This seminar explores scholarship on the history of religion, gender, and sexuality in Latin America, focusing primarily on the mainland colonial period (1492-1821), but including some pre-colonial and the nineteenth century material. Through historical studies, primary documents, and discussion, students will consider connections between religious beliefs, spiritual and sexual practices, gendered social relations, and the ways race, class, and gender intersected with ideas about moral and social order in the period under study. We will also think critically about how scholars have portrayed these subjects.
Topics include: Women and the Law; Women and Sexuality; Gender and Seclusion; Women and Modernity; Gender and Post-Colonial Societies; Women's Voices; Women and Film; Politics of Women's Bodies; Women and Modern Islamic Revivalism. No prior background in Islam or Gender Studies required. Readings from fields of history, religious studies, anthropology, sociology and politics. Weekly primary sources in translation include: religious texts, popular literature, court records, letters, novels, poetry, autobiography, newspapers and films with subtitles.
Gender is a topic with which everybody feels intimately familiar. Indeed, people hold strong beliefs about how women and men are similar to and different from each other and about why gender differences exist. This course holds those beliefs up to scientific scrutiny, examining major theories and empirical findings in psychological research on gender. Topics include empirical comparisons of men and women, gender stereotypes and their perpetuation, and the role of gender and gendered beliefs in interpersonal relationships and physical and psychological well-being.
There is growing interest today in bioethics and how human beings form ethical subjectivities during embodied life-crisis events such as pregnancy, birth, illness and death. This course examines how various Muslim communities use their cultural and textual heritages to respond to the challenges of new technologies and biomedicine in questions related to the beginnings of life. We will consider how Muslims cultivate ethical subjectivities in increasingly global localities, and the gender politics of reproduction and fertility.
This course provides a broad-ranging survey of the study of women and gender in the Middle East and North Africa. Its aim is two-fold: to introduce beginners to the main concepts and themes of scholarly research in the humanities and social sciences during the last century, focusing on women and gender in regions where there are significant Muslim communities; and, to examine how human beings in a variety of historical and cultural contexts in the Middle East and North Africa experience or have experienced gender - what it means to be or become a man or a woman, and the power relations that inhere in gender as a social institution.
Young women have come to occupy a highly contested and visible place within the popular circulation of feminism. Recently, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright chastised young women concerning their "debt" to Hillary Clinton and an earlier generation of women/feminists. Young women of the Millennial Generation are seen as both rejecting feminism and as among the generation with more feminists than any that preceded it. Are there more young women feminists than ever before? Is feminism only for those who identify as female? What is feminism to you? How does your understanding of feminism fit within the various manifestations of gender politics today as well as the recent history of feminism? Does it even make sense to mark feminism as generational? Is feminism anachronistic? Popular understandings of the place of feminism within our recent history are often informed through the delectable images of television shows such as "Mad Men" or the liberal politics of Gloria Steinem. The dominant media images of feminism privilege an understanding of feminism as generational, always female, middle class, and white, while obscuring the multiplicity of practices and identities that have circulated under the sign of feminism. In this seminar, we will read contemporary media texts (blogs, documentaries) and feminist writing as well as texts produced during the movement generally called Second Wave Feminism in the late 1960s and 1970s. We will look at the concerns these texts articulate, the demands they make, and what is not in the texts. In this manner, the course attempts to expand the field of reference for what constitutes the recent history of feminism.
This course explores the current fascination with animals in film, photography and popular culture, engaging central issues in animal and environmental studies. Why has looking become our main way of interacting with animals? How does rethinking animals inspire us to rethink being human? How can we transform our relations with other species and the planet? Course themes include: wilderness, national parks and zoos; the cult of the pet; vampires, werewolves and zombies; animal speech, animal emotions and rights; nature, sexuality and race. Exploring planetary crises such as extinction and climate change, and positive strategies for change.
This seminar investigates discourses and politics around the fat body from a performance studies perspective. How does this "f-word" discipline and regulate bodies in /as public? How do dancers reveal these politics with special clarity? How might fat be a liberating counterperformance? We will examine the changing history, aesthetics, politics, and meanings of fatness using dance, performance, and media texts as key case studies. Intersectional dimensions of the fat body are central to the course. Emphasis primarily on the US. Assignments include written work and group performances. No dance experience necessary.
In traditional workshops content and context come second to craft. Here we will explore writing political fiction, the politics of fiction and writing as political engagement. We'll read widely, from the most realistic depictions of the American political process and the varieties of immigrant experience to the work of afrofuturists and feminists. The personal is the political and our frame will range from the global to the domestic. We will write stories that inhabit experiences other than our own. This course will allow students to make interdisciplinary connections between courses on history, politics and identity and creative writing.
Open to graduate and undergraduate students interested in understanding the origins of the modern novel, this seminar examines the profound historical, theoretical and formal connections between the development of pornography as a distinct category of representation and the development of the novel as a literary genre during the Enlightenment. We will also explore the continuing resonances of those connections today. Readings in current criticism, history and theory of the novel and pornography will accompany primary readings.