This course introduces students to major theories and debates within the study of Caribbean literature and culture with a particular focus on the idea of catastrophe. Reading novels and poetry that address the historical loss and injustices that have given shape to the modern Caribbean, we will explore questions of race, gender, and sexuality and pay considerable attention to the figure of the black body caught in the crosscurrents of a catastrophic history. We will analyze how writers and artists attempted to construct alternative images of the future from the histories of slavery and colonialism that haunt the Caribbean and its diasporas.
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 Gamergate, Trigger Warnings, Black Lives Matter, Civility, and Campus Sexual Assault.
This course introduces students to new scholarship on the history of the body and the shifting political and cultural contests over understandings of the "natural" or "normal" body. Through readings in gender and sexuality studies, history, and disability studies, as well as autobiography, film, and other primary sources, we will explore changes in the ways in which human bodies have been conceived and represented, and will consider the work of historians and cultural theorists who move further to historicize the lived experience of the human body.
Queer Sexualities is an interdisciplinary course, which intertwines the study of human sexuality from scientific and public health perspectives with queer academic writing about sexual orientation and gender. Through the lenses of human sexuality theory, social science and medical perspectives, biological and sexual functioning, and LGBT history and subcultures, this course will explore the many ways in which queer sexualities, identities, and relationships are constructed, expressed, and regulated.
What does it mean to be a woman or a man? Or neither? How do gender and sexuality, those seemingly most personal and private of attributes, emerge from networks of power and social relations? This course introduces major concepts in the interdisciplinary field of gender and sexuality studies. We will analyze the ways in which gender, as an object of study and as a lived experience, intersects with class, race, and ability, and will examine the relation between gender, sexuality and power in literary, philosophical, political and medical discourses.