Women's Studies Certificate Program
Coordinator: Victoria Pitts-Taylor, Room 5116 (817-8896, 817-8905)
The Certificate in Women's Studies is available to students matriculated in the Ph.D. programs at The Graduate Center. Women's Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to research and scholarship that draws on various disciplines, while challenging disciplinary boundaries. The general aim of the program is to offer critical reflection on the experience of both women and men in terms of gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity, and nation. Students are prepared to teach courses and to do research in Women's Studies and related critical approaches to the disciplines, such as those developed in Queer Studies, Postcolonial Studies, and Cultural Studies. Besides focused course work and guidance in research, Women's Studies offers participation in a wide range of graduate students and faculty activities, including lecture series and forums. Students are also invited to participate in the research programs and seminars at the Center for Women and Society at The Graduate Center.
WSCP 71700 - Global Feminisms
GC W 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Janet Johnson 
This course offers the opportunity to study feminist organizing around and across the world, starting with considering the global women’s movement. Together, we will explore the conflicts, openings, and new ways of knowing that emerge from challenges by posed by “Third World women,” including postcolonial critiques and the framework of intersectionality. We will study unsettled feminisms in the countries in Central and Eastern Europe still reacting to the collapse of the Soviet Union. We will learn about the social and institutional policies created by Nordic feminists to establish “women friendliness.” We will contrast the now more conventional human rights advocacy linked with transnational feminist networks with more rebellious, multidimensional youth movements. Finally, we will consider the role of gender, nation, and race in the global economy, including the 2008 global economic crisis. Issues of focus include violence against women, sexuality, reproduction, work-family balance, and social justice. The primary lenses for this course will come from feminist political sociology, with insights about social movements, state-society relations, multilevel governance, and policymaking, but with plenty of space for the humanities. You will be required to submit short, almost weekly assignments to initiate and shape discussion plus craft a research paper that will hopefully inform or become part of your doctoral (or master’s) thesis.
WSCP 81001 - Feminist Texts and Theories
GC T 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA , 3 credits, Profs. Kyoo Lee and Alyson Cole  [Cross listed with MALS 72100]
This course provides a broad overview of the issues and texts of Women's Studies. The instructors will use an interdisciplinary approach to consider some of the themes, questions, methodologies, and findings of Women's Studies scholarship. The course will cover a selection of feminist texts, taken from both literary and social science sources, and also classic and contemporary theoretical works. In addition, students will explore the ways in which the field of women's studies has raised new questions and brought new perspectives to those areas where the humanities and social and behavioral sciences intersect, with material which is interdisciplinary in nature and frequently poses a challenge to conventional disciplinary boundaries.
WSCP 81000 - Women's Rights in Muslim Societies: International and Interdisciplinary Perspectives
JJ W 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Chitra Raghavan  [Cross listed with CRJ 87100]
The “woman question” is bound up with global politics of masculinity, economics, and local power structures. Following World War II, women’s bodies have become frequent targets of manipulation, largely for political gain. This class will focus on women’s rights in Muslim societies. We will read essays on Muslim societies that span the globe (e.g., Southern Thailand, Indonesia, India, Uganda, Iran, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco)Â drawn from both the humanities and the social sciences including anthropology, law, political science, history, and psychology. We will cover topics that have elicited much Western outrage (and thus arguably disproportionate attention) such as female circumcision and “honor” crimes as well the unjustifiably neglected but immensely important every day topics of marriage, property, and divorce.
Through the readings, we will explore how the pathways to personal identity and social justice for Muslim women are fraught with complications and subject to many of the same social forces that have been at work historically when people pursue improvement in their lives. Finally, we will also take note of the paradoxical circumstance that well-intentioned quests to enhance women’s rights may in fact undermine the status of women, creating a conservative backlash against a more open and woman-friendly lifestyle that women in some Muslim countries have enjoyed for centuries. Â
WSCP 81000 -Clothing Cultures of Early Modern Italy and England
GC R 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Profs. Will Fisher & Eugenia Paulicelli  [Cross listed with ENGL 82100 & RSCP 83100]
This course will examine the clothing culture of early modern Italy and England. During this period, "fashion" was much broader than a simple notion of dress; it could refer to a wide variety of things like behavior and manners, and even to national character and identity. Thus, fashion became an important institution of modernity. This course will investigate how and where fashion came to the fore, establishing itself as a threat to morality and religious belief, and serving as a vehicle for gender, class and ethnic definitions. We will draw on a broad interdisciplinary framework and discuss sources from both the English and Italian literary traditions (although all the reading will be in English). We will examine texts from many different genres, including costume books, plays, poetry, novellas, treatises, and satires. We will also be analyzing early modern visual and material culture. We will ultimately consider how dress (and other types of ornamentation that covered the body) became a cause for concern for the Church and State. These institutions sought to regulate individual vanity and any desire to transgress the accepted societal codes.
WSCP 81000 - The Nineteenth-Century British Novel in Context
GC M 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Anne Humpherys  [Cross listed with ENGL 84300]
This course will modify the traditional survey of the British novel by concentrating on clusters of novels that were published usually within months of each other. We'll spend two weeks on each cluster, everybody reading the same novel the first week, and then having a choice among the rest of the cluster for the second week. We'll begin with the year 1818 which saw publication of Jane Austen (Persuasion), Walter Scott (Heart of the Midlothian), and Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), move on to the annus mirabilis, 1847, with novels by Emily, Anne, and Charlotte BrontÃ«, Thackeray (Vanity Fair) , Disraeli (Tancred ), and Dickens (Dombey and Son which begins serialization). The next really significant single year is 1859 with novels by George Meredith (Ordeal of Richard Feverel), George Eliot (Adam Bede), Dickens (Tale of Two Cities), and Anthony Trollope (Can You Forgive Her? the first Palliser novel) not to mention Tennyson's Idylls of the King, Samuel Smiles's Self Help, John Stuart Mill's "On Liberty," and Darwin's Origin of Species plus a few other poems and non-fiction works. The cluster of novels that appeared in 1860-2 that defined the sensation novel include those by Wilkie Collins (Woman in White 1860) and (No Name 1862), Ellen Wood (East Lynne 1861), Dickens (Great Expectations 1861), and Elizabeth Braddon (Lady Audley's Secret 1862). Charles Reade, an important if now forgotten sensation novelist, published the most popular historical novel of the Victorian period during this same time period: The Cricket on the Hearth (1861). The 1870s saw novels published by Margaret Oliphant (Phoebe Junior) and George Eliot (Daniel Deronda) in 1876; Henry James (Daisy Miller) and Thomas Hardy (Return of the Native) in 1878, and George Meredith (The Egoist) in 1879. In the 1880s Meredith published Diana of the Crossways (1885) while Thomas Hardy and Henry James published major works in 1886: The Mayor of Casterbridge and The Princess Casimassima. The 1880s also saw two novels on religious subjects that used to be canonized texts: Walter Pater's Marius the Epicurean in 1885 and Mary Ward's Robert Elsmere in 1888. The course will conclude with yet another annus mirabilis, 1891, in which Thomas Hardy, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle, and George Gissing published major works: Tess of the D'urbervilles, Portrait of Dorian Gray, the Sherlock Holmes stories, and New Grub Street. Obviously we won't cover all these novels (and there are others we could add); the class will have some choices.
The requirements for the course will depend on the size of the class. Ideally every student will give a short oral report contextualizing one of the novels read by everybody which will then be written up as a 8-10 page paper (the length of a 20 minute "conference" presentation), and on the days when we take up the other novels in the cluster, everybody will say a few words about the novel they read in relation to the text all read. There will be a final paper of around 20 pages in which the writer focuses on some of the issues that have arisen in the course in the context of at least two related novels.
WSCP 81000 - Aestheticism, Decadence, Modernism, 1880-1930
GC W 6:30-8:30 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Richard Kaye  [Cross listed with ENGL 86000]
This class explores the relation between the aestheticist and decadent movements and their crucial determination of modernist aesthetics. Beginning with the fin de siÃ¨cle, we will consider works by Hardy, Wilde, James, and Huysmans. The late-Victorian period was a time of pervasive fears and fantasies dominated by such figures as the New Woman, the urban detective, the homosexual bachelor, the Anarchist, the Oriental, the overreaching colonialist, the self-preening aesthete, the vampire, and the femme fatale. In the diverse writings of Pater, Olive Schreiner, Vernon Lee, Symonds, and Wilde, aestheticism emerged as a theoretically coherent and varied movement absorbed in exquisite surfaces and useless artifice. For decadent writers and artists, scientific theories of "degeneration" could be recalibrated as erotically charged, non-teleological experiments, while Freud drew on "decadent" scenarios for his proto-modernist narratives of hysteria and sexual disorder. Women writers, meanwhile, struggled to find a place within the male-defined coteries of aestheticism and decadence, a theme dramatized in James' tale "The Author of Beltraffio,," narrated by a decadent acolyte, in which the aestheticist project must be sequestered from female readers, who can only misconstrue it as immoral. Yet there were also alliances between male decadents and their feminist colleagues; Wilde promoted Schreiner's novel "Story of an African Farm," with its bold challenge to realist conventions in an symbolist exploration of colonialist malaise.)
In the class's section part we will explore how the fin outlasted the siÃ¨cle, maintaining an intense afterlife in the Anglo-American modernist writing of Yeats, James, Eliot, Joyce, Lawrence, and Djuna Barnes. The morbidity, subjectivism, sexual experimentalism, and excesses of literary technique characteristic of 1890s sensibility foment modernist revisions. Wilde's "Picture of Dorian Gray," with its hero who refuses to "develop," inspires modernist counter-bildungsromans. We consider Joyce's "Stephen Hero," an early version of "Portrait of the Artist as Young Man," arguably a satire of aestheticism as well as a novel with an explicitly Paterian protagonist. The keenly observing, detached bachelor familiar from James also narrates Rilke's "The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge" (arguably the first modernist novel) and forms the paralyzed solitary consciousness of Eliot's "Prufrock." We will consider, too, Eliot's absorption in the figure of the Jew as an emblem of a malevolent decadent cosmopolitanism versus Djuna Barnes' depiction of the decadent Jew in her novel "Nightwood" as a more positively transformative cultural agent. In Lawrence's "The Woman Who Rode Away," we discover a modernist investment in a savage, socially reactionary primitivism. Intensifying our class's focus on productively murky transitions, we will consider the discord between Edwardian realists, with their stress on social and historical topicality, and modernist experimenters obsessed with subjectivity and interiority, a rift made famous in Virginia Woolf's essay "Mr. Bennett and Mrs. Brown." Yet this breech may have been overstated.
Our class concludes with James' "The Golden Bowl," a novel of twinned adulteries that is one of James' most topical, aesthetically difficult, and decadent works of fiction. Among the texts we will read: Hardy, "Jude the Obscure," Huysmans, "Against Nature"; Wilde, "The Picture of Dorian Gray", "Salome"; Schreiner, "Story of an African Farm," Huysmans, "Against Nature," Freud, "Dora: A Case of Hysteria"; Conrad, "Heart of Darkness," Stoker, "Dracula"; Joyce, "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," Yeats, "The Celtic Twilight"; Lawrence, "The Woman Who Rode Away"; Eliot "Selected Poetry;" James, "The Golden Bowl"; Barnes, "Nightwood," Showalter, ed., "Daughters of Decadence." We will read relevant critical and theoretical texts in the fields of Victorian, modernist, New Formalist, Feminist, Psychoanalytic, Gender, and Queer Theory as well as critical texts such as Symons, "The Decadent Movement in Literature"; Mario Praz, "The Romantic Agony," George Bataille, "Literature and Evil"; Richard Ellmann, "The Uses of Decadence", Richard Gilman, "Decadence: The Strange Life of an Epithet"; Linda Dowling, "The Decadent and The New Woman"; Michael Riffaterre, "Decadent Paradoxes," Leo Bersani, "The Culture of Redemption," Regenia Gagnier, "Individualism, Decadence, and Globalization." A mid-term paper and a final paper that may be drawn from the mid-term essay.
WSCP 81000 - Bodies. Passions, and Humors in Early Modern England
GC R 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Tanya Pollard  [Cross listed with ENGL 71600]
This course will examine how writers imagined and represented bodies in early modern England. Conceptually, bodies changed dramatically in the period: the longstanding humoral model, inherited from the Greek physician Galen, was confronted with challenges from Vesalian anatomy, Paracelsan pharmacy, Harvey's discovery of the circulation of the blood, and new illnesses and medicines introduced by international travel and trade. Amid all these changes, bodies on page and stage were dissected, dismembered, drugged, displayed, disciplined, adorned, painted, and ravished. We will examine how different genres represent these and other bodily states, with attention to the body's relationship to the mind, the emotions, the environment, and literature itself. Readings will include tragedies (probably including The Duchess of Malfi, The Revenger's Tragedy, and Hamlet); comedies (probably including The Taming of the Shrew, Bartholomew Fair, and Volpone); and erotic epyllia (including Venus and Adonis and The Metamorphosis of Pigmalions Image); as well as selections from cookbooks and cosmetic manuals (such as Platt's Delights for Ladies), antitheatrical polemics (including Gosson's School of Abuse), and medical texts (such as Elyot's The Castle of Helth, and Crooke's Mikrocosmographia). Assignments will include two presentations, several brief written responses, and a final paper.
WSCP 81000 -Readings in African American Literary and Cultural Criticism
GC W 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Robert Reid-Pharr  [Cross listed with ENGL 85500]
Focusing primarily on "space" and "performance", this seminar will introduce students to some of the more significant recent critical and theoretical trends within the study of Black American literature and culture. Participants will be asked both if it is possible to produce a specifically black literary criticism and whether Black American identity is effected, manipulated, challenged or perhaps even erased within "peculiar" performative or spatial contexts. At the same time, the course will examine how African American Studies intersects with and challenges Feminist Studies, Gay and Lesbian Studies, Ethnic Studies, and American Studies. Students will be asked to write several short papers during the course of the semester. They will also do at least one in class presentation. Texts that we will examine include: Daphne Brooks, Bodies in Dissent: Spectacular Performances of Race and Freedom, 1850 â€“ 1910 (Duke, 2006); Susan Buck-Morris, Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History (U. Pittsburg, 2009); Tina Campt, Other Germans: Black Germans and the Politics of Race, Gender, and Memory in the Third Reich (U. Michigan, 2005); Darby English, How to See a Work of Art in Total Darkness (MIT, 2010); Nicole Fleetwood, Troubling Vision: Performance, Visuality and Blackness (U. Chicago, 2011); Kevin Gaines, American Africans in Ghana: Black Expatriates in the Civil Rights Era (UNC, 2007); Paul Gilroy, On the Moral Economies of Black Atlantic Culture (Harvard, 2010); Andre Guridy; Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and Afro-Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow (UNC, 2010); Walter Johnson, Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market (Harvard, 2001); Tavia Nyong'o, The Amalgamation Waltz: Race, Performance, and the Ruse of Memory (U. Minnesota, 2009); Shane Vogel; The Scene of Harlem Cabaret; Race, Sexuality, Performance (U. Chicago, 2009); Penny von Eschen, Race Against Empire: Black Americans and Anti-Colonialism, 1937 â€“ 57 (Cornell, 1997).
WSCP 81000 -Romantic Aesthetics and Affect: Melancholy, Gratitude and Literary Form
GC W 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Nancy Yousef  [Cross listed with ENGL 84200]
This course will explore the aesthetics of mood in romantic era literature, focusing particularly on the phenomena of melancholy and gratitude as articulated in lyric, narrative, and non-fiction prose. While melancholy (despondence, despair, bereavement, indolence) has long been seen as the paradigmaticâ€”indeed symptomaticâ€”stance of introspection in romanticism, gratitude (thankfulness, appreciation, humility, receptivity) no less frequently shapes reflection on the self and others in the period. Our focus on these particular moods will entail a broader investigation of how romantic aesthetics, in practice and in theory, imagine the expression, communication, and phenomenology of emotion. How is affect shaped and inflected by literary form? How is literary form strained by affect? As political implications and moral aspirations are always explicitly bound to aesthetic practice in the romantic era, we will also be attending to the ways in which ostensibly private moods involve public and ethical entanglements. Readings will include Wollstonecraft, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Hazlitt, and Austen. Supplementary readings in romantic aesthetics will include Rousseau, Schiller, Lessing, Burke, and Kant. Contemporary theoretical touchstones will include Freud, Arendt, Cavell, Levinas. Course requirements: bi-weekly response papers, oral presentation, 20-25 page research essay.
WSCP 81000 - Sex, Society and Politics in Post-1945 Europe
GC R 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Julia Sneeringer [Cross listed with Hist.72100]
This course will explore key issues in the social and political history of Europe 1945-1989, using sex and gender as central categories of analysis. We will examine both West and East, looking at similarities and differences across the so-called Iron Curtain. Among the themes we will cover are postwar reconstruction, consumer culture, youth culture, 1968 in both East and West Europe, gay scenes and feminist movements, daily life under communism, and the revolutions of 1989
WSCP 81000 - Power, Resistance, Identity and Social Movements
GC R 4:15 -6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Ruth O'Brien  [Cross listed with PSC 82004]
This course studies individual forms of socially constructed identity (e.g., gender, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, and humanness), intersectional forms of identity (e.g., race and gender) and collective forms of identity (.e.g., labor, citizenship, social movements). It explores how these identities affect power and resistance as understood by contemporary philosophers such as Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, Gilles Deleuze, and cultural studies theorists Stuart Hall, Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, among others. This course is cross-listed with WSCP because it applies radical feminist theory to American politics. It is also an upper division American politics course that helps students prepare for the American political thought and the National Institutions part of the American politics first comprehensive examination. It since it applies Contemporary Political Theory (CPT) to APT and American Political Development or (APD) or manifests Ideas in (Re)Action.
WSCP 81000 - Social Policy
GC W 4:15 -6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Janet Carol Gornick  [Cross listed with PSC 73901]
WSCP 81000 - Health Psychology
CC M 11:45-1:45 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Tracey Revenson  [Cross listed with Psych. 85300]
This 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.
Course cap: 16
WSCP 81000 - Social Stigmas
CC R 11:45-1:45 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Daryl A. Wout  [Cross listed with Psych. 80103]
This course is designed to expose graduate students to the psychology of stigma. Students will be introduced to classic and contemporary theory and research on stigma, primarily from the perspective of the stigmatized. Although we will use a broad definition of stigma and consider a wide variety of stigmatized groups, most of the research we will discuss focuses on groups that are stigmatized because of ethnicity/race, gender and sexual orientation. Topics covered will include the function and nature of stigma, stigma and the self-concept, stereotype threat, attributional ambiguity, stigma concealability and controllability, stigma and social interaction, and methods of coping with stigma.
WSCP 81000 - Gender and Work
GC M 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Pamela Stone  [Cross listed with Soc. 73200]
The entry of women in large numbers to the paid labor force is hailed as one of the defining changes of the 20th Century. Yet 40+ years after the feminist revolution and passage of civil rights laws, gender inequalities persist, compounded and complicated by race, class, sexual orientation, and immigrant status. This course looks at changes in women's paid and unpaid labor from the Industrial Revolution to the contemporary post-industrial globalized workplace to consider demographic trends in women's work and family roles and their interrelationship; the gendered organization of work; the intersection of race, class and gender in understanding today's transnational labor markets; the tension between women's paid employment and unpaid care giving; and policies aimed at advancing women's status and economic independence such as pay equity and flexible work arrangements. A variety of conceptual and theoretical frameworks for understanding gender inequality at work will be explored.
WSCP 81000 - Gender and Globalization
GC T 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Hester Eisenstein  [Cross listed with Soc. 83300]
In this course we will examine the relationship between the phenomenon now widely termed "globalization," and the changes in gender relations that have taken place since the rise of the second wave of the women's movement in the 1970s.
Since the end of the "long boom" (starting after World War II and lasting through the mid-1970s), academic and mainstream feminism have enjoyed enormous success, during a period of economic, social, and political restructuring that has created an intensified polarization between rich and poor, and an ever-growing mass of desperately impoverished people around the globe. This course will examine this paradox.
We will seek to define globalization, starting from the premise that this is a stage in the development of the international capitalist system, under the economic and military domination of the world's only remaining superpower. More specifically, we will look at the "Washington consensus," under which developing countries have been forced to open their borders to the free flow of capital from the rich countries. Among other changes, "globalization" involves the intensive use of female labor, from maquiladoras to electronics factories to textile factories. It has also produced an acceleration of "informal" work for women. While educated women can now walk through many doors previously closed to them, in the worlds of business, sports, and politics, the majority of women in the world are increasingly impoverished, overworked and exploited, and subject to a wide variety of forms of violence, sexual, military, and economic. The majority of the world's refugees are now women and children.
We will address these issues by posing a number of relevant questions. Where does the ideology of globalization come from? How has globalization affected the conditions of women and children in the developed and the developing world? How has contemporary feminism been shaped by the workforce participation of women? What is the role of class in the women's movement, domestically and internationally? Why are issues of gender, sexuality, and race so central to the culture wars being waged at home and abroad by religious fundamentalist leaders? How does the association of "liberated women" with modernity affect the process of globalization? In the revived social movement that has placed the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other international financial institutions at the center of an intensified campaign for social justice, what is the place for organized women's activism?
Readings in the course are selected from theoretical writings as well as case studies, and students are encouraged to develop their own research and activist agendas.
WSCP 81000 - Food, Culture and Society
GC R 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman  [Cross listed with Soc. 82800 & PUBH 85100]
This course explores major issues in foodwaysâ€”food habits from production through consumptionâ€”through readings and discussions as well as through primary research in food and society. The scholarly study of food invokes issues of gender, class, labor, and cultural identities and demands an interdisciplinary approach. Theoretical frameworks include the food voice (Hauck-Lawson), cultural studies, political economy, and symbolic interactionism.
WSCP 81000 - Social Welfare Policy and Planning I
H T 2:00- 4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Mimi Abramovitz 
[Cross listed with SSW 71000] Permission of the instructor required.
This course is an advanced introduction to social welfare policy in the United States. It reviews the history of the U.S. welfare state, contemporary social welfare policies, forces contributing to the expansion and contraction of the welfare state, and alternate welfare state models. It develops a framework for analyzing social welfare policy and the skills for critical analysis. Special attention is paid to dynamics of race, gender and class and to feminist theories of the welfare state.