Political philosophy is the project of offering and evaluating answers to normative questions about politics—about how we as a society should get along and share in all the benefits and costs of living cooperatively. The “feminist” in “feminist political philosophy” can be taken to modify different aspects of that project. Unsurprisingly, then, work in feminist political philosophy is extraordinarily diverse. Notwithstanding some in-fighting about the right way to be a feminist political philosopher, this diversity is part of what equips us to make good progress in developing and refining answers to important political questions. Still, we might wonder what unifies these different traditions and methodologies. Many regard “the personal is political” as the unifying insight of contemporary feminist philosophy. This will be the unifying theme for us as well, as we work to better understand that slogan and explore its implications. We will begin by examining foundational work in contemporary political philosophy on theories of justice, as well as feminist challenges to that work. The tradition of liberalism is of particular interest, because the values it celebrates seem at once empowering and problematic from the perspective of feminist political philosophy. Ideals of liberty, individuality, and free choice can be deployed by feminists to critique unjust institutions, but they also appear to shield a great deal of injustice from censure. On the applied side, then, we’ll consider some “hard cases” for liberal feminist political philosophers: prostitution, pornography, and the gendered division of labor. Along the way, we’ll hear from some more radical voices, and we’ll explore intersections between feminism, social class, and race. ... Read more about Feminist Political Philosophy
The study of immigration and the study of gender often do not intersect. This is despite the fact that scholars in both fields of study focus on questions concerning cultural membership and equal citizenship and the processes that produce social inequality. The goal of this course is to reinvigorate the linkages between gender and immigration. We will interrogate how gender, as it intersects with race, shapes practices and policies of im/migration and migrants’ lived experiences: what is the gendered character of migration patterns, and policies? How does migration occur on a voluntary and involuntary basis in ways that disproportionately disadvantage marginalized groups along lines of gender and race? And conversely, in what ways do the practices and consequences of immigration and transnationalism shape and constitute gender relations? The course will combine discussions of current issues on public media and news articles with academic analyses to encourage students to think about the complex interrelations between immigration, sexuality, gender and race, and the ways these shape our social world.
In this course, we examine some key questions about how language and gender work together in the world. What does it mean for language to be gendered? Are there “male” and “female” ways of speaking? Can language reinforce the patriarchy? Is gender something we express or something we build in interaction? How does gender intersect in language with other social identities like ethnicity, race, class, religion, and sexuality? How can we understand gendered language beyond the binary? The course focusses on language as a practice, as well as a system of representation. We consider words, conversations, and embodied interaction and draw on scholarship on language use around the world.
What does it mean to “do” feminism, or to “be” a feminist in the 21st-century United States? What can we make of the dominant social expectations for a woman’s life? This course explores contemporary ideals of feminine success, including their physical, familial, professional, and political manifestations. We will engage with highly-contested topics—including sexual violence and Title 9; work-life balance; the imperatives of self-care and presentation; and new models for sexuality, reproduction, family, motherhood, and domestic life—using the tools of theory and cultural studies to interrogate their framing within popular discourse. Throughout, we will critique ideological formations of gender, particularly as bounded by race, class, and sexuality.
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.
A bastardized German, a jargon, a woman's vernacular, an old world language, a dying and ghostly tongue, a Hasidic language, a queer language, a radical language-these are just a few of the ways that Yiddish has been labeled over its one-thousand-year history. This course will trace the shifting politics attached to Yiddish from its early modern beginnings as a language of translation between Jewish and non-Jewish cultures to its postwar vacillation between a language of mourning and nostalgia, Jewish American humor, Hasidic isolation, and contemporary Jewish radicalism.... Read more about The Politics of Yiddish
Ancient Egyptian men and women constructed enduring mortuary monuments, compiled funerary texts, and created elaborate myths & intricate rituals to deal with death. This course explores how women feature in ancient Egyptian conceptions of death, salvation, and the afterlife and whether the Egyptians conceived of gendered pathways to the afterlife.... Read more about Gender and Ritual in Ancient Egyptian Funerary Practices
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.... Read more about Race, Gender, and American Empire
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
Explores a range of subjects concerning human capital, historically and comparatively. Topics include fertility, mortality, health, immigration, women's work, child labor, retirement, education, inequality, slavery, unionization, and governmental regulation of labor, all within the broader context of economic history.... Read more about History and Human Capital
The second of two parts, the course will continue to explore the theoretical articulation of sex, gender, and sexuality in feminist and queer theory, with attention to the role of other differences – racial, ethnic, religious, and differences in physical ability – in contemporary work. Prerequisite: REL 1572 or consent of the instructor.
The Social Demography Workshop is a venue for graduate students and faculty to present research on a wide variety of topics such as family, gender, inequality, im/migration, fertility, mortality, and the institutional arrangements that shape and respond to population processes.... Read more about Social Demography Workshop
A review of the behavioral interactions in natural primate populations, drawing on experimental, observational, and theoretical studies. Discussion of ecological, physiological, and developmental bases of primate social behavior, with special attention to the evolution of patterns of behavioral interactions among individuals of different age, sex, relatedness, and status.... Read more about Primate Social Behavior
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.... Read more about Feminism and Anthropology
In this seminar, we will listen to and participate in current conversations in Performance Theory about gender and sexuality, especially as both these categories intersect with race. Topics include coloniality, intimacy, pleasure, antisociality, affect, and utopia. Reading includes works by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, E. Patrick Johnson, José Esteban Muñoz, Amber Jamilla Musser, and Joshua Chambers-Letson. This is an advanced course intended for graduate students and upper-level undergraduates.... Read more about Topics in Advanced Performance Theory: Gender and Sexuality
We often think of slavery as being a dark chapter in our past, but this is a tragic oversimplification. What defines slavery in the modern world, and what are the moral, political and social implications of its continued existence? As we explore its underpinnings, we discover that all of us may be in some way complicit in its survival.... Read more about Human Trafficking, Slavery and Abolition in the Modern World