Current Courses

Fall 2023


Call Number: 00731

Day, Time & Location: T Th 4:10pm-5:25pm at 405 Milbank Hall (Barnard)

Instructor: Janet Jakobsen

COURSE DESCRIPTION This course introduces students to key concepts and texts in environmental humanities, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary studies of race, gender, sexuality, capital, nation, and globalization. The course examines the conceptual foundations that support humanistic analyses of environmental issues, climate crisis, and the ethics of justice and care. In turn, this critical analysis can serve as the basis for responding to the urgency of calls for environmental action.   

LEARNING OBJECTIVES Students will learn what difference humanistic studies make to understanding environmental issues and climate crisis. The course will prepare students to:

  • Identify humanistic methods and how they contribute to understanding the world;
  • Demonstrate critical approaches to reading and representing environments;
  • Engage ethical questions related to the environment; and
  • Apply concepts from the course to synthesize the student’s use of humanistic approaches to address urgent environmental questions.

Call Number: 00730

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 12:40pm-1:50pm at 405 Milbank Hall (Barnard)

Instructor: Marisa Solomon

This course examines the conceptual foundations that support feminist and queer analyses of racial capitalism, security and incarceration, the politics of life and health, and colonial and postcolonial studies, among others. Open to all students; required for the major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE).

Call Number: 00729

Day, Time & Location: M W 4:10pm-5:25pm at 405 Milbank Hall (Barnard)

Instructor: TBA

This introductory course for the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE) is open to all students. We focus on the critical study of social difference as an interdisciplinary practice, using texts with diverse modes of argumentation and evidence to analyze social differences as fundamentally entangled and co-produced. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this course, the professor will frequently be joined by other faculty from the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS), who bring distinct disciplinary and subject matter expertise. Some keywords for this course include hybridity, diaspora, borderlands, migration, and intersectionality.

Call Number: 11622

Day, Time & Location: M W 2:40PM-3:55PM at To be announced

Instructor: Jack Halberstam

Call Number: 00728

Day, Time & Location: T 6:00pm-8:00pm at LL016 MLC

Instructor: Laura Kay

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 18 students. History and politics of womens involvement with science. Womens contributions to scientific discovery in various fields, accounts by women scientists, engineers, and physicians, issues of science education. Feminist critiques of biological research and of the institution of science.

Call Number: 00727

Day, Time & Location: R 2:10pm-4:00pm at To be announced

Instructor: Marisa Solomon

This course explores the formation of desire, sexuality, and subjectivity through the frameworks of feminist epistemologies (the question of what we can know) and feminist ethics (the question of how to be responsible within our relationships and local and global communities). We will reflect on the tension between the limits of what we can know about ourselves and others and the imperative to care for each other and remain accountable for our individual and collective actions and inaction. We will investigate how our deepest emotions, intimate encounters, and secret fantasies are formed by larger social and political contexts. In turn, we will also question how these intimate relationships with ourselves and our companions may be seen as feminist acts of resistance, disruption, and creation. Objective I: to closely engage diverse feminist perspectives in late-twentieth- and twenty-firstcentury phenomenology, existentialism, Marxism, queer theory, critical race theory, and psychoanalysis. Objective II: to begin to locate your own feminist perspective within the intersection of your unique experiences and the larger historical and social contexts that form you and which you may seek to transform.

Call Number: 11603

Day, Time & Location: W 4:10pm-6:00pm, 754 EXT Schermerhorn Hall

Instructor: Lila Abu-Lughod

The Senior Seminar in Women's Studies offers you the opportunity to develop a capstone research paper by the end of the first semester of your senior year. Senior seminar essays take the form of a 25-page paper based on original research and characterized by an interdisciplinary approach to the study of women, sexuality, and/or gender. You must work with an individual advisor who has expertise in the area of your thesis and who can advise you on the specifics of method and content. Your grade for the semester will be determined by the instructor and the advisor. Students receiving a grade of B+ or higher in Senior Seminar I will be invited to register for Senior Seminar II by the Instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Senior Seminar II students will complete a senior thesis of 40-60 pages. Please note, the seminar is restricted to Columbia College and GS senior majors.

Call Number: 00726

Day, Time & Location: T 10:10am-12:00pm at 308 Diana

Instructor: Manijeh Moradian

Student-designed capstone research projects offer practical lessons about how knowledge is produced, the relationship between knowledge and power, and the application of interdisciplinary feminist methodologies.

Call Number: 00759

Day, Time & Location: W 6:00pm-8:00pm at To be announced

Instructor: TBA

The integration of contemporary media and social practices of all types is intensifying. This seminar examines media theory and various media platforms including Language, Photography, Film, Television, Radio, Digital Video, and Computing as treated by feminists, critical race and queer theorists, and other scholars and artists working from the margins. Prerequisite: Either one introductory WGSS course or Critical Approaches to Social and Cultural Theory or Permission of the Instructor.

Call Number: 11644

Day, Time & Location: Tu 2:10PM-4:00PM at 754 EXT Schermerhorn Hall

Instructor: Marianne Hirsch

Prerequisites: Open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates, though priority will be given to students completing the ISSG graduate certificate. 

Fall 2023 Subtopic: Vision and Difference

Even before Laura Mulvey’s classic feminist essay on the “male gaze,” feminist artists and filmmakers, as well as theorists of visuality, have analyzed, critiqued and contested the association of vision with power and knowledge. Creatively reframing the gaze and subverting conventions of visual representation, they have reimagined the relationship of media technologies to embodied and social difference, and to social constructions of gender, race, class and sexuality. This course will study these theories and practices by looking at late 20th and early 21st century painting, film, television, photography, performance, activism and social media in transnational perspective. 

Please note that this course is built around exhibitions and events occurring this fall. Do plan to attend as many of these as possible.

Call Number: 00725

Day, Time & Location: W 11:00am-12:50pm at To be announced

Instructor: Neferti Tadiar

This advanced seminar examines important approaches, issues, perspectives, and themes related to planetary concerns of environmental crisis, climate change, life sustainability, and multi-species flourishing, with a focus on feminist, postcolonial, anti-racist, and queer perspectives. Topics for discussion and study include the global pandemic,  histories of colonialism, slavery, and capitalism, Prereqs: BOTH 1 WMST Intro course PLUS any WGSS 'Foundation' course, OR instructor permission.


Call Number: 00277

Day, Time & Location: TR 2:40pm-3:55pm, 304 Barnard Hall

Instructor: Anne Higonnet

Human beings create second, social, skins for themselves. Across history and around the world, everyone designs interfaces between their bodies and the world around them. From pre-historic ornaments to global industry, clothing has been a crucial feature of people’s survival, desires, and identity. This course studies theories of clothing from the perspectives of art history, anthropology, psychology, economics, sociology, design, and sustainability. Issues to be studied include gender roles, craft traditions, global textile trade, royal sumptuary law, the history of European fashion, dissident or disruptive styles, blockbuster museum costume exhibitions, and the environmental consequences of what we wear today. Required 1 hour a week TA led section to be arranged.

Call Number: 10028

Day, Time & Location: Tu 2:10PM-4:00PM 

Instructor: Hilary Hallett

This seminar explores the history of American gender through the history of the American film industry from the first features in the 1910s through the crumbling of the Hollywood Studio System and Production Code in 1968. The industry’s movies and stars offer important sites to examine transformations associated with the development of modern sex roles and racial attitudes over the half-century comprising Hollywood’s Studio Era. During this period, much of the controversy sparked by the industry stemmed from its depictions of new ideals of womanhood, manhood, and sexuality. Moreover, in this era, Hollywood targeted specific audiences and movies were not afforded the protection of free speech. This made films and movie stars peculiarly reflective of, and vulnerable to, broader societal fantasies and fears about changes involving gender roles, sexuality, and racial attitudes. We will use motion pictures and movie stars as primary sources and consider how the changing institutional history of film production connected to the images it sold. Students will write one short paper and a paper proposal in preparation for a short research-based essay on a topic relating to how some aspect of film history reflected a particular problem in gender history. 

Call Number: 11135

Day, Time & Location: W 2:10pm-4:00pm at To be announced

Instructor: Eliza Zingesser and Camille A. Robcis

In this class, we are interested in how gender and sexuality have been constructed in the past and present. The class will be divided into four units, for which our guiding questions are as follows: 1. How should one teach and write about the history of sexuality? In a time when queer people remain under threat in much of the world, including this country, is it better to look for readily identifiable queer forebears in past periods? Or should we, on the contrary, seek to avoid any kind of anachronism in looking for queerness in the past, hewing strictly to the non-normative or deviant categories labeled explicitly by past thinkers? Is there a third way? 2. How have gender and sex been constructed in the past (as a binary, a spectrum, or something else?). Are they a function of sexual ‘orientation’ (if one can even speak of such a thing before the 19th C) or the other way around? How have they been constructed recently? 3. How do social and political factors condition our sexual desires? Should the bedroom be a battleground for a political agenda, as some anti-porn feminists (and others) claim, or should we decide that sexual desires are outside the bounds of morality and/or politics? Can we interrogate the conditions surrounding our sexual desires without imposing moral norms around them? 4. What are some of the recent debates in queer theory? How do issues of race and disability intersect with gender, sex, and sexual orientation? How has the category of ‘trans’ involved a rethinking of sex and gender? Has queer theory strayed too far from sexuality?

Call Number: 10930

Day, Time & Location: T 2:10pm-4:00pm at To be announced

Instructor: Karen R. Van Dyck

Moving between different languages and alphabets is a constitutive aspect of the diasporic experience. To remember or forget the mother tongue, to mix up two or more languages, to transcribe one writing system onto another are all modes of negotiating geographical displacement. This course introduces students to literature about and by Greeks of the diaspora in Europe, the Balkans and America over the past two centuries exploring questions of migration, translation and gender with particular attention to the look and sound of different alphabets and foreign accents – “It’s all Greek to me!” Authors include Benjamin, Broumas, Chaplin, Chow, Conan Doyle, Kafka, Kazan, Morrison, Papadiamantis, Queen, Valtinos and Venuti. 

Call Number: 11170

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 4:10PM-5:25PM TBA

Instructor: Lena Edlund

Prerequisites: ECON UN3211 and ECON UN3213 This course studies gender gaps, their extent, determinants and consequences. The focus will be on the allocation of rights in different cultures and over time, why women's rights have typically been more limited and why most societies have traditionally favored males in the allocation of resources.

Call Number: 11930

Day, Time & Location: W 6:10pm-8:00 pm

Instructor: Sharon Marcus

Victorian England remains known for its rigid definitions of femininity, but it also produced a remarkable number of “odd women”: female outlaws, eccentrics, and activists including spinsters, feminists, working women, women who desired other women, and people assigned female at birth who lived as men. This undergraduate seminar will explore the pains and pleasures of gender non-conformity through the lens of nineteenth-century literary works, historical documents, and foundational theories of gender and sexuality. Readings will include the diaries of Anne Lister, a wealthy Yorkshire lesbian libertine; a slander trial involving accusations of lesbianism at a Scottish all-girls school; the diaries of Hannah Munby, a London servant whose upper-class lover fetishized her physical strength; the autobiography of Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse who traveled the world; and fiction, including Charlotte Bronte’s novel *Villette; *Margaret Oliphant’s novel *Miss Marjoribanks; *Christina Rossetti’s poem “Goblin Market”; and Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire tale “Carmilla.” Application instructions: E-mail Professor Marcus ([email protected]) with your name, school, major, year of study, and a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course.

Call Number: 11917

Day, Time & Location: T 4:10pm-6:00pm at TBA

Instructor: Jack Halberstam

Recent scholarship in queer theory speaks of “bad education” and “ugly feelings,” “beautiful experiments” and “poor queer studies.” In this survey of mostly recent queer theoretical work we will read a range of texts that debate the use, the abuse and the uselessness of queer theory in an era of anti-intellectual policies aimed at both critical race theory and gender and sexuality studies. While Lee Edelman, in Bad Education, insists that queer theory has nothing to teach us, Paul Preciado in Dysphoria Mundi proposes that the whole world is ailing from a shared dysphoria. Meanwhile, at the intersections of Afro-Pessimism and queer theory, Calvin Warren proposes that to speak of Black trans identities is impossible given the negative ontologies that pertain to Black personhood. Working through oppositions between optimism and pessimism, utopia and dystopia, good and bad feelings, beauty and ugliness, we will ask: What constitutes the ethical in queer theory and how does queer theory approach the good, the bad and the beautiful? At stake here are questions about aesthetic experimentation and politics and unpredictable links between beauty and power, alternative subjects and domination, and bodies and language.

(Note: Graduate students only. Email to Professor Halberstam required for admission.)

Call Number: 10416

Day, Time & Location: M W 10:10am-11:25am at TBA

Instructor: Samuel Roberts

Through assigned readings and a group research project, students will gain familiarity with a range of historical and social science problems at the intersection of ethnic/racial/sexual formations, technological networks, and health politics since the turn of the twentieth century. Topics to be examined will include, but will not be limited to, black women's health organization and care; HIV/AIDS politics, policy, and community response; benign neglect; urban renewal and gentrification; medical abuses and the legacy of Tuskegee; tuberculosis control; and environmental justice. There are no required qualifications for enrollment, although students will find the material more accessible if they have had previous coursework experience in United States history, pre-health professional (pre-med, pre-nursing, or pre-public health), African-American Studies, Women and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, or American Studies.

Call Number: 10392

Day, Time & Location: M W 11:40AM-12:55PM at TBA

Instructor: George Chauncey

This course explores the social, cultural, and political history of lesbians, gay men, and other socially constituted sexual and gender minorities, primarily in the twentieth century. Since the production and regulation of queer life has always been intimately linked to the production and policing of “normal” sexuality and gender, we will also pay attention to the shifting boundaries of normative sexuality, especially heterosexuality, as well as other developments in American history that shaped gay life, such as the Second World War, Cold War, urbanization, and the minority rights revolution. Themes include the emergence of homosexuality and heterosexuality as categories of experience and identity; the changing relationship between homosexuality and transgenderism; the development of diverse lesbian and gay subcultures and their representation in popular culture; the sources of antigay hostility; religion and sexual science; generational change and everyday life; AIDS; and gay, antigay, feminist, and queer movements.

Call Number: 10394

Day, Time & Location: Tu 12:10PM-2:00PM at TBA

Instructor: George Chauncey

The city has classically been represented as the site of sexual freedom, but also of sexual immorality and danger. This course explores the interrelated histories of sexuality and the city in the twentieth-century United States (especially New York) by exploring how urban conditions and processes shaped sexual practices, identities, communities, and ethics, and how sexual matters shaped urban processes, politics, and representation.

Call Number: 00186

Day, Time & Location: T 12:10PM-2:00PM at 308 Diana Center

Instructor: Lisa Tiersten

The development of the modern culture of consumption, with particular attention to the formation of the woman consumer. Topics include commerce and the urban landscape, changing attitudes toward shopping and spending, feminine fashion and conspicuous consumption, and the birth of advertising. Examination of novels, fashion magazines, and advertising images.

Call Number: 15337

Day, Time & Location: M 10:10am-12:00pm at TBD

Instructor: Aleksa Zivkovic

Looking at material that speaks to historic encounters and legacies of European imperialisms, this course explores how visual practices manage natural relationships across colonial and postcolonial conditions (c.1800-present). Studying art and other visual material “ecologically” reveals interconnections of people, plants, living beings, and inorganic entities within their specific contexts. Each unit will expose students to contemporaneous thinking about ecology, empire, and the construction of the human across texts, artists, and key objects. We will study a wide range of visual material, including maps, decorative objects, surrealist films, 1970s performances, contemporary Caribbean art, and other artworks that emerge out of imperial entanglements between Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Part one of the course explores how 18th-century landscape imagery supported European imperial conquest around the globe and inspired indigenous resistance. Part two examines how 19th-century evolutionary theory and global botanical trade produced new ideas of hybridity in fin-de-siècle Europe. Lastly, part three examines how modern and contemporary art (20th century to present) has turned towards “elemental media” in a radical reframing of art’s human bias.

Call Number: 00189

Day, Time & Location: W 4:10pm-6:00pm at 308 Diana Center

Instructor: Premilla Nadasen

This Barnard Engages course will partner with the Damayan Migrant Workers Association, a worker-run Filipino organization based in New York City. Damayan has been at the forefront of building power among low-wage workers and assisting labor trafficking survivors. Founded over twenty years ago, it has fought for legal status for trafficked workers, built alliances with other domestic worker rights groups, and developed an integrated analysis of neocolonialism, racial and gender exploitation, and worker self advocacy. Through this work, students will develop an understanding of the history of Filipino immigration, labor trafficking, labor rights, gender inequality, anti-imperialism, and grassroots and worker organizing and resistance. The class will collectively produce a timeline of Damayan’s organizing over the past twenty years. We will draw on their organizational archives, published video and written sources, and interviews with members. At the end of the semester, we will hold a joint public launch of our final project. The work for this course will be collaborative. Students will work in teams to produce the timeline and organize the launch event. In addition to the scheduled class times, students are expected to meet outside of class to discuss their ongoing tasks, research, and the overall project.  This class is part of an ongoing partnership between Damayan and Barnard College. In a previous semester Barnard College students helped produce a report of Damayan’s organizing during the pandemic. Because this is a community-directed project, we will be working closely with Damayan. Their needs and goals may shift during the semester so students should be prepared for changes to the syllabus and end product. Many of our class meetings will take place in lower Manhattan. Students should arrange their schedules accordingly.  

Call Number: 14161

Day, Time & Location: Tu 10:10AM-12:00PM TBA

Instructor: Samuel Roberts

Through a series of thematically-arranged secondary and primary source readings and research writing assignments, students in this seminar course will explore the public health, medical, political, and social histories of HIV and AIDS in Black American communities. The course’s chronological focus begins roughly two decades before the first recognition of the syndrome to the first decade of the twenty-first century. Thematically, the course will address several issues, including syndemic theory; stigma, homophobia and political marginalization; late capitalism and public health; the health effects of segregation; and mass incarceration. 

Please note that admission to this course is by application ( Please note that students enrolling in this course must do so for a grade, and not on a pass/fail or audit basis.

Call Number: 12534

Day, Time & Location: MW 11:40am-12:55 pm

Instructor: Yannik Thiem

For the most part queer studies and religious studies have met each other with great suspicion and little interest in the conceptual resources of the respectively other field. Our guiding questions will be: What does religion have to do with queerness? What does queerness have to do with religion? Queer theory and activists, unless they already identify as religious, often have little or little good to say about religion. Conversely, many religious traditions intensively regulate gender, sex, sexuality, and especially queerness. this course will explore how religious studies can enrich queer theory and how queer theory can reshape our thinking about religious studies. But beyond the mutual disinterest, anxieties, and animosities, queer studies and religious studies share actually a whole range of core interests and questions, such as embodiment, sexuality, gender-variability, coloniality, race appearing as religious identity and religious identity as gendered, as well as the role of catastrophe, utopia, and redemption in our experience of the world. We will examine questions about religion come to the fore when we paying especially attention to queerness, gender, sexuality, pleasure, pain, and desire. Equally, we will examine how queer discourses mobilize religious and theological images and ideas, especially where these images and ideas are no longer clearly recognizable as having religious origins. Rather than trying to settle on definitive answers, this course will cultivate a process of open-ended collective inquiry in which students will be encouraged to think autonomously and challenge facile solutions. Students should come away from the course with an expanded sense of how we grapple with issues related to gender, sexuality, desire, and embodiment in our everyday lives and how religion and religious formations are entangled with these issues well beyond religious communities. Ideally, students should experience this course as enlarging the set of critical tools at their hands for creative and rigorous thinking.

Call Number: 00171

Day, Time & Location: W 4:10pm-6:00pm at 502 Diana Center

Instructor: Elizabeth Bernstein

This seminar examines the ways in which the body is discursively constituted, and itself serves as the substratum for social life. Key questions include: How are distinctions made between normal and pathological bodies, and between the psychic and somatic realms? How do historical forces shape bodily experience? How do bodies that are racialized, gendered, and classed offer resistance to social categorization?

Call Number: 13622

Day, Time & Location: W 10:10am-12:00pm at 501D Knox Hall

Instructor: Tey Meadows

This course surveys the relationship between sociology as a discipline and the body of thought, action and critique that coheres under the term queer theory. Many people understand these two projects to be constitutionally at odds. Sociology as a discipline concerns itself with the empirical study of, as Norbert Elias wrote, “the problem of human societies.” How we do this is distinct. Sociologists have a defined set of technical skills that make use of social categories and classifications. We organize individuals by behavior and identity, document diverse cultural milieus, and even attempt to quantify the demographic details of sexual identities, practices and communities. Queer theory, on the other hand, emerged as a field of academic thought in the early 1990’s, at the apex of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The urgency of the political moment demanded new analytical tools for thinking about gender, sexuality, medicine and bodies. Queer theorists took to task the restrictive categories of gender and sexual life that relegated gay men and lesbians to sociological studies of “deviant” people and practices, in favor of rich and pointed critiques of the organization of culture, institutions and politics that renders some people and practices deviant in the first place. Queer theorists document their suspicion of methods, of categories, and of knowledge practices themselves. Social science is often the target of such critiques.   So, is there actually a way to do something we might call queer sociology? Or is it, fundamentally, an oxymoron? As what we think of as data becomes “bigger” and ever more categorically precise, what use has sociology for queer theory? How can a body of thought that operates from an anti-categorical impulse inform empirical work that seeks, at least in some part, to identify and observe particular types of people and particular forms of social life? In this course, we will read a set of foundational texts in the queer theoretical tradition alongside sociology that makes use of queer phenomena, frameworks and world-making projects. Expect to cover topics like ephemera, ghosts, messy affect, political lesbianism, perversion and a variety of other things you don’t typically see on a sociology syllabus. Each week, we will survey a select set of orienting ideas from queer theory–the heterosexual matrix, heteronormativity, antidisciplinarity, and homonormativity–and examine the ways in which sociologists of sexuality aim to empiricize them. Each week’s readings will include a theoretical piece that outlines a perspective on culture, and a piece of social science that makes use of that same idea. We will learn the concepts that structure queer thought, along with the techniques that structure social science, in an effort to understand the differing ways people observe the world, understand it, and write about it. We will read these with an eye towards making connections between these odd bedfellows, and forging an approach to “queer methods” that will inform students’ own sociological imaginations.

Call Number: 10321

Day, Time & Location: T 10:10am-12:00pm at 501D Knox Hall

Instructor: Tey Meadow

Despite the ubiquity of sexual imagery in contemporary Western popular culture, most people regard sexuality to be an intimate topic that concerns the drives, experiences and pleasures of individuals. In this course, we will examine the social and pluralistic character of sexual desires, meanings, practices and politics. We will begin with some of conceptual foundations that ground contemporary sociological studies of sexuality. We will think together about how knowledge about the social sources of sexuality is produced and some of the methodological, epistemological and ethical quandaries faced by researchers--including the ways our own sexualities, desires, inhibitions and identities frame our work. We will then examine some of the key questions in the sociology of sexualities, including the complexity of classifying sexual identities, practices and populations, the relationship between institutional contexts and sexual behavior, and intersections with the sociology of race, gender, risk, health and regulation. In each of these discussions, students will explore the varied methodological approaches to these topics within sociology, as well as some of the disciplinary and cultural challenges to making sexuality a central object of intellectual inquiry.


Call Number: 10305

Day, Time & Location: T 11:00am-1:00pm at 300 Buell Hall

Instructor: Mary C. McLeod

Description: TBA

Call Number: 12656

Day, Time & Location: F 10:10am-12:00pm at TBA

Instructor: Gila Ashtor

It is practically impossible to imagine queer theory without psychoanalysis. Not only does Queer Theory depend on psychoanalysis for conceptualizing sex and sexuality, but even related terms such as desire, relationality, and the body, require rich and substantial psychological elaboration. And yet, in spite of its centrality, there is an abiding resistance to psychoanalysis on the grounds that it focuses too much on the individual, and on the individual mind, and in so doing, fails to grasp the structural dimension of sex, sexuality and identity. If Freud epitomizes the psychological view, and Foucault represents the constructed view, then we could think of Queer Theory as perennially torn between these competing and irreconcilable positions. With all of the theoretical baggage the concept of the individual entails, would it be better for Queer Theory to leave psychoanalysis behind, or are there ways to rethink individuality along more radical lines? Is the individual subject really an obstacle to radical theory or its prerequisite? How do we think about the relationship between Queer Theory and psychoanalysis? While there are extreme positions on either side of this debate, how can we craft a third way that acknowledges the importance of subjectivity while also recognizing the limitations of traditional psychoanalysis? This course introduces the complicated relationship between Queer Theory and psychoanalysis by familiarizing students with the clinical concepts at the core of contemporary critical theory. We will focus specifically on the topics of: sexuality, perversion, trauma, identity, relationality, narcissism, gender and attachment in order to explore how these concepts work today. Delving into theoretical writing by Foucault, Bersani, Edelman, Berlant, Butler, Dean and Preciado, as well as clinical writing by contemporary psychoanalysts, Benvenuto, Gonzalez, Corbett, Laplanche and Gherovici, we will redefine queer formulations by transforming their clinical meaning. In addition to offering a comprehensive outline of how psychoanalysis and Queer Theory relate, this course will expose students to a wide range of contemporary clinical thinking in order to facilitate a deeper engagement with the practical, lived dimension of psychoanalysis.

Call Number: 10951

Day, Time & Location: Th 4:10pm-6:00pm TBA

Instructor: Eric Gamalinda

This seminar focuses on the critical analysis of Asian representation and participation in Hollywood by taking a look at how mainstream American cinema continues to essentialize the Asian and how Asian American filmmakers have responded to Hollywood Orientalist stereotypes. We will analyze various issues confronting the Asian American, including yellowface, white patriarchy, male and female stereotypes, the “model minority” myth, depictions of “Chinatowns,” panethnicity, the changing political interpretations of the term Asian American throughout American history, gender and sexuality, and cultural hegemonies and privileging within the Asian community.

Call Number: 12507

Day, Time & Location: T 2:10pm-4:00pm at TBA

Instructor: Tomi Suzuki

Japan has a long tradition of highly sophisticated vernacular literature (poetry, prose fiction, essays and poetic memoirs) by aristocratic court women, particularly from the tenth- and eleventh-century, including The Tale of Genji, often considered the world’s first psychological novel. Writings by women in the early period had a deep impact on subsequent cultural production, and these vernacular writings (as well as the figure of these early women writers) acquired a new, contested significance from the end of the nineteenth century as part of the process of modern nation-building. Gender became a major organizing category in constructing discourse on literature, literary language, and literary modernity, particularly with regard to the novel. This seminar engages in close readings and discussion of selected works from the eleventh-century to twentieth-century Japan with particular attention to the genealogy of women’s writings and changing representations of women, gender, and social relations. Issues include: genre, media, intertextuality, and literary communities; body and sexuality; and in the modern period, the “woman question” and global feminisms as well as authorship and authority. All readings are in English. Original texts will be provided for those who can read in the original.   

Call Number: 00496

Day, Time & Location: T Th 2:40pm-3:55pm at 302 Barnard Hall

Instructor: Jhumpa Lahiri

Language is the writer’s instrument; what happens when there is more than one language to choose from, or when a dominant or initial language is replaced by another? What inspires, or necessitates, a writer to practice exophony: to migrate into “foreign” linguistic territory? And in the case of bilingual or plurilingual writers, what factors determine the language(s) chosen for creative expression, and what might cause that choice to shift over time? To what degree do exophonic writers create a third, hybrid language? And how might their works underscore the mutability and instability of language itself? This seminar will focus on a series of women who, either for political or personal reasons, have reshaped and revised their linguistic points of reference, radically questioning—and perhaps willfully subverting—notions of nationality, identity, linguistic normativity, and a “mother tongue”. Special attention will be paid to the reception of exophonic writers, to feminist narratives of separation and self-fashioning, to mother-daughter dyads, to cases of self-translation, to colonialist and post-colonialist frameworks, and to how the phenomenon of exophony further complicates, but also enriches, the translator’s task. Readings will combine literary texts with essays, interviews, and theoretical writings by and about exophonic writers. In addition to analytical papers, students will have the opportunity to experiment writing in another language and translating themselves into English. All readings will be in English; advanced reading knowledge of a foreign language is recommended but not required. 

Call Number: 11913

Day, Time & Location: T 4:10pm-6:00pm at TBA

Instructor: Nicholas Dames

A study of the work of three writers most often credited with developing the narrative techniques of the modern Anglo-American novel, who also produced some of their culture’s most influential stories of female autonomy. What do the choices of young women in the nineteenth century— their ability to exercise freedoms, the forces that balk or frustrate those freedoms, even their choices to relinquish them— have to do with the ways that novels are shaped, with the technical devices and edicts (free indirect discourse, ‘show don’t tell,’ etc.) that become dominant in the novel’s form? One or two texts by each author read carefully, with attention to relevant critical discussions of recent decades.

Application required.

Call Number: 00439

Day, Time & Location: F 9:30am-1:15pm at 405 Milbank Hall (Barnard)

Instructor: Jason R. Lariviere

Prerequisites: Open to first-year students.

We derive much of our information about the world from visual media. Social networks, television, cinema: all shape our aesthetic sensibilities and our political visions. Yet we often lack a basic understanding of what could be called “visual literacy.” This introductory course gives students the critical tools to analyze how film and other visual media really work – in order to appreciate their artistic and social achievements, as well as to guard against their insidious manipulative devices.

In the first part of the semester, we focus on film analysis through a detailed study of the different production phases of filmmaking – from screenwriting and mise-en-scène to editing and film scoring. We pay special attention to the way in which certain stylistic and narrative choices have particular ideological effects. The second part of the course looks at film history through a comprehensive, chronological overview of its main movements and periods, including the coming of sound in Hollywood cinema, post-war Italian Neorealism, the emergence of world auteurs, New Waves of the 1960s and 1970s, etc. Students will use the hermeneutical tools learnt in film analysis to intellectually engage with some masterworks of film history. In the third and final part of the semester, we study the major debates of film theory from perspectives such as auteurism, formalism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, postcolonial and queer studies, etc.   

Required screenings include Nanook of the North (Flaherty, 1922), Sunrise (Murnau, 1927), Man with a Movie Camera (Vertov, 1929), Casablanca (Curtiz, 1942), Bicycle Thieves (De Sica, 1948), Rashomon (Kurosawa, 1950), Breathless (Godard, 1960), Belle de Jour (Buñuel, 1967), The Hour of the Furnaces (Solanas, 1968), Seven Beauties (Wertmüller, 1974), Blue Velvet (Lynch, 1986), Paris Is Burning (Livingstone, 1990), and Children of Men (Cuarón, 2006).

Call Number: 00223

Day, Time & Location: T Th 11:40AM-12:55PM at 302 Milbank Hall (Barnard)

Instructor: Melanie Heydari

Since the last decades of the twentieth century there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women writers from the Middle East and North Africa. This advanced course, which will be taught mainly in French, provides a window into this rich and largely neglected branch of world literature. Students will encounter the breadth and creativity of contemporary Middle Eastern and North African women’s literature by reading a range of twentieth- and twenty-first-century novels, short stories, memoirs and poetry available in French or in translation, and by viewing films that are from or about Iran, Lebanon, Algeria, and Egypt. How do Middle Eastern women authors address women’s oppression – both social and physical – and enunciate issues such as the tension between tradition and modernity, sexuality, identity and class from a female perspective? What literary traditions and models do they draw on? How different are those texts written in French for a global audience, as opposed to those written in Persian or Arabic? What are the effects of reading them in translation? Authors will include Marjane Satrapi, Shahrnush Parsipur, Assia Djebar, Maïssa Bey and Nawal El Saadawi.

Call Number: 10431

Day, Time & Location: W 4:10pm-6:00pm at TBA

Instructor: Susan Pedersen

The second half of the 19th century saw a sharp debate in Britain over the terms and conditions of marriage and indeed of gender relations more generally.  This course will explore that debate, tracing its effects in law, politics, and personal life.  Topics include:  conflicts over legal and political rights (including suffrage); love, sex, and sociability; domestic violence, child custody, and the contest over male authority; the “problem” of prostitution; and utopian efforts to reimagine gender relations.  Students will read literary and polemical works by John Stuart Mill, Anthony Trollope, Mona Caird, Bernard Shaw, Frances Power Cobbe, Cicely Hamilton and others, will evaluate historians’ arguments, and will develop their own research project.

Call Number: 00016

Day, Time & Location: Tu 12:10pm-2:00pm at MLC 111

Instructor: Widney Brown

One of the most hotly debated issues of today is the extent to which the state can legitimately dictate or impinge on one’s bodily autonomy. This is a long-running debate in the area of sexual and reproductive rights, but also is relevant to such current debates as the right to die / right to death with dignity; the right to use drugs for recreational or ritual purposes; engaging in hunger strikes as a protected form of freedom of expression; and the debate about whether the state can mandate vaccines. It is a debate that is highly gendered but also raises questions about how political power and socio-economic status influences how governments act on individuals and communities.

Call Number: 12684

Day, Time & Location: W 4:10pm-6:00pm at TBA

Instructor: Paisley Currah

Debates over the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have never been more visible in the international arena. Advocates are beginning to have some success in putting sexual orientation and gender identity on the agenda for inclusion in human rights instruments. But in many local and regional contexts, state-sanctioned homophobia is on the rise, from the official anti-gay stance of Russia featured during the Sochi Winter Games to the passage of Mississippi’s anti-gay bill and Uganda’s anti-homosexuality act. This course examines these trends in relation to strategies pursued by grassroots activists and NGOs and the legal issues they raise, including marriage and family rights, discrimination, violence, torture, sex classification, and asylum. We will also focus on current debates about the relation between sexual rights and gender justice, tensions between universalisty constructions of gay/trans identity and local formations of sexual and gender non-conformity, and legacies of colonialism.

Call Number: 10535

Day, Time & Location: W 12:10pm-2:00pm at TBA

Instructor: Julie Rajan

The term 'gendercide' highlights a range of distinct and specific forms of violence executed against human beings based on their own gender self-identification as well as patriarchal assumptions about their gender. In this course, we will examine research discerning, movements challenging, and the adjudication, and/or lack thereof, of Gender Based Violence (GBV) in several major categories traversing spatial, temporal, and ideological contexts, including: reproductive rights and health; trafficking and migration; and disaster and pandemics. It is critical to: interrogate the ideologies that drive and sustain GBV; examine in detail the harm it presents to human beings; explore what can be done to protect the security of those experiencing GBV; and to think about measures of prevention to guard additional human beings from experiencing it. The heart of the course will involve an intersectional analysis of specific case studies; highlighting the GBV associated with each case; examining the impact of GBV on human rights; and how GBV has been addressed in society. The close study of each case will assist students in illuminating intricacies, complexities, and challenges to human security in specific contexts. 

Call Number: 00242

Day, Time & Location: T Th 11:40am-12:55pm at 324 Milbank Hall (Barnard)

Instructor: Alyssa Battistoni

Feminism is often recognized as a political movement. But is there a feminist way of thinking about politics? In this course, we’ll investigate the core premises, provocations, proposals, and tensions of feminism as they relate to specifically political problems, focusing particularly on feminist political thought as it developed in the twentieth century. Who is the subject of feminist politics? What is the meaning of “difference,” and how can—or should—feminists seek to organize across it? What are appropriate topics for politics, and what should remain private? Is the family a space for politics? The household? The body? How much of the personal can, and should, be made political? Are there feminist ways of doing politics? We will consider these questions with reference to texts from both feminist activists and feminist scholars.

Call Number: 00258

Day, Time & Location: Th 4:10PM-6:00PM at LL002

Instructor: Paula A. Franzese

Prerequisites: POLS W1201 or the equivalent. Not an introductory-level course. Not open to students who have taken the colloquium POLS BC3326. Enrollment limited to 25 students; L-course sign-up through eBear. Barnard syllabus. Explores seminal caselaw to inform contemporary civil rights and civil liberties jurisprudence and policy. Specifically, the readings examine historical and contemporary first amendment values, including freedom of speech and the press, economic liberties, takings law, discrimination based on race, gender, class and sexual preference, affirmative action, the right to privacy, reproductive freedom, the right to die, criminal procedure and adjudication, the rights of the criminally accused post-9/11 and the death penalty. (Cross-listed by the American Studies and Human Rights Programs.)

Call Number: 12805

Day, Time & Location: T Th 1:10pm-2:25pm at TBA

Instructor: João Nemi Neto

This course investigates representations of gender and sexuality in the Portuguese-speaking world in a variety of media, such as cinema, comics, and music through a queer perspective aligned with understandings of language and representation. Taking the term “Lusofonia”—a concept coined to designate a sense of cultural coherence shared among Portuguese-speaking countries worldwide—as point of departure, we will investigate how one deals with questions of gender identity and sexual orientation in the Lusophone world. This course aims at understanding how language shapes our perceptions of gender   identities and sexual orientations. Also, this course intends to develop the idea of Mapping Queerness using technology for mapping language in regards to sexual identities representations. The idea of inclusive language permeates the discussions proposed in this course. However, it is intended to observe points of exclusion in our daily communications as well. Therefore, this course aims at discussing these complex issues in regards to gender and sexual identity in Brazil and in other Lusophone countries taking into consideration cultural productions such as cinema and music.

Call Number: 00164

Day, Time & Location: T Th 11:40am-12:55pm at Milbank Hall (Barnard) 307

Instructor: Andrew S. Anastasi

Prerequisites: One introductory course in Sociology suggested. Social movements and the theories social scientists use to explain them, with emphasis on contemporary American activism. Cases include the Southern civil rights movement, Black Lives Matter, contemporary feminist mobilizations, LGBTQ activism, immigrant rights and more recent forms of grassroots politics.  

Call Number: 00165

Day, Time & Location: M W 8:40am-9:55am at 328 Milbank Hall (Barnard)

Instructor: Gillian Gualtieri

Prerequisites: One introductory course in Sociology suggested. Examination of factors in gender identity that are both universal (across time, culture, setting) and specific to a social context. Social construction of gender roles in different settings, including family, work, and politics. Attention to the role of social policies in reinforcing norms or facilitating change.

Call Number: 00508

Day, Time & Location: T Th 6:10pm-7:25pm at Milbank Hall (Barnard) 318

Instructor: Omar Durán-García

This seminar traces some of the main critical currents and themes of the field of Queer Latinx Studies. Beginning with the path-breaking anthology of radical women of color, This Bridge Called Our Back (1981), co-edited by Chicana lesbian feminist writers Cherríe Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa, we consider how their foundational work has been taken up by a second generation of Latina lesbian critics as well as in Gay Latino studies. The seminar then turns from the West Coast to the East Coast and to New York City as a key place for queer Latinx cultures and theorizations, from the Warhol factory (1962-1984), to the Nuyorican Poets café (1975), to New York dance clubs and drag balls. We explore how these performing cultures inform one of the principal critical voices of Queer Latinx Criticism: the late José E. Muñoz whose works Disidentifications: Queers of Color and the Performance of Politics (1999), Cruising Utopia: The Then and There of Queer Futurity (2009), and the posthumous The Sense of Brown (2020) decisively participated in the shaping of the field of Queer of Color Critique. We then consider how Queer Latinx studies is situated in the broader field of Latin American queer studies and specific theorizations (the tacit; translocase) that emerge out of this particular emplacement. Lastly, we consider the recent theorizations of Latinx and Chicanx Trans lives and cultures and how these are informing the field of Queer Latinx studies.

Call Number: 13151

Day, Time & Location: T Th 11:40am-12:55pm at TBA

Instructor: Jeronimo Duarte Riascos

This course explores some of the main visual trends, movements, and concerns that were discussed and performed in Latin America during the 20th and 21st Centuries. The class is structured around clusters of visual and literary production that have women artists at their core. We will devote each module to an in-depth study of one female artist and the ripple effects that her work and ideas produced in their spheres of influence—from visuality to politics. We will consider questions like: How did women artists inhabit the artistic space as one of emancipation and critique? How did Latin American artists incorporate and transform the artistic influences coming from Western Europe and North America? How did artistic practices influence and reflect local and regional contexts? How do these women engage with conceptualism and how does this engagement affect their work? Some of the artist we will review are: Tarsila do Amaral (Brazil, 1886 – 1973); Frida Kahlo (Mexico, 1907-1954); Lygia Clark (Brazil, 1920 -1988); Gego (Venezuela, 1912-1994); Beatriz González (Colombia, 1938); Marta Minujín (Argentina, 1943); and Diamela Eltit (1949). The course will incorporate talks by museum practitioners that have dealt with exhibiting and presenting the work of these women in non-Latin American contexts. Students are expected to visit local museum and engage directly with the objects of study of the class.

Call Number: 00126

Day, Time & Location: W 12:10PM-2:00PM at 227 Milbank Hall (Barnard)

Instructor: Shayoni Mitra

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 16 students. This course examines the category of "woman" as it is mobilized in performance, considering both a variety of contemporary performances chosen from a wide range of genres and a diversity of critical/theoretical perspectives. Course may fill either the Theory requirement, or one (of two) required courses in dramatic literature/theatre studies/performance studies for Theatre/Drama and Theatre  Arts major, but not both.

Call Number: 00127

Day, Time & Location: T 10:10am-12:00pm at LL105 Diana Center

Instructor: TBA

African American women have been writing plays at least since the Harlem Renaissance and the American Little Theatre Movement (1910s-1920s).  Initially many of their plays portrayed the plight of poor Black women either in the American South or in New York City’s Harlem, in each case showing a struggle for dignity in the midst of an unfair, dismissive, racist situation in which lynchings of Black men were a common enough occurrence and citizen rights were doubly denied these (generally educated) writers—both as Blacks and as women.  Even plays depicting middle-class Black families or working women showed how just holding one’s head up and keeping food on the table (much less seeking fulfillment or advancement) was exhausting and often demeaning.  Plays written with Black audiences in mind often sought to provide “uplift” and encouragement.  Those anticipating white or mixed audiences frequently wanted to show Blacks as equal to whites in intellect, cleanliness, childrearing, honor, patriotism, and citizenship.  Over the course of a century, Black playwrights have addressed racism, African American history, urban blight, a changing workplace, and Black American womanhood in a variety of styles ranging from so-called kitchen sink realism to comedy, fantasy, and abstraction.  The readings in the course do not exhaust the possibilities for study but they will get you attuned to a rich trove of varied, important writing. In this seminar, students will read and discuss several plays/meeting, make both formal and informal class presentations, and write a final essay.

Call Number: 00511

Day, Time & Location: M W 10:10am-11:25pm at 207 Milbank Hall (Barnard)

Instructor: TBA

In this course we will explore urban environmental inequalities through the lens of environmental justice.  The concept of environmental justice has risen in prominence in the language of environmental activism, politics, and policymaking. Informed by critical studies of the environment, we will address the broad question of why, for some, the environment is representational of a healthy lifestyle and source of prosperity, while for others it is a source of risk and harm. Our course of study invites students to critically analyze environmental justice case studies and to develop an understanding of the complex relationships among urban populations and the social, political, and economic processes that lead to environmental inequality. We will also explore how racism is foundational to environmental exploitation and consider why global struggles for racial justice are crucial for protecting both people and the earth. We will pay particular attention to how environmental health inequalities are linked to race, class, gender, and nation. Drawing from academic texts, films, and photo essays we will explore how urban planning and economic development policies create environmental inequalities in the US and globally.

Spring 2024

A complete list of Spring 2024 courses, including those cross listed in other units, may be found under the WMST listing on the Directory of Courses here:


Call Number: 00733

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 10:10AM-11:25AM at To be announced

Instructor: Cecelia Lie-Spahn

Combines critical feminist and anti-racist analyses of medicine with current research in epidemiology and biomedicine to understand health and health disparities as co-produced by social systems and biology.

Call Number: 00763

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 4:10PM-5:25PM at To be announced

Instructor: Janet Jakobsen 

This course examines the conceptual foundations that support feminist and queer analyses of racial capitalism, security and incarceration, the politics of life and health, and colonial and postcolonial studies, among others. Open to all students; required for the major in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) and the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE).

Call Number: 00764

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 2:40PM-3:55PM at To be announced

Instructor: Marisa Solomon

This introductory course for the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE) is open to all students. We focus on the critical study of social difference as an interdisciplinary practice, using texts with diverse modes of argumentation and evidence to analyze social differences as fundamentally entangled and co-produced. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this course, the professor will frequently be joined by other faculty from the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS), who bring distinct disciplinary and subject matter expertise. Some keywords for this course include hybridity, diaspora, borderlands, migration, and intersectionality.

Call Number: 00765

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 6:10PM-7:25PM at To be announced

Instructor: Jacqueline Orr

This course explores the intimate entanglements of technology, science, bodies, culture, and power, with a focus on post-World War II U.S. society. In this lecture course, we will draw on history, feminist thought, anthropology, sociology, science fiction, and visual/digital art to investigate the historical and cultural contexts shaping the dreams, practices, and products of technoscience. We will explore technologies and sciences as sites of power, complex pleasures, and embodied transformations in our own everyday lives.

Call Number: 00766

Day, Time & Location: W 12:10PM-2:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Manijeh Moradian 

From love to anger to disappointment to hope, political activism mobilizes emotions towards certain ends but also generates new affective states and feelings along the way. This advanced seminar will familiarize students with feminist, anti-racist and queer scholarship on affect, feelings and emotion as intrinsic to politics and as crucial for understanding how political thought and action unfold in contingent and often unexpected ways. Mixing theoretical and cultural texts with case studies, we will look at how affect permeates structures of power and domination, embodiment and identity, and collective activist projects concerned with gender and sexual liberation. Students will have an opportunity to read theories of affect as well as to “read” activist movements for affect by working with archival documents (such as zines, manifestos, and movement ephemera) and other primary sources (such as memoir, photography and documentary film).

Call Number: 00767

Day, Time & Location: M 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Alexander Pittman

Prerequisites: none. How can performances, theatrical texts, and other art/media objects illuminate the operations of gender, sexuality, and race in global capitalism? Drawing from a range of artistic media and critical traditions, we explore how aesthetic thought can help us analyze the sexual, racial, and national character of contemporary labor and life.

Call Number: 11762

Day, Time & Location: Th 10:10AM-12:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Rachel Aumiller


This course provides a theoretical itinerary to the emergence of contemporary queer theory and engagement with some contemporary legacies of the movement. The goal is not to be exhaustive nor to establish a correct history of queer theory but to engage students in the task of understanding and creating intellectual genealogies.

Call Number: 12162

Day, Time & Location: W 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: to be announced

This course will provide students with a comparative perspective on gender, race, and sexuality by illuminating historically specific and culturally distinct conditions in which these systems of power have operated. Beginning in the early modern period, the course seeks to destabilize contemporary notions of gender and sexuality and instead probe how race, sexuality, and gender have functioned as mechanisms of differentiation embedded in historically contingent processes. Moving from “Caliban to Comstock,” students will probe historical methods for investigating and critically evaluating claims about the past. In making these inquiries, the course will pay attention to the intersectional nature of race, gender, and sexuality and to strategic performances of identity by marginalized groups. This semester, we will engage research by historians of sexuality, gender, and capitalism to critically reflect on the relationship between critical studies of the past and debates about reproductive justice, bodily autonomy, and gay and lesbian rights in our contemporary moment.

Call Number: 00769

Day, Time & Location: M 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Sandra Moyano-Ariza

Knowledge, Practice, Power is a practical and multi-disciplinary exploration of research methods and interpretive strategies used in feminist scholarship, focusing on larger questions about how we know what we know, and who and what knowledge is for. Open to non-majors, but sophomore and junior majors in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) are encouraged to enroll in this course as preparation for Senior Seminar I. This course is required for students pursuing the concentration or minor in Feminist/Intersectional Science and Technology Studies. Prerequisite: Either one introductory WGSS course or Critical Approaches to Social and Cultural Theory or Permission of the Instructor.

Call Number: 11763

Day, Time & Location: F 12:10PM-2:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Sonia Ahsan

Prerequisites: Instructor approval required.

Considers formations of gender, sexuality, and power as they circulate transnationally, as well as transnational feminist movements that have emerged to address contemporary gendered inequalities. Topics include political economy, global care chains, sexuality, sex work and trafficking, feminist politics, and human rights. If it is a small world after all, how do forces of globalization shape and redefine both men’s and women’s positions as as workers and political subjects? And, if power swirls everywhere, how are transnational power dynamics reinscribed in gendered bodies? How is the body represented in discussions of the political economy of globalization? These questions will frame this course by highlighting how gender and power coalesce to impact the lives of individuals in various spaces including workplaces, the home, religious institutions, refugee camps, the government, and civil society, and human rights organizations. We will use specific sociological and anthropological case studies, to look at how various regimes of power operate to constrain individuals as well as give them new spaces for agency. This course will enable us to think transnationally, historically, and dynamically, using gender as a lens through which to critique relations of power and the ways that power informs our everyday lives and identities.

Call Number: 00768

Day, Time & Location: W 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Elizabeth Bernstein

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors. Individual research in Womens Studies conducted in consulation with the instructor. The result of each research project is submitted in the form of the senior essay and presented to the seminar.

Call Number: 00770

Day, Time & Location: Th 12:10pm-2:00pm at To be announced

Instructor: Marisa Solomon

Far from obvious renderings of place, maps are spatial arguments about who belongs where and how living should be defined. This course approaches place as something that is contested daily in the U.S. through the struggle of who gets to lay claim to a way of life. From the landscapes of dispossession to the alternative ways marginalized people work with and against traditional geographies, this course centers Black place-making practices as political struggle. This class will look at how power and domination become a landed project. We will critically examine how ideas about “nature” are bound up with notions of race, and the way “race” naturalizes the proper place for humans and non-human others. We will interrogate settler colonialism’s relationships to mapping who is and isn’t human, the transatlantic slave trade as a project of terraforming environments for capital, and land use as a science for determining who “owns” the earth. Centered on Black feminist, queer and trans thinkers, we will encounter space not as a something given by maps, but as a struggle over definitions of the human, geography, sovereignty, and alternative worlds. To this end, we will read from a variety of disciplines, such as Critical Black Studies, Feminist and Intersectional Science Studies, Black Geographies and Ecologies, Urban Studies and Afrofuturist literature. (Note: this class will count as an elective for the CCIS minors/concentrations in F/ISTS, ICORE/MORE, and Environmental Humanities.)

Call Number: 00771

Day, Time & Location: Tu 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Agnieszka Legutko

The seminar will focus on trends that have emerged over the past three decades in Jewish American women's writing in the fields of memoirs, fiction and Jewish history: the representation and exploration through fictive narratives of women's experiences in American Jewish orthodox communities; reinterpretation of Jewish history through gender analysis; the recording of migration and exile by Jewish women immigrants from the former Soviet Union, Morocco, Iran, and Egypt; and gender transformations. Texts will be analyzed in terms of genre structures, narrative strategies, the role of gender in shaping content and Jewish identity, and the political, cultural and social contexts in which the works were created. The course aims for students to discuss and critically engage with texts in order to develop the skills of analytical and abstract thinking, as well as the ability to express that critical thinking in writing. Prerequisites: Both one introductory WGSS course and Critical Approaches to Social and Cultural Theory, or Permission of the Instructor.

Call Number: 00772

Day, Time & Location: Tu 12:10PM-2:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Manijeh Moradian

In this class we will study South-West Asian and North African (SWANA) diasporic populations, social movements and cultural production that have responded to the multi-faceted ramifications of the 21st century war on terror. We will focus on diverse Arab, Iranian, and Afghan diasporas in the United States, where 19th and 20th century legacies of racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and Orientalism combined in new ways to target these groups after the September 11th, 2001 attacks. Drawing on an interdisciplinary array of texts, including ethnography, fiction, feminist and queer theory, social movement theory, and visual and performance art, we will look at how the “war on terror” has shaped the subjectivities and self-representation of SWANA communities. Crucially, we will examine the gender and sexual politics of Islamophobia and racism and study how scholars, activists and artists have sought to intervene in dominant narratives of deviance, threat, and backwardness attributed to Muslim and other SWANA populations. This course takes up the politics of naming, situating the formation of “SWANA” as part of an anti-colonial genealogy that rejects imperial geographies such as “Middle East.” We will ask how new geographies and affiliations come into being in the context of open-ended war, and what new political identities and forms of cultural production then become possible.

Call Number: 11745

Day, Time & Location: M 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Lila Abu-Lughod

Subtopic: Reframing Gender Violence Globally

Description: Over the past couple of decades, violence against women (VAW) and gender-based violence (GBV) have come to prominence as loci for activism throughout the world. Both VAW and GBV regularly garner international media attention and occupy a growing place in international law and global governance. Since 2000 alone there have been more than 25 UN protocols, instruments and conventions directed at its eradication or mitigation.  By embedding gendered violence in a complex matrix international norms, legal sanctions, and humanitarian aid, the anti-VAW movement has been able to achieve a powerful international “common sense” for defining, measuring, and attending to violence against women in developing countries, particularly during conflict and in post-conflict situations.

When invoked in the halls of the United Nations and used to shape international policy, the terms violence against women (VAW) and gender-based violence (GBV) are often assumed to have stable meanings; yet they do not.  What do different parties mean when they talk of violence against women or of gender-based violence?  What is left out when the problem is framed in particular ways, and whose interests are served by such framings?  Religion, culture, and ethnicity are often linked to gendered violence with entire groups pathologized. Women in conflict situations are abstracted from their local contexts while the conflicts themselves are insistently localized. The definition of VAW or GBV is narrowed to attacks on bodily integrity, with economic, political and structural forms of violence increasingly excluded from the frames. 

This course will explore transnational feminist debates about gender-based violence and examine the critical concepts being developed within the scholarly literature to question this “common sense.” What are the elisions and exclusions in many common-sense understandings of these terms? Can we deepen the ways in which we engage with the manifestations and representations of such violence?  We will proceed through close readings of the texts of the key feminist thinkers, researchers, anthropologists and activists who are contributing to the critical analysis of the dynamics and history of this international agenda. We pay special attention to place-based research on the applicability and deployment of particular approaches to gender-based violence as found in human rights work, humanitarianism, and the proliferating organizations, governmental and nongovernmental, that promote girls’ and women’s rights and freedom from violence yet ignore other forms of violence that itself is gendered. Case studies will be drawn from the Middle East, South Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

This course fulfills one of the requirements for the graduate certificate at ISSG but is open to other graduate students in Arts & Sciences by permission of instructor.

Call Number: 12163

Day, Time & Location: Tu 10:10AM-12:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Julia Bryan-Wilson

This is a course is oriented to graduate students who are thinking about issues in teaching in the near and distant future and want to explore forms of pedagogy. The course will ask what it means to teach “as a feminist” and will explore how to create a classroom receptive to feminist and queer methodologies and theories regardless of course theme/content. Topics include: participatory pedagogy, the role of political engagement, the gender dynamics of the classroom, modes of critical thought and disagreement. Discussions will be oriented around student interest. The course will meet 4-5 times per SEMESTER (dates TBD) and the final assignment is to develop and workshop a syllabus for a new gender/sexuality course in your field. Because this course is required for graduate students choosing to fulfill Option 2 for the Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies at IRWGS, priority will be given to graduate students completing the certificate.

Call Number: 11749

Day, Time & Location: Tu 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Elizabeth Povinelli

Course Description: This course provides a theoretical engagement with feminist, queer, Black, and Indigenous approaches to language, discourse, and semiotics. The goal is not to be exhaustive nor to establish a correct history of queer theory but to engage students in the task of understanding and creating intellectual genealogies.


Call Number: 00035

Day, Time & Location: M W 10:10AM-11:25AM at To be announced

Instructor: Maja Horn

This course offers a chronological study of the Anglophone, Hispanophone, and Francophone insular Caribbean through the eyes of some of the region’s most important writers and thinkers. We will focus on issues that key Caribbean intellectuals--including two Nobel prize-winning authors--consider particularly enduring and relevant in Caribbean cultures and societies. Among these are, for example, colonization, slavery, national and postcolonial identity, race, class, popular culture, gender, sexuality, tourism and migration. This course will also serve as an introduction to some of the exciting work on the Caribbean by professors at Barnard College and Columbia University (faculty spotlights).

Call Number: 12871

Day, Time & Location: Tu 2:10M-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Julia Bryan-Wilson

This seminar examines the resurgence of craft within contemporary art and theory. In a time when much art is outsourced — or fabricated by large stables of assistants — what does it mean when artists return to traditional, and traditionally laborious, methods of handiwork such as knitting, jewelry making, or woodworking? Though our emphasis will be on recent art (including the Black feminist reclamation of quilts, an artist who makes pornographic embroidery, a cross-dressing ceramicist, queer fiber collectives, do-it-yourself Indigenous environmental interventions, and anti-capitalist craftivism), we will also examine important historical precedents. We will read formative theoretical texts regarding questions of process, materiality, skill, bodily effort, domestic labor, and alternative economies of production. Throughout, we will think through how craft is in dialogue with questions of race, nation-building, gendered work, and mass manufacturing. The seminar is centered around student-led discussion of our critical readings.

Call Number: 11256

Day, Time & Location: Tu 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Nikolas Kakkoufa

Homosexuality, as a term, might be a relatively recent invention in Western culture (1891) but bodies that acted and appeared queer(ly) existed long before that. This course will focus on acts, and not identities, in tracing the evolution of writing the queer body from antiquity until today. In doing so it will explore a number of multimodal materials – texts, vases, sculptures, paintings, photographs, movies etc. – in an effort to understand the evolution of the ways in which language (written, spoken or visual) registers these bodies in literature and culture. When we bring the dimension of the body into the way we view the past, we find that new questions and new ways of approaching old questions emerge. What did the ancient actually write about the male/female/trans* (homo)sexual body? Did they actually create gender non-binary statues? Can we find biographies of the lives of saints in drag in Byzantium? How did the Victorians change the way in which we read Antiquity? How is the queer body registered in Contemporary Literature and Culture? Can one write the history of homosexuality as a history of bodies? How are queer bodies constructed and erased by scholars? How can we disturb national archives by globalizing the queer canon of bodies through translation? These are some of the questions that we will examine during the semester.

The course surveys texts from Homer, Sappho, Aeschylus, Euripides, Plato, Theocritus, Ovid, Dio Chrysostom, Lucian, Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Arthur Symonds, Dinos Christianopoulos, Audre Lorde, Larry Kramer, Tony Kushner etc., the work of artists such as Yiannis Tsarouchis, Robert Mapplethorpe, Dimitris Papaioannou, Cassils, movies such as 120 battements par minute, and popular TV shows such as Pose.

Call Number: 13593

Day, Time & Location: Tu 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Claudia Breger

Critical theory was the central practice of the Frankfurt School. Founded in Frankfurt in 1923 and later based at Columbia University, this interdisciplinary institute influenced fields like sociology, political science, film, cultural studies, media theory, and comparative literature. The course begins by examining the genealogy of the Frankfurt School in Marxism and its critique of fascism and traces its afterlife in aesthetic theory, deconstruction, and gender studies, as well as the specter of “Cultural Marxism” recently floating around right-wing circles. We read texts by key figures of the Frankfurt School such as Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Herbert Marcuse and Jürgen Habermas as well as works by adjacent figures like Walter Benjamin, Hannah Arendt, and Siegfried Kracauer.

Call Number: 12356

Day, Time & Location: M W 2:40PM-3:55PM at To be announced

Instructor: Jack Halberstam

No future, there’s no future, no future for you…or me…What happens after the end of the future? If England’s dreaming in 1977 looked like a dead-end, how do we dream of futures in a moment so much closer to the reality of worlds’ end? In this class, we will read a range of ambiguous utopias and dystopias (to use a term from Ursula LeGuin) and explore various models of temporality, a range of fantasies of apocalypse and a few visions of futurity. While some critics, like Frederick Jameson, propose that utopia is a “meditation on the impossible,” others like José Muñoz insist that “we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds.” Utopian and dystopian fictions tend to lead us back to the present and force confrontations with the horrors of war, the ravages of capitalist exploitation, the violence of social hierarchies and the ruinous peril of environmental decline. In the films and novels and essays we engage here, we will not be looking for answers to questions about what to do and nor should we expect to find maps to better futures. We will no doubt be confronted with dead ends, blasted landscapes and empty gestures. But we will also find elegant aesthetic expressions of ruination, inspirational confrontations with obliteration, brilliant visions of endings, breaches, bureaucratic domination, human limitation and necro-political chaos. We will search in the narratives of uprisings, zombification, cloning, nuclear disaster, refusal, solidarity, for opportunities to reimagine world, ends, futures, time, place, person, possibility, art, desire, bodies, life and death.

Call Number: 12370

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 2:40PM-3:55PM 

Instructor: Farah Griffin

(Lecture). This survey of African American literature focuses on language, history, and culture. What are the contours of African American literary history? How do race, gender, class, and sexuality intersect within the politics of African American culture? What can we expect to learn from these literary works? Why does our literature matter to student of social change? This lecture course will attempt to provide answers to these questions, as we begin with Zora Neale Hurstons Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937) and Richard Wrights Native Son (1940) and end with Melvin Dixons Loves Instruments (1995) with many stops along the way. We will discuss poetry, fiction, drama, and non-fictional prose. Ohter authors include Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Malcom X, Ntzozake Shange, Audre Lorde, and Toni Morrison. There are no prerequisites for this course. The formal assignments are two five-page essays and a final examination. Class participation will be graded.

Call Number: 00243

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 2:40PM-3:55PM at To be announced

Instructor: Dorothy Ko

Course Description: to be announced

Call Number: 00248

Day, Time & Location: W 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Premilla Nadasen

This course examines the theory and practice of transnational Black feminism in a context of radical anti-colonial movements. It examines the US Black Power movement, struggles for independence in the Caribbean, the British Black women’s movement, the anti apartheid movement, Black women’s migrant labor, and Black women’s struggle for independence in the Pacific, to consider how revolutionary moments nurtured feminist organizing and how Black feminists articulated and put into practice anti-colonialism, national independence, and radical transformation. We will examine the relationship between Black feminism, Marxism, grassroots organizing, and movement building, nationally and transnationally, from the 1940s-1980s. 

Call Number: 11646

Day, Time & Location: W 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Natasha J. Lightfoot

Caribbean literature offers complicated and vivid portrayals of the Caribbean’s past, and grapples with difficult histories lived by its people that compromised colonial archives can only partially capture. Literary works far exceed the limited narratives of Caribbean history by imagining entire worlds that official documents could never contain, rich selves, cultures and communities built by many generations of Caribbean people. This course is aimed at bringing forth a broader understanding of Caribbean history by examining a body of creative works by feminist and womanist writers that continuously remain attuned to the complexities of the past, which are either underrepresented or absent in the record. Chosen literary texts will also be paired with historical works that will illuminate and contextualize the multiple themes with which these Caribbean authors frequently engage, including slavery, and colonialism, racism and colorism, migration and immigration, gender and sexuality, poverty and globalization. From these pairings, students will explore both the divergences and alignments in how writers and historians approach the work of retelling the past, and will acquire reading and writing skills that will foster thoughtful critical analysis of the ever-changing contours of the Caribbean’s history.

Call Number: 10264

Day, Time & Location: M 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Yasmine Ergas

This course introduces students to fundamental human rights associated with gender and the global processes through which they have been shaped and reshaped. Focusing primarily but not exclusively on women’s rights and drawing on treaties, cases, programmatic documents, statistical data and other materials, we ask how gender inequalities are addressed at a global and regional level, how such commitments resonate at a national level, and how they are being challenged today. Why are specific measures are needed to protect against gender-based discrimination if human rights are putatively universal?  Does the current global gender rights framework work effectively for all those subject to gender-based discrimination?  Which points of view on gender does it incorporate and promote, and which does it  “silence”? How do factors such as citizenship, nationality, sexual orientation and gender identity, race, ethnicity, religion and class affect the protection of gender rights? How can the current global gender rights framework help address discrimination and inequality with respect to fundamental issues of personhood such as identity, bodily integrity, and the right to life? How can  it be deployed to address the implications of socioeconomic processes closely linked to globalization, such as migration or the emergence of markets in reproduction? Can it play a role in times of widespread political turmoil and of war? 

Call Number: 13196

Day, Time & Location: Tu 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Justin Phillips

Prerequisites: the instructors permission. Pre-registration is not permitted. Seminar in American Politics Seminar. Students who would like to register should join the electronic wait list. For list of topics and descriptions see:

No direct registration; those interested should join waitlist.

Call Number: 13383

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 10:10AM-11:25AM 

Instructor: Teresa Sharpe

This course examines gender as a flexible but persistent boundary that continues to organize our work lives and our home lives, as well as the relationship between the two spheres. We will explore the ways in which gender affects how work is structured; the relationship between work and home; the household as a place of paid (and unpaid) labor; and how changes in the global economy affect gender and work identities.


Call Number: 00077

Day, Time & Location: Tu 10:10AM-12:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Monica Miller

On her “Record of Freshman Interest” form, Zora Neale Hurston, Barnard class of 1928, wrote in response to the question of what vocation or profession she had in mind after graduation, “I have had some small success as a writer and wish above all to succeed at it. Either teaching or social work would be interesting, but consolation prizes.”  No consolation prize was necessary as Hurston became one of American and African American literature’s finest writers, America’s first Black anthropologist, and a Black feminist ancestor and icon. A deep dive into Hurston’s work and writing life, this course reads Hurston as a narrative stylist and theorist in multiple genres: as poet, essayist, writer of short stories, novelist, playwright, folklorist, and memorist. The goal of this class is to read Hurston closely and widely and to identify and examine her aesthetic philosophy and stylistic choices as one of the first African American women able to have a writing “career.” We will concentrate on her work from the 1920s through the 1930s, when she was at Barnard, and a leading figure in the Harlem/New Negro Renaissance.

In her time, Hurston was adamant about writing for and about people like herself; she saw ordinary black people as keepers of a rich culture that should be celebrated and shared.  In this spirit, the assignments for this course will lead to final digital projects that can be shared with the Barnard community in anticipation of the centennial of Hurston’s matriculation and graduation from Barnard (1925-1928).  We will partner with the Digital Humanities Center at Barnard, as well as Barnard Archives; we will engage resources at Barnard, such as Hurston-focused issues of The Scholar and Feminist Online, and other institutions, such as Columbia’s Rare Book Collection, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Library of Congress. No prior experience with digital tools is necessary.

Call Number: 00138

Day, Time & Location: W 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Maleda Belilgne

This course explores representations of queer Harlem in African American literature, sonic culture, and performance. We will consider the history and making of Harlem, key figures of the Harlem Renaissance, and the aesthetic innovations of writers and artists who defied the racial, sexual, and gendered conventions of their time. We will be guided by an intersectional approach to the study of race, gender, and sexuality and the methods of Black queer studies, African American and African diaspora literary studies, as well as sound and performance scholarship. We will ask when, where, and what was/is gay Harlem; how we might excavate its histories; map its borders; and speculate on its material and imagined futures.

Call Number: 00036

Day, Time & Location: M W 9:00AM-10:15AM at To be announced

Instructor: Khemani Gibson

The Africana Studies Department offers special topics courses every year as colloquia. These colloquia provide opportunities for students to explore areas of particular interest within African Diasporic Studies in a seminar environment. Students earn 4 credits for these courses. There are multiple colloquia offered by the department every year. Some of the topics for these colloquia have included Critical Race Theory, Indian Ocean Diaspora, The New Black, Caribbean Women, and Black Shakespeare. As the topics change, students should check with the Chair of the Africana Studies Department if they have any questions about the topics for a particular academic year.

Call Number: 00067

Day, Time & Location: M 10:10AM-12:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Shirley Taylor

Course Description: to be announced

Call Number: 12870

Day, Time & Location: M 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Branden Joseph

Most often associated with the explosion of punk rock at the end of the 1970s, self-published booklets, fanzines, or simply ’zines actually arose first in the context of science fiction collectors in the 1930s.  Beginning in the early 1970s (independently of, and before the advent of punk music), artists adopted and developed the format as a vehicle for visual expression, drawing from precedents in pop art, artists’ books, mimiographed literary magazines, historical avant-garde movements such as dada, and more contemporaneous developments in conceptual art and mail art.  Overlooked in favor of artists’ books and artists’ magazines, on the one hand, and in favor of various types of music- or personal expression-based zines, on the other, the artist’s zine forms a rich and multifaceted genre spanning over five decades of practice.  This course will examine the artist’s zine in the contexts of both art and music history, issues related to the expression and exploration of race, gender, and sexaulity, and the notions of networking and community building.  Although distinct from the development of punk rock, artists’ zine practice has forged and maintains a close connection to it and to its evolution into Queercore, Riot Grrrl, and Afropunk, all of which are covered in the course readings.

Call Number: 00628

Day, Time & Location: Mo 10:10AM-12:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Wendy C. Schor-Haim

Abortion access will shape the lives of your generation—and yet the issue of abortion is too often left to misinformation and disconnected from its role in overall reproductive freedom. In this course, we will put abortion into multiple contexts (historical, political, legal, pharmaceutical, religious), drawing interdisciplinary material from scholars, activists, community organizers, lawyers, care providers, and journalists. Each class will feature a guest speaker who has dedicated their career to advocating for abortion as a critical part of overall reproductive healthcare in the United States and internationally. Grounded in the reproductive justice framework, which aims not only to protect the “right to choose” but also to create the economic, social, and environmental conditions in which people can parent with dignity, we will think of abortion as one critical part of a constellation of projects that, together, work toward total reproductive freedom.

Call Number: 00131

Day, Time & Location: W 12:10PM-2:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Camilla Sturm

This seminar critically reexamines the ancient world from the perspective of gender archaeology. Though the seedlings of gender archaeology were first sown by of feminist archaeologists during the 70’s and 80’s, this approach involves far more than simply ‘womanizing’ androcentric narratives of past. Rather, gender archaeology criticizes interpretations of the past that transplant contemporary social roles onto the archaeological past, casting the divisions and inequalities of today as both timeless and natural. This class challenges the idea of a singular past, instead championing a turn towards multiple, rich, messy, intersectional pasts. The ‘x’ in ‘archaeolxgy’ is an explicit signal of our focus on this diversity of pasts and a call for a more inclusive field of practice today.  

Call Number: 10594

Day, Time & Location: M W 1:10PM-2:25PM at To be announced

Instructor: Maria Malmstrom

Practices like veiling that are central to Western images of women and Islam are also contested issues throughout the Muslim world. Examines debates about Islam and gender and explores the interplay of cultural, political, and economic factors in shaping women's lives in the Muslim world, from the Middle East to Southeast Asia.

Call Number: 14060

Day, Time & Location: W 4:00PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Mary McLeod

Course Description: H/T Post-1800 N/W S/E

Call Number: 10591

Day, Time & Location: W 12:10PM-2:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Tiziano Colibazzi

Sex has always been a powerful and enigmatic force. Freud made it the centerpiece of psychoanalysis. Though many are familiar with his work on sexuality, few are aware of the development, elaboration and repudiation (in some instances) of these early ideas over the last century. 

This course aims at presenting the evolution of psychoanalytic thinking on sex. We will examine a vast array of concepts in a modern context including desire, longing, genders, sexual fantasies, sexual orientations, BDSM, masturbation and polyamory among others. These presentations will also be enriched by an attention to the historical and cultural aspects of sexuality.

Call Number: 13114

Day, Time & Location: Th 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Eric Gamalinda

Russian filmmaker Andre Tarkovsky said that “the artist has no right to an idea in which he is not socially committed.” Argentine filmmaker Fernando Solanas and Spanish-born Octavio Getino postulated an alternative cinema that would spur spectators to political action. In this course we will ask the question: How do authoritarian governments influence the arts, and how do artists respond? We will study how socially committed filmmakers have subverted and redefined cinema aesthetics to challenge authoritarianism and repression. In addition, we will look at how some filmmakers respond to institutional oppression, such as poverty and corruption, even within so-called “free” societies. The focus is on contemporary filmmakers but will also include earlier classics of world cinema to provide historical perspective. The course will discuss these topics, among others: What is authoritarianism, what is totalitarianism, and what are the tools of repression within authoritarian/totalitarian societies? What is Third Cinema, and how does it represent and challenge authoritarianism? How does film navigate the opposition of censorship, propaganda and truth? How do filmmakers respond to repressive laws concerning gender and sexual orientation? How do they deal with violence and trauma? How are memories of repressive regimes reflected in the psyche of modern cinema? And finally, what do we learn about authority, artistic vision, and about ourselves when we watch these films?

Call Number: 00539

Day, Time & Location: W 10:10AM-12:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Ileana Jimenez

Broadly, this course explores the relationship between gender, sexuality, and schooling across national contexts. We begin by considering theoretical perspectives, exploring the ways in which gender and sexuality have been studied and understood in the interdisciplinary field of education. Next, we consider the ways in which the subjective experience of gender and sexuality in schools is often overlooked or inadequately theorized. Exploring the ways that race, class, citizenship, religion and other categories of identity intersect with gender and sexuality, we give primacy to the contention that subjectivity is historically complex, and does not adhere to the analytically distinct identity categories we might try to impose on it.

Call Number: 00542

Day, Time & Location: W 2:10-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Erika Kitzmiller

The rise in political polarization and social inequality over the past few decades has challenged the ideals that public schools were founded on nearly two centuries ago. In the past few years, we have witnessed a surge in homophobic, racist, misogynist, and xenophobic rhetoric in our society and our schools. At the same time, teachers in classrooms across this country have been engaged in the difficult work of challenging oppression and injustice in their schools, communities, and nation. These teachers know that the future of our democracy is at stake. Using a historical and sociological framework, this course examines the past and present conditions that have led to political polarization, escalating inequality, and persistent injustice. It seeks to examine the lineage of racism, sexism, nativism, and imperialism on our nation and its schools and to consider the extent to which these challenges are uniquely American or part of a more global phenomenon. It offers an introduction to the deep current of American social, political, and economic culture that many argue has produced the challenges that our nation faces today: personal and political gain marred by intolerance, derived from wealth, and rooted in the history of segregation, sexism, and exploitation. Instead of seeing these challenges as separate entities, the course acknowledges the intersectional nature of power and politics. Students will consider how these conditions affect their roles as educators and the lives of the youth and families in their schools and communities. They will leave the course with a deeper appreciation and understanding of the historical and sociological antecedents that have contributed to polarization, inequity, and injustice around the globe.

Call Number: 00712

Day, Time & Location: M W 11:40AM-12:55PM at To be announced

Instructor: Jennifer Boylan

Change is fundamental to our experience as human beings, and the experience of change lies at the heart of most great stories. Sometimes this is a transition that the heroine has desired; other times, alteration and transformation arise from sources mysterious and unknown, or as a result of the journey the story has brought them. This course examines the element of change in a wide range of literature, from Ovid to Maggie Nelson, from Shakespeare to Roxane Gay—but it also provides an opportunity for students to consider the ways in which they, too have been changed—by joy, by trauma, by time. In addition to writing critically about the works we will read together, students will also write a personal essay about their experience of metamorphosis; this essay will be examined in a modified workshop format. At semester’s end, students will re-write and change that same essay, in hopes of seeing how revision on the page might provide a model for understanding the metamorphoses we experience as human beings on this earth. Authors will likely include Ovid, Kafka, Robert Louis Stevenson, Borges, Shaun Tan, Roxane Gay, George Saunders, Arthur C. Clarke, Shakespeare, and Maggie Nelson. There will be a final exam and a critical paper, as well as the personal essay, in two drafts.

Call Number: 00704

Day, Time & Location: Tu 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Wendy C. Schor-Haim

Why are stepmothers and stepdaughters inevitable enemies in folk and fairy tales? Why are fathers blameless and biological mothers absent (and usually dead)? And how do these narratives, so deeply woven into our own media and language, affect our sense of our own lived reality? In this course, we’ll untangle the complicated web of relationships between mothers, daughters, and stepmothers in folk and fairy tales, from ancient Rome to current cinema. We’ll read analytic psychology, feminist literary theory, cultural history, and other critical perspectives to help us analyze the absent mother, virginal daughter, hapless father, and evil stepmother tropes across time and space, so we can defamiliarize these familiar figures and develop a deeper understanding of how and why they dominate the popular imagination. This is an upper-level course, with priority for juniors and seniors.

Call Number: 00705

Day, Time & Location: M 12:10PM-2:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Margaret Ellsberg

This upper-level research-oriented seminar will engage with literary expressions of the universally interesting topic of marriage. Tony Tanner in his famous Adultery in the Novel characterizes marriage as “the structure which supports all structure.” Contemporary critics have seen marriage as essential to maintaining the “family values” of the bourgeoisie; feminists and Marxists have challenged the economic assumptions of patriarchally-defined marriage. Folklorists have treated marriage as the endpoint of the search for a safe domestic space.

Starting in ancient times with classic fairy tales and the Hebrew Bible, moving on to a famous medieval poem, a medieval memoir, and three nineteenth-century novels, we will encounter cultural expressions which address intimate partnerships with an emphasis on marriage as a defining condition.

Call Number: 12344

Day, Time & Location: M 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Lauren Robertson

Concentrating on the drama of early modern England, this course will focus on women who behave badly. Some of these characters cheat, lie, and murder, while others perfect the guise of seeming compliance; some brazenly flout the structures that aim to contain them, while others are subtler in their subversion. We will use these plays to investigate what is by turns exciting, threatening, and frightening about these unruly women, paying attention to the ways that they are punished and sometimes rewarded. We will also attend to the resources of theatrical form, especially the early modern use of boy actors to play women’s parts, to ask how the conditions of staging uphold or undercut the plays’ ideological messages. Finally, we will supplement our reading of this drama with other historical and cultural texts from this period—pamphlets, advice literature, poems, court cases, and ballads—in order to get a better sense of the plays in relation to early modern gender, sexual, and political norms, many of which were crucially different from our own.

Call Number: 12349

Day, Time & Location: W 12:10PM-2:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Vesna Kuiken

This course explores how American women writers who suffered from depression, disability, bodily pain, or social marginalization, used the environment and its literary representations to redefine the categories of gender, ability, and personhood. Prior to their inclusion into the public sphere through the US Constitution’s 19th Amendment which in 1920 granted women the right to vote, American artists had to be particularly resourceful in devising apt strategies to counter the political and aesthetic demands that had historically dispossessed them of the voice, power, and body. This course focuses on the women writers who conceptualized their own surroundings (home, house, marriage, country, land, island and the natural world) as an agent that actively and decisively participates in the construction and dissolution of personal identity. In doing so, they attempted to annul the separation of the public (politics) and the private (home) as respective male and female spheres, and in this way they contributed, ahead of their own time, to the suffragist debates. Our task in this course will be to go beyond the traditional critical dismissal of these emancipatory strategies as eccentric or “merely aesthetic” and therefore inconsequential. Instead, we will take seriously Rowlandson’s frontier diet, Fuller’s peculiar cure for her migraines, Wheatley’s oblique references to the Middle Passage, Jewett’s islands, Ša’s time-travel, Thaxter’s oceans, Hurston’s hurricanes, and Sansay’s scathing portrayal of political revolutions. We will read these portrayals as aesthetic decisions that had—and continue to have—profound political consequences: by externalizing and depersonalizing what is commonly understood to be internal and intimate, the authors we read collapse the distinction between inside and outside, between the private and public—the distinction that traditionally excluded women from participation in the public life, in policy- and decision-making.

Call Number: 00662

Day, Time & Location: F 10:00AM-1:45PM at To be announced

Instructor: Duygu Ula

In this class, we will focus on recurring themes and questions of contemporary queer cinema by engaging with a number of film genres and forms, and explore how filmmakers create queer visions of the world through their cinematic practices. We will also consider how these queer films are informed by various local, national, cultural and political contexts. Through a comparative, transnational and intersectional approach that takes into consideration the particularities of each filmmaker’s context, we will aim to answer the following questions: How do various cultural, national, linguistic, religious contexts affect the way queer identities are defined and depicted visually? How do these filmmakers create queer narratives that contest, complicate or reify dominant narratives of gender and sexuality? How do they play around with cinematic and genre conventions?

Films, directors and genres studied are subject to change but will likely include directors such as Celine Sciamma, Cheryl Dunye, Pedro Almodovar, Todd Haynes, among others; and various genres such as drama, romance, thriller, mockumentary, thriller and experimental film. 

Call Number: 00663

Day, Time & Location: Th 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: To be announced

Traditional film history has consigned a multitude of cinema practices to an inferior position. By accepting Hollywood’s narrative model as central, film scholars have often relegated non-male, non-white, non-Western films to a secondary role. Often described as “marginal” or “peripheral” cinemas, the outcomes of these film practices have been systematically excluded from the canon. Yet… are these motion pictures really “secondary”? In relation to what? And according to whom? This course looks at major films by women filmmakers of the 20th Century within a tradition of political cinema that 1) directly confronts the hegemonic masculinity of the Hollywood film industry, and 2) relocates the so-called “alternative women’s cinema” at the core of film history. Unlike conventional feminist film courses, which tend to be contemporary and anglocentric, this class adopts a historical and worldwide perspective; rather than focusing on female directors working in America today, we trace the origins of women’s cinema in different cities of the world (Berlin, Paris, New York) during the silent period, and, from there, we move forward to study major works by international radical directors such as Lorenza Mazzetti, Agnès Varda, Forough Farrokhzad, Věra Chytilová, Chantal Akerman, Lina Wertmüller, Barbara Loden, Julie Dash, and Mira Nair. We analyse how these filmmakers have explored womanhood not only as a source of oppresion (critique of patriarchal phallocentrism, challenge to heteronormativity, etc) but, most importantly, as a source of empowerment (defense of matriarchy, equal rights, lesbian love, inter- and transexuality...). Required readings include seminal texts of feminist film theory by Claire Johnston, Laura Mulvey, Ann Kaplan, bell hooks, and Judith Butler. Among the films screened in the classroom are silent movies –Suspense (Lois Weber, 1913), The Seashell and the Clergyman (Germaine Dulac, 1928)—, early independent and experimental cinema –Girls in Uniform (Leontine Sagan, 1931), Ritual in Transfigured Time (Maya Deren, 1946)—, “new wave” films of the 1950s and 1960s –Cléo from 5 to 7 (Varda, 1962), Daisies (Chytilová, 1966)–, auteur cinema of the 1970s –Seven Beauties (Wertmüller, 1974), Jeanne Dielman (Akerman, 1975)–, and documentary films – Ellis Island (Monk, 1982) andParis Is Burning (Livingston, 1990).

Call Number: 00092

Day, Time & Location: M W 1:10PM-2:25PM at To be announced

Instructor: Hadley Suter 

This course will group together the women who shaped and epitomized Left Bank culture in Paris from the Belle Époque to the mid-twentieth century; it will also situate these women in relation to their male peers whose works went on to establish the canons of Symbolism, Dadaism, Surrealism, and Existentialism. We will focus primarily on the realms of literature, philosophy, and art, but we will also examine how some of these women advanced cultural production more broadly—by starting publishing presses, opening bookshops, holding salons, etc. Readings will be primarily in French (Colette, Anna de Noailles, Renée Vivien, Simone de Beauvoir; Breton, Valéry, Aragon, Sartre) but will also include some English-language authors (Gertrude Stein, Djuna Barnes, Anaïs Nin). All discussions, coursework, and examinations will be in French.

Call Number: 13608

Day, Time & Location: W 2:10PM-4:00PM, M 6:00PM-7:50PM at To be announced

Instructor: Hazel Rhodes

This course explores the modern historical development of sexuality and gender through a close engagement with German cinema of the 20th and early 21st centuries. We will trace two forces closely associated with “modernity”: the art and technology of cinema as an international medium and sexuality as a socially significant aspect of individual personhood, collective politics and public concern. We will consider both film and sexuality as intertwined vectors of social and cultural change, as well as aesthetic and artistic practice, and we will apply our film-analytical framework to develop a better understanding of German culture over the last century. Our course will draw from feminist and queer film studies, cultural studies, critical theory, and histories of gender and sexuality to build our methodology. Through our shared film viewings and class discussions, we will exercise practical forms of critical understanding and communication about modern German cinema and culture.

Call Number: 00241

Day, Time & Location: Tu Th 11:40AM-12:55PM at To be announced

Instructor: Nara Milanich

Examines the gendered roles of women and men in Latin American society from the colonial period to the present. Explores a number of themes, including the intersection of social class, race, ethnicity, and gender; the nature of patriarchy; masculinity; gender and the state; and the gendered nature of political mobilization.

Call Number: 14144

Day, Time & Location: W 9:00AM-10:50AM at To be announced

Instructor: Jeri Powell

This course explores how public policy can support the development of women leaders. In recent years, efforts to increase the number of women in senior leadership positions on corporate boards, in C-suites and in government, have reflected a call for gender equity in the spaces controlling levers of power.

Call Number: 10272

Day, Time & Location: Tu 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructors: Eugenia McGill

In this course, we approach gender, politics and development in terms of theory, policy and practice.  We explore multiple constructions of gender in development discourse; the intersection of gender with other social categories and with dominant economic and political trends; and the ways in which gender norms inform the different approaches of governments, development agencies, civil society organizations, and the private sector.  We apply a critical gender lens to a wide range of development sectors and issue areas, including economic development, political participation, education and health, environment and climate change, and conflict and displacement.  We also consider current debates and approaches related to gender mainstreaming and gender metrics in development practice.  Students engage with the course material through class discussion, exercises and case studies, and the development of a gender-related project proposal. 

Call Number: 12286

Day, Time & Location: M 4:10PM-6:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Giulia Ricca

 Future brides in novels present the common trait of insipidity. Amelia Sedley is said to be "insipid" multiple times in Vanity Fair; in Anna Karenina, Kitty is initially indistinguishable from her sisters; May in The Mill on the Floss is unremarkable; Pansy in Portrait of a Lady is "a blank page"; May in The Age of Innocence is "so lacking in imagination, so incapable of growth"… Counter-examples verify this rule: Natasha in War and Peace fulfills her destiny despite, not because of the extreme vividness of her soul: she can finally find peace when she gives up her beauty and her personality to become a full-time mother and a devoted wife. Unordinary female protagonists impede the traditional novel’s happy ending. Too complex and spirited figures such as Anna Karenina, or Becky Sharp in Vanity Fair, are denied a destiny. Insipidity, if not a feature since the beginning of the story, is the final achievement of the perfect woman of the novel.

Female insipidity is nonetheless enigmatic, and often goes along with great ideological and formal complexity. We will delve into this aspect by taking Lucia Mondella, the protagonist of Italy’s great historical novel The Betrothed, as a point of reference for a comparison with other 2 famous maidens: Sophy Western, Pamela Andrews, Amelia Sedley, Elizabeth Bennet… We will read Alessandro Manzoni’s masterpiece which, in its magnificent prose, tells a story made of impeded love, escapes, abductions, famine, plague, murderous nuns and pious peasants in 1628 Italy. Our reading will be focused on themes such as the female protagonist’s use of speech, her wisdom, her devotion, her virtue, standards of beauty. We will compare Manzoni’s invention with models from the early English novel (in particular Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones and Samuel Richardson’s Pamela) and from the novel contemporary to him (Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Thackeray’s Vanity Fair, Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Brontë’s Jane Eyre). Readings include classical and medieval sources as well (in particular some novellas from Boccaccio’s Decameron), and the libertine literature that constituted Manzoni’s contemporary cultural background. In addition to the readings, the syllabus takes into account two movies: Tony Richardson’s Tom Jones, an adaptation of Fielding’s novel, the most important model to The Betrothed, and Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon. The course will end with a look at some Anglo-American novels that continued to question the tradition of the insipid woman.

There are no prerequisites for this course. Students are welcome to read sources in the original language if they wish to do so; however, no knowledge of Italian is required.

Call Number: 10079

Day, Time & Location: Tu 4:20PM-6:10PM at To be announced

Instructor: Katherine Franke

Course Description: to be announced

Call Number: 00366

Day, Time & Location: M 2:10PM-4:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Katherine L. Krimmel

In this course, we will examine how notions of sex and gender have shaped public policies, and how public policies have affected the social, economic, and political citizenship of men and women in the United States over time.

Note: Enrollment by department application only.

Call Number: 00207

Day, Time & Location: Th 12:10PM-2:00PM at To be announced

Instructor: Gillian Gualtieri

This course considers how gender shapes the action within different organizations, reflecting and reproducing broader social systems of inequality, identity, violence, and power in the United States. We will address current issues centered on the gendered nature of institutions and organizations, including the work/family debate, bodies at work, sexual harassment, service work, sex work, and sexual violence to illuminate the mechanisms by which systems of gender inequality shape the meanings and practices of individuals and groups within and across organizations and institutions.