This seminar approaches the two most studied phases of Italian history, the Renaissance and the 20th Century, by placing otherness at the center of the picture rather than at its margins. We will look at pivotal events and phenomena (the rise of Humanism, the rise of fascism, courtly culture, the two World Wars, 16th century art, the avant-garde) from the point of view of non-white, non-Christian, non-heterosexual witnesses, authors, and fictional characters. We will adopt a trans-historical, intersectional, and interdisciplinary perspective: themes will be analyzed at the crossing of the two historical phases and of the three topics in exam.
This seminar explores illness, health, and the body using storytelling as an entry point. Specifically, it examines how science, subjectivity, and social difference—including race, class, gender, and sexuality—are articulated on a global scale. The 1920s construction of the “New Soviet Man” resonates with histories of medical discrimination in the U.S.; early Soviet studies on biomechanics and the body as a machine illuminate current debates around disability and contemporary health disparities; the Russian tradition of the ‘holy fool’ jumpstarts a discussion of neurodiversity. Guest lecturers from across the Sciences and the Humanities, as well as a Theatre of the Oppressed Group, will each teach a class in their own institutional “space.”
The seminar begins by exploring classic scholarship centered on four historical periods, each posited as important moments in the origin of gendered science: medieval Christianity, the scientific revolution, the professionalization of scientists in the late-19th century, and 20th-century second-wave feminism. We then turn to a series of well-developed analytical tools employed by historians of science and gender, and finally to recent scholarship. In all cases, we will analyze the imbricated processes by which science as a social enterprise has been fundamentally gendered and the implicit gendering of the sciences of sex and sexuality.
One is not born, but becomes, woman. So writes Simone deBeauvoir in her landmark work of feminism, The Second Sex. But how do we become women, anyway? In this course we will read The Second Sex in its entirety, exploring Beauvoir's ideas, along with our current ones, about childhood, coming of age, the family, sexuality, relationships, work, the social order, and the philosophical imaginary. We will read Beauvoir alongside the work of her primary interlocutors as well as contemporary theory, memoir, and fiction considering the question of what it means to become a woman--or not--in contemporary culture.
Our contemporary mediascape is saturated with spectacle and scandal. In this class, we take this observation and examine, not only the logics that undergird these discursive events, but also the intimate connection between media spectacles and scandals and the regulation of non-normative bodies and speech. This class will examine the manner in which non-normative subjects and practices are hyperembodied, surveilled, stigmatized and disciplined through practices that often cast them as outside of a democratic ethos. Spectacles that might be examined include The Women's March, Trigger Warnings, Black Lives Matter, and Travel Bans.
Pleasure Power and Profit explores the intimate ways that sexualities and race are entwined in contemporary culture, historically, and in our own lives. Why are questions about sexuality and race some of the most controversial, compelling, yet often taboo issues of our time? Exploring films, popular culture, novels, social media, and theory, we engage themes like: race, gender and empire; fetishism, Barbie, vampires and zombies; sex work and pornography; marriage and monogamy; queer sexualities; and strategies for social empowerment such as: Black Lives Matter, the new campus feminism, and global movements against sexual and gender violence.
This course offers an intensive survey of gender crossings on the American musical theater stage. The course's study of American musicals (in terms of form, content and context) will be anchored in a historical exploration of world theatrical traditions of cross-gender performance. The course will examine multiple modes of cross-gender performance, while also considering musicals that stage gender role reversals and those that open questions of gender expression and identity.
Science is commonly held to be the objective, empirical pursuit of natural facts about the world. In this course, we will consider an array of theoretical, methodological, and substantive challenges that feminism has posed for this account of science, and for the practice of scientific knowledge production. In the course of this survey, we shall engage a number of key questions such as: is science gendered, racialized, ableist or classist? Does the presence or absence of women (and another marginalized individuals) lead to the production of different kinds of scientific knowledge?
This course provides an interdisciplinary and transnational introduction to the study of LGBTQ lives. We address the historical emergence of LGBTQ identities and survey how these identities are experienced among different communities around the world. Through global case studies, we examine key concepts and debates in the field, including intersectionality, human rights, homonationalism, normativity, and medicalization. We analyze how LGBTQ works as a meaningful social, political, and historical category and the ways class, race, gender, and nationality intersect with and disrupt it.
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.