WSCP 81600 -Workshop in Women Studies: Critical Methodologies/Research
GC T 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Rachel Brownstein 
In this capstone course, we will focus on preparing a prospectus, dissertation chapter, or paper for publication from a feminist (or Women’s Studies) perspective. Engaging questions of voice and point of view, we will attempt to define such a perspective in discussions of papers and other readings. Lectures by visiting Women’s Studies scholars from fields such as History, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology, and American Studies, together with readings timed to coordinate with the visits, will ensure an interdisciplinary emphasis.
WSCP 80802 -Feminist Theory
GC R 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Cheryl Fish  [Cross listed with MALS 72200]
This course shall provide an introduction to themes, issues and conflicts in contemporary feminist theory. The course pays particular attention to the shift from the unifying themes in earlier feminist theorizing to the destabilizing influences of recent social theory upon feminism. Readings and discussion will address a number of conflicts and developments within feminism about the category of woman, the politics of difference, the basis of feminist knowledge, the body, ecofeminisms and science studies, performances of gender, the stability of sexed and sexual identity and feminist engagements with activism and politics. The course takes an interdisciplinary and transnational approach to feminist thought and brings the theories to bear upon literature, film, and scenes of everyday life. There will be guest speakers, and students will be responsible for a short oral presentation, reaction journal, and a seminar essay.
WSCP 81000 -Issues of Identity in Contemporary Art
GC R 2:00.-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Anna Chave  [Cross listed with Art Hist. 86040]
Focused especially on issues surrounding ethnicity, ‘race’, and transnationalism (or cosmopolitanism’), this course will be organized thematically and--with a view to contemporary art practices and discourses--will address topics such as: eurocentrism/whiteness/masculinism; blackness, ‘primitivism’, and cultural stereotype; voluntary border crossing: multiculturalism, hybridity, tourism; involuntary border crossing: exile, displacement, diaspora; alterity, exoticism and the cultural politics of the gaze; ethnicity, performativity, and artistic self-representation; Buddhist influence in contemporary art; feminism and postcolonialism; and utopic initiatives: intercultural collaboration. Auditors permitted.
Preliminary Reading: Kwame Anthony Appiah, “Introduction: Making Conversation,” in Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers, 2006, xi-xxi
Homi Bhabha, “How newness enters the world: Postmodern space, postcolonial times and the trials of cultural translation,” in The Location of Culture, 1994, 303-337+
WSCP 81000 -Human Trafficking
JJ R 6:20 -8:20 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Peter Mameli  [Cross listed with CRJ. 88500]
Viewed from the perspective of being among the more prominent transnational crimes of our
day, human trafficking provides a useful prism to examine the combined effects that globalization,
discrimination and victimization can have on vulnerable populations. It also serves to help us examine the actions of criminal groups that rely on flexible organizational structures to take advantage of schisms and disruptions in the current milieu of the international nation-state system to obtain illicit benefit from the forced labor and prostitution of others. This course seeks to describe and explain the causes and processes of human trafficking. Students will learn to understand local, national, regional and international consequences of criminal activity in this area, as well as how to prescribe means for redressing its spread by cultivating interactive efforts between law enforcement and civil society.
WSCP 81000 -Literature, Gender and Sexuality
GC W 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Steven Kruger  [Cross listed with Eng. 78100]
This course will survey the broad field (fields?) of “literature, gender, and sexuality,” focusing attention both on the historical development of this area as a subject of interest and on the current status of gender and sexuality as categories of inquiry within literary/ cultural studies. The course will thus consider and negotiate a set of overlapping fields – women’s studies, gender studies, queer theory, feminist theory, “English,” cultural studies – not in order to stabilize a “discipline” but instead to map and explore some of the ways in which past work in gender/sexuality might be understood, and some of the future possibilities the field(s) might enable. In taking on this work, we will read a variety of different kinds of texts: theoretical, historical, polemical/political, and literary/cultural. The syllabus will be partly constructed around students’ particular interests. One or two in-class presentations and a final seminar paper will be required.
WSCP 81000 - The Victorian Domestic Novel: Gaskell, Yonge, Oliphant,
GC M 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Talia Schaffer  [Cross listed with Eng. 84300]
This course focuses on the construction of domesticity, gender, sexuality, and narrative structure in the work of three exciting and underread mid-Victorian women writers. Starting with Elizabeth Gaskell will allow us to discuss provincial and urban identity, the material effects of industrialism, the process of canonization, and the possibility of writing women's lives outside the marriage plot. We will read Gaskell's North and South, Cranford, Wives and Daughters, possibly Ruth, and The Life of Charlotte Bronte. Charlotte Yonge's enormously popular fiction will help us interrogate what kinds of queer affiliations and alternative familial structures might be imagined in the work of a religious novelist; we will read The Heir of Redclyffe, The Daisy Chain, The Clever Woman of the Family, and Womankind. Finally, the much more self-critical and ironic novelist Margaret Oliphant will suggest ambivalence about powerful female figures, fascination with changing financial and aesthetic practices, and new ideas about marriage in Phoebe Junior, Miss Marjoribanks, and Hester, along with her Autobiography. The three novelists together will give us a way to explore nineteenth-century publishing practices, including serial publication, tracts, series fiction, and journalism. By comparing three nonfiction texts that describe the development of a female author, too, we will be able to see how this figure could and could not be constructed at midcentury. Moreover, we will be accompanying these readings with nineteenth-century reviews, modern criticism, biographies, and feminist and domestic-fiction criticism, foregrounding the question of how 'Gaskell,' 'Yonge,' and 'Oliphant' have come to mean (or not mean) to twenty-first century readers.
WSCP 81000 -Octavia Butler in Her Times
GC R 2:00.-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Robert Reid-Pharr  [Cross listed with Eng. 85500]
In this course we will treat much of the most prominent work that has been produced by the late speculative fiction writer, Octavia Butler. In particular, we will read all of her three novel series: Patternist, Xenogenesis, and the Parable Series; her short stories collected in Bloodchild and Other Stories; and her "stand alone" novels: Kindred and Fledgling. We will also read a fair amount of criticism of Butler and her oeuvre. All the while we will pay particular attention to Butler's own methods of critique and self-critique. Most specifically we will attempt to make sense of why Butler returned so often to the themes of motherhood, merging of "alien" and "non-alien" identity, and forced choice during her career. Finally, we will ask throughout the course how Butler does or does not fit within established traditions of Afro-American and feminist literature. Students will be asked to prepare annotated bibliographies of the criticism surrounding Butler and to produce a final seminar paper
WSCP 81000 -Heroines of Disaster: Novels and Feminist Literary Theory
GC R 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Nancy Miller and (Marianne Hirsch Columbia U)  [Cross listed with Eng. 88000]
The fate of heroines captured the imagination of second-wave feminist critics and theorists who saw in the novel a template ripe for cultural analysis. Initially, feminist literary theory focused on the sexual politics of fictional plots and, at the same time, the resistance on the part of women writers to stories of victimization. We will consider the transformation of the heroine’s plot from its nineteenth-century avatars to twentieth and twenty-first century fictional and theoretical texts, in which female protagonists become subjects as well as objects, acting in the political field. The seminar will revisit feminist classics in literature and criticism, grappling with contemporary debates about the crossings of gender, race, colonization, and sexuality. What kinds of new theoretical imaginings are emerging from the gendered plots of the last decades?
Readings include: Brontë, Cixous, Coetzee, Feinberg, Flaubert, Freud, Julavits, Kincaid, Larsen, Morrison, Rhys, Shields, Walker and Woolf; as well as Butler, Gilbert and Gubar, Johnson, McDowell, Millett, Prosser, and Spivak.
Nb: Classes at Columbia begin January 22 and January 31 at the Graduate Center. Students from the Graduate Center are encouraged to attend the January 22 meeting. All students interested in this course should contact me about their interest as soon as possible.
WSCP 81000 -Postcolonial African Narratives
GC T 2:00.-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Barbara Webb  [Cross listed with Eng. 86500]
A study of the narratives of Anglophone African writers since the period of decolonization. We will examine their attempts to transform the political and cultural legacies of colonialism in their representations of African history, politics, and culture. Of particular interest will be their engagements with nationalist, pan-Africanist, and postcolonial discourse. We will discuss how these writers address problems of language and literary form, and how they see their roles as artists and social critics. Our readings will include novels, short stories and essays by writers such as Chinua Achebe, Ama Ata Aidoo, Nuruddin Farah, Bessie Head, Ben Okri, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, and Zoe Wicomb. In addition to literary texts, we will read selected writings by cultural critics and postcolonial theorists such as Gikandi, Appiah,and Said. Requirements: Regular attendance and class participation. An oral presentation and a research paper (15-20 pages). The course will be conducted as a seminar with class discussion of assigned readings and oral presentations each week.
WSCP 81000 -Race and The Photoessay
GC R 4 :15.-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Michele Wallace  [Cross listed with Eng. 87400]
This course proposes to examine a largely neglected photographic archive as a source of historical and literary re-evaluations of key events and personalities of the century, as well as providing a handy and creative way to think about and revise the presentation of black history and culture (and/or blacks in American history and culture). A major focus in the course will be upon women photographers and photographs of women, and to further push the already flexible interpretive approaches to the photograph.
The course begins with a re-examination of the collection of photographs on African American life assembled by W.E.B. Du Bois for the Paris Exposition in 1900 with a particular focus on the photographs of Frances Benjamin Johnston's The Hampton Album. These photographs will be considered in relation to the texts of The Souls of Black Folk by Du Bois. In the 20s, we are looking at James Van Der Zee and Robert S. Roberts. In the 30s, we move on to James Agee's and Walker Evan's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, as well as other famous works coming out of the WPA, in particular Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White's You Have Seen Their Faces. In the 40s, our focus switches to Chicago, Richard Wright's 12 Million Black Voices, St. Clair Drake's Black Metropolis: a Study of Negro Life in a Northern City and Maren Stange's Bronzeville: Black Chicago in Pictures, 1941-1943. In the 50s, we look at Roy De Carava and Langston Hughes The Sweet Flypaper of Life. If there is time, and interest, we will proceed on to Edward Steichen's The Family of Man and the various contemporary re-readings of this crucial MOMA exhibition.
WSCP 81000 -Atlantic Crossings: The Making of Modernity. Interdisciplinary Perspectives
GC? R 6:30-8:30 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Carroll Smith-Rosenberg  [Cross listed with Hist.70210]
This course begins with two basic premises: that the Atlantic world is the birth place of modernity; that sexuality and the play of differences were central to the production of modernity at the same time as they are the creations of modernity. The course is comparative – focusing on the flow of ideas, cultures, peoples, goods, people as goods around the Atlantic, from Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, through the Caribbean to the mainland Americas. A broad span of cultures will be covered: Francophone and Anglophone Africa and the Caribbean; Portugal/Brazil; Spain and Latin America; the North Atlantic. The time span is also extensive –beginning with the emergence of modernity in the 15th century with Portugal’s penetration into sub-Saharan Africa and extending its explorations into the 21st century with such current sexual crises as the HIV/AIDs pandemic and the equally horrific “pandemics” of genocide and violence against women. Nevertheless, the course will be tightly focused on the interplay of sexuality, difference and modernity, on patterns of interaction and interdependency How did sexuality, concepts of difference, the practices and institutions of modernity crisscross the Atlantic on ships of “discovery” and slave ships shaping the emergence of commercial and fiscal capitalism, the beginnings of modern science, modern subjectivity, the novel, modernism and post-modernity in art and literature. Topics will include: the discovery of sexual difference through the “discovery” of sub-Saharan Africa; the role of sexuality in narratives of the diaspora; the emergence of heterosexuality and the “invention” of homosexuality. Lastly, the course will be highly interdisciplinary, drawing on faculty from a number of GC departments and approaching the interplay of sexuality, modernity and difference from a social science, literary and art historical perspectives.
Course Structure. Faculty from a number of GC departments will participate in the course, however, the principal instructor will remain Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, who will approach the course as a historian of women and sexuality with a strong interest in the interplay of historical and literary praxis. Work for the semester includes: reading and class participation; an oral presentation; a final paper on an individually selected topic in consultation with the instructor (and when appropriate, with participating faculty) (the paper assignment includes turning in a thesis statement, an outline, and a final draft; a first draft is optional.)
Readings: Readings will be English, but texts originally written in French, Spanish or Portuguese will appear in the course pack both in translation and in their original language. The course pack will be uploaded through the Graduate Center Library before the beginning of the winter term.
WSCP 81000 -Human Rights and Critical/LiteraryTheory
GC T 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Domna Stanton  [Cross listed with Fren. 87100]
This course aims to grapple with the problematics of human rights praxis (discourse and activism) from the perspective of post-enlightenment critical and literary theory. It both recognizes the crucial importance of the human rights movement and it examines its blindspots to expose the need – and the possibility-- of its re-formation. Starting with a close, critical reading of the major human rights documents, the course will be organized into two parts. A first part will focus on enlightenment notions of human rights (including Kant, the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Declaration of the Rights of Women) and their critique in Arendt, Lyotard, Rorty and Derrida; engage in a rapid historical overview to 1950 (including, the issue of imperial humanitarianism) and close with discussions of the current impasse in human rights in political terms (Feher) and in global economic terms (Cheah). In the second half of the course, we will tackle a series of problems with the help of particular theorists: the question of the human in human rights (eg. Scarry); the universal vs local divide (eg Butler); and the movement to think of women’s rights as human rights (eg Bunch). And we will then look more closely at ways of reading/analyzing human rights discourse and stories (Nussbaum, Appiah), for instance, in work on (traumatic) testimonials (Felman), life-writing (Smith) and the bildung (Slaughter); in news reports and popular culture in the United States (Solomon, Volpp); and in globally circulated visual images (eg of and by the children of darfur). We should end with a discussion of the future of human rights.
Work for the semester includes: reading and class participation; an oral presentation on a current human rights issue; a final paper on an individually selected topic in consultation with the instructor (this includes turning in a thesis statement, an outline, and a final draft; a first draft is optional); and a final take-home exam.
Classes will be conducted in English, which should also be the language of the written work. Readings will mostly be in English, but texts first written in French will appear in that language in the course pack; they can also be read in English translation by those who are not students in the French Department.
The course pack will be uploaded through the Graduate Center Library before the beginning of the winter term.
Please address all questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
WSCP 81000 -Sexuality and Law
GC F 9:30 a.m-12:30 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Ruthann Robson  [Cross listed with IDS 81660]
This three credit seminar will explore the legal issues surrounding expressions of human sexuality. We will consider concepts such as consent, privacy, power and normalcy in the context of specific topics such as sexual harassment, rape, reproduction, pornography, prostitution, transgenderism, intersexuality, lesbianism, male homosexuality, bisexuality, cyber-sex, AIDS, and children. Theoretical perspectives implicated include feminism, postmodernism, critical queer theory, and law & economics.
The objectives of the seminar are to familiarize students with the historical relationships between law and sexuality; to introduce students to current controversies in legal theory and doctrine relating to sexuality; to foster critical and independent thinking about relationships between law and sexuality; and to enable students to explore an aspect of the relationship between law and sexuality in an independent project which develops writing and analytic skills.
The course is open to law students and other graduate students, and to undergraduate students by special permission.
WSCP 81000 -The Politics of Identity
GC M 6:30-8:30 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Alyson M. Cole  [Cross listed with Pol. Sci. 80601]
In this class we will explore the meanings, problems and possibilities of contemporary identity politics. “Identity politics” is typically associated with the political mobilization of marginal groups since the 1960s, that fought against oppressions based on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and disability. Beyond the struggle for inclusion in conventional forms of the political process, identity politics reconfigured the basis of political affiliations and transformed the scope of politics itself.
This course combines a macro-historical inquiry into the rise of identity politics as a challenge to liberal universalism with an examination of how individuals and groups have interpreted, contested, and negotiated their "identities". We will begin by pursuing the following questions: How important is identity to political action? How is political subjectivity forged? Do different political identities function similarly? How might the subject be both a discursive product and an existential necessity? During
the semester, we revisit central debates about identity politics – the problem of essentialism, the challenge of representation, recognition versus redistribution, and the hazards of ressentiment. Our readings will include works by Hegel, Freud, Foucault, Fanon, Iris Young, Charles Taylor, Judith
Butler, Linda Alcoff, William Connolly, Anne Chen, Wendy Brown, among others.
WSCP 81000 -Citizen Participation and Community Organization
GC T 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Marilyn Gittell  [Cross listed with Pol. Sci. 73908]
An in-depth analysis of democratic theory and its relevance to the creation of responsive public policies, especially as regards excluded populations. Issues of race and gender will be of primary concern. The single most important question to be addressed by the seminar is how policies which undermine the democratic process and marginalize large segments of the population can be changed. Emphasis will be on the role of democratic localism, citizen participation and community organization and their effect on the building of social capital and civil society. How these concepts and practices contribute to policies which work towards inclusion and social change will be discussed. Although a major portion of the reading will be on the U.S. political experience the course will also include comparative readings on other political systems.
A research paper will be required.
WSCP 81000 -Contemporary Political Theory: Biopolitics
GC T 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Rosalind Petchesky  [Cross listed with Pol. Sci. 71901]
This course will be an in-depth inquiry into the work of Michel Foucault and Giorgio Agamben (reading from The Foucault Reader, History of Sexuality Vol. I, and the College de France Lectures of Foucault; Homo Sacer and State of Exception of Agamben, among others), along with a number of contemporary feminist and queer writers. We will attempt to unpack the meanings and recent applications of 'biopolitics" as a theoretical approach to understanding states, governance, and geopolitics in the late-20th/early-21st century world. We will also look at some specific issues or case studies--refugee and IDP camps, biometric surveillance, policies regarding sex workers and sexual minorities (particularly immigration policies), "advanced interrogation methods" in the "war on terror", and the regulation of sexualities--to test these theories. In all of this, we will be concerned with how gender, race and sexuality intersect with global capitalism and militarism, in both theories and political practices.
WSCP 81000 -Women and Gender in Western Political Thought
GC R 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Joan Tronto  [Cross listed with Pol. Sci. 80602]
Until the late 1970s, political theorists believed that women had no place in Western political thought and that gender issues were irrelevant to the great tradition of political theory. A generation of work by feminist political theorists have made clear that virtually all important political ideas in the Western intellectual tradition are both obviously and more deeply constructed upon certain views of women and men, gender, the family, and assumptions about the relationship of public and private life. Rather than being peripheral to the study of political thought, these ideas turn out to be fundamental in shaping the ways that theorists have viewed political possibilities.
This course will explore this body of scholarship and the issues that it raises about the nature of politics. We will also consider related methodological questions about how to study political theory: from whence come the questions that political theorists ask of the texts that they read? What avenues of interpretation are best suited for understanding texts in political theory? We shall proceed historically through some great theorists and issues in the tradition to consider these questions, but not addressing contemporary feminist political theory, which is the subject of another course.
Basic grasp of the canon in political theory is presumed. Students will make class presentations and assume a large responsibility for organizing and participating in the class discussions, as is appropriate for an 800-level class. Students will write a major research paper and comment upon the work of classmates.
WSCP 81000 -Intro to Africana Studies: Black Identity from an Interdisciplinary Perspective
GC M 6:30-8:30 p.m., Room , 3 credits, Prof. Bill Cross  [Cross listed with Psych. 80103]
How have poets, novelists, historians, anthropologists, sociologists, journalists and psychologists conceived and socially constructed black identity and black personality, from the past to the present. What historical, political, contextual, and ecological factors have informed diverse conceptualizations? This seminar is designed to engage graduate students from a broad range of disciplines, as it traces the evolution and persistence of various concepts of black identity and personality, inclusive of those originating in the mind of the “other,” as well as definitions reflective of the interior space or subjectivities of blacks, themselves. To the extent the inquiry uncovers a thousand black personas; we will seek to understand how such variability in blackness has generally been overshadowed by stereotypic and simplistic notions of black identity & personality. Although the discourse will have a psychological texture, the readings, lectures, guest speakers, and weekly exchanges will strive for an interdisciplinary orientation. Consequently, the “matrix” of terms and conceptualizations through which the course will be voiced include: Subjectivity; social construction; inter-connectivity; essentialism; social category; representation; “passing”; gender; social class; identity & the state [laws; affirmative action; colorblind policies; etc.]; and spirituality.
Instructor: The course will be facilitated by Bill Cross (Social Personality Psychology at GC) and guest speakers will be engaged from the disciplines of literature, the arts & film making, anthropology, sociology, and clinical psychology and [Black] Women’s Studies.
WSCP 81000 -Gender and Environment -Sexuality and Space
GC W 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Cindi Katz  [Cross listed with Psych. 80103]
This course will address questions of space, place, and nature in relation to gender and sexuality from a variety of theoretical frameworks. A broad range of topics will be considered such as the sedimentations of gender and sexuality in built form, work environments, play environments, discrimination by design, the making of queer space-times, public-private space, performance and spatiality, domestic architectures, embodied geographies, global/intimate geographies, ecofeminisms and feminist approaches to nature, and the hidden and invisible geographies all around us. We will engage readings from the humanities, social sciences, and environmental design disciplines concerning the social construction of space, the production of nature, and the making of place in everyday life. No prerequisite.
WSCP 81000 -Study of Lives
GC T 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Suzanne Ouellette  [Cross listed with Psych. 80103]
Close and careful looking at lives reveals individuals in all their complexity and enables discoveries about the communities, societies, and cultures of which those individuals are part. Deep understanding of one single person enables and requires the understanding of many persons in their distinctive times and places. The class will review the history of the study of lives, covering issues like (a) psychology’s ironic ambivalence about studying lives (and preference for studying variables and concepts), (b) the reliance on life studies by contemporary sociology, anthropology, and education research, (c) the place of biography in literary studies, and (d) the current explosion of autobiographical forms such as memoirs and blogs. We will read several studies of lives. People write and tell their own lives and those of others against and within the background of all sorts of life circumstances. In this class, we will focus on lives written by or about people who contend with social injustices such as those of racism and heterosexism and/or serious illness and debilitation. We will read autobiographies and memoirs, biographies, life histories, and other forms of life studies. Through discussion of these texts, we will develop conceptual and methodological skills to be applied in our own attempts at life writing. Several theoretical positions will be considered, including recent contributions by feminist, postmodern, existential/phenomenological, and narrative approaches. We will seek to craft methods that match the theoretical promise and practical needs that we uncover.
WSCP 81000 -Health Psychology
GC M 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Tracey Revenson  [Cross listed with Psych. 80103]
8This seminar presents an overview of current theory and research in the field of health psychology. The course emphasizes the biopsychosocial model of understanding health and illness. The aims of this course are threefold. First, students will become acquainted with current knowledge in substantive areas, such as risk factors in the development of illness, cognitive models of illness, stress and coping processes, micro-level and macro-level social factors,and behavioral and community-based health interventions. Second, students will develop an understanding of the models, theories, and methods used to explore person and environment factors in health and disease. Third, issues will be discussed with an awareness of diversity and the importance of understanding the sociocultural context; specifically, each topic area will be examined as it relates to issues of gender, ethnicity, SES, sexual orientation, and age.
WSCP 81000 -Gender in a Global Perspective
GC R 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Hester Eisenstein  [Cross listed with Soc. 83300]
In the swirl of contemporary events, there is no way to avoid controversies over gender, race and class, from the role of women military personnel in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in Iraq to the firing of broadcaster Don Imus for his scurrilous remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team.
This course is an introduction to graduate work in gender studies. The focus is on women and gender from a global perspective. As Johanna Brenner has argued, for women this is both the best of times and the worst of times. On the one hand, for the first time in known human history most of the constraints on the options for women have to all intents and purposes been removed. On the other hand, the conditions of life for most women (and men as well) have become increasingly harsh, dangerous, and unforgiving, both in the industrialized countries of the North and the struggling countries of the Third World.
I hope to open up the terrain of gender studies in a way that shows something of the range of approaches that are possible and that introduces some theoretical debates. Given that the existence of gender and women’s studies in the academy is the product of women’s movement activism from the 1960s onward, I have included works that are inspired by activist struggles as well as more conventional case studies. My own current work focuses on the political economy of gender. I take a basically Marxist economic approach to the study of world capitalism, wedded to a feminist analysis that insists on the centrality of gender to economic, social, cultural and political life. Students will be encouraged to construct their own theoretical frameworks as their ideas begin to take shape.
WSCP 81000 -Social Construction of Identity
GC W 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Cynthia Fuchs Epstein  [Cross listed with Soc. 86800]
There are various theories about the ways in which individuals’ identities are formed. They include psychodynamic, psychological, sociological and evolutionary perspectives. This course focuses on the social determinants of identity formation. It explores identity as a dynamic process and a political process. While not dismissing other models, the focus of the course will frame self, culture and society as interactive.
Using research work across disciplines, and literary sources such as novels and autobiographies, we will consider how the “public” world of social institutions such as the family, religion, work organizations, the political sphere and media connect with individuals’ notions of “who they are” and what they may become. Variations by gender, class, race nationality and ethnicity will be considered as well as mechanisms of social control from the subtle to the most obvious and coercive.
In the course we will acknowledge the multiplicity of selves women and men may acquire in post-industrial society. We will study the personal and master narratives they tell and hear. We will consider how powerful “others” determine the minds, hearts and psyches of individuals, and also look at individuals’ resistance and agency in determining and preserving their identities.
Included in the course will be sections on theories of the self, the sociology of emotion, cultural sociology and impact of social movements and organizational change on personality, and the crafting of selves from literature and popular culture.
WSCP 81000 -Sociology of Medicine
GC T 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Victoria Pitts  [Cross listed with Soc. 84700]
This course will offer a selective survey of the field of medical sociology, with an emphasis on representations of the body, disease and pathology, constructions of illness, and the social and power relations of medicine and biomedicine. We begin by briefly examining the social history of medicine from the 18th Century onwards and the rise of the medicalized body. Key themes include the medical gaze and processes of medicalization. We then examine how the medicalized body is framed: representations of the body in medicine, cultural images, enthographies and narratives of disease and illness, and cultural understandings of medical subjects. The third section will explore the rise of biomedicine and biocapital. Key themes include conceptions of the posthuman, the power relations of biomedical technologies, and theories on the rise of new forms of subjectivity. Course readings will reflect a range of theorical approaches, including social constructionism, symbolic interactionism, feminisms, neoliberalism and poststructuralism. Among the aims of the course is to invigorate our sociological imaginations with regard to approaching medicine and the medicalized body and to foster innovative ideas for future exploration and research.
WSCP 81000 -Family, Parenthood, and Adoption
GC T 6:30-8:30 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman  [Cross listed with Soc. 85404]
Office hours: before class and by appointment.
This course will offer a sociological analysis of the family in its many old and new variations, with particular attention to issues of birth and parenting. The focus will be on the United States and its particular racial, class and gender politics and eugenic history, with an awareness of the global context in which Americans live and raise our families.
Specific topics to be covered will include: Infertility and the new technologies of procreation such as the donation and sale of gametes and ‘gestational services;’Contraception and abortion, including prenatal testing and selective abortion;The medicalization and demedicalization of childbirth practices, the midwifery and homebirth movements; Child bearing and rearing within gay and lesbian families;
Child care arrangements and services, including ‘transnational mothering’; Adoption, with particular attention to the issues of foster care, international and ‘transracial’ adoptions; Other topics to be agreed upon by members of the seminar.
Readings will include an overview of the lifework of the professor on this topic, including IN LABOR: WOMEN AND POWER IN THE BIRTHPLACE; THE TENTATIVE PREGNANCY: HOW AMNIOCENTESIS IS CHANGING PREGNANCY: RECREATING MOTHERHOOD, and WEAVING A FAMILY: UNTANGLING RACE AND ADOPTION. (Excerpts from each of these will be distributed in class);
WSCP 81000 -Unnatural Acts: Womens Performance Art
GC W 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Annette Saddik  [Cross listed with Thea. 85200]
During the late 1960s and early 70s, women’s performance art evolved in conjunction with the feminist movement, positioning women as speaking subjects in the theater as opposed to passive objects for visual consumption. By both foregrounding and resisting their status as sexual objects, women performance artists subverted expectations and played with patriarchal ways of constructing the role of “woman” on stage.
The performance artists we will be studying in this course use the spectacle of the female body as an active, desiring body to reveal and question the codes of heterosexual femininity, or what it means to “be a woman” on the stage in American culture, as they explore the hegemonic constructs surrounding gender and the complex ways in which language and silence serve to both create and reflect these constructs. We will be using theorists such as Philip Auslander, Jill Dolan, C. Carr, Vivian Patraka, Elin Diamond, Lynda Hart, and Peggy Phelan to inform our readings of the work of various women performance artists–Faith Wilding, Carolee Schneemann, Annie Sprinkle, Karen Finley, Holly Hughes, Deb Margolin, Robbie McCauley, Lisa Kron, Anna Deavere Smith, Split Britches, The Five Lesbian Brothers, The Guerrilla Girls–in order to explore how these artists expose the invisible power relations that function in a patriarchal society and challenge the relationship of women to the dominant system of representation.
This course is designed to provide students who have passed their first examination with an in-depth study of the theoretical and historiographic methodologies that have proven most important for theatre and performance studies. The course aims to help students become fluent in these critical languages and prepare them to frame their dissertation topics, conduct original research, and select the theoretical models most useful for interpreting and elaborating on their research.
WSCP 81000 -Social Welfare Policy and Planning II
H T 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. S.J. Dodd [92358[Cross listed with SSW 71100] Permission of the Instructor is required.
The course applies historical, ideological and theoretical models (including feminism) to the study of social problems and social welfare policies. In a seminar fashion, students critique various definitions of social problems; examine the impact of race, class, gender and heterosexist power relationships on the definitional process; and explore the implications of social problem definition for social welfare policy analysis and application. Using the intellectual frameworks developed in class students study and analyze a social problem of their choosing in class presentations and in a final paper.