Spring 2022 Courses

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: MON, 4:15-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof, Matt Brim, Fully In-Person.

**WGS 71600 is open to WGS students only. To enroll in WSCP 81600, you must be a WSCP student. Please email APO, Eileen, at eliang@gc.cuny.edu. We will verify if you have registered for the certificate, and grant you permission to enroll accordingly.**

What does it mean to “know” something? And how do we come to know what we know? Research Methods in Women’s and Gender Studies aims to examine feminist critiques of knowledge, academic disciplines, and research methods. We will focus on how feminist and queer scholars challenge current theories of knowledge and the methodologies employed in their interdisciplinary research. We will ask how gender theory and feminist politics shape the kind of research questions we ask and the types of material we use. This course uses primary research to examine and think through three core categories of research methodology – multivariate/quantitative, historical and interpretative/qualitative. We examine how feminist and queer scholars use these various methodologies to develop and ground their research.


WGS 71601/WSCP 81601 – Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies: “The Ethics of Public Biography: Historicizing ACT UP”

GC: MON, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Sarah Schulman, Fully In-Person.

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

Using oral histories, archival media, and conversations with participants, our class will unfold a complex look at the AIDS COALITION TO UNLEASH POWER (ACT UP) during their key years, 1989-1993. Students will study these approaches and apply them to their own ongoing academic projects. We will examine the ethics of storytelling, and how control factors like corporate media, and supremacy ideology distort public histories.


WGS 71601/WSCP 81601 – Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies: “Gender and the Archive: The History, Theory, and Practice of Victorian Feminist Criticism”

GC: WED, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Talia Schaffer, Fully In-Person.

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

In this course we will attempt to outline a contemporary feminist approach sensitive to global, trans, queer, disability, and digital phenomena, while exploring the history of academic feminist work in Victorian studies. We will start with the first wave of feminist recovery work of the 70s and 80s by Showalter, Spacks, Gilbert and Gubar, Poovey, Spivak, using “Cassandra” and Jane Eyre as case studies. Middlemarch and Miss Marjoribank will take us into the cultural feminist criticism of the 90s, Armstrong and Gallagher, and use Mansfield Park to look at the 21st century queer, ethical, and digital turns of feminist work in criticism by Marcus, Ehnenn, Ahmed, Manne, Nowviskie, Berlant. 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. 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, affect studies, Latinx, graphic narratives, etc. Presentations will introduce the rest of the class to the current state of feminist work in this area, and the final paper will aim to craft a new form of feminist criticism for your chosen field. At the end of the course, we will work collaboratively to craft a joint ‘keywords’ project for feminist criticism in the 21st century.


WGS 79600 – Independent Study
3 Credits.

By Permission.

WGS 79601 – Internship

3 Credits.

WGS 79602 – Thesis Supervision

3 Credits.




WSCP 81000 – Coloniality & Extractivism in Latin America
GC: WED, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Julie Skurski, Fully-In Person.
Cross-listed with Anthropology.



WSCP 81000 – “From the Block with Chains to da Block wit’ Chains”: Flashpoints in African American Rhetoric

GC: MON, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 or 4 Credits, Prof. Todd Craig, Hybrid.
Cross-listed with English.

This course aims to take participants on a journey of various flashpoint moments in African American rhetoric, examining the debates, strategies, styles, and forms of persuasive practices employed by African Americans with each other, and in dialogue with other cultures both within, and outside, the United States.

Many times, we categorize African American rhetoric as persuasive oratory practices: moments where we think Black folks are speaking and communicating eloquently in order to convince, argue, or shift the thinking of a speaking audience. However, what if we shifted the definition of African American rhetoric, to include what gets communicated in stories, dance, song, paintings, and everyday banter in order to interrogate the effects on beliefs, values and ethics (Kynard)? How would this definition shift allow us to see the world before, during, and after these flashpoint occurrences? With this expanded definition of rhetoric in mind, this class will explore African American culture and identify acute, intriguing and seismic shifting moments that shape our collective knowledge of African American rhetoric. We will (re)imagine the time/space continuum, as we strive to pursue the everchanging landscape of African American rhetoric: from the pulpit and the sanctuary…to the written page and the studio recording booth…to the White House…and back to the block, the whip and the Trap House.

We will engage with myriad multimodal scholarship from Carmen Kynard, Geneva Smitherman, Spike Lee, Lauryn Hill, Rapsody, James Baldwin, Bettina Love, Jalaiah Harmon, King Johnson and others in order to plot a trajectory of contemporary African American rhetoric.



WSCP 81000 – HB40: Reconstruction, Reparations, Rememory & Repair

GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 or 4 Credits, Prof. Duncan Faherty, Fully In-Person.
Cross-listed with English.

In 1989, Representative John James Conyers Jr proposed HB40 which called for the creation of a Commission to “to study and submit a formal report to Congress and the American people with its findings and recommendations on remedies and reparation proposals for African-Americans” as a result of the structuring violences of Black Atlantic history. Almost every year since, the bill has been proposed in Congress without ever reaching the floor for open debate. This course seeks to immerse itself in the work of this called for Commission by beginning with a consideration of W.E.B DuBois’ Black Reconstruction in America (1935) and ending with an engagement with recent 1619 Project. Engagement with these questions will require thinking beyond the limitations of national traditions, and so we will also consider (for example) the debates around the 10-Point Reparations Plan put forth by the Caricom Reparations Commission. In addition to tracing the scholarly and juridical debates around this issue, we will explore how a number of African American/diasporic African writers and visual artists have deployed reconstruction, rememory, and reparative justice in their work.

Readings will possibly include work by David Walker, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, David Scott, Michelle Alexander, Sylvia Wynter, Hortense Spillers, W.E.B. Du Bois, Stuart Hall, Joan Scott, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jennifer Morgan, Sven Beckert, Toni Morrison, Harvey Neptune, Aaron Carico, Saidiya Hartman, Stephen Best, Martha Bondi, John Akomfrah, Kara Walker, Kehinde Wiley, Greg Ligon, Titus Kapher, Fred Moten, Brandon Jacobs Jenkins, and Sarah Juliet Lauro.


WSCP 81000 – 20th and 21st-century Women Writers and Intellectuals: Genre, Style, Nation

GC: THURS, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 or 4 Credits, Prof. Nancy K. Miller, Fully In-Person.
Cross-listed with English.

Virginia Woolf’s anti-war essay “Thoughts on Peace in an Air Raid” was published in 1940, months before the author’s death in 1941. Beginning here, and with the death of this author, we will explore the work of British, French, and American women writers who produced memoir, essays, novels, and poetry from the war years through the advent of second-wave feminism and into the 21st century. Cultural figures and icons, these writers also have played important roles in public debate: Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Julia Kristeva, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Maggie Nelson, Claudia Rankine, Adrienne Rich, Jacqueline Rose, Susan Sontag, Simone Weil, and Virginia Woolf. Of critical interest to the seminar will be questions of gender, personality, and authority. Whose first-person matters, when, and how?

Work for the course: one oral presentation, weekly responses, and one final exercise.


WSCP 81000 – Sense and Sensuality: Queer of Color Critique

GC: TUES, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 or 4 Credits, Prof. Amber Musser, Fully In-Person.
Cross-listed with English.

That sensation orders knowledge is one of the primary arenas of exploration within queer of color critique. This course will explore different sensational arenas, the different possible critiques that they produce, and what this means for thinking about sexuality, gender, and queer theory. Throughout the course of the semester, we will explore sensation in multiple ways 1) as a diagnostic tool for understanding some of the different ways that race, gender, and sexuality intersect 2) as a way to trouble the dichotomy between interiority and exteriority to understand the ways in which orders of knowledge become imprinted on the body 3) as a mode of producing alternate forms of knowledge about gender, race, and sexuality. In addition to reading about different sensations and their relationships to politics and sexuality, this course will ask students to examine sexuality and sensation as collections of embodied and politicized experiences and to think about sensuality as a method in queer theory. Students will also be required to participate in an end of year symposium on queer theory. Readings may include: Aberrations in Black, Rod Ferguson; Atmospheres of Violence: Structuring Antagonism and the Trans/Queer Ungovernable, Eric Stanley; Sense of Brown, José Muñoz; Ricanness: Enduring Time in Anticolonial Performance, Sandra Ruiz;  The Other Side of Terror: Black Women and the Culture of US Empire, Erica Edwards; After the Party: A Manifesto for Queer of Color Life, Joshua Chambers-Letson; Black Performance on the Outskirts of the Left, Malik Gaines; Minor China: Method, Materials, and the Aesthetic, Hentyle Yapp; and A Dirty South Manifesto: Sexual Resistance and Imagination in the New South, LaMonda Horton-Stallings.


WSCP 81000 – Mad Women: Sleuths, Spies, and Villains

GC: MON, 6:30PM-830PM, 3 or 4 Credits, Prof. Caroline Reitz, Fully-In Person.
Cross-listed with English.

Feminist anger is having a moment, but the double meaning of “mad” as angry and crazy has shaped the representation of women in popular crime fiction since Lady Audley burned down the house over 150 years ago. This course puts sleuths, villains, spies, and superheroes in conversation with the politics of the representation of female emotion. When is rage, as Brittney Cooper suggests, a “superpower” and when is it incapacitating? When is it justice and when is it revenge?

We will read both popular and academic feminist treatments of anger, such as works by Soraya Chemaly, Myesha Cherry, Brittany Cooper, Audre Lorde, Sianne Ngai, and Rebecca Traister, as well as scholarship in Mad Studies, Trauma Theory, and Critical Race Theory, as part of an interdisciplinary exploration of crime fiction, comics, and television. This class will begin in the mid-19th century and go through 2021. We will also think about how we make transhistorical arguments about cultural figures and how that shapes projects like dissertations or syllabi. While most of our works will be drawn from the anglosphere, we will ground our explorations of the genre in an understanding that crime fiction is world literature.

Writing assignments for the class will be steered toward both scholarly practice (a conference paper for the Research Society for Victorian Periodicals or the Popular Culture Association, for example, or an article submission to a journal on crime fiction) and non-academic publication, such as for the online newsletter, CrimeReads. Any questions please reach out, creitz@jjay.cuny.edu.


WSCP 81000 – Little Beasts: Children, Animals, and other Unruly Creatures

GC: MON, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 or 4 Credits, Prof. Karl Steel, Fully In-Person.
Cross-listed with English.

Human children are strange animals. They’re perhaps en route to being responsible, rational adults, but on the way there, they need care, training, defending, and worrying over. Our seminar will linger with these small irrational creatures to think about children and animality together.

Our work in “Little Beasts” will draw on, among other fields, critical animal theory, feminist care ethics, and critical race studies. Our primary texts will mostly be medieval, but if your final project ends up exploring the course themes without being especially medieval, that can work too.

“Little Beasts” is paired with Carrie Hintz’s seminar, “Children’s Literature and Animal Studies: A Dialogue.” and the two seminar groups will meet (virtually or in-person) three times during the semester.  Our first common session will explore Critical Keywords in Animal Studies.  Our second common event will delve into Jacques Derrida’s writings on animals.  Our final gathering will consider academic and professional opportunities in the field of animal studies (journals, professional organizations, book series, online fora, research guides and digital projects).

Texts for “Little Beasts” will include representatives of major educational genres like fable collections and conduct literature; medical texts on fetal development, particularly on matters of gender (with engagement with Leah Devun’s important new book, The Shape of Sex: Nonbinary Gender from Genesis to the Renaissance); marriage laws and other medieval biopolitical texts; the anti-Semitic saint’s life of William of Norwich (along with Chaucer’s Prioress’s Tale and Jewish responses of the Rhineland pogroms of 1096); child-focused narratives like Sir Gowther and the King of Tars; writing on feral, isolated, or abducted children, including the strange story of the Green Children of Woolpit, the Melusine Legend, and, from the 18th century, the story of Memmie le Blanc, a Native American girl enslaved, brought to France, and trained into becoming French. You are welcome to read the texts in their original languages (Latin, Middle English, Old French, Hebrew, etc), but translations into modern English will be provided for everything.



WSCP 81000 – Gendered Justice in Europe and the Americas c.1350- 1750

GC: WED, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Sara McDougall, Fully In-Person.
Cross-listed with History

The course will explore the role of gender in the prosecution and punishment of crime in social and cultural context in Europe and the Americas c.1350-1750. We will examine gender and justice as it intersected with race, religion, and status, as found in the Atlantic World, and particularly the French and Iberian metropoles and colonies. Our main body of evidence will be trial records, including litigation, witness testimony, confessions, and sentences. In addition, we will engage with a range of other source materials such as law codes, prison records and the writings of incarcerated persons, newspaper reports, true crime narratives, and images of alleged criminals and crime. Training in these subjects welcome but not a requirement, this will be an interdisciplinary inquiry open to graduate and professional students in the humanities and social sciences and related fields.



WSCP 81000 – Black Diasporic Visions: (De)Constructing Modes of Power
GC: WED, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Carla Shedd and Prof. Javiela Evangelista, Hybrid.
Cross-listed with The Futures Initiative.

Black Diasporic Visions turns us toward a myriad of pathways for liberation formed by African people and people of African descent inside and outside of oppressive structures of power, as well as the development of alternative visions and spaces. More specifically, in this course, we consider these constructions which are often despite, within and at the intersections of institutions and systems that impact education, the prison industrial complex, food justice, public planning, preservation, legal personhood and climate change. It is our hope that the knowledge that grows out of Black Diasporic Visions may inform and continue to be informed by urgent interventions and creations today.

African people and people of African descent have always, envisioned, created. It is in part for the capture of innovation for profit, that early African civilizations were enslaved and African developments redirected. Let us read African and African descendant innovations and demands for being, with as much rigor as we read exploitation and oppression. In Black Diasporic Visions we consider how the tools of literary archaeology and magical realism inform how freedom dreams and provide possibilities for just existences and being seen. We examine what may be gleaned from the use of the ringshout by artist Common to honor the life of Freddie Grey, the Free Breakfast Programs organized by the Black Panther Party for educational reform, large statutes of African descendants by artists such as Simone Leigh and Kehinde Wiley that reclaim and redefine public space, community incorporation of solar panels and farming into educational programming in post hurricane Puerto Rico, embodied avatars as a means of survival as defined by Uri McMillan, and the call and response of #sayhername?

New technologies of expulsion and racial capital call for us to consider what it means to be in the wake, doing wake work, as described by Christina Sharpe. The range of constructions and visions reviewed in this course serve as correctives and prescriptives to the problems of omission and misrepresentation in academia, archives and society at large. Ultimately, Black Diasporic Visions, centralizes historically and globally informed liberatory possibilities, imperative to our lives today, that challenge divides between theory and practice.


WSCP 81000 – Food, Culture, and Society
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman, Fully In-Person.



WSCP 81000 – Contemporary Feminist Theories
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Jean Halley, Fully In-Person.
Cross-listed with MALS.

This course explores Contemporary Feminist Theories through feminist work about racial, economic and sexual justice, and in terms of “bodies with gender.” We investigate what it means to “have” gender and to “be female” with a focus on the United States. Making use of the frame offered by Patricia Ticineto Clough’s book, Feminist Thought, we consider contemporary feminist theories on differences and similarities in the experiences of women and other gendered bodies across lines of race, class, sexuality, species and ability. We examine how gender defines human experiences and how feminists resist these definitions.

Sigmund Freud once called work and love the central arenas of human life. We examine contemporary feminist thought on what it means to have gender in love and to be gendered at work, along with an examination of the representation of women and gender in the larger culture, and of violence in the lives of gendered bodies particularly queer bodies and those gendered female. We make use of a variety of texts in exploring feminist thinking on the “nature” of gender, love and sexuality, so-called women’s work, the expectations “experts” have of diversely gendered bodies, (dis)ability, nonhumans and the representation of gender in the mass media.



WSCP 81000 – Gender and Sexuality in Muslim Societies: Promoting and Resisting Equality
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Anissa Helie, Fully In-Person.

Cross-listed with Middle Eastern Studies.

This course examines constructions of gender roles and gender norms in various past and present Muslim contexts – including how notions of sexual morality have evolved, and how tensions between advocates and opponents of gender equality continue to manifest in community life, the legal arena, or international relations. Focusing on groups with traditionally less access to power and decision-making (specifically: women as well as people with stigmatized sexuality or gender expression), the course explores obstacles faced by gender and sexual rights advocates, as well as some of the strategies designed by both state-actors and non-state actors to further gender equality claims.

While grounded in the MENA region, the course also stresses the interconnectivity of issues across boundaries, and seeks to incorporate recent case-studies drawn from South East Asia or Muslim diaspora communities in Europe or North America. The course explores a range of issues, and may include: efforts deployed across time and space to curtail women’s public participation; the status of women in early 20th century anti-colonial movements and as citizens in newly independent nations; resistance to discriminatory provisions in family law; the ‘freedom of religion/ religious accommodation’ debates in Western liberal democracies; efforts to legitimize women as religious community leaders; or the promotion of LGBT people’s human rights.



WSCP 81000 – Women, Work, and Public Policy

GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Janet Gornick, Fully In-Person.
Cross-listed with Political Science.

**Master’s students must obtain permission from instructor before registering: jgornick@gc.cuny.edu**



WSCP 81000 – Decolonizing Psychology  
GC: THURS, 9:30AM-11:30AM, 3 Credits, Prof. Desiree Byrd and Prof. Michelle Fine, Fully In-Person.
Cross-listed with Psychology.

**Registration is by permission of instructors: mfine@gc.cuny.edu, desiree.byrd@qc.cuny.edu**


WSCP 81000 – The New Critical Ethnography: Hybrid, Virtual and Multi-Modal GC: TUES, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Setha Low, Hybrid.
Cross-listed with Psychology.

The seminar begins with an overview of the goals, methods and forms of analysis that make up contemporary “real life” ethnographic practices and then turns to the ways that film, video, activism, art practices, performance and social media expand and complement current methods. The seminar explores a wide range of digital tools, techniques, and multi-modal methods for use across the disciplines. Readings focus on past ethnographic projects that incorporate hybrid and virtual realities and the impact of remote methods on ethnographic research.  Interviews with some of the major scholars in the field are included as well as viewing pre-recorded video interviews that are already. Each student who is planning ethnographic research projects in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic is offered an opportunity to search social media for “data” and explore alternative methods then use the course to question the validity and reliability of these personal archives and resources to think through the implications of working with these data.  The course will require reading, a video autoethnography, website-based participant observation, an arts based intervention and a final project of your own work that incorporates some of the virtual/digital/multi-modal methods covered in the course.


WSCP 81000 – Critical Urbanisms: Reimagining Just Social Infrastructures and Politics from Below
GC: TUES, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Celina Su, Hybrid.
Cross-listed with Psychology.



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


WSCP 81000 – Intersectionality in the Social Sciences
GC: WED, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Leslie McCall.
Cross-listed with Sociology.

This course begins with an overview of major original texts by intersectionality scholars in and connected to the social sciences in the United States. This will be followed by readings of later texts that introduced and amplified on the concept within different social science disciplines, and also raised questions over the definition and scope of the term, and how intersectionality was being deployed. For the remainder of the course, we will examine empirical intersectional research on a wide range of topics (e.g., politics, health, sexuality, economics). To a more limited extent, we will consider different approaches to the topic across the globe, and I welcome suggestions for readings on other aspects of intersectionality related to students’ areas of interest and expertise.



WSCP 81000 – Creating Racially Just Schools:  Lessons from Frances (Fanny) Jackson Coppin

GC: MON, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Terri Watson, Hybrid.
Cross-listed with Urban Education.

The disparate educational outcomes between Black and white children are long-standing and reflect the impact of race and racism on the nation’s public schools. Despite a range of efforts, including the landmark Brown v. Board of Education (1954) decision and a host of federal mandates (e.g., the Every Student Succeeds Act) aimed to ensure equity and access for all students, race-based disparities remain evident in school discipline data, college readiness levels, and graduation rates. Nevertheless, African American educational leaders were found to have a profound impact on the academic success of Black children and in creating racially just schools.

This course focuses on the efficacy and advocacy of Frances (Fanny) Jackson Coppin, America’s first Black woman school principal. Using Black Feminism as a methodology, specifically the tenets of Black Feminist Theory (BFT) and motherwork (Collins, 2000, 1994), Coppin’s lived experiences and contributions to Black education will be examined to proffer valuable lessons to the next generation of school leaders.

Required Texts:

Collins, P. H. (2000). Black feminist thought: Knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York, NY: Routledge.

Coppin, F. J. (1913). Reminiscences of school life, and hints on teaching. Philadelphia, PA: A. M. E. Book Concern.

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