the legal knowledge and real-world encounters to support their pursuit of jobs and careers in justice reform, in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and firms.

WSCP 81000 – Economics for Everyone
GC: TUES, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3/3 Credits, Prof. Miles Corak
Cross-listed with MALS.

This course introduces students to the basic methods of legal and social science analysis/research to study law and the legal system. It focuses on specific substantive topics (e.g., access to justice and reform in the civil, criminal and juvenile justice systems). As part of the course, we will do site visits to justice institutions, policy agencies and innovative programs; we also would have speakers present their work and agencies’ missions during class. The goal of the course is to provide students with the legal knowledge and real-world encounters to support their pursuit of jobs and careers in justice reform, in government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and firms.

WSCP 81000 – Special Topics in Fashion Studies: Empower, Sustain, Change, Repeat
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Eugenia Paulicelli
Cross-listed with MALS.

The course aims to critically understand global fashion as it bears on the environment, climate change and social justice. It aims at a deeper understanding of the relationship between craft and technology, at identifying the art of making and at mapping alternative modes of production.

The mechanization of the production of fashion has exploited and continues to exploit human beings through slavery, child labor, and prison labor. Human labor, especially women’s, is still an integral part of the supply chain and in the last few years, women, the driving force behind fashion, clothing and textile since classical antiquity, have come to the fore in disrupting the fashion industry in a variety of ways. They have also offered alternative modes of production and consumption based on new understandings of the process and the cost of labor. Through an exploration into ryhtmanalysis and its philosophical underpinning (Roland Barthes, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze, Henri Lefebvre) in fashion, craft, textile and material culture (Richard Sennett, Daniel Miller, Jane Schneider), the class will focus on temporality, geography and space,(David Harvey) climate change and how new modes of production are changing the landscape. The course will also focus on recent New York-based initiatives that highlight crafts and local traditions, through contact with organizations that work to integrate and requalify immigrant women. The class, as a further development of the Fabric of Cultures Project (http://fabricofcultures.qwriting.qc.cuny.edu) will include field trips, guest speakers and collaborative workshops with the founders of the Fashion in Process Lab from the Milan Politecnico.


WSCP 81000 – Gender, Race and American Political Development
GC: TUES, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Ruth O’Brien and Prof. David Waldstreicher
Cross-listed with Political Science.

This course explores persistent binaries that have arguably structured political thought and practice in the United States. On the one hand, the U.S. has been imagined as a place where people can rise through merit and opportunity, unconstrained by the oppressions of the past and of other places. Geographic mobility – settlement, migration, immigration – is mapped on to social mobility in the accepted meaning of the phrase “American Dream.” Yet U.S. history is marked by war and violence, to such a striking extent that scholars and pundits have periodically diagnosed the culture as peculiarly, even uniquely violent. Given the recent resurgence of angry and martial rhetoric at the center of national politics, how might we understand the relationship between the revolutionary or Enlightenment dreams of justice, peace, and freedom on the one hand, and the recurrent dread or nightmare of decline and oppression, as shaping facts of specifically political traditions? To what extent, in what ways, are exceptionalist understandings of U.S. political traditions a problem or a solution? Do accounts that stress race, or gender, or the confluence of the two, provide a necessary or sufficient theory or counternarrative of political development? Do frameworks developed in European politics, in critical theory, postcolonial thought, or in domestic vernaculars comprehend the dream/dread in the past and present? What kinds of analytical scholarship and storytelling have been adequate to the task?

WSCP 81000 – Social Policy and Socio-Economic Outcomes in Industrialized Countries
GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Janet Gornick
Cross-listed with Political Science.

This course provides an introduction to cross-national comparative research, with a focus on socio-economic outcomes and on the policies and institutions that shape those outcomes. The course will draw heavily on research based on data available through LIS, a data archive located in Luxembourg, with a satellite office here at the Graduate Center. (See https://www.lisdatacenter.org for details).

LIS contains two main micro-databases. The Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database includes 300+ micro-datasets from over 50 high- and middle-income countries. These datasets contain comprehensive measures of income, employment, and household characteristics. A smaller, companion dataset – the Luxembourg Wealth Study (LWS) Database – provides microdata on assets and debt. Since the mid-1980s, the LIS data have been used by more than 5000 researchers – mostly sociologists, economists, and political scientists – to analyze cross-country and over-time variation in diverse outcomes such as poverty, income inequality, employment status, wage patterns, gender inequality and family structure. Many researchers have combined LIS’ microdata with various macro-datasets to study, for example, the effects of national social or labor market policies on socio-economic outcomes, or to link socio-economic variation to national-level outcomes such as immigration, child well-being, health status, political attitudes and voting behavior.

The course has two goals: (1) to review and synthesize 30+ years of research results based on the LIS data; and (2) to enable students with programming skills (in SAS, SPSS, Stata, or R) to carry out and complete an original piece of empirical research. (The LIS and LWS data are accessed through an internet-based “remote-execution system”. All students are permitted to use the LIS microdata at no cost and without limit.)

The course will require a semester-long research project. Students with programming skills (which will not be taught in the course) will be encouraged to complete an empirical analysis, reported in a term paper. Ideally, these term papers will be circulated as LIS/LWS Working Papers – and ultimately in published venues. Students without programming skills will have the option to write a synthetic research paper. A minimum requirement is the capacity to read articles that present quantitative research results.

WSCP 81000 – Race and the Evolution of Public Policy in the US
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Michael Fortner
Cross-listed with Political Science.

This course examines the relationship between race and public policy development in the United States. The course begins by exploring a series of conceptual, theoretical, and historical questions: How do we conceptualize and measure white supremacy? How does white supremacy interact with other structural forms of inequality, specifically gender and class? How has race shaped American political development? Then we will then turn to case-by-case examinations of the impact of race, class, and gender on several contemporary federal public policy areas like social welfare, immigration, and crime. This course draws primarily from political science, but also incorporates historical, sociological, legal scholarship and critically assess race and public policy.

WSCP 81000 – Contemporary Political Theory
GC: MON, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Robyn Marasco
Cross-listed with Political Science.

This course provides a rigorous introduction to major works of political theory in the twentieth century. Our seminar will proceed as close readings of whole books and essays, on the assumption that political theory is best digested in non-excerpted form and that a different group of interpretive muscles are flexed when we linger on a work in its (exhaustive and exhausting) entirety.

Readings will include works by Carl Schmitt, Leo Strauss, Hannah Arendt, CLR James, Theodor Adorno, Louis Althusser, Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, John Rawls, Catherine MacKinnon, and Jacques Ranciere. This seminar is designed primarily for Political Science graduate students preparing a concentration in political theory, but it is also open to students in Philosophy, Anthropology, Sociology, Women’s Studies, and related fields. This seminar will be especially useful for students preparing for their comprehensive exams in political theory.

By the end of the semester, you should expect to:

• Distinguish among various approaches to contemporary political theory and the traditions upon which they build.
• Develop reading & writing skills and, especially, the capacity to build compelling, arguments on major thinkers and topics in contemporary political theory.
• Acquire the foundations for preparation of the contemporary political theory portion of your comprehensive exam in political theory.


WSCP 81000 – Community Based Research
GC: WED, 9:30AM-11:30AM, 3 Credits, Prof. Maria Torre
Cross-listed with Psychology.


WSCP 81000 – Family Demography in Global Context
GC: MON, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Jessica Hardie
Cross-listed with Sociology.

Family demographers study the composition of families and patterns of movement
into and out of family structures, as well as what drives these patterns. We seek to
understand how and why families change over time in response to economic, social,
and cultural forces. This seminar offers the opportunity to learn about prevailing
theories of family change, trends in family behavior, and analytic techniques
common in family demography. Throughout the semester, we will seek to explain
the role of family in individuals’ lives, the precursors and consequences of family
change, and how the family intersects with other social institutions both in the
United States and abroad. The course materials draw on a variety of theoretical,
historical, cultural, and methodological perspectives to examine topics such as
romantic relationship formation and dissolution, family relationships, childbearing
and fertility, inter-generational exchanges, and family health. Prerequisites: None.

WSCP 81000 – Media and Popular Culture Analysis
GC: THURS, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Erica Chito Childs
Cross-listed with Sociology.

WSCP 81000 – Sociology of Gender
GC: TUES, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Hester Eisenstein
Cross-listed with Sociology.

WSCP 81000 – Bourdieu, Foucault and Baudrillard on Culture, Power, and Sexuality in the Global Era
GC: MON, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Marnia Larzerg
Cross-listed with Sociology.

Bourdieu as well as Baudrillard expressed reticent admiration for, and skepticism about Foucault’s critical theoretical insights.  They both struggled with the same issues that are central to Foucault’s work: power, changing cultural practices as well as sexuality.    By the same token, they sought to distinguish themselves from Foucault’s approach.  Have they, as sociologists, transformed or extended Foucault’s analyses in grappling with the global contemporary challenges of culturalism, identity politics, social and racial strife, and sexual diversity?

Using methods borrowed from the history of ideas as well as the sociology of knowledge, this course examines Bourdieu’s and Baudrillard’s efforts to build a critical sociology with practical applications for social change as they struggled with Foucault’s conceptual innovations. Special attention will be given to the meanings and articulations of key concepts and issues, including structure and event/history; language, rules and discourse; power and subjectivation; body, sex/sexuality and gender; biopolitics and racial supremacy; (non-Western) revolutions and political spirituality; security/war and self-defense.  The course will further examine the degree to which the concrete socio-political activities in which each author engaged informed his theoretical commitment.

The class will be conducted as a seminar that encourages an in-depth exploration of the multifaceted relationship between culture, power, and sexuality in various settings.  It will emphasize reading primary sources as much as possible, and thinking critically and boldly.  Students are expected to immerse themselves in the works of these authors, and write a paper focusing on two critical issues with which one of them engaged. Selecting current socio-political events or issues as testing ground for the three theorists’ ideas is strongly encouraged. The paper will be elaborated in stages to be discussed in class until its completion.

Main Texts:

Foucault, excerpts from a selection of Lectures at the College de France, “Security, Territory and Population,” (1977-78); Birth of Biopolitics (1978-79); “On the Government of the Living” (1979- 1980);  History of Sexuality, II and II; Herculine Barbin.

Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice; Masculine Domination; Acts of Resistance; The Bachelors’ Ball; excerpts from On the State: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1989-1992.

Baudrillard, Seduction; Symbolic Exchange and Death; Simulacra and Simulation.

WSCP 81000 – Social Construction of Health and Illness
GC: WED, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman
Cross-listed with Sociology.


WSCP 81000 – What’s Foucault Got To Do With It?: Race, Gender and Neoliberalism As Educational Spaces
GC: THURS, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Debbie Sonu
Cross-listed with Urban Education.

WSCP 81000 – Race/ism and Intersectionality in Urban Education: Theory, Praxis, and Transformation
GC: TUES, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Sherry Deckman
Cross-listed with Urban Education.


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