FALL 2018 COURSES
WGS 71001 – Feminist Texts and Theories
GC: TUES, 9:30-11:30AM, 3 credits, Profs. Jillian Baez and Natalie Havlin
This course will explore the work of reading, writing, and publishing feminist texts and theories, emphasizing the historical context and means of production of feminist scholarship. Topics will include inquiries into various feminist presses, writing and media collectives, women’s studies journals, and digital archives (such as the Kitchen Table/Women of Color Press, the Feminist Press, the Combahee River Collective, Triple Jeopardy, Hijas de Cuauhtémoc, off our backs, Feminist Theory, Meridians, WSQ, GLQ, TSQ; feministkilljoys, equalityarchives). The course will also demystify the work of submitting to and editing for an interdisciplinary journal of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies.
WGS 71701 – Global Feminisms
GC: MON, 2:00-4:00PM, Prof. Hester Eisenstein
Cross-listed with Sociology.
In this course we will take a look at what has come to be known as global feminism. Feminism usually refers to the movement by women for full citizenship, in the wake of the strict gender rules inherited from the Victorian era in western countries. In the United States, the “first wave” from 1848 to the 1880s and 1890s eventually produced the right to vote in 1920; labor feminism in the 1930s and 1940s expanded work roles for women and developed concepts such as sexual harassment and maternity leave; and the “second wave” expanded the agenda for women’s rights to include reproductive self-determination, sexual choice, access to all areas of paid work, and a common sense notion that the similarities between women and men vastly outweigh the differences attributable to biology. In the wake of the globalization of the world economy since the 1970s, a highly visible form of feminism has emerged in the form of state or official feminism: “femocrats” emerged from Australia and entered governments throughout the world, and a fairly standard ideology of women’s rights has been developed which preaches equality for women, access to capitalist work and markets, and a critique of patriarchal cultures. But is this global feminism what women all over the world really want and need? We will take a look at this series of debates, reading texts by Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Valentine Moghadam, Sara Farris, Tithi Battacharya, among others.
WGS 79600 – Independent Study
WGS 79601 – Internship
WGS 79602 – Thesis Supervision
WSCP 81000 – Critical Philosophy of Race
GC: TBA, TBA, 3 credits, Prof. Charles Mills
Cross-listed with Philosophy.
Race, once a marginal subject in philosophy (excluding, that is, the racist writings of many of the classical figures of the modern canon), has become increasingly respectable in recent years. Critical philosophers of race have produced a growing and exciting body of work in such areas as metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, political philosophy, aesthetics, phenomenology and existentialism, and the rewriting of the history of philosophy itself. This course will provide an overview and guide to some of this literature, and its implications for the teaching of the traditional canon.
WSCP 81000 – Decolonial Feminisms
GC: THURS, 11:45-1:45PM, 3 credits, Prof. Serene Khader
Cross-listed with Philosophy.
This course explores the influence of regimes of colonization, racialization, and imperialism on conceptions of gender justice. It begins from the understanding of decolonial feminist philosophies as including both critical and constructive projects: the former involve exploring the ways Western concepts and histories promote a congruence between Western feminism and Western imperialism, and the latter involve constructing plural visions of solidarity, as well as local and global gender justice. Developing feminist solidarity and coalition requires an analysis of epistemic justice, or the roadblocks to mutual engagement with respect and reciprocity between differently situated groups. Hence, this course will pursue both epistemological and ethical aspects of transnational feminism. Some of the topics we will discuss include: the influence of the concept of modernity on conceptions of transnational justice and gender justice, the role of the concept of culture in feminist discourses, the difference between decolonial, postcolonial, and transnational feminist theoretical approaches, how to overcome racist and sexist patterns of epistemic prejudice, the idea that gender itself is a colonial imposition, and the ideal/non-ideal theory distinction.
WSCP 81000 – Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies
GC: THURS, 6:30-8:30PM, 3 credits, Prof. James Wilson
Cross-listed with MALS.
In Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women, and the Rest of Us Kate Bornstein writes, "The first question we usually ask new parents is: 'Is it a boy or a girl?'" Bornstein recommends the response, "We don't know; it hasn't told us yet." This course explores the ways in which gender and sexuality are pronounced, embodied, and negotiated within specific historical and cultural contexts. Through a close reading of interdisciplinary, foundational, and recent scholarship the class will examine and theorize the ways in which categories of gender and sexuality inform and shape our understanding of the world. Investigating the intersections and collisions of gender and sexuality with race, class, ability, nationality, ethnicity, and age, the class will consider societal and institutional systems of power, privilege, oppression, and marginalization. Course requirements include an oral presentation, two 4-6 page response papers, and a 15-20 page, staged researched essay.
WSCP 81000 – The Geopoliticization of Sex: Histories and Theories
GC: TUES, 2:00-4:00PM, 3 credits, Prof. Dagmar Herzog**
Cross-listed with History.
**Instructor permission required. Please email email@example.com.
In the early twenty-first century, sexual matters saturate high politics: from the giving or withholding of billions in development aid to the preoccupations of supranational human rights treaties and juridical institutions to the reasons given for nations to intervene in wars to the shapes taken by welfare states or their dismantling to transnationally organized activism and social media-fueled social movements across the ideological spectrum. We are living through an era of “the geopoliticization of sex,” involving levels of imbrication of sex with global politics to an extent that Michel Foucault could not have imagined when he was writing in the 1970s about sex as “an especially dense transfer point for relations of power.” We confront as well the double fact that, on the one hand, sexual rights of all kinds turn out to be fragile and contested, not just at state levels and within revitalized religious traditions but also popularly (as they are the focus of apparently considerable ambivalence for many people) while, on the other, the so recently hard-won ideals of sexual rights can, it turns out, be misused for other purposes entirely. Meanwhile, we encounter new questions about what exactly “sexuality” or “sex” even is, as well as recurrent skepticism about the very concepts of “rights,” “individual autonomy,” and “self-determination.”
The legacies of multiple pasts hang over all the current struggles. This is evident whether we are considering the ravages of HIV/AIDS or Zika or family planning programs or novel reproductive technologies, the persistence of sexual aggression and harm in war and peace, the instrumentalization of either support or hostility to LGBT individuals for other political agendas, the international concern with sex trafficking at the intersection of prostitution and wider migration processes, the growing affirmative visibility of individuals with disabilities concomitantly with the onslaught of neoliberal austerity projects, or the centrality of sexualized themes in the resurgence of xenophobia and right-wing populism worldwide.
This course will combine historiography and scholarship from adjacent disciplines (from military history and the history of economics to the histories of emotions and of the modern self, and from the histories of human rights law and NGOs to the sociology and anthropology of violence, of religion, and of disease and public health) with relevant theoretical readings with the pursuit of exploratory independent projects presented either as conference talks or as research papers. The theoretical readings will include texts concerned with psychoanalytic and decolonial approaches as well as epistemology, ontology, temporality, and causation. Foucault, in short, will be supplemented not only with Freud but also with Guattari, Laplanche, Koselleck, Moyn, Gessen, Stoler, Shepard, Scott, deLauretis, and Descola.
Together we will consider: What has changed even in the last five years in the questions we pose to the past? How can we make sense of recursive returns, deferred effects, and unexpected repercussions between different moments in time? And above all, a conceptual puzzle relevant to all historians: What should count as the pertinent backstories to which subsequent developments? We will thus spend significant time exploring the intersections of aspects of the history of sexuality with the histories of slavery, colonialism, Cold War conflicts, and past wars and genocides.
WSCP 81000 – Writing the World: Multiple Modernities, Women, and the Archive
GC: MON, 11:45-1:45PM, 2/4 credits, Prof. Meena Alexander
Cross-listed with English.
What might it mean to write the world and in so doing dream of remaking it in the text? How does the notion of modernity play out in the Global South? How might we make sense of the claims of cultural memory, and inescapable issues of body sexuality and race? In this regard, what are the ethical and aesthetic implications of Bandung (the Asian-African conference of 1955) documented by Richard Wright in Beyond the Color Curtain: A Report on the Bandung Conference? Drawing on a range of materials we will explore these and other questions that surface in twentieth and twenty-first century acts of inscription. Issues of gender and the archive, aesthetic form and cultural translation will be key. We will study several women poets of the North American continent and the key questions issues of race and embodiment, setting them by the side of writers from the global South. Some of the writers we will discuss-- Kamala Das, Joy Harjo, Qurratulain Hyder, Arun Kolatkar, Audre Lorde, Sadat Hasan Manto, Virginia Woolf, A.K. Ramanujan, Claudia Rankine, Adrienne Rich, Richard Wright. We will explore elements of visual culture through the work of two woman artists of the modern era --the Brazilian painter Tarsila do Amaral and the notion of cultural cannibalism --`Antropofagia’ -- central to the creation of an indigenous modernity; and the Indian-Hungarian painter Amrita Shergill who created her startling `Self Portrait as Tahitian’ (1934) and wrote " Europe belongs to Picasso, Matisse, Braque.... India belongs only to me". Theoretical materials from Agamben, Arondekar, Berlant, Derrida, Djebar, Guha, Kalliney, Merleau-Ponty, the RAQS collective, Spivak, Stoler, and others. Students will be encouraged to bring their own special interests into play and consider archives based in New York City, including the Berg Collection at NYPL and the Morgan Library.The course will be run as a seminar with weekly readings and discussions. One short mid-term paper, based on our evolving discussions and one long final paper. Some course materials will be uploaded onto dropbox. Other texts will be on order at a local bookstore.
WSCP 81000 – Italian Fascism
GC: THURS, 2:00-4:00PM, 3 credits, Prof. Eugenia Paulicelli
Cross-listed with Comparative Literature.
Fascism is a term that has often come back in conversation in different historical epochs and political and cultural contexts. But how historically accurate is it to talk about fascism in this manner? When and how did fascism come to the fore in its earliest incarnation in Italy? How did the political, social and cultural terrain in Italy before 1922--the year in which fascism first came to power—foster the coming to power of fascism? What are the implications of what Umberto Eco has identified as “ur-fascism” or Susan Sontag as “fascinating fascism.”
The course will focus on: the period before fascism came to power (the nationalist movement, futurism, WWI and its aftermath, the March on Rome); the period in which the regime was in power (its policies, the consolidation of the regime in the 1930s up to its fall in 1943). Attention is paid to both the modernizing and traditional faces of fascism, its nationalism and its attempt to construct a new Italian national identity through culture, war, media and empire. The role of women, gender and race will also be closely considered. Another section of the course will be dedicated to study how fascist groups in the US were organized and visit archives held at the New York Public Library. In the last part of the course, opposition by the workers’ movement and intellectuals to Mussolini’s regime will be considered. Readings are drawn from primary and secondary sources, including literary texts, political documents, manifestos, film and newsreels. Some of the secondary sources will include historians and critics such as Umberto Eco, Susan Sontag, Emilio Gentile, Victoria de Grazia, Ruth Ben Ghiat, Charles Burdett, Medina Lasansky and others.
WSCP 81000 – Readings in 19th Century US Women’s History
GC: MON, 6:30-8:30PM, 3 credits, Prof. Kathleen McCarthy
Cross-listed with History.
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, sex, 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, 3) crime; 4) slavery; 5) social reform; 6) religion; 7) war; 8) capitalism; 9) race; 10) transnationalism; 11) imperialism; and 12) women’s political culture. Particular emphasis will be placed on the ways in which historians have analyzed the changing cultural contexts 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 – Renaissance Sex
GC: TUES, 11:45-1:45PM, 2/4 credits, Profs. Mario DiGangi and William Fisher
Cross-listed with English.
This seminar will explore the repertoire of scholarly methods that have been used for understanding sex and sexuality in early modern literature, with an eye to current debates and future directions in the field. We will consider how different theoretical and historical approaches have produced varying accounts of sex as an object of inquiry; we will engage various reading strategies for elucidating sexual meaning in literary and non-literary texts; and we will reflect critically on questions of evidence, language, genre, theatricality, and periodization.
The following kinds of questions will guide our discussions: What are the consequences of emphasizing historical alterity or historical continuity in the study of sex? Are concepts such as sexual identity, subjectivity, or community useful in analyzing early modern modes of eroticism? How was sex itself depicted? Which acts feature regularly in texts from the period, and which appear to have been unknown? How were sex acts and erotic discourses structured by social categories such as race, gender and class? How were phenomena like consent and sexual violence conceptualized? How might the field ultimately move beyond familiar sexual paradigms and taxonomies (i.e., homoeroticism/heteroeroticism) and access alternative forms of erotic knowledge, practice, and relationality in early modern culture? How do particular textual and performative elements (i.e., puns, soliloquies, gestures, costumes, voices, metatheatrical moments, offstage actions) convey or confound sexual meaning?
In addressing these questions, we will be examining a wide range of primary materials, from plays and poetry to court cases and pornography. First, we will be reading a number of canonical literary texts such as Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis and Othello, Marlowe’s Edward II, Barnfield’s The Affectionate Shepherd, Donne’s “Sappho to Philaenis” and the poems of Katherine Philips and Aphra Behn. In addition, we will be exploring “pornographic” texts like Rochester’s Sodom, The School of Venus, Nashe’s Choise of Valentines and other poems featuring dildos like Seignor Dildo’s Adventures in Britain. Finally, we will study an array of non-literary texts including medical treatises (such as John Henry Meibom’s The Use of Flogging in Venereal Affairs and Giles Jacob’s Treatise of Hermaphrodites) and court cases (such as the infamous Castlehaven trial).
WSCP 81000 – Post-War Women Writers
GC: THURS, 4:15-6:15PM, 2/4 credits, Prof. Nancy Miller
Cross-listed with English.
Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts was published posthumously in 1941. Beginning here, with the death of this author, we will read the work of women writers who produced essays, novels, and poetry from the war years through the advent of second-wave feminism: Hannah Arendt, Simone de Beauvoir, Carolyn Heilbrun, Julia Kristeva, Audre Lorde, Mary McCarthy, Adrienne Rich, Susan Sontag, Simone Weil, and Virginia Woolf. As intellectual figures and cultural icons, they also have often played an important role in public debate. Of special interest to the seminar will be the relations among these women, who sometimes admired, sometimes detested one another. We will conclude with work by contemporary women writers, including Claudia Rankine and Rebecca Solnit.
Work for the course: one oral presentation, weekly responses, and one term paper, due at the end of the semester.
WSCP 81000 – Readings in African-American Literary/Cultural Criticism
GC: TUES, 4:15-6:15PM, 2/4 credits, TBA
Cross-listed with English.
This seminar will introduce students to some of the more significant recent critical and theoretical trends within the study of African American literature and culture. Participants will be asked both if it is possible to produce a specifically black literary and cultural criticism and whether Black American identity is manipulated, challenged or perhaps even erased within “peculiar” aesthetic, performative, spatial, theoretical, or political 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. Works we will read include: Christina Sharpe, In the Wake: On Blackness and Being. 2016; Brittney Cooper: Beyond Respectability: The Intellectual Thought of Race Women, 2017; Stuart Hall, The Fateful Triangle: Race, Ethnicity, Nation, 2017; Fred Moten, Black and Blur, 2017; C. Riley Snorton, Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, 2017; Achille Mbembe, Critique of Black Reason, 2017; Tina Campt, Listening to Images, 2017; Brent Hayes Edwards, Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination, 2017; Jennifer Lynn Stoever: The Sonic Color Line: Race and the Cultural Politics of Listening, 2016; and Andre Carrington, Speculative Blackness: The Future of Race in Science Fiction. 2016.
WSCP 81000 – Gender and Crime
GC: THURS, 6:30-8:30PM, 3 credits, Prof. Jayne Mooney
Cross-listed with Sociology.
This course explores the relationship between gender, crime and the criminal justice system. It focuses on feminist historical, sociological and socio-legal scholarship to examine the ways in which gender affects patterns of offending, victimization, and imprisonment. It critically engages with the intersections between gender, race, class and sexuality and analyzes how these impact on the treatment of women, as victims, survivors and offenders. It provides an overview of the historical neglect of women’s contributions to sociological and criminological theory. Cultural representations of masculinity and femininity are considered throughout. It explores debates on the construction of masculinit(ies) in contemporary society, and recent work on transfeminism and non-binary gender identities. Specific topics to be covered include: violence against women, fear of crime, sex work, war, gangs, serial killing, imprisonment, immigration and feminist research methods.
WSCP 81000 – Sociology of Crime and Punishment
GC: THURS, 4:15-6:15PM, 3 credits, Prof. Lynn Chancer
Cross-listed with Sociology.
WSCP 81000 – Political Economy & Social Change
GC: MON, 6:30-8:30PM, 3 credits, Prof. Roslyn Bologh
Cross-listed with Sociology.
How do the dynamics and relations of political economy affect social life, and how can they be changed? From interpersonal relations to international relations, from rankings of happiness among countries and among migrants within countries to rates of suicide, from race and ethnic relations and inequalities to gender relations, from interpersonal violence to international violence, from militarization of policing to privatization of prisons and mass incarceration, from types of education to urban and suburban life, from Manhattan rents and real estate prices to segregation, political economy is shaping social life.
Part of the appeal of Thomas Piketty’s acclaimed book on inequality, Capital in the Twenty First Century, lies in his emphatic rejection of the narrow economistic approach of economics and his espousal of the more comprehensive, sociological, cultural and historical perspective of political economy – employing sources as unorthodox as Jane Austen’s novels. We will examine theorists from Marx to the critical theorists of today in order to understand the dynamics and direction of our changing world. Students (even beginning graduate students) will be encouraged to develop a draft of a publishable article.
WSCP 81000 – Narrative Inquiry
GC: THURS, 4:15-6:15PM, 3 credits, Prof. Colette Daiute
Cross-listed with Psychology.
WSCP 81000 – Critical Methods
GC: TUES, 4:15-6:15PM, 3 credits, Prof. Michelle Fine
Cross-listed with Psychology.
WSCP 81000 – Geographies of Race and Ethnicity
GC: TUES, 4:15-6:15PM, 3 credits, Prof. Patricia Price
Cross-listed with Earth and Environmental Science.
WSCP 81000 – Disability, Culture, and Society
GC: WED, 2:00-5:00PM, 3 credits, Profs. Joseph Straus and Julia Miele Rodas
Cross-listed with the Futures Initiative.
Like the fictions of gender and race, disability is a cultural and social formation that sorts bodies and minds into desirable (normal) and undesirable (abnormal, sick) categories. Regimes of representation in literature, art, music, theater, film, and popular culture—the ways that bodies and minds constructed as disabled are depicted—both reflect and shape cultural understandings of nonconforming identities and extraordinary bodies, affecting the lived experience of people understood as disabled, often in negative ways. Drawing on examples from the arts and popular culture, this course will interrogate the many ways disability identity has been confined to rigid and unproductive social, political, and aesthetic categories. It will also explore a significant counter-tradition in which disability is seen as a significant artistic resource and a desirable way of being in the world. Topics will include: the medical and social models of disability; narratives of disability; disability and performance; disability writing (memoir and fiction); narratives of overcoming; the histories and cultures of autism, deafness, blindness, intellectual disability, and madness. We will pay particular attention to the intersection of disability with other more familiar tropes of human disqualification, including race, gender, and sexuality.
WSCP 81000 – The Environmental Psychology of Care
GC: THURS, 11:45-1:45PM, 3 credits, Profs. David Chapin and Tomoaki Imamichi
Cross-listed with the Futures Initiative.
The Environmental Psychology of Care
This course takes an interdisciplinary approach in exploring the relationship between care and the physical environment—how care (and the absence of it) is reflected in the physical environment and the physical environment can support care. The course will focus approximately two-week segments on the following topics:
Experiencing Places of Care.
Taking advance of the diverse settings and opportunities of New York City, this course includes field trips (such as Roosevelt Island, a Japanese Tea Room, and a guerrilla garden), phenomenological experiments (e.g. traveling with a stroller or suitcase through different environments), and guest speakers (possibly from the Adaptive Design Association and the Ramapough-Lenape Nation).
Understanding Care by Exploring Environments of anti-care.
We will focus briefly on concepts of power and how they are actualized in issues such as racism, class distinctions and the like; techniques of exclusion, exploitation, deflection and distraction. Who benefits?
The Architecture of Care: Caring for the Community.
Through readings, visual examples, and discussions, we will explore and analyze how the built environment enables and disables people, and what caring environments entail. Some of our focus will be on institutional settings, but we will also look carefully at everyday environments—environments designed for diversity and inclusion which allow people with diverse abilities, different cultural backgrounds and possible conflicting needs to feel welcome and participate in society.
Sustainability by Design: Caring for Our future.
How do architecture, urban design and policies of justice lead to more sustainable practices? We will consider innovative new building techniques and designs, as well as existing models of neighborhoods, global cities, and cultural traditions.
Environmental Attitudes of Care.
We will investigate different ideological and philosophical approaches with implications of how we relate to the environment, ranging from existential approaches of “being-in-the-world” to concepts of “dwelling” and wabi-sabi (an appreciation for imperfection and the aged) and how these attitudes can be manifested in practice, objects and the built environment.
Contemporary Issues of Care.
We must also consider care (and the lack of) in the evolving context of virtual environments, screen-life, and technological advances such as “care-giving” robots and “artificial emotions.”
Working in small groups, we will expect each class member to actively apply concepts from the class to a project defined as significant by the group.
WSCP 81000 – In-Between Worlds & Traditions: Rereading the “Crónicas de Indias”
GC: WED, 6:30-8:30PM, 3 credits, Prof. Raquel Chang-Rodriguez
Cross-listed with Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures.
This course will study a diverse group of testimonies from the early contact period and beyond. Generally grouped under the label “crónicas de Indias,” they will include letters, histories, relaciones, and chronicles written by men and women of diverse backgrounds and ethnicity. These works will be situated in their historical and literary contexts in order to analyze the objectives of their authors and understand their meaning in the shared culture and history of Europe and the Americas. Among the issues to be discussed are: 1) how these texts became “literature;” 2) alphabetic culture vis-à-vis native traditions; 3) the polemics about the indigenous population; 4) the eye-witness and the construction of history; 5) the indigenous perception of the conquest; 6) gender issues; 7) Sor Juana’s view of the conquest. Class discussions will be illustrated with images and communication facilitated through Blackboard. There will be ample time for discussion and pursuing individual projects
Readings will include: selections from letters by Colón, Isabel de Guevara, 2da carta de relación, Cortés* [Castalia or Porrúa]; Bartolomé de las Casas, Brevísima relación de la destrucción de las Indias * (Cátedra), Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, Comentarios reales (Biblioteca Ayacucho, on-line), Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala, Primer nueva corónica y buen gobierno (selection; Royal Library Copenhagen, on-line), La monja alférez, Catalina de Erauso (Cátedra)*. Other material will be electronically distributed. *Purchase text.
Among the general requirements are: team work, exam, research essay (MLA Style, latest edition; written in English or Spanish), active class participation in English or Spanish reflecting reading of assigned material.
The specific bibliography will be distributed in class.
WSCP 81000 – Race, Nation, and Narrative
GC: TBA, TBA, 4 credits, Prof. George Shulman
Cross-listed with Political Science
This course uses social analysis, political speeches, and artistic fictions to explore the relation of race-making, nation-building, and narrating in the case of the United States. Our broadest premise is that collective subjects (nations, peoples, classes, religions, races) are formed and reformed through narratives joined to collective action. Our specific premise is that "American" nationhood has been formed by racial domination and opposition to it, as represented in and through contesting narratives. The first half of the semester therefore uses social theory to explore the intersections of settler colonialism, chattel slavery, and immigration restriction -and of social movements and counter-narratives opposing them- in shaping imagined (national) community and conceptions of democracy. The second half of the course attends to and explores idioms of critique: what difference does it make to contest racialized nationalism by a scholarly treatise, by a political speech, or by a work of literary or cinematic fiction? What can and cannot be said (and thereby done) through these different genres of expression? How do we assess the rhetorical and literary dimensions of theoretical texts and how might we discern the theoretical implications of literary and cinematic fictions? Texts of theory include Michael Rogin, Glenn Coulthard, Mae Ngai, Loic Waquant, Hortense Spillers, Saidiyah Hartman, Frank Wilderson, Fred Moton. Authors include James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Claudia Rankine; Films include Bamboozled, GET OUT, and Black Panther.
WSCP 81000 – Critical Refugee Studies: Crises in History and Law, Narrative, Poetry, and Film
GC: TUES, 4:15-6:15PM, 2 or 4 credits, Prof. Domna Stanton
Cross-listed with French.
Why are we in the midst of an unparalleled refugee crisis that involves 65 million people? Such dislocations and displacements have occurred since the late 17th century, when the term was first coined; and they have proliferated over the past century, notably since 1915. Who is a refugee? Who qualifies for asylum, why and why not? What about unaccompanied minors; victims of forced migrations? What is the status of economic migrants; of internally displaced persons? How should we classify those fleeing climate catastrophes? Are these others viewed as human?
This course in critical refugee studies will begin with history (and histories), then focus on the development, successes -and failures--of the human rights regime, humanitarian law and regional instruments, such as those of the European Union. We will examine transnational North-South disparities as drivers of migration, and lastly, the current ideological and nationalist trends that have led to securitization, the closing of borders, and authoritarianism in the post 9/11 world.
We will consider particular cases: the Armenian genocide; the Holocaust; the aftermath of the Vietnam war; the intractable Palestinian problem; persecutions in Darfur and South Sudan; the flight from dictatorships, gangs and failing economies in the Americas (including Haiti); the European Union's integrity. We will end with the present crisis catalyzed by the Syrian war.
Our approach will be interdisciplinary: critical studies in history, theory and law will combine with close readings of novels, including graphic texts, poetry, memoirs/testimonials, and documentaries that represent/construct figures of refugees as well as themes of longing, remembering and return in refugee art.
Authors/film makers include Abdelrazaq, Agamben, Ai Wei Wei, Arendt, Balibar, Bauman, Butler, Dandicat, Darwish, Derrida, Dummett, Eggers, Erpenbeck, Hisham, Lanzmann, Said, Viet Than Nguyen Work for the course will involve, beyond close readings of assignments, a class presentation (and write-up) of a case study with other members of a team; a 20 page paper on a topic developed in consultation with the instructor; and a final exam. Course materials will be uploaded to Blackboard cAugust 15, 2018.
Please direct all questions about the course to Domna Stanton (firstname.lastname@example.org).