The Graduate Center
Women’s Studies Certificate Program and Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies
The City University of New York
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 81601/WGS 71601-Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies; Law and Fashion
GC R 6:30-8:30 p.m., Room 7395, 3 credits, Profs. Eugenia Paulicelli and Ruthann Robson
Although Fashion can be considered synonymous with individual freedoms and expressions of gender, cultural identity and diversity, it cannot be fully understood outside of its intimate link with law, rules, regulations and codes. Fashion is a contradictory phenomenon that occupies the space between freedom and constriction, uniformity and individuality (Simmel), obscenity and modesty, balance and excess, minimalism and hyperbole; utility and beauty; waste and control; ethical consumption and “conspicuous consumption” (Veblen).
In the European Renaissance fashion became a social institution able to control and shape the social body and gender through clothing and dress. As a complex system of codes, as well as a powerful manufacturing industry, fashion was textualized in laws, bans, and literature from the Renaissance sumptuary laws in which women were the main targets (bans on wearing chopines (today’s platform shoes); limits to the exposure of skin, and the practice of cross-dressing. Still today fashion and clothing are manifestations of the tensions and dynamics between prescription and freedom. In the United States, the regulation of fashion likewise occurs through explicit laws and codes (including dress codes) and through implicit forces including discrimination, production, ownership (including copyright and trademark), and global economies.
From an interdisciplinary perspective and focusing on various historical epochs, this course offers students an in depth examination of the complex relation between fashion and law while also tackling important issues of political and cultural economy, aesthetics and behavior, gender codes and performance, religion and morality, the role of individuals in the global fashion industry as consumers and producers, the role of excess and moderation, ethics and social justice. Case and legal studies and possible visits to New York based companies will enrich the historical contexts. Readings are drawn from a wide range of fields (including law, literature, philosophy, psychology, gender and feminist studies).
Students are required to give an oral presentation and write a paper by the end of the term.
WGS 79600 – Independent Study
GC By individual arrangement between the student and the instructor.
WSCP 81000 –Gender and Anthropology
GC R 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Room 6494, 3 credits, Prof. Patricia Tovar [Cross listed with Anthro 71300]
This seminar offers a cross-cultural examination of gender and gender relations in anthropological theory and practice. The course examines the intersection of gender and other kinds of social difference, such as age, ethnicity, race, class, power, and culture. It focuses on the role of production and reproduction, the impacts of colonialism, globalization, migration, work, and family, while critically exploring gender variation, sexual divisions of labor, social constructions of gender, and gender hierarchies in different cultures and from prehistory to present. Class discussions will center on such key concepts as status, public and private spheres, hegemony, resistance, and reflexivity, while examining topics such as, gender performance, the body, sexuality, health, nurturance, and themes of social justice and human rights. The course will also examine how scientific knowledge has been shaped in contexts that are genderized, racialized, and economically exploitative, challenging conceptual structures and methodologies that constitute traditional Western epistemologies. Students will explore methods of inquiry that give voice to the multiply located perspectives of marginalized subjects and communities, and approaches and conceptual frameworks that inform theorizing, critical analysis, and research, as well as its current impact on debates of wide relevance in anthropology.
WSCP 81000 ––Masculinity and the Renaissance Man
GC W 2:00- 4:00 p.m., Room 3306, 3/4 credits, Prof. Gerry Milligan  [Cross listed with CL 89000]
The course will examine representations of Renaissance masculinity by focusing on the Italian literary canon as well as some examples from European literary and artistic traditions. We will read fifteenth and sixteenth-century authors including Leon Battista Alberti, Baldassare Castiglione, Ludovico Ariosto, and Torquato Tasso and then consider how modes of masculinity, such as the refined courtier or the chivalric knight were adopted and refashioned when they were translated across linguistic, historic, or cultural lines. The course will spend a significant amount of time on prescriptive literature so that we might study both the construct of masculinity as well as how authors manipulated the rhetoric of masculinity and effeminacy to achieve their desired ends. Some important themes we will consider are the role of women in the construction of male identity, the implications of male sexuality, and the association of effeminacy with foreigners, homosexuals, and military defeat. Readings will include historical, sociological, and philosophical texts that help provide both historical context as well as a theoretical framework through which we can (re)-read the canon. We will begin by considering the notion of the "Renaissance Man" as presented by Jacob Burkhardt in his famous study Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy and move quickly to contemporary masculinity theories such as those by Connell (Masculinities), Frosh (Sexual Difference: Masculinity and Psychoanalysis), and Gilmore (Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity). Students are expected to complete brief reading response papers, one oral presentation, and a final research paper of 25 pages. The class will also participate in a site visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. All texts read in the class are available in English translation.
WSCP 81000 –Affect, Feeling, Emotion: The Medieval Turn
GC R 4:15- 6:15 p.m., Room 6114, 2/4 credits, Prof. Glenn Burger [Cross listed with Engl. 80700]
This course will consider various theoretical frameworks—both contemporary and medieval—useful in discussing the production and management of affect and emotion. It could be said that the Middle Ages invented affective devotion, and the course will begin by focusing on medieval emotional relationships with texts, devotional objects and religious drama concerned with Christ’s passion: for example, “The Wooing of Our Lord,” Richard Rolle’s Meditation, Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ, and lyric laments of The Virgin. We will track the ways that affect in courtly love poetry provided medieval readers with intimate scripts to put inner and outer states of feeling into contact with one another, particularly as the individual perceives herself in relation to (private) desires and (public) pressures. We will examine such texts as Guillaume de Lorris’s Romance of the Rose, Machaut’s Dit de la Fonteinne Amoureuse, Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess, and John Lydgate’s Complaynt of the Loveres Lyfe. We will also examine the crucial role that affect management played in late medieval conduct literature, and we will consider how the production of self-restraint in such texts, particularly within the structures of the married household, helps form emotional communities that allowed emergent social groups new modes of self-identification. We will examine conduct texts such as The Good Wife’s Guide (Le Menagier de Paris) and The Book of the Knight of La Tour Landry, as well as literary texts such as Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women and The Wife of Bath’s Prologue and Tale, as well as Thomas Hoccleve’s Series, and Boccaccio’s, Petrarch’s, and Chaucer’s versions of the Griselda story.
First-year students will be able to submit an annotated bibliography of 15 primary or secondary sources to fulfill part of the course’s writing requirements.
WSCP 81000 –Before and After Little Women
GC W 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., Room 3305, 2/4 credits, Prof. Carrie Hintz [Cross listed with
The course begins with precursors to Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women (1868-1869). These will include eighteenth-century writers for children like Maria Edgeworth, Hannah More, and Anna Barbauld and nineteenth-century authors like Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and Charlotte Yonge. We will read and discuss literary and cultural criticism about Civil War conflict and the abolitionist movement, nineteenth- century gender and sexual identities, race and ethnicity, female ambition, social class, religious affect, charity, and domesticity. We will then consider the literary and cultural afterlife of Little Women, including merchandising, fan fiction, film adaptation, and twenty-first century children’s domestic fiction. Much of the course will be devoted to the development of your own projects and to collectively building a digital project devoted to the novel, its influences, and its afterlife. Whether you love or hate Little Women—or regard it with cool indifference—this could be an opportunity to produce some of the best critical writing of your career to date. First-year students working towards the first exam warmly welcomed.
WSCP 81000 –“Moving A Nation”: 19th Century American Women Writers, Slavery, Sentiment, and Women’s Rights
GC M 11:45am – 1:45 p.m., Room 3305, 2/4 credits, Prof. Hildegard Hoeller [Cross listed with Engl. 85100]
In this course we will explore the development of 19th century American women’s writing and its connection to slavery and women’s rights. The mid-nineteenth century saw an unprecedented amount of women writers producing (predominantly sentimental) texts for the literary market place and carving out careers as writers. The issue of slavery propelled many of those women to redirect their writings to enter the political debate about slavery and to be in dialogue with other female writers emerging from slavery—be it as formerly enslaved persons or slave holders or activists in the cause of abolition. In this course we will discuss how these women writers--enslaved or free, white or black, Southern or Northern, abolitionist or pro-slavery--responded to and represented slavery in their writings. Given the restrictions placed on female expression, these women writers had to negotiate and break discursive and social barriers to voice their political views and to speak about the realities of slavery as they saw them. Often, such representations of slavery were linked to questions of women’s rights. Literarily, these writings have only more recently been –and are still being--rediscovered, recovered, and reevaluated, and many of these texts employ sentimental expression as one tool for ‘moving the nation.’ We will discuss writings by Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Lydia Maria Child, Harriet Jacobs, Hannah Crafts, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Caroline Hentz, Harriet Wilson, Mattie Griffith Browne, The Grimke sisters, as well as female slave narratives recovered in the 1930s. We will read recent critical work on these writers and the sentimental tradition as well as the female slave narrative. This course will be ideal to: develop original, publishable work on these writers (many of them still underexplored); understand the history of sentimental writing as a major literary tradition; understand the possibilities and limitations of sentimental expression, particularly its central concept of sympathy; explore female slave narratives; understand the relation between the slave narrative and sentimental writing; examine the critical history of how these writings were excluded from the canon and the feminist efforts it took to bring these texts back to our narrative of American literary history; study more recent critical work on these writers; understand and engage in recovery work of writers of the period. Overall we will be able to explore how women used literature as a way of speaking out about their views on slavery and women’s rights. Assignments will welcome all critical approaches and will allow first-year students to fulfill portfolio requirements.
WSCP 81000- Henry James and Gertrude Stein
GC W4:15- 6:15 p.m., Room 5382, 2/4 credits, Prof. Wayne Koestenbaum [Cross listed with Engl. 80200]
Some traits—tastes—these two vastly consequential writers shared: An appetite for dinner, prepared by others. A fondness for complications. A consciousness moored “in hotel” (not at home, not in proper containers). A different conception of suspense. A habit of standing (or sitting) at odds with common genders. Recalcitrance. Fear of missing the tonal boat. No fear of getting lost. Peculiar digestion. Loosened canals of thought. A concern for good and bad manners. An affection for William James. A sense of the past, its weight. A dictatorial—think “dictation”—approach to text. A theatrical bent. A love of applause. Playing foul ball with marriage. Getting stuck in Europe. Knowing when to make tone and touch a heavy or a light affair. Not suffering fools gladly. Entertaining the possibility of one’s own idiocy, and the illuminations to be found therein. Pointillism. A tropism toward the difficult and the vague.
James and Stein reinvented the sentence. They reinvented consciousness by reinventing the sentence. They reinvented point of view, and viewlessness, and pointlessness, and pointedness. The syllabus will include—no surprise—works by James and Stein, and nothing else. Requirements: a substantial essay (due at the end of the semester), an annotated bibliography, and a brief in-class presentation. (First-year students in the Ph.D. English program may fulfill some of the course’s requirements by producing one or more of the Portfolio Examination’s components.)
WSCP 81000 –Memoir/Illness/Graphic/Grief
GC R 4:15 - 6:15 p.m., Room 3309, 2/4 credits, Prof. Nancy Miller [Cross listed with
“Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed…it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love and battle and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.” Virginia Woolf’s On Being Ill is the first literary work we will read, even if contemporary nonfiction and fiction have long since belied Woolf’s lament. Illness occupies a prominent place in postwar culture, and the seminar will explore the stories of what happens when “the lights of health go down” through a wide range of literary and visual representations of bodily and mental suffering, including AIDS, cancer, depression, and mourning.
Among the writers and artists: Roland Barthes, Simone de Beauvoir, Lucy Grealy, Audre Lorde, Paul Monette, Oliver Sacks, Eve Sedgwick, and Susan Sontag; graphic narratives by Bobby Baker, David B., Miriam Engelberg, David Small, and Nicola Streeten.
The work of the course: weekly responses, one oral presentation, a final paper.
WSCP 81000 –Creole Poetics: Caribbean Fiction and Poetry
GC T 4:15 - -6:15 p.m., Room 4419, 2/4 credits, Prof. Barbara Webb [Cross listed with Engl. 85500]
This course will trace the evolution of the idea of a Creole poetics in Caribbean writing. Although the primary focus of the course will be the fiction and poetry of the Anglophone Caribbean, we will also read texts by writers from other areas of the region as well as the diasporic communities of North America. Contemporary writing of the Caribbean has no fixed national or geographic boundaries. The writers themselves often reside elsewhere but their fiction and poetry continually invoke Caribbean history and culture. The process of creolization, that difficult transformation of indigenous, African, Asian and European cultures in the Americas is the cultural model that informs the poetics of the texts we will be reading. Beginning with the origins of Caribbean modernism in the 1920s and 1930s, we with discuss Claude McKay’s Banana Bottom (1933) as an early exploration of the problematics of colonialism, migration and cultural self-definition that foreshadows many of the literary concerns in the post-1960s period of decolonization. It is during this later period that Caribbean writers increasingly turn toward the region itself in search of distinctive forms of creative expression. We will discuss their ongoing investigation of the history of the region and the relationship between orality and writing in their experiments with vernacular forms—from folktales and myths to popular music and carnival. We will also examine theories of creolization in the context of contemporary forms of globalization, migration and transculturation. Of particular interest will be the ideas of literary and cultural theorists such as C.L.R James, Édouard Glissant, Antonio Benítez-Rojo, and Sylvia Wynter. Primary texts: Claude McKay, Banana Bottom, Aimé Césaire, Notebook of a Return to My Native Land, Kamau Brathwaite, The Arrivants, Derek Walcott, Omeros, Lorna Goodison, Selected Poems, Michelle Cliff, No Telephone to Heaven, Patricia Powell, The Pagoda, Edwidge Danticat, The Farming of Bones, Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Requirements: Oral presentation and a research paper (12-15 pages). The class will be conducted as a seminar with class discussions of assigned readings and oral presentations each week. Comparative and cross-disciplinary perspectives are welcome. First year students may use written work for the class to fulfill the new Portfolio requirement.
WSCP 81000 –Wordsworth and George Eliot: Romanticism, Realism, and the Commonplace
GC T 4:15 - -6:15 p.m., Room 3307, 2/4 credits, Prof. Nancy Yousef [Cross listed with Engl. 84200]
In his 1802 “Preface” to the Lyrical Ballads, the most radical aesthetic manifesto of the Romantic era, William Wordsworth famously declared the “language really used by men” to be “far more philosophical” than that typically found in poetry and presented the aim of his work as “making incidents and situations from common life interesting.” This demand for awakened attention to the ordinary and unremarkable is taken up again by George Eliot in the 1850’s as she defines the practice and subject matter of what would come to be called “realism.” Eliot’s defense of her interest in “commonplace things and persons” is aesthetic and ethical at once, linking appreciation of what she calls the “other beauty” of “everyday fellow-men” to forms of recognition and respect. This course will explore the conceptual implications and historical significance of these appeals to the “commonplace” as a crucial, yet neglected site for cultural reflection. In focusing on the two most influential articulations of this idea in the nineteenth century—that of Wordsworth and Eliot—we will also be exploring literary and philosophical preoccupations that traverse the Romantic and Victorian eras, as well as critical strategies that allow us to read across the lines of period and genre that typically separate the poet and novelist. The course will thereby offer an opportunity to investigate methodological approaches to a “long nineteenth century.” Readings of Wordsworth and Eliot will be supplemented by related writings on the topic by their contemporaries (including Coleridge, Scott, Mill, and Lewes), as well as by influential theoretical and philosophical accounts of the “everyday” (especially Wittgenstein, Cavell, de Certeau, and Ranciere). Course requirements: response papers, oral presentation, final seminar paper.
WSCP 81000 –Woolf, Lee, Shaw: Modernist Approaches to Peace
GC W 11:45 - 1:45 p.m., Room 3305, 2/4 credits, Prof. Jean Mills [Cross listed with Engl. 76000]
This course adopts weak and planetary modernist theoretical approaches (recently deployed by Gayatri Spivak, Susan Standford Friedman, and Paul K. Saint-Amour) reading across space and time from a position that is associative rather than definitional, sometimes probable, partial, and provisional to investigate the complex pacifisms of Virginia Woolf, Vernon Lee (Violet Paget), and George Bernard Shaw, as well as, the many pacifist-others, war-resisters, and political activists in their orbit. Reading from what Gillian Beer called Vernon Lee’s “stylized ballet-satire on slaughter,” Satan the Waster: A Philosophic War Trilogy (1920), Shaw’s Back to Methuselah: A Metabiological Pentateuch (1918-1920), a series of five plays, dismissed by Michael Holroyd as “a masterpiece of wishful thinking,” and Virginia Woolf’s “pacifist manifesto” (Jane Marcus) Three Guineas (1938), our seminar will not only consider “the fiction of war’s punctuality” (Amour), but also add to a discourse on peace, peace-making, and peace building, that has recently sought to historically construct both aesthetic and active resistance to war and act as a counter to the mythologizing of war experience. In addition to Woolf, Lee, and Shaw, we’ll read from Jane Ellen Harrison; Hope Mirrlees; T.S. Eliot; Bertrand Russell; Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson; Clive Bell; Nancy Cunard; Mulk Raj Anand; Claude McKay; and Edna Saint Vincent Millay’s commedia dell’ arte Aria Da Capo (1920), as well as from newly published work in the genre of peace criticism. There will be an emphasis on archival research, both digitally and on site. Requirements: Weekly responses; an oral presentation; final term paper 20-25 pages.
WSCP 8100 - (Un)Classical Bodies (in English)
GC T 4:15 - 6:15, Room 4202.11, 2/3/4 credits, Professor Domna Stanton  [Cross listed with Fren 83000]
This course will examine diverse and dissimilar constructions of the body in seventeenth-century France. We will begin by examining recent theories of the early-modern body in Bakhtin, Elias, Lacqueur, and Bordo, but most notably (and influentially) in Foucault and his notion of “the classical” and disciplined body. These readings will inform our discussion of different – and potentially contradictory – discourses imbricated in the production of early-modern gendered bodies over and beyond the Cartesian body: the medical (anatomical), sexual (sodomitical and tribadic), reproductive, perverse and grotesque body; the social, civilized, courtly (honnete) body; the cross-dressed body; the rhetoric of the face and the portrait; the king’s bodies; and the religious and mystical (ecstatic) body.
WSCP 81000 –Readings in Gender and Society in the US
GC M 6:30-8:30 p.m., Room 5382, 3 credits, Prof. Kathleen McCarthy [Cross listed with Hist.72200]
When Joan Scott’s essay, “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis” appeared in 1986, historians initially turned their attention to gendered constraints on women’s roles. More recently, the history of masculinities and diverse sexualities have moved men’s histories beyond normative frameworks. This course will consider the ways in which historians have used gender as an analytical tool for reassessing American politics, cultures, slavery, war, crime, foreign policy, social reform, transnationalism, and specific events such as the California Gold Rush. Both men’s and women’s roles will be examined, with the aim of understanding how the shifting parameters of gendered constructs have shaped American history.
WSCP 81000 –Seminar in Ethnomusicology: Music, Gender, and Sexuality
GC W 10:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Room 3389, 3 credits, Prof. Jane Sugarman [Cross listed with Music 83100]
Over the past three decades, the relationship between music and issues of gender and sexuality has been a major field of ethnomusicological inquiry. Among the studies that have appeared, some have sought to expand our knowledge of the musical activities of women, while others have examined how concepts of gender and sexuality shape and are shaped by musical practices and discourses, or how musical constructions of gender or sexuality intersect with issues of race, nation, class, or migration. In this seminar we will read a series of writings in ethnomusicology and closely related disciplines that relate musical practices to prominent issues in gender and sexuality studies, paired with major theoretical writings that helped to inform them. We will begin with second-wave Western feminism and the feminist anthropology of the 1970s-80s, and continue with poststructuralist approaches, race and intersectionality, queer and trans theory, masculinity studies, and postcoloniality. Permission of instructor required.
WSCP 81000 –Race and Gender Theory in the Undergraduate Humanities Classroom
GC T 6:30-8:30pm, Room 3207, 3 credits, Profs. Cathy Davidson and Michael Gillespie [Cross listed with IDS 81620]
This course is designed as both an introduction to core concepts of race and gender theory and as a course in the pedagogy of teaching race and gender in the introductory undergraduate humanities classroom. We will be reading a number of key texts, largely in the disciplinary areas of film, literary, and cultural theory, from the perspective of critical race theory, feminist theory, queer theory, visual culture studies, and gender and sexuality theory. We will also be reading constructivist, student-centered, activist, engaged learning theory. The course begins from the premise that profound work in race and gender theory occurs in introductory courses throughout the humanities. Introductory courses are among the most challenging to teach and our CUNY graduate students, early in their graduate careers, have sole responsibility for teaching them on the CUNY campuses. This course is specifically designed to help prepare them for their crucial role in higher education at CUNY and beyond. In demographic terms, the drop-out rate is highest in introductory undergraduate courses. In disciplinary terms, introductory courses are where students are most likely to determine a later course of study—a major or graduate school. In intellectual terms, introductory courses help create the critical lens through which students view the rest of their learning, in school and out. Yet, very little pedagogical training in graduate school focuses on methods for engaging students who are encountering race and gender theory for the first time, on how to integrate race and gender theory into a general introductory humanities curriculum, on how to connect the core concepts in an introductory course with a graduate student’s own specialized research, and on how race and gender are interconnected and converge in the terms of intersectionality.
This course will be offered to Graduate Center students by permission of the instructors. First priority will be to GC students currently teaching courses on a CUNY campus. We will build upon graduate students’ own experiences as teachers and learners. We will have a site on C-Box/Academic Commons for our course and also sites that will link all the undergraduate courses being taught by the graduate students in the course. We will focus on such basics as designing syllabi, creating engaged pedagogical exercises, rethinking formative assessment methods, interrogating both the lecture and the standard discussion models used in traditional humanities courses, and in building online portfolios to showcase student work. Both graduate students and the undergraduates they are teaching will be required to publish some of their work in public online forums and to participate in at least one project that offers a public contribution to knowledge, possibly in partnership with colleagues at LaGuardia Community College as part of our new Mellon-sponsored Humanities Alliance. Since this course will be a student-led course with graduate students creating some or all of the syllabus together via a Google Doc exercise that models student-centered pedagogy, we will not finalize all the readings and viewings in advance However, it is assumed there will be some combination of DuBois, Dewey, hooks, Fanon, Freire, Lowe, Butler, Lorde, Sedgwick, Berlant, Ahmed, Rich, Moten, Fleetwood, Davidson, and Gillespie.
WSCP 81000 –American Political Development
GC M 11:45 a.m.- 1:45 p.m. Room 8202, 3 credits, Prof. Ruth O’Brien  [Cross listed with Pol. Sci. 82210]
This 8000-level political-science seminar prepares students for the major or minor in both the Institutions track and the Electoral Process track in American Politics. The course is an American-politics seminar that crosses disciplinary divides by relying on “political development” as a methodology with two analytical axes: the role of ideas and of institutions. The seminar is also informed by Women’s Studies literature, given its emphasis on difference as the United States built a relatively strong nation-state and became a global hegemon. It pays particular attention to nation-building in juxtaposition with intersections of issues in class, race, ethnicity, disability, gender, and sexuality.
WSCP 81000 –Race and American Public Policy
GC W 6:30 -8:30 p.m., Room 6421, 3 credits, Prof. Michael Fortner [Cross listed with Pol. Sci. 72001]
This course examines the relationship between race and public policy development in the United States. The course begins by exploring a series of conceptual, theoretical, and historical questions: How do we conceptualize and measure white supremacy? How does white supremacy interact with other structural forms of inequality, specifically gender and class? How has race shaped American political development? Then we will then turn to case-by-case examinations of the impact of race, class, and gender on several contemporary federal public policy areas like social welfare, immigration, and crime. This course draws primarily from political science, but also incorporates historical, sociological, and legal scholarship to critically assess race and public policy.
WSCP 81000 –Theorizing Violence
GC W 4:15 -6:15 p.m., Room 7395, 3 credits, Prof. Jayne Mooney [Cross listed with Psych. 80103]
This course focuses on why violence is both an anathema and, at the same time, a common part of everyday life and a core cultural concern for movies through to video games and the daily news. That is, it is concerned with the prevalence of violence and the fascination of violence. We will discuss the gamut of violence from homicide and domestic violence, through to spree and serial killings to terrorism and the violence of the state, to the harsh realities of war and genocide. The gendered nature of violence and the structural violence of race and class will be considered throughout, as well as the theories that have arisen in an attempt to provide an explanation. We will focus on why "normal" persons commit extreme violence and why violence is such a "normal" part of the institutions of late modern society. Finally, we will turn to how we can tackle the dehumanization and othering which constitute the narrative and psychological mechanisms that make such violence possible.
WSCP 81000 –Fueling Critical Race Scholarship
GC T 2:00 -4:00 p.m., Room 6417, 3 credits, Prof. Michelle Billies  [Cross listed with Psych. 80103]
This interdisciplinary course creates an incubator for students seeking support and inspiration for their analyses of race. Readings span critical race theory and methods; transnational feminisms; Black geographies and Caribbean philosophies; indigenous studies and critical ethnic studies; critical whiteness studies; art and poetry; and activist scholarship. Students may use assignments to deepen an understanding of a particular theorist or body of work; self-reflexive thinking/feeling through internalized dominance or internalized racism and its relationship to the student’s scholarly work and/or activism; retooling the philosophical or theoretical underpinning of the student’s research; collaborating with each other to generate theory; or other experiments. Students will be invited (not required) to contribute a reading to the syllabus.
WSCP 81000 –Sociology of Gender
GC M 11:45 a.m.-1:45 p.m., Room C415A, 3 credits, Prof. Hester Eisenstein [Cross listed with Soc.73200 ]
In this course we look a range of issues in the sociology of gender. The sociology of gender looks at the beliefs, interests and structures that tend to preserve the traditional relations between the sexes, and those which contest them. Among other areas, the field considers the process of socialization into masculine and feminine roles in childhood, through education, and into the public worlds of work and politics.
In recent years sociological inquiry has moved beyond the original concept of “sex roles” to look at gendered structures in institutions, the significance of gender in politics, economics, and social movements, nationally and internationally, and the complex relationships among gender, race, and class. What was seen as a “natural” and biologically based dichotomy of male/female has been questioned through the study of gender as performance, and the critical challenge to traditional femininity and masculinity from “queer” and transgender folk. My own research has focused on what we can term the political economy of gender, in relation to the changes within capitalism with the rise of neoliberalism over the past few decades. The topics covered in this course are a selection reflecting my interests, and should by no means be considered comprehensive. Therefore I include a list of alternative topics in this syllabus that students can pursue on their own, for their final research papers, and for future study.
The framework of this course is influenced by what I see as the political history of gender studies. The establishment of the category of sex and gender in the official canon of the profession of sociology is the outcome of a renewed wave of feminist activism that swept society, and therefore the academy. In the 1960s and 1970s, massive social movements for Black civil rights, women’s rights, ending the war in Vietnam, lesbian and gay rights, and environmentalism in the United States and internationally shook the economic and social status quo. Today we are witnessing another wave of social movements across the globe, from the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt to Occupy Wall Street, and from Turkey to Brazil.
The passion and breadth of social movements can become ossified and de-politicized, as the ideas and issues are translated into formal academic inquiry. I hope therefore in this course to convey the connections to politics and activism behind these topics, so as to keep the links between academic research and social change fresh and vibrant. Students are encouraged to pursue their own interests in the class, and to develop their own frameworks for research and activism.
WSCP 81000 –Race and Multiculturalism in Global Perspective
GC M 2:00 -4:00 p.m., Room 6114, 3 credits, Prof. Erica Chito Childs [Cross listed with Soc.75600]
Studying race and multiculturalism in a global perspective is an increasingly important phenomenon. The global economy, growing rates of immigration, and rapidly advancing information and media technologies have brought diverse groups in closer contact in more areas of the globe, even those previously regarded as racially and ethnically homogenous. This course will cover a myriad of issues under the rubric of race and multiculturalism, encompassing a large multidisciplinary body of research and beginning with a review of the very concepts of race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism. Throughout the course, we will explore what interracial intimacies, multicultural policies, multiracial families, and cross-racial coalitions show us about contemporary race relations, and the intersections of race, gender, religion, and class. Subjects covered include interracial/mixed marriage, transracial adoption, race/multiculturalism in law and politics, multicultural education, and multiracialism in the media and popular culture. We will focus on these issues in contemporary America, as well as globally covering varied countries and regions. A variety of theoretical frameworks including critical race theory, cultural studies, and post-colonial writings, as well qualitative and quantitative methodologies for studying these issues will be addressed to engage in comparative intercultural and interdisciplinary dialogue.
WSCP 81000 –Sexuality
GC M 4:15 -6:15 p.m., Room 6114, 3 credits, Prof. Juan Battle [Cross listed with Soc.83300]
Missing! Marginal! Misrepresented! This course draws on various bodies of scholarship – across the humanities and social sciences – to interrogate the complex subject of sexuality. Because students will be exposed to (and contribute from) a wide variety of perspectives on the subject, this course is appropriate for students in the traditional social sciences (e.g. sociology, anthropology, psychology, urban education, and history) as well as more contemporary ones (e.g. women’s studies, race studies, American studies, cultural studies, lesbian and gay studies)
WSCP 81000- Labor and Inequality: Gender, Race, Class, Immigration and the New Precarity
GC T 6:30 -8:30 p.m., Room 6114, 3 credits, Prof. Ruth Milkman [Cross listed with Soc.84600]
This course will explore the causes and consequences of growing precarity and polarization in the U.S. labor market, and the accompanying growth of class inequality. We will consider parallels to earlier historical periods as well as the implications for the labor movement. The impact of recent labor market transformations on groups that were historically marginalized — especially women, African Americans, and immigrants — and the widening class inequalities within each of those groups will also be examined.
This is a reading course with a seminar format. Students will be expected to carefully read the assigned texts and write brief weekly papers about them, as well as actively participating in class discussions. In addition, each student will be required to write a research paper on a topic related to the course content and approved in advance by the instructor.
WSCP 81000 –Sociology of Health, Illness and Biomedical Imperialism
GC M 6:30 -8:30 p.m., Room 6114, 3 credits, Prof. Barbara Katz Rothman [Cross listed with Soc.83100]
This course offers an introduction to the field classically known as medical sociology, with an emphasis on newer qualitative, critical and theoretical work. Key themes in Medical Sociology have included the social construction of illness and its ongoing expansion into more areas of life; the medical gaze and the processes of medicalization; how the medicalized body is framed; representations of the body in medicine; cultural images, ethnographies and narratives of disease and illness; and cultural understandings of medical subjects. When we take seriously the call to do a truly global sociology, we can see Biomedicine operating at a level and in a way in which national boundaries are but minor obstacles in organizing access – access of providers of services to their customers or to their research material, and access of customers to services. In that sense, the ‘social construction’ idea is too passive, and too limited in boundaries. Illnesses are being constructed not only ‘socially,’ in each society according to its own ideas about the body, but in the pursuit of industrial profit. While Foucault spoke of the state uses of biopower, we will also consider how biopower, as it is institutionalized in the Biomedical Empire, uses states.
WSCP W1000 –Movement of Gender Equality: Stalled out of Advancing
GC R 2:00 -4:00 p.m., Room 6114, 3 credits, Prof. Julia Wrigley [Cross listed with Soc.73200]
This course will examine areas in which the movement for gender equality has advanced, stalled, or possibly even regressed in different aspects of American economic, personal, political, educational, and creative life. Based on quantitative data and on ethnographic and historical studies, we will consider whether clear patterns emerge over the past half century or so of the impact of the movement for gender equality. We will also consider changes in that movement itself over time, with periods of renewal, change, and broadening interwoven with periods of relative quiescence and will assess reasons for it’s changing fortunes over different periods. The class will be run as a seminar with a focus on student participation.