This course revolves around the short, creative life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, one of the most prominent figures in art history, as a window to the cultural and political revolution that shaped Mexico's identity in the twentieth century and continues to influence Latinos today. Through Frida's life and artwork, we see how two international influences in Mexico's cultural and political life—Soviet politics and French surrealism—merged with national agendas that sought to redefine Mexico's identity through the integration of their indigenous heritage. The result was a time of booming creativity in the arts, radical expansion of educational and political agendas, as well as a redefinition of women's identity, sexuality, and the Mexican family. We trace her romantic and artistic relationship with Diego Rivera and explore her impact on the intensely creative social circle that included composer Carlos Chávez, photographers Lola Álvarez Bravo and Manual Álvarez Bravo as well as Tina Modotiti. Finally, the course includes a visit to the Fogg Museum for local students to see some of the Mexican muralist art work on display, and also a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the painting by Frida Kahlo, Dos mujeres. (Salvadora y Herminia).
This seminar explores the culture and politics of American imperialism from the late 19th century to the present, with particular attention to race and gender. This writing and discussion-intensive course encourages students to examine how formal and informal imperial relations developed, and to analyze how American empire functioned on the ground for those who imposed it and those who resisted, appropriated, or accommodated it. The course focuses especially on American relations with Asia and Latin America, and topics include immigration, military occupation, gendered and racialized cultural engagement, international adoption, humanitarianism, and international development. Assigned readings bring together scholarship from American Studies, Women’s Studies, Ethnic Studies, Anthropology, and American History.
Questions of empire are fundamentally intertwined with questions of gender. This course will focus on the imperial and intercultural contact zones of the Mediterranean—at once connecting and dividing Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa—from the eighteenth to the twenty-first century. With an interest both in men’s and women’s experiences and in representations of masculinity and femininity, our inquiry will also straddle the divide between colonizer and colonized. Readings will include both primary and secondary sources, ranging from images, novels, and films to memoirs, testimonials, and government documents, and from Edward Said and Frantz Fanon to Assia Djebar and Tahar Ben Jelloun. Students will learn to assess how modern imperial encounters were mediated by gendered logics of power; how these overlapped with dynamics of race, class, and nation; and how the Mediterranean region itself gave rise to different understandings of gender and empire.
While some claim that global feminism is made possible by a shared common condition among women, others argue that power differentials make such claims nonsensical. What does transnational feminism mean for politics today? Can it be democratic? How have historical figures attempted to think and act on a world stage? This course offers a broad overview of transnational feminism through one genealogy of its appearances in theoretical, social movement, and institutional forms. This is a junior tutorial.
This course considers the relationship between feminism (as activist realm, as theoretical field, in its institutionalized form as gender studies) and anthropology. We will begin with early ethnographic writing by women and about women, and analyze some of the interventions feminists hope to make in anthropology. We will then examine the relationship between feminism and anthropology through two topics: kinship and politics. Our course will consider how feminist anthropologists have connected the study of kinship, culture and nature, and carved out a place for the anthropological study of gender relations. In our study of kinship, the politics of reproduction and of labor will be important issues, such as the question of who gets to be related to whom, and whose work counts as what. In our study of politics, we will look at specific feminist statements and consider their impact on, and relationship with, the field of anthropology. Finally, our course will investigate more recent work on nature and biology, as well as (queer) gender and sexuality, in order to speculate on the futures and potentials of feminist anthropologies.
This semester, Spring 2019, the seminar will examine theories and practices of feminism in Japan and elsewhere. In particular, we will study several forms of “radical feminism,” including women’s liberation movement or ribu in early 1970s Japan. We will explore “radicality” in feminism, articulated against the grain of discourses on women’s rights and equality. Topics treated in the course include, radical feminism and the New Left, feminist genealogies, feminism and violence, the politics of feminist manifestos, feminism and futurity, and the feminist politics of organization. Some of the reading materials are in Japanese.
Feminism shapes the world we live in today. Debates about women's and sexual rights define almost every public debate today -- from sexual harassment, to electoral politics, to development, public health, and human rights. But when, and where, did ideas of women's equal rights and liberation emerge? This course digs into the deep history of feminism from a global perspective. It traces the intimate relationship between feminism, colonialism, and racism in case studies from America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, from the eighteenth century until today. We will immerse ourselves in rare materials on transnational and global feminism in the Schlesinger Library here at Harvard. Over the course of the semester, you will build a toolkit of critical thinking and writing skills by engaging diverse primary sources, including political writings of women of color and colonized women, short stories, posters, movies, and human rights reports. You will come away from the course having a deeper understanding of ideas of equality and justice that define politics today. Readings will highlight marginalized authors, women writers, especially women of color authors, from previously enslaved women in the US South to indigenous people to colonized women in India and Africa. Reading assignments will focus on primary historical sources and encompass diverse genres, from political thought and speeches to fantasy fiction to posters. Students will build critical skills through assignments that build source analysis skills over the course of the semester, including an annotation of visual materials (a poster or cartoon), short primary source analysis papers using materials from Schlesinger Library, and a final film analysis paper.
Gender affects multiple aspects of international development, including the challenges that communities face around the world, and how organizations and governments can most effectively support these communities to achieve their goals. This course covers gender theory and frameworks, drawing from feminist writers and scholars from a wide variety of backgrounds and disciplines. We will study gender as it relates to specific topics, including labor market participation and employment, education, violence against women and girls, peace building, civil society, and women’s leadership. We will learn what is known in each arena, and study which approaches work well and which do not. This course is intended to be an introduction to gender in international development; students with extensive experience in this area should consult with the instructor if interested.
In January 2017, the Pussyhat Project created an effective visual unity for the Women's March on Washington, although the pink hats were also criticized as vulgar, trivial and exclusionary. This is not that first time that needlework has played a central (and controversial) role in political protest: Its associations with femininity and family life have been used to underscore contrasts between domestic morality and public policy, as well as to subvert or confirm gendered notions of decorum and citizenship.... Read more about Assertive Stitches: Domestic Arts and Public Conflict
In a period of contentious politics, Americans are debating fundamental issues about economic wellbeing and social justice. How can the nation expand opportunity and security for workers and families following years of rising socioeconomic inequalities and shifts in the relationship of families to work?... Read more about American Society and Public Policy
Title IX of the Civil Rights Act promises equal access to educational opportunities. This has been one of the most dynamic areas of civil rights activism in the recent past, and promises to remain so. Under the Obama Administration, protecting students from sex assault was a capstone priority. Such efforts may not remain a high priority in the new administration.... Read more about Title IX: Sports, Sex and Equality on Campus
This reading group addresses substantive and strategic issues affecting efforts to obtain and retain legal equality for LGBTQ people in the U.S. The materials will encompass efforts in courts, in legislative bodies (all levels) and public opinion as they are connected.... Read more about Flashpoints in LGBTQ Litigation
The Gender and Public Policy Seminar has been designed to give students an opportunity to engage with leading-edge scholars and practitioners working to advance gender equality. Because the subject of 'gender and public policy' is too wide ranging and global to address within a single semester, we aim to focus the course each year on a 'spotlight' issue.... Read more about Gender, Sex and War (Gender and Public Policy (GAPP) Seminar)
This course begins with feminist critical engagements with other theories and practices, including Marxism, psychoanalysis, and Foucault. It will then move on to debates and discussions within feminism, as well as intersections of feminist theory with other theories including sexualities studies, post-colonial/trans-national studies, transgender studies.... Read more about Feminist Theory as Critique