The Graduate Center
The City University of New York
Women’s Studies Certificate Program
Coordinator: Hester Eisenstein, 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 experiences of both women and men in terms of differences 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 the Study of Women and Society at the Graduate Center.
WSCP 81001 - Feminist Texts and Theories
GC M 2:00-4:00 p.m. Room TBA. 3 credits, Prof. Hester Eisenstein  Cross listed with Soc. 80000]
In this course students will consider significant classic and modern texts in the feminist tradition. The course will cover a series of feminist theories from the 19th to the 21st centuries, including Marxist, radical and liberal perspectives, and ranging from Black, Third World, lesbian and ecofeminist formulations to postmodern/poststructuralist views that question the existence of woman as a category. We will look at issues of race, class, sexuality, and disability in relation to feminist and womanist positions. The class will include readings by Clara Zetkin, Simone de Beauvoir, bell hooks, Chandra Mohanty, and Judith Butler, among others. Students will be expected to be prepared to discuss the readings each week, and to write a weekly short zap or response paper. The final project for the class will be a 20-25 page research paper, but can also be a film, a video, or a political statement and analysis.
WSCP 81601 - Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies; Feminism, Autobiography, Theory: Women Writing Witness
GC W 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Nancy K. Miller  [Cross listed with Comp. Lit. 80100]
Feminist theorizing has long been entangled with autobiographical practices. In this seminar, we will explore texts from different literary genres that all deploy what we might call a “feminist I.” Memoir, testimony, poetry, essay, or fiction, in each instance the “I” bears witness to circumstances and desires that are not simply singular, but also transpersonal and collective. Through what literary strategies do these writers make connections between “I” and “we,” story and life, aesthetics and politics?
Readings include: Adichie, Beauvoir, Bechdel, Cixous, Dangarembga, Delbo, Feinberg, Gay, Hartman, Kristeva, Lorde, Menchu, Rankine, Rich, Satrapi, and, as always, Woolf.
Work for the course: weekly written responses, one in-class presentation, final paper.
WSCP 71700 - Global Feminisms
GC R 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Saadia Toor 
Transnational feminisms will explore the gender dynamics of racial, ethnic, and economic relations of power in domestic, international, and transnational settings. We will examine feminist scholarship produced by and about American women of color, Third World women, and other social and political actors whose experiences and thinking have shaped contemporary ideas about gender, power, and international political economies. We will explore how both self-identified feminists and people who do not consider themselves feminists write about and understand gender, justice, human rights, tolerance, agency, imperialism, and other relevant topics. We will also examine how women and self-identified feminists practice solidarity across and within national boundaries, paying attention to the possibilities and constraints that shape transnational feminist activism. We will look at both empirical and theoretical texts from a range of academic disciplines. We will explore some of the following questions: How do racial, sexual, and national identities change the meanings of gender and feminism? Who should be the arbiter of “equality,” “fairness,” and “human rights”? What ethical questions shape the practices of feminism and feminist politics both domestically and internationally? What is the relationship between modes of production, political economy, and gender politics? What are the possibilities and limits of a transnational feminist politics? What are the material conditions/structural factors which enable and/or undermine transnational feminist solidarity?
WSCP 81000 - Italian Modernities: Film, Fashion, Nation
GC M 2:00-6:00 p.m., Room C419, 4 credits, Prof. Eugenia Paulicelli  [Cross listed with Comp. Lit. 88300]
Homi Bhabha has argued that nations, like narratives, are complex signifying machines that have emerged as a powerful historical idea in the west. Through close analysis of the variety of texts that make up the national fabric, the ambivalence and multiplicity of nationhood can be pinpointed. Several studies on nation and narration have appeared in Italy over the last few years (for example by Giulio Bollati, Serena Sapegno, Silvana Patriarca, among others). Going back further in time, Antonio Gramsci also wrote some of his most powerful pages on the cultural difficulties encountered by the Italian nation State as it was being formed. Italian culture, in general, whether in film, literature or fashion, has also been deeply concerned with the problematic that is the Italian nation. The aim of the course is to investigate the role of film and fashion in Italian narratives of nationhood. The course will devote a great deal of attention to how the nation’s path to modernization brought with a new aesthetic style that took on concrete form in the cinema, literature and fashion of the nation. Theoretical readings will also include texts by Benjamin, Kracauer, Pirandello, Pasolini, Casetti, Gunning and others. Films by Nino Oxilia, Gustavo Serena, Giovanni Pastrone, Carmine Gallone, Mario Camerini, Alessandro Blasetti, Corrado D’Errico, Ferdinando Maria Poggioli, Roberto Rossellini, Luchino Visconti, Michelangelo Antonioni, Antonio Pietrangeli, Federico Fellini, Pier Paolo Pasolini.
The course will be divided into three parts:
Early cinema with a special focus on the diva film (Lyda Borelli, Francesca Bertini, Pina Menichelli);
The fascist period;
The post-war period and auteuresque cinema.
WSCP 81000 - Postcolonial Poetics: Body, Archive, Memory
GC W 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Meena Alexander  [Cross listed with Engl. 86500]
Using a range of texts—poetry, fiction, theory—we will explore questions of embodiment, affect, gender, sexuality and the search for voice in the face of racial violence, spatial dislocation and temporal ruptures. How might we connect archival knowledge in its sometimes ruined materiality with the intensely personal task of textual self-construction? We will think about cultural memory, the archive it generates and function of art in a time of difficulty; acts of autobiographical meaning –making and radical untranslatability.We will trace South-South connections (Wright, Manto); sexuality, trauma, race in contemporary American women poets (Cha, Rankine); exile, diaspora, fractured identities (Naipaul, Rushdie); Indian Ocean cosmopolitanism (Gandhi, Ghosh, Ananda Devi). We will read Fanon’s `Colonial Wars and Mental Disorders’, Djebar’s `Forbidden Gaze, Severed Sound’ and Mahasveta Devi’s short stories as well as selections from Dalit writers. We will have readings from theorists such as Appadurai, Debord, Derrida, Glissant, Guha, Lowe, Merleau-Ponty, Moten, Spivak, Stoler and others. This course will be run as a seminar with weekly readings and student presentations and a final research paper. Books for purchase will be on order at Book Culture, 536 W 112 St (between Broadway and Amsterdam): Theresa Cha, Dictee; Mahasveta Devi, Imaginary Maps; Assia Djebar, Women of Algiers in Their Apartment; Frantz Fanon, Wretched of the Earth; Amitav Ghosh, Antique Land; V.S.Naipaul, Enigma of Arrival; Claudia Rankine, Citizen; Salman Rushdie, Satanic Verses. Other materials will be uploaded into the course dropbox.
WSCP 81000 - Modernist Looking: Turnings in Portrait and Places
GC R 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Mary Ann Caws  [Cross listed with Engl. 76000]
I’d like to investigate various types of turns, not just the linguistic turn or the philosophical turn or any turn of events or serious paradigm shift, rather a modest and often merely metaphoric or visual bend in something as everyday as a road. Here is my initial thought: that modernism now is not so much about meanings but more about, or at least as much about what something turn and points to. Turnings call for a turning into, turnings involved a going back incessantly more than going forward. I am fascinated by re-turnings, inturnings, and turning aside, as in the so celebrated and celebratory theatre asides.
Modernism is, as I see it, about learning by its turns, not just by its forward progression, straight ahead.
Starting with the turn or turns in some celebrated texts (Virginia Woolf, etc.), and relating them to visual turns in some paintings (Nicolas de Stael, etc.), this seminar wants to look at how they work, and how we see them now – that is, turns in the landscapes, seascapes, and textscapes we will be caring about. We will be seeing them alongside various shifts in character and tone in a few novels, poems, and plays (Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Dickinson, Henry James, Edith Wharton, etc. –all these “etc.” mean to carry a big and unspecified load, on purpose). Depending on group interest, we may stretch our sights to points of view and sorts of style in essays, criticism, perhaps also films. There will be a certain emphasis on portraiture and self-portraiture, and on our ways of looking at a few rather singular beings and writers (such as Ronald Firbank, Henry Green, Andy Warhol, etc.) The improbable will sneak in shiftily, for example, when you think you know where a character is going and then it makes a turn in another direction. When you come to a fork in the road, take both roads simultaneously, that kind of thing (Cortazar, etc.) The visual pose striking nearest is that of the contrapposto, as if we could enact as well as imagine following two directions at once. Why not?
WSCP 81000 - Decolonizing Thought: On Indigeneity, Race and Modernity
GC M 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Kandice Chuh  [Cross listed with Engl. 85400]
This seminar takes as its point of departure the critiques and theorizations of the ongoingness of coloniality as another, more appropriate name for modernity. How do such insights transform the understanding and deployment of concepts key to cultural studies as nation, race, sexuality, gender, sovereignty, postcoloniality, and justice? What are the possibilities for and obstacles to advancing decolonial thinking through aesthetic craft and pedagogic/intellectual/curricular practice? What are the stakes in such projects? Relying especially on the critical/creative work of Native American, American Indian, and First Nations discourses, we will devote the semester to becoming critically conversant with, and/or deepening our engagements with, decolonization as a theoretical, political, aesthetic, and economic construct and condition. Among others, students should expect to encounter work by William Apess, Joanne Barker, Jodi Byrd, Glen Coulthard, Louise Erdrich, Mishuana Goeman, Alyosha Goldstein, J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Lisa Lowe, Walter Mignolo, Mark Rifkin, Leslie Marmon Silko, Audra Simpson, Gerald Vizenor, Robert Warrior, Sarah Winnemucca, and Sylvia Wynter.
Two shorter writings and a longer project constitute the formal requirements of the course for students enrolled for 4 credits; students enrolled for 2 credits would submit only the two shorter writings to meet these requirements. Everyone is expected to participate fully in the life of what will be a discussion-driven class.
WSCP 81000 - Experiments in Art Writing
GC T 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Wayne Koestenbaum  [Cross listed with Engl. 80200]
In this seminar, we will investigate and experience the pleasurable complexities of writing imaginatively about visual art, mostly contemporary. How might art—however we define it—provide impetus and excuse for experiments in critical prose? Seeking inspiration, we will read many of the following writers: John Ruskin, Stéphane Mallarmé, Walter Pater, Gertrude Stein, James Schuyler, Rosalind E. Krauss, T. J. Clark, Molly Nesbit, Susan Sontag, David Antin, James Lord, Boyd McDonald, Hervé Guibert, Eileen Myles, Glenn Ligon, Maggie Nelson, Kellie Jones, Carol Mavor, Hilton Als, Bruce Hainley, and Rebekah Rutkoff. A wayward tradition of stylistic license—of liberties taken—awaits our fond analysis and emulation. In lieu of a final paper, students will write, each week, a two-page composition that responds to a visual occasion or a work of art. (I don’t mean to imply that art is always exclusively optical.)
WSCP 81000 - African American Literacies & Education: The 20th and 21st Centuries
GC M 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Carmen Kynard  [Cross listed with Engl. 89010]
Sick and tired of being sick and tired… Freestylin’ or lookin’ for a style that’s free… To protect and serve…Composition in a fifth key...Dukin’ it out with “the powers that be”… These are all chapters in Elaine Richardson’s African American Literacies, now a must-read for those researching race, new literacies, and contemporary composition studies. Richardson defines African American literacies as the vernacular resistance arts and cultural productions that are created to carve out free spaces in oppressive locations. Following her lead, we take up such literacies as a way of situating reading, writing, and schooling where learning is located within social and cultural processes. We will study an extensive range of sociolinguists, composition researchers, rhetoric scholars, and literacy/educational activists in order to unravel unique inventions of and interventions in African American struggles for freedom. Our subthemes will include (but are not limited to): literacy and black girlhood/black feminist studies, hip hop literacies, literacy from the contexts of black queer studies, and relationships between schooling and black masculinities. We will use a range of digital artifacts (webpages, ePortfolios, digital storytelling, etc) to engage and build public networks about and for African American literacies in the 21st century (demos will be provided so you will not need prior technological experience).
WSCP 81000 - Send in the Clowns: Fools and Jokers from Medieval and Early Modern Drama to Contemporary Standup
GC T 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Richard McCoy  [Cross listed with Engl. 81500]
In his instructions to the players, Hamlet inveighs against actors who improvise for vulgar laughs and insists that, “clowns speak no more than is set down for them.” And Shakespeare’s noble contemporary, Sir Philip Sidney, objected vehemently to “mongrel tragicomedies” for “mingling kings and clowns.” Yet despite the desire to send off the clowns, fools still proved to be essential dramatis personae in the gravest tragedies. Hamlet himself sometimes plays the fool and “put[s] an antic disposition on.”
This course will explore the intense synergy of comedy and tragedy, focusing on theories of humor from antiquity to the present. We will also discuss the clown’s role in drama, noting the diabolical affinities of clowns with Vice figures like Titivillus in Mankind and Robin and Rafe in Doctor Faustus. Their efforts to attack and engage the audience are rooted in a connection between comedy and aggression. This in turn can be linked to the clown’s tendency to break the fourth wall and directly address spectators, suggesting that, in some ways, fools can function as mouthpieces for authors. The clown’s paradoxical combination of stupidity and smarts also allows this figure to become both the joke’s butt and the wily joker – or what one critic calls “the clowning object and the laughing subject of his own mirth.”
This paradox enables clowns to resist the condescension and attack the complacency of their presumed betters on stage and off, challenging class barriers in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and gender barriers in The Roaring Girl. We’ll also explore comparably paradoxical reinforcement and transgression of class, gender, and racial stereotypes in popular performance from commedia dell’ arte and Punch-and-Judy through nineteenth-century minstrel shows. The clown’s edgy blend of improvisation and shtick as well as the unsettling tendency of humor to go “too far” will be topics for discussion. And we’ll examine the metatheatrical self-consciousness and complex artifice of comic plays within plays like The Knight of the Burning Pestle. Finally, we’ll discuss the fundamental and recurrent features of comic performance up through the present day (Amy Schumer, Key and Peele), including the challenge to dramatic decorum, good taste, and plausibility, jokes’ value as a “weapon of the weak” against social, racial, and gender norms, and humor’s ambiguous blend of aggression and self-abasement.
Research paper on topic of your choice + oral presentation.
WSCP 81000 - Disability Studies and Nineteenth Century Literature
GC W 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Talia Schaffer  [Cross listed with Engl. 84500]
This course reviews the burgeoning field of disability theory, with special attention to the Victorian period as an era with interestingly different ideas about minds, social relations, and bodies – formulations that may help us to fresh understandings of disability today. We will focus on three major nineteenth-century texts as nodes for our investigation: Jane Eyre, The Heir of Redclyffe, and The Wings of the Dove (alternative texts, should time permit, may include The Mill on the Floss, Villette, Our Mutual Friend, The Portrait of a Lady, The Clever Woman of the Family, John Halifax Gentleman, The History of Sir Richard Calmady). Most of the course will be devoted to reading disability theory and exploring the way such studies both illuminate and get challenged by Victorian formulations. We will read foundational overviews by Lennard Davis, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Alison Kafer, Tobin Siebers, Robert McRuer, Martha Stoddard Holmes, and Ato Quayson. We will also focus on three specific clusters of recent work in particularly interesting fields: neurodiversity, sensory issues (including blindness and Deaf culture), and social conditions (including the built environment and the gaze). One of the main questions this course will ask is whether ‘ethics of care’ theory can offer a new methodology for literary-critical readings, and to that end we will be reading care work by Noddings, Kittay, Held, and others. Research paper, presentation, and blog.
WSCP 81000 - Postcolonial African Narrative
GC R 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Barbara Webb  [Cross listed with Engl. 85500 and AFCP 80000]
This course is a study of narratives by contemporary African writers from the 1980s to the present. In his recent book, Globalectics: Theory and Politics of Knowing (2012), the postcolonial writer, cultural critic and activist, Ngugi wa Thiong’o calls for “the liberation of literature from the straitjackets of nationalism” and defines the concept of globalectics as “a way to thinking and relating to the world…in the era of globalism and globalization” that recognizes multiple centers of knowledge production and multiple forms of modernity. We will begin by examining how writers such as Nuruddin Farah and Ben Okri foreshadow the shift in perspectives of a younger generation of writers who came of age in the late 20th century. We will discuss how these younger writers transform colonial and postcolonial discourse about nationalism and cultural identities, experiment with formal techniques, and maintain a strong critique of ethnic and class conflict, gender and sexual politics, and human rights abuses. We will exam how they negotiate the complex and often treacherous spaces of economic and cultural globalization, migration and transculturation. Our readings will include novels, essays, and autobiographical writings. In addition we will read selections by cultural and literary critics and theorists, such as Arjun Appadurai, Frantz Fanon, Simon Gikandi, Achille Mbembe, and Obioma Nnaemeka among others. Comparative and cross-disciplinary perspectives are welcome. Our primary texts will include: Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Globalectics, Binyavanga Wainaina, One Day I will Write About This Place: A Memoir, Nuruddin Farah, Maps, Yvonne Vera, The Stone Virgins, Ben Okri, The Famished Road, Helon Habila, Oil on Water, Zoe Wicomb, David’s Story, Phaswane Mpe, Welcome to Our Hillbrow, Chimamanda Adichie, Purple Hibiscus, and Chris Abani, GraceLand.
WSCP 81000 - Readings in 19th Century Women’s History
GC M 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Kathleen McCarthy  [Cross listed with Hist. 74300]
When women’s history emerged as a subfield in the 1960s, its initial goal was to write women into the historical record. Since then, the analytical focus has shifted from an emphasis on “sisterhood” to class relations, political culture, gender constructs, transnationalism, and colonialism and empire. Cultural analyses have also become increasingly important, illuminating the subtexts that shaped women’s lives in different regions and eras, while microhistories have excavated the lives of ordinary Americans in revealing ways. This course will chart these historiographical shifts, as well as the ways in which women’s history has reshaped our understanding of American history for the period between 1790 and 1900. Within this framework a variety of topics will be explored, including: 1) the legacy of the Revolution; 2) microhistory, female entrepreneurship and crime; 3) charity, “sisterhood” and class; 4) antebellum national and transnational social reform movements; 5) gender and the Gold Rush; 6) slavery and the Civil War; 7) Reconstruction, race and reform; 8) transnationalism and empire; 9) middle and working class cultures; 10) elite culture and cultural elites; 11) Gilded Age politics and labor; and 12) political culture and reform . Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which historians have analyzed the changing cultural subtexts that shaped women’s activities in different regions and times. The goal of this course is threefold: 1) to help students prepare for their written and oral examinations; 2) to deepen their knowledge of the ways in which women’s history has reshaped our understanding of American history; and 3) to bolster their research, writing and analytical skills. Students will lead one to three discussion sessions, and have a choice of doing weekly abstracts on the assigned readings for the weeks in which they are not presenting, or developing a research proposal on a women’s history topic of their choice for the period between 1790 and 1900.
WSCP 81000 - Race, Class and the Politics of Crime
GC W 6:30-8:30 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Michael Fortner  [Cross listed with Pol. Sci. 72001]
This course studies the relationship between social inequalities and crime policy, exploring how race, class, and gender have influenced the politics of punishment and the development of the modern American carceral state. Drawing upon theories of race, class, and gender, and the analytic insights of historical institutionalism, this course specifically examines how ideas, political organizations, and time interact with social structures to produce certain penal policies at some moments and not others. Although focused on the criminal justice system, students that take this course will learn about the policy-making process, American political development, and identity politics. Readings will include a range of theoretical, historical, and empirical investigations and will be drawn from a variety of fields, including political science, sociology, history, gender studies, and the law.
WSCP 81000 - The Politics of Death and Dying: Hegel, Fanon, Mbembe, Lewis Gordon, Judith Butler, Orlando Patterson
GC T 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Nicole Shippen  [Cross listed with Pol. Sci. 82001]
This course examines what death and dying mean in a selection of political theory and literary texts, and considers how death itself contests and disrupts more traditional understandings of political theoretical concepts. Using political theory as our guide, we will explore how the respective and related theories derived from political, critical, feminist, post-colonial, and afro-pessimism theorize the significance of death and dying for informing the human condition and the meaning of the political theoretical concepts of reciprocity, interdependence, autonomy, freedom, equality, and justice. Our thinking will be intersectional and dialectical in order to consider how gender, sexuality, race, class, and ability inform the politics of death and dying. Judith Butler has persuasively argued that “Part of the very problem of contemporary political life is that not everyone counts as a subject.” (2009, 31). Therefore, we will also analyze the political-economic and cultural conditions which most contribute to civil, social, and premature death. In this sense, the politics of death primarily refers to the various ways that conditions of inequality and alterity distort and ultimately shorten lives. The class is guided by a Hegelian framework, specifically the master/slave dialectic and the question of reciprocity by way of incorporating the theoretical insights of Orlando Patterson’s original concept of “social death,” Jared Sexton’s “social death,” Judith Butler’s concept of “precarious life,” and Achille Mbembe’s “necropolitics” and considering how interdependence and relationality function when distorted by extreme conditions of inequality.
WSCP 81000 - Participatory Democracy & Social Movements
GC R 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Room TBA, 4 credits, Prof. Celina Su  [Cross listed with Pol. Sci. 71900, Psych. 80103, Urban Ed. 75200 and EES 79903]
This seminar takes a look at what ordinary citizens do to shape public programs and engage in politics— in ways other than voting. We explore the notion that popular participation can make democratic governance more legitimate, fair, and effective. Is participatory democracy— alternatively called bottom-up participation, maximal democracy, or direct democracy— really better? Specifically, we will examine forms and functions of civil society from a comparative perspective by looking at specific examples of (1) participatory institutions (neighborhood councils, urban budgeting, school governance, etc.), (2) participation in non-governmental organizations and development projects, and (3) social movements around the world (landless people’s movements, transnational networks, mothers of political dissidents who have “disappeared,” AIDS protest groups, etc.). Sometimes, these three categories blur into one another. We will try to focus on case studies in “Global South” middle-income countries like Brazil, Argentina, India, and South Africa, though we also include domestic cases as a point of reference. How much should ordinary citizens participate in policymaking, and how? Under what circumstances? We will pay special attention to equity in participation, uses and construction of identity, and policy impacts in each case.
WSCP 81000 - Study of Lives
GC M 4:15-6:15 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Jason VanOra  [Cross listed with Psych. 80103]
The Study of Lives invites students to grapple with the uniqueness, challenges, and wisdoms of the individual person. In addition to reading some seminal life studies, including those of people who contend with various forms of injustice and struggle, we will also reflect on the theories, methodologies, interpretive strategies, and ethical issues connected with the study of lives. We will focus much of our energies this semester on the “doing” of the work as students sketch the life of another person and draw on these sketches to address a research question of interest. Throughout the course, we will consider how the study of lives fits with, enhances, and is distinctive from a variety of other conceptual and methodological frameworks that students are engaging within their own research.
WSCP 81000 - Law and Society
GC M 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Leslie Paik  [Cross listed with Soc. 84505]
This seminar examines the relationship between law and society, considering how the law shapes social life and how social change affects law and legal institutions. The seminar takes a “law in action” approach to studying law that focuses on the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of law. We begin by the classical and contemporary theories of the sociology of law and then proceed to various topics of law and society research, including legal consciousness, legal pluralism, the legal profession, legal mobilization, and the globalization of law. To highlight those topics, substantive readings will focus on how the law shapes our views of race, gender, family and immigration in the US. This seminar will provide a broad socio-legal foundation for students working on those substantive topics, as well as for those interested in social control and social change.
WSCP 81000 - Media and Popular Culture Analysis
GC M 2:00-4:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Erica Chito Childs  [Cross listed with Soc. 76900]
This course will explore the myriad of theoretical approaches and methods used to analyze the content, structure, and contexts of media and popular culture in society. In particular we will explore how cultural meanings convey specific ideologies of gender, race, class, sexuality, nation, and other ideological dimensions. We will focus on three inter-related dimensions of cultural analysis including the production and political economy of culture, the reading of cultural texts (film, TV, video games, news coverage music, social media, etc.), and the audience reception of those texts (including social media responses). Students will produce an original research paper employing one of the theoretical frameworks and methodologies of cultural analysis for publication.
WSCP 81000 - Seminar in Film Studies: The Civil Rights Movement in Film
GC R 4:15-8:15 p.m., Room C419, 3 credits, Prof. Michele Wallace  [Cross listed with FSCP 81000]
In The Civil Rights Movement in Film we will screen the films together as a class, followed by discussion of the film in relationship to supportive readings. These readings would be directly supporting the historical narratives of the events portrayed.
Ain’t Nothing But a Man I have researched extensively and can provide background. It recreates a scenario of a Southern town but, in fact, given the prominence of segregation at the time in the South, it would have been impossible to make the film on location, and so it was filmed instead, with an extraordinary cast, in Atlantic City, which is a fascinating story in, itself. Selma represents cinematic history on many levels, but the three things that are most fascinating to me are: 1) it is directed by a black woman and she is positioned, at the moment, to sweep the awards; 2) this is the first feature film about the Civil Rights Movement that I have ever seen that was even a candidate for a discussion about historical truth (with the possible exception of Spike Lee’s Malcolm X, which some might consider not to be about the Civil Rights Movement, although I do; and 3) the use of music in the film is absolutely stunning and unprecedented in its combination of strength and restraint.
The list of films to show would be as follows: Eyes on the Prize (1954-1965), 6-one hour episodes, DVD (shown in three sessions); Ain’t Nothin’ But a Man, dir. Michael Roehmer (feature) 1961; Freedom Summer, dir. Stanley Nelson (documentary); Malcolm X, dir. Spike Lee (feature), 1992; Boycott (HBO feature), dir: Clark Johnson 2001; Four Little Girls, dir. Spike Lee (documentary), 1997; Ruby Bridges (Disney Feature), dir: Euzhan Palsy (feature); Selma, Lord, Selma, dir: Charles Burnett, 1999 (Feature); The Butler, dir. Lee Daniels, 2013 (Feature); Selma, dir. Ava Du Vernay, 2014 (Feature).
Assignments: Two oral reports concerning the readings as relates to aspects of the films. Of course, the films would also be made available to students for viewing at home or in the library. And a final paper on either one film, or one event in the Civil Rights Movement as represented by two or more of the films.
WSCP 81000 - Methods of Qualitative Research II
H M 11:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Room TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Deborah Tolman  [Cross listed with SSW 77100 and Psych. 80103]
This course will provide students with training in the “how to’s” of doing qualitative research. Beginning with consideration of ethics, values and reflexivity, hands-on skill development will be the focus. In particular, interview skills will be emphasized. Students will learn how to think about and conduct several different kinds of interviews. They will also learn how to manage the data. Another emphasis will be on different kinds of qualitative data analysis can be used to interpret interview data. Some attention will also be paid to the challenges of integrating analysis and writing up findings from analyzed qualitative data.