In contemporary Japan, girls and girl culture are considered to be among the most significant sources of popular cultural trends. For instance, the girly aesthetics of “cute” (kawaii) has animated broad areas of Japanese culture since the 1980s and has become a global cultural idiom through the dissemination of Japanese entertainment medias and fashion products abroad. The course will explore a number of key questions about Japanese (and global) girl culture. How did the conceptualization of girlhood, girl culture, girl bodies, and girl affect transform in Japan from the early twentieth century to the present? How did various medias and media consumption help shape these trends? What can the exploration of “girls’ question” tell us, not only about Japanese socio-cultural history, but also about the general conditions of youth, gender, and media culture in the world today (e.g., the sea of pink at Women’s March, 2016)? We will begin the semester by unpacking key terms such as “girl,” “girlhood,” and “girl culture” in relations to the modern and contemporary notions of gender, maturity, and majority. The course materials include fiction, fashion magazines, teen films, manga, and animation. No prior knowledge of Japanese language or history is expected.
With particular emphasis on mid-twentieth century American culture, this seminar will examine complex - and often contradictory - iterations of race and gender in works of literary and visual culture produced by and about African American men. We will explore the work of: Shirely Clarke, Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim, Alice Walker, Melvin Van Peebles, Samuel Delany, James Baldwin, Robert Deane Pharr, Eldridge Cleaver, Amiri Baraka, and more.
What does it mean when contemporary media sources characterize celebrity figures, or frenzied consumers, as 'hysterical’? How are "hysteria" and "insanity" related, and what are the historical roots of these loaded concepts? This seminar addresses the complex history of hysteria by asking how this medicalized affliction has assumed a multiplicity of forms, especially on feminized and non-white bodies. As depicted through newspapers, multimedia sources, medical literature, sociological articles, and psychoanalytic texts, 'hysteria' affords a unique lens onto the social, cultural and medical history of mental and physical suffering. In a postcolonial world, the term has taken on even more complexity. As we compose a 'history of hysteria,' we will reflect on who gets to record history and whose narratives get left out.
We are bombarded by sound bites from all over the globe, moving at disorienting speeds, reorganizing our relationship to time and space with increasingly dystopic results. This course will focus on selected televisual and digital events in "real time" from September-December 2019. We will analyze the embedded bits of gender and sexuality always at work in the representations of those events. Topics include: politics, the environment, military adventures, and popular revolt in dialogue with important texts in WGS Studies.
When accepting the Oscar for Best Actress in 2015 Patricia Arquette said the following: 'The truth is, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are at play that do affect women, and it's time for all the women in America and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we all fought for to fight for us now.' This course examines why such statements are part of a larger and longer tradition of disappearing black women and why they are popular in the cultural zeitgeist.... Read more about Black Women's Voices in the #MeToo Era
Pandemics such as COVID-19 have revealed not only the fragility of the human body within an equally delicate environment, but also our deep connection and commitment to artistic performances-the latter were the first to be canceled due to the high risk of infection and will be the last to return. This course asks how performance in its manifold guises (theater, processions, auto da fés, carnivals, etc.) and the presence (or absence) of the human body in public, on stage, and in the audience was negotiated in the early modern period.... Read more about Affects, Bodies, Ecologies: Borders of Performance from Antiquity to the Early Modern World
The "/" in this course title can suggest slippage or interchangeability, opposition and polarization, or (in fanfiction tagging conventions) erotic or romantic friction between two entities. This course functions as an introduction to queer theory as an intellectual tool with which to read texts far removed from the modern political, cultural, and social discourses from which queer theory emerged.... Read more about Queer/Medieval
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
While music is often touted as a 'universal language' that generates social harmony, it also expresses dissent from and resistance to the status quo. This course asks how music works as a type of social and political resistance, and what aesthetic and formal qualities enable it to do so.... Read more about Music and Resistance in the Modern United States
This new course focuses on the work of innovative composer-pianists. The six artists surveyed in fall 2020 will include Lil Hardin Armstrong, Hazel Scott, Mary Lou Williams, Nina Simone, Alice Coltrane-Turiyasangitananda, and Geri Allen.... Read more about Creative Music: Composer-Pianists
Music, Emotion and Social Justice. The course explores connections between Black American Musics (BAM) and themes of social justice and liberation historically, theoretically, and in our current historical moment.... Read more about Ethnomusicology: Seminar
In spite of significant gains in gender equality over the last half century, women creators remain dramatically underrepresented in the music world, in all genres of music and in all categories of musical production: as composers, improvisors, producers, conductors, and even as performers. The course is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of women creators to the history of music.... Read more about The Music of Women Creators
When accepting the Oscar for Best Actress in 2015 Patricia Arquette said the following: 'The truth is, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are at play that do affect women, and it's time for all the women in America and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we all fought for to fight for us now.... Read more about Black Womens Voices in the #MeToo Era
This course introduces students to the poetry, literary prose, and artful correspondence of one of the major poets of the twentieth century, considering her innovations in all these genres. We will look at her writing in multiple genres alongside the mid-century shift from ‘closed’ to ‘open’ verse forms, and relate stylistic issues to the intellectual and social changes, and political and historical developments of the period.... Read more about Elizabeth Bishop and Others
Women have historically exerted their voice and power through writing, even as the professional writing trades of journalism and publishing have historically been unwelcoming of their presence. This seminar class will examine reporting and writing by and about women, and engage students in the practice of writing about gender, feminism, and women’s lives.... Read more about Writing Women: Workshop