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, Jean Halley
**WGS 71600 is open to WGS students only. To enroll in WSCP 81600, you must be a WSCP student. Please email APO, Eileen Liang, at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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: Birth and Parenting
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman
Cross-listed with Sociology.
**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 email@example.com. We will verify if you have registered for the certificate, and grant you permission to enroll accordingly.**
Birth marks the transitional moment in the universal human relationship: every person begins life embodied within the maternal body; and up until the last few decades, that relationship defined the placement, or the citizenship, of the new being. New technologies, but even more, new marketing, calls the obviousness of parenthood and specifically motherhood into question, as relationships are fragmented and commodified. This course will offer a sociological and feminist analysis of birth and parenting, with a focus on the United States and its particular racial, class and gender politics and eugenic history.
WGS 79600 – Independent Study
WGS 79601 – Internship
WGS 79602 – Thesis Supervision
CROSS-LISTED ELECTIVE COURSES
WSCP 81000 – Women of Color Impacting Politics
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Ruth O’Brien
Cross-listed with Africana Studies.
This course specifically tracks the roles that women with intersectional identities have played in American politics, as well as women who are public intellectuals and heretical leaders in contemporary political thought. The course is twofold: First, it traces how women have never before had such a large impact in American politics — women of color, that is, or more precisely, women who have an additional identity besides that of gender. The course studies this impact women have had on American politics since Hillary Clinton ran for and lost the Democratic nomination in 2008.
Second, this course not only studies women of color in American politics but also focuses on the intellectual impact of women with intersectional identities — such as women who are Black, multiracial, and multiethnic (e.g. LatinX), or women with disabilities — who have helped shape contemporary political thought not just under deliberative or participatory democracies, as found in Europe (such as Germany or France) or the Commonwealth nations (such as New Zealand), but also in reinventing what it means to lead in electoral politics. To be sure, an ethic of care exists within many public policies that involve legal rights and human rights that have been formed as a result of social movements such as #BLM, LGBTQI, and disability rights. But this course goes further than politics and public policy to explore how the heretical political thought of bell hooks, Kimberlé Crenshaw, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Alison Kafer, and the Combahee River Collective has also shaped a new notion of leadership that undermines traditional iterations of masculine notions about leading nation-states.
WSCP 81000 – Choreographies of Race and Reproduction
GC: TUES, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Dána-Ain Davis
Cross-listed with Anthropology.
WSCP 81000 – Public Anthropology and Black Feminist Praxis
GC: TUES, 2:00PM-4:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Bianca Williams
Cross-listed with Anthropology.
In the aftermath of Officer Darren Wilson’s non-indictment for the killing of Michael Brown in 2015, protest, organizing, and resistance against police and state-sanctioned violence were widespread in cities throughout the world. In the summer of 2020, during the coronavirus pandemic and after the killing of George Floyd, there was a resurgence of these protests. Like radical social movements of the past, in the Movement for Black Lives (or Black Lives Matter), Black women and queer folx were the organizing backbone that kept it going. However, unlike previous social movements which centered (cis)men and heterosexuality, the organizing principles of M4BL were anchored in queer-centered, trans-liberatory feminist praxis. This shift in activist philosophy and practice generated an international conversation about important topics such as abolition, gendered and racialized dimensions of labor, anti-Blackness, structural and institutional violence, reproduction, emotional wellness, and new visions of what freedom and justice might look like. As a discipline dealing with the question of who gets recognized as human, and examining how lived experiences demonstrate the ways institutional and structural power work, anthropology’s lenses are useful for exploring what M4BL has taught us. In this course, students will read together: (1) anthropological theorization of social movements and the politics of doing public anthropology; (2) Black feminist theory; (3) key documents of activist groups such as The Movement for Black Lives, Black Youth Project 100, and #FeesMustFall; (4) and manifestos of activist groups of the past such as the Combahee River Collective and the Black Panther Ten Point Program. By analyzing these texts collectively, students will gain an introduction to some of the racialized and gendered politics embedded in participating in public anthropology and social movements, while expanding their ideas about being human, equity, and justice.
WSCP 81000 – Moral Combat: Women, Gender and War
GC: THURS, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Gerry Milligan
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature.
The Renaissance was a time of significant political and social unrest. These disorders are reflected in the writings of the period’s major authors, who often coded these struggles in gendered terms. The objectives of this course are to familiarize ourselves with these works, and in particular with the lively debate that questioned women’s ability to fight in wars, especially in the Italian sixteenth century; to sharpen our skills as readers of works that feature heroic female warriors and so-called “effeminate” male knights; and to explore and perhaps demystify the universal gendering of war. The course will consider Classical and Renaissance philosophical literature, epic poems penned by men and women, as well as short biographies of women in combat. Authors to be studied will include, Plato, Aristotle, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Ariosto, Tasso, Fonte, Shakespeare, and Marinella. All texts are available in English translation.
WSCP 81000 – Disability Studies, Bodies, and Care Relations in Nineteenth-Century Fiction
GC: WED, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Talia Schaffer
Cross-listed with English.
This course investigates the burgeoning field of disability theory, with special attention to the nineteenth century as the period when an older idea of disability gave way to the modern medical model. Up to the 1850s, people accepted an ‘ordinary bodies’ model in which they expected long-term intermittent suffering, managed through social amelioration. But in the 1850s, the new medical professionalism emerged, with its diagnosis/treatment/cure dynamic. How did this shift affect bodies and minds, and how did it play out in the novel? In this course we we will start with some of the formative disability studies theoretical texts, by Lennard Davis, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Alison Kafer, Tobin Siebers, Robert McRuer, Martha Stoddard Holmes, and Melanie Yergeau, along with historical work on nineteenth-century disability by Maria Frawley, Miriam Bailin, Martha Stoddard Holmes, Erika Wright, and Jennifer Esmail. We will also interrogate ethics of care as a philosophy that might explain ‘ordinary bodies’ in the nineteenth century, reading Daniel Engster, Nel Noddings, Eva Feder Kittay, and Virginia Held to see how care theory might lead us to think performatively rather than diagnostically about disability, and how it might alter ideas of gender and community. The course will focus on recent disability studies work in particularly interesting fields: neurodiversity (particularly around autism), sensory issues (including blindness and Deaf culture), and social conditions (including the built environment and the gaze). We will pair these studies with Austen’s Persuasion, Dickens’s A Christmas Carol, and Eliot’s Middlemarch
WSCP 81000 – Caribbean Women Writers
GC: TUES, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Kelly Josephs
Cross-listed with English.
This course is designed to explore the issues and themes commonly found in literatures of the Caribbean written by women. We will consider prose and poetry published in English in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, reading the texts from several different angles – including colonialism, globalization, and migration – with feminism as the overarching/organizing theme of the course. In addition to the general literary study of author, genre and discourse, our methodology will include strategies of close reading, contextualization, and a range of interdisciplinary critical approaches utilized to assess the significance and role of Caribbean women’s writings as part of national and women’s literatures and to explore questions of identity formation and/or disintegration, gender, social status, and ethnicity. We will be examining well-known “forerunners” of the genre – for example, Paule Marshall, Jamaica Kincaid, and Jean Rhys – although not necessarily their most famous texts. We will also read works from relative newcomers – possibly Marcia Douglas, Shani Mootoo, and Staceyann Chin – to determine how they continue old trends while blazing new trails.
WSCP 81000 – Memoir/Illness/Graphic/Grief
GC: THURS, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Nancy K. Miller
Cross-listed with English.
“Considering how common illness is,” Virginia Woolf writes in On Being Ill, “how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings,…it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.” Contemporary nonfiction and fiction have long since belied Woolf’s 1926 lament. The theme of illness occupies a prominent place in postwar culture, and the seminar will explore its many variations through a wide range of literary and visual representations of bodily and mental suffering, including cancer, AIDS, depression and mourning. We will also map the social and political contexts of illness, in particular through collective research on the national experience and discourses of Covid-19. What have we learned about healthcare and how does the pandemic reframe our understanding of the sick and the well, and the meaning of recovery? It’s too soon to predict the forms this experiment in collaborative criticism will take.
Among the writers and artists: Elizabeth Alexander, Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir, Audre Lorde, Eve Sedgwick, Susan Sontag, Tolstoy, and Woolf; graphic narratives by Bobby Baker, Anne Carson, David B., Miriam Engelberg, Ellen Forney, and David Small.
WSCP 81000 – Women’s Stories in Premodern French
GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Sara McDougall
Course taught in English.
Cross-listed with French.
In the premodern era, French language and culture spread far and wide beyond the borders of “l’hexagone”. This course will explore French stories told to, for, about, and by women between 1100 and 1700. These texts document the words and deeds of both real and imagined women, famous and infamous, and also women who history has forgotten. Our sources will include romances, poetry, plays, letters, trial records, medical and legal treatises, conduct literature, and illuminated manuscripts (the premodern version of the graphic novel). We will work from translations as well as the original, according to and accommodating the skillsets and interests of each student. Knowledge of French helpful but not in the least essential.
WSCP 81000 – 20th Century Lives on the Road to Peace and Freedom
GC: TUES, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Blanche Wiesen Cook
Cross-listed with History.
This biography/memoir seminar will explore the work of writers, visionaries, activists whose contributions we most need now. This is a participatory class, which will emphasize student interests and enthusiasms. Below is an introductory list, from which weekly readings and volumes for individual review may be drawn. Students are encouraged to suggest additional and alternative readings. Requirements: Each student will be responsible for an introductory essay-memoir, five book reports, a final research paper.
Bella Abzug, books by and about [with Mim Kelber] Meena Alexander, FAULT LINES: A MEMOIR Bettina Aptheker. INTIMATE POLITICS: HOW I GREW UP RED, FOUGHT FOR FREE SPEECH AND BECAME A FEMINIST REBEL Carol Ascher. SIMONE DE BEAUVOIR: A LIFE OF FREEDOM Janet Dewart Bell. LIGHTING THE FIRES OF FREEDOM: AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT Grace Lee Boggs. LIVING FOR CHANGE: AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY Alida Brill. DEAR PRINCESS GRACE, DEAR BETTY: MEMOIR OF A ROMANTIC FEMINIST Vera Brittain -- books by and about, esp Paul Berry & Mark Bostridge, VERA BRITTAIN: A LIFE Vera Brittain. ENVOY EXTRORDINARY: A STUDY OF VIJAYA LAKSHMI PANDIT.... Kevin Bowen & Nora Paley, eds. A GRACE PALEY READER: STORIES, ESSAYS, POETRY Patricia Bosworth. ANYTHING YOUR LITTLE HEART DESIRES: AN AMERICAN FAMILY STORY Pearl S Buck, books by and about, esp. Peter Conn. PEARL S. BUCK: A CULTURAL BIOGRAPHY Gail Lumet Buckley. THE HORNES: AN AMERICAN FAMILY Rachel Carson, books by and about Judy Collins, SWEET JUDY BLUE EYES: MY LIFE IN MUSIC Blanche Wiesen Cook, CRYSTAL EASTMAN ON WOMEN & REVOUTION ------------------------------, ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, vols I, II, III Angela Davis, books by and about Dorothy Day, books by and about Jane Sharrron DeHart. RUTH BADER GINSBURG: A LIFE Barbara Deming, books by and about Diane di Prima. RECOLLECTIONS OF MY LIFE AS A WOMAN: THE NY YEARS Claudia Dreifus, INTERVIEW Rachel Blau Du Plessis & Ann Snitow, eds THE FEMINIST MEMOIR PROJECT Catherine Fosl. SUBVERSIVE SOUTHERNER: ANNE BRADEN & THE STRUGGLE FOR FOR RACIAL JUSTICE IN THE COLD WAR SOUTH Ronnie Gilbert. A RADICAL LIFE IN SONG. Katharine Graham. PERSONAL HISTORY [DC POST & beyond] Jane Fletcher Geniesse. PASSIONATE NOMAD; THE LIFE OF FREYA STARK Judy Grahn. A SIMPLE REVOLUTION: THE MAKING OF AN ACTIVIST POET Gayle Greene. THE WOMAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH: ALICE STEWART & THE SECRETSOF RADIATION Ruth Gruber. [esp] INSIDE OF TIME, AHEAD OF TIME, WITNESS Alice Kessler-Harris. A DIFFICULT WOMAN: THE CHALLENGING LIFE & TIMES OF LILLIAN HELLMAN Kamela Harris. THE TRUTHS WE HOLD: AN AMERICAN JOURNEY Faith S. Holsaert et al eds. HANDS ON THE FREEDOM PLOW:PERSONAL ACCOUNTS BY WOMEN IN SNCC Molly Ivins, books by and about Flo Kennedy, COLOR ME FLO: MY HARD LIFE & GOOD TIMES Lady Borton. AFTER SORROW: AN AMERICAN AMONG THE VIETANMESE Gerda Lerner. FIREWEED: A POLITICAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY David Levering Lewis. W.E.B. Du Bois/ 2 vols ---------------------------------. THE IMPROBABLE WENDELL WILLKIE [& Willkie's ONE WORLD] John Lewis, Michael D'Orso. WALKING WITHTHE WIND: A MEMOIR OF THE MOVEMENT Audre Lorde, books by and about Wangari Maathai. UNBOWED: A MEMOIR Caroline Moorehead. MARTHA GELLHORN: A 20th CENTURY LIFE Caroline Moorehead. IRIS ORIGO, DUCHESS OF VAL d'ORCIA Pauli Murray, books by and about [see esp Patricia Bell-Scott] Trevor Noah. BORN A CRIME: A MEMOIR Dorothy Norman. ENCOUNTERS: A MEMOIR Dorothy Norman. INDIRA GANDHI: LETTERS TO AN AMERICAN FRIEND Jessye Norman. STAND UP STRAIGHT AND SING: A MEMOIR John Norris. MARY McGRORY: THE FIRST QUEEN OF JOURNALISM Victoria Phillips. MARTHA GRAHAM'S COLD WAR: THE DANCE OF AMERICAN DIPLOMACY Barbara Ransby. ELLA BAKER & THE BLACK FREEDOM MOVEMENT Margaret Randall. I NEVER LEFT HOME: A MEMOIR OF TIME AND PLACE Mary Robinson. EVERYBODY MATTERS: MY LIFE GIVING VOICE Eleanor Roosevelt books by and about Susan Rosenberg. AN AMERICAN RADICAL: POLITICAL PRISONER IN MY OWN COUNTRY Muriel Rukeyser. ONE LIFE [Wendell Willkie biography] see esp A MURIEL RUKEYSER READER, Jan Heller Levi, ed Najla Said. LOOKING FOR PALESTINE: GROWING UP CONFUSED IN AN ARAB-AMERICAN FAMILY [cf her grandmother's memoir:Wadad Makdisi Cortas, A WORLD I LOVED] Alix Kates Shulman. EMMA GOLDMAN: Agnes Smedley. DAUGHTER OF EARTH; & THE LIVES OF AGNES SMEDLEY, Ruth Price Lillian Smith. KILLERS OF THE DREAM Margaret Chase Smith. DECLARATION OF CONSCIENCE [bios tk] Michael Steven Smith. LAWYERS FOR THE LEFT Michael Steven Smith. NOTEBOOK OF A SIXTIES LAWYER: AN UNREPENTANT MEMOIR Sonia Sotomayor. MY BELOVED WORLD Gloria Steinem, books by and about Peter Sussman, ed. DECCA: THE LETTERS OF JESSICA MITFORD Amy Swerdlow. WOMEN STRIKE FOR PEACE Helen Thomas. FRONT ROW AT THE WHITE HOUSE Francesca Wade. SQUARE HAUNTING: FIVE LIVES IN LONDON BETWEEN THE WARS [H.D., Dorothy Sayers, Jane Ellen Harrison, Eileen Power, Virginia Woolf] Barbara Walters. AUDITION: A MEMOIR Elizabeth Warren. A FIGHTING CHANCE Alisse Waterston. MY FATHER'S WARS: MIGRATION, MEMORY, THE VIOLENCE OF A CENTURY Edie Windsor. A WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE: A MEMOIR Virginia Woolf/ books by and about, esp works by Jane Marcus & Jean Mills
INTERDISCIPLINARY / THE FUTURES INITIATIVE
WSCP 81000 – Constructing History: Architecture and Alternative Histories of New York
GC: WED, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Elizabeth Macaulay Lewis and Prof. Jason Montgomery
Cross-listed with The Futures Initiative.
Architecture and the built environment are products of their social, political, and economic circumstances. New York City, a perpetually evolving metropolis, has been shaped by successive waves of immigration, shifting economic priorities (from agriculture and manufacturing to finance and technology), and politics. Today, the impact of gentrification, the lack of affordable housing, and climate change is evident in New York City’s built environment. This is not a new story, but one that has been intrinsic to New York City since its founding. Therefore, rather than relying on the written record as the main evidence for exploring New York’s history, this course will introduce students to the built environment and use the urban fabric of New York–its buildings, streets, and places, along with primary source materials about these edifices from libraries and archives–to construct alternative histories of the city. Erected, used, and inhabited by people of all colors, creeds, socio-economic backgrounds and cultures, architecture and the built environment allows us different insights into the development of New York’s history, inviting us to develop alternative stories about the city’s past. The study of architecture and the built environment is inherently interdisciplinary. Students will be introduced to diverse research methods and will be tasked with conducting place-based research on New York City’s built environment during site visits and visits to archives and libraries. The students in the course will have an opportunity to generate new knowledge about New York City, its built environment, and people.
WSCP 81000 – Equity, Elitism, and Public Higher Education
GC: TUES, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Matt Brim and Prof. Katina Rogers
Cross-listed with The Futures Initiative.
Higher education can be a powerful engine of equity and social mobility. Yet many of the structures of colleges and universities—including admissions offices, faculty hiring committees, disciplinary formations, institutional rankings, and even classroom pedagogies and practices of collegiality—rely on tacit values of meritocracy and an economy of prestige. For public universities like CUNY this tension can be especially problematic, as structurally-embedded inequities undermine the institution’s democratizing mission and values. In other words, many academic structures actually undermine the values that we associate with possibilities for the most challenging and productive and diverse academic life. In this course, we examine the purposes and principles of universities, especially public universities; consider whether various structures advance or undermine those goals; and imagine new possibilities for educational systems that weave equity into the fabric of all they do. Our privileged methodology for considering the inequities and opportunities of university life will be queer of color and feminist materialist analyses, an interdisciplinary set of methods and methodologies that lend themselves to identifying, historicizing, and resisting institutional norms that produce queer-class-race-gender stratification in the university. Crucially, because these intellectual tools are themselves housed within institutional formations, they will be objects of our investigation as well as methods of analysis.
LATIN AMERICAN, IBERIAN, AND LATINO CULTURES
WSCP 81000 – New Directions in Latinx Literary Studies
GC: THURS, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Vanessa Perez Rosario
Course taught in Spanish; papers can be written in English.
Cross-listed with Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures.
What are the contours of the field of Latinx literary studies? What are the newest trends and theoretical moves in the field? Which critical journals publish the most exciting work in the field. In this course we will read a selection of recent books of Latinx literary criticism to understand new directions in the field of Latinx literary and cultural studies. We will look at recent books published by literary critics such as Yomaira Figueroa, Ralph Rodriguez, Cristina Pérez-Jimenez, and Dixa Ramírez, among others, alongside some of the literary works they examine, to understand new theoretical turns and critical directions in the field. Some of the trends that emerge are the engagement of critical race studies and its relationship to Latinx bodies. Ralph Rodriguez, in his recent book, questions the capaciousness of the category “Latinx literature” and wonders whether there are other more engaging ways to approach the work written by Latinx authors. Together we will think about where this still relatively young field has been and where it is headed. This course will be taught in Spanish. Papers can be written in English.
WSCP 81000 – Feminist Texts and Contexts: Feminism 1910
GC: WED, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Linda Grasso
Cross-listed with MALS.
WSCP 81000 – Contemporary Feminist Theories
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Jean Halley
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 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 – The Fabric of Cultures. Fashion and Identity in Italy and France.
GC: THURS, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Eugenia Paulicelli
Cross-listed with MALS.
The course will take the form of an interdisciplinary study of fashion, fabric and material culture and their bearing on a heterogeneous cultural identity that interconnects with race, gender and class. Fashion’s multibillion-dollar industry makes it an economic force, but it is also a powerful symbolic force that conveys and shapes personal, collective, and transnational identities.
Starting with the Early Modern period and continuing to the present, this course will examine the clothing culture of Italy and France in a comparative perspective. In addition, it will take into consideration the relationship between Italian and French courts and cities and international powers such as the Ottoman Empire and other Asian and European countries. This was a crucial time for the formation of national kingdoms in Europe (Spain, France, England) as well as for colonialism and empire.
During this period, “fashion” was already much broader than a simple notion of dress; it could refer to a wide variety of things like behavior and manners and even national character and identity. Fashion, however, was not a European invention. The concern for appearance and the desire for beautiful things, as well as the know-how and expertise needed for the production of fashion and textile, were at the core of the economies of India, China, Japan and Mesoamerica.
The course will investigate how and when fashion came to the fore, establishing itself as a powerful economic force, but also as a threat to morality and religious belief, as well as serving as a vehicle for gender, class and ethnic/race definitions.
We will consider the period of the first industrial revolution in the 18th and then the 20th century. We will go on to study in depth the birth of labels such as “Made in France” and “Made in Italy” and the contemporary iterations “Made in New York”; Made in Harlem” etc. Such labels are still important today and continue to have a bearing on not only national and global economies but also on the exchange, transmission and translation of goods, luxury objects, cultures and identity. We will draw on a broad interdisciplinary framework and discuss sources from literary and philosophical traditions, re-contextualizing them in light of the growing scholarship on decolonizing fashion, material culture, global history. We will examine texts from different genres and media, including, literature, film and video, art, visual culture and new media. Students will be guided to produce innovative projects, not solely papers. In addition, this course will give future foreign language teachers a solid basis to create original modules and content in their classroom.
MIDDLE EASTERN STUDIES
WSCP 81000 – The Zionist Body and Its Others
GC: WED, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Miryam Segal
Cross-listed with Middle Eastern Studies.
The two chronologies of this course are historical—the discourse and strategies of Jewish and Hebrew and Israeli nationalist art and writing in the nineteenth to twentieth centuries—and historiographic—the theoretical discourse of power and politics and nation-states through the body. Inspired by the concerns of other fields such literary theory, Comparative Literature, English, anthropology, women’s, gender studies, queer studies and other writing on “the body,” scholarship on Hebrew and Zionist culture has long been concerned with the gendering of ideology, of language and culture, of national identity, with the dynamics between masculine working bodies and the feminization of Diaspora, and with the orientalized woman as providing yet another gendered symbol of nationhood, as well as with the way the gender politics of nationalism plays out in genre, style and authorship. The first half of the course is devoted to these chronologies and exploration our own analyses in the way of that historiography.
More recently, scholars of Hebrew and Israeli culture, society and politics have begun to integrate and apply theories of Biopolitics and biopower to our understanding of the workings of their subject. Drawing on the foundational writing of Hannah Arendt, Michel Foucault and those who follow in their wake, we will re-read and re-view literary and artistic work from the first half of the semester, and introduce new artifacts for analysis.
The clear-cut goals of the course are familiarizing students with these three corpuses and exercising critical muscles and facility in writing and class discussion. Our more open-ended goal will be to consider if (and if so, to what end) the concepts, arguments and tools of the biopolitics changes, deepens, complicates, reduces our understanding of the artistic works in question, especially in relation to political power and contemporary forms of colonialism.
Primary works studied may include essay, film, painting, poetry and prose fiction.
WSCP 81000 – Seminar in Ethnomusicology: Music, Gender, Sexuality
GC: WED, 10:00AM-1:00PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Jane Sugarman
Formal knowledge of music is not a prerequisite for taking this class.
Cross-listed with Music.
Issues regarding gender and sexuality are intrinsic to any study that assesses music or sound as a social phenomenon. This seminar will examine recent writings that relate gender and/or sexuality to music, or sound more broadly, in conjunction with background readings from other disciplines. The focus will be on ethnomusicological writings, although there will also be readings on Western concert, popular, and/or vernacular musics. Included will be readings on sonic and embodied constructions of gender and sexuality; feminist, trans, and queer performance; the intersection of gender and sexuality with issues of race, nation, and/or class; ways that gender and sexuality inform our research strategies; and activist approaches to research on gender and sexuality. We will give particular attention to issues raised by the #METOO and Black Lives Matters movements and their impact on (ethno)musicological research. Instructor permission required. Note: formal knowledge of music is not a prerequisite for taking this class. Open to students outside music.
WSCP 81000 – Continental and Decolonial Epistemology
GC: TUES, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 4 Credits, Prof. Linda Martín Alcoff
Cross-listed with Philosophy.
WSCP 81000 – Power, Resistance, Identities and Social Movements
GC: THURS, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Ruth O’Brien
Cross-listed with Political Science.
This course focuses on individual forms of socially constructed identity (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, and humanness or bodies), intersectional forms of identity (e.g., gender and bodies), and collective forms of identity (e.g., citizen, worker or labor, and anarchist collectives or horizontal non- state civil movements, referred to as social movements in American politics).
It explores how these identities affect power and resistance, as understood by social theorists and contemporary philosophers such as Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, and Judith Butler, who in turn draw upon Gilles Deleuze, Raymond Williams, Stuart Hall, Michel Foucault, Antonio Gramsci, Karl Marx, and G. W. F. Hegel, among others. It examines the impact these ideas have by exploring the epistemology/ontology intersection. It looks at how social theory helps social movements strategize. It manifests Ideas in Action and (Re)Action.
This course is cross-listed with Urban Education, American Studies, and International Studies, and it is especially pertinent for M.A. students in Political Science, because it offers theories and then applications to help students exploring writing an M.A. thesis or capstone project.
Several social movements will be explored as case studies. First, we will consider the worldwide struggle to end political and social violence against women (including #MeTooism), and if/how it is having global impact. We will examine, for example, the Combahee River Collective — an organization of Black feminists who attained international reach by coining the term “identity politics” — and assess the movement’s global impact, as seen for instance in “Women’s Internationalism against Global Patriarchy,” by Dilar Dirik (and PM Press).
WSCP 81000 – Social Welfare Policy
GC: TUES, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Janet Gornick
Cross-listed with Political Science.
WSCP 81000 – Political Ecology and Environmental Justice
GC: WED, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Cindi Katz
Cross-listed with Psychology.
Political ecology and environmental justice are areas of great importance and intense contemporary debate, the former commonly associated with the global south and the latter with the north. Yet scholars and practitioners working in these fields share similar concerns with the uneven effects of production, social reproduction, distribution, social justice, and inequalities in harms and benefits. This seminar will critically examine contemporary theories of political ecology, environmental justice, sustainable development, and the production of nature across the disparate geographies of north and south, urban and rural, and at a number of scales. In a series of case studies, we will engage current debates over such issues as climate change and its disparate effects, waste and pollution, environmental conservation, nature preservation, biodiversity, ecotourism, industrial agriculture, green capitalism, and the ‘green new deal.’
WSCP 81000 – Participatory Democracy and Social Movements
GC: TUES, 11:45AM-1:45PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Celina Su
Cross-listed with Psychology.
WSCP 81000 – Black Lives and Decolonizing Methodologies
GC: WED, 9:30AM-11:30AM, 3 Credits, Prof. Desiree Byrd and Prof. Michelle Fine
Cross-listed with Psychology.
WSCP 81000 – Producing sociological theory: The Role of Gendered Colonialism, Culture and Revolution in Bourdieu’s theory
GC: MON, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Marnia Larzerg
Cross-listed with Sociology.
In recent years scholars have called for a “decolonization” of knowledge or advocated a “decolonial” approach to academic disciplines. They argue for greater awareness of the imperial context within which the social sciences emerged, and attempt to identify the conscious and unconscious ways in which this context shaped theoretical concepts.
Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology provides an opportunity to assess these claims conceptually as well as empirically. Bourdieu formulated his key sociological concepts (such as symbolic violence, habitus, or masculine domination) and developed a “scientific” method during his fieldwork in villages in Eastern Algeria. His formative years as a sociologist were spent in colonial Algeria during the war of decolonization as a draftee as well as a researcher, and references to his fieldwork recur in many of his books until the end of his life. Besides, there were times when he perceived himself as a surrogate native.
This course examines Bourdieu’s struggles with colonialism as a political and cultural system of domination, and traces the process through which colonial fieldwork becomes productive of concepts applicable to a non-colonial (but colonizing) society. Relatedly, the course explores Bourdieu’s conceptualization of revolution in light of his misgivings about Frantz Fanon’s theory. Of special interest will be the differences between two empirical observers, a trained sociologist and a trained psychiatrist turned revolutionary. Finally, the course will probe Bourdieu’s construction of culture in a non-Western milieu in view of his attempt to bridge the gap between anthropology and sociology. Throughout, discussions will be guided by a concern for the complex relationship between Bourdieu’s interest in a scientific method, his recurring references to his biography, and his unresolved attitude toward the colonial situation.
The course will be run as a seminar open to the unfettered exploration of significant facets of Bourdieu’s work.
Readings will include, in addition to sections of Outline of a Theory of Practice, Pascalian Meditations, The Bachelors’ Ball, In Other Words, Sociology in Question, Sketch of Self-Analysis, and a selection of secondary literature.
Requirements: Active class participation and a substantive term paper.
Open to all students
WSCP 81000 – Decolonizing Urban Education
GC: THURS, 4:15PM-6:15PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Gillian Bayne
Cross-listed with Urban Education.
Decolonization: Its “Meaning” in and to Urban Education.
Scholars have emphasized that “Decolonization is not a metaphor…for things we want to do to improve our societies and schools” (Tuck & Yang, 2012, p.1). The questions that follow as a result are: What is decolonization? and, What does or doesn’t it have to do with its (mis)alignment in and to the future of urban education? In this course, we will come to understand the intricacies of decolonization from varying perspectives held within both scholarly works and from the lived experiences of some of the most marginalized in society. We will consider ‘decolonial’ theories of education, as they relate to praxis – “reflection and action directed at the structures to be transformed” (Freire (2005, p. 126). Examining how education has functioned as a tool for coloniality, and how much of it is still upheld in the United States will be central to our interrogation. Decolonization as a praxis – an act of dismantling oppressive forces, including, for example, (neo)colonial beliefs and practices; accepted racial, ethnic, gender and sexual discriminatory actions; disrespect for upholding a safe and clean environment; and, of course, the genocide and displacement of Indigenous peoples – will form the core of our readings, discoveries, discussions, and plans for transformation – all as they relate to urban education.
WSCP 81000 – Radical Care: Teaching and Leading for Justice in Schools
GC: THURS, 6:30PM-8:30PM, 3 Credits, Prof. Rosa Rivera-McCutchen
Cross-listed with Urban Education.
As Critical Race Theory comes under attack from the highest levels of government, this course examines the application of CRT as a more humanistic approach to urban schooling, focusing specifically on critical conceptions of care, love, and hope. Beginning with the premise that schooling must be explicitly focused on disrupting structural inequality, we start with an examination of Black feminist/womanist approaches to schooling, then move on to other scholars whose work examines critical applications of care, love, and hope in schools.