Classes

    Gender, Religion and Scripture

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    This course is an introduction to the field of feminist biblical studies. We will discuss the intellectual history and institutional development of feminist biblical studies around the globe and explore different methods of analysis such as rhetorical, historical, queer, or intersectional kyriarchal analyses. We also will explore biblical women’s stories such as Eve, Sarah, Hagar Mary of Magdala, or the slave girl Rhoda. Lectures, group meetings, discussions, and presentations seek to foster participatory, collaborative and democratic styles of learning.

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    Gender and Language

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    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.

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    Rethinking Transnational Feminism

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    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.

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    Psychology of the Gendered Body

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Our perceptions of gender—our own and others’—powerfully shape our embodied experiences and behaviors. This course examines the embodiment of gender via the lens of psychological science. We will begin by exploring recent research related to gender and the body, and then study the underlying psychological mechanisms that influence our self-perceptions about gender. Our disciplinary foundation in psychological science will allow us to complicate current understandings of gender and embodiment by considering factors such as sex, race, sexuality, experience, intention, and awareness.

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    Queering the South: Race, Gender, & Sexuality in the American South

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    The course examines the intertwined histories of race, gender, and sexuality in the American South from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 through the present. We will consider how struggles for gender and sexual freedom are linked to race in the modern South. The course proceeds along two tracks: first, we gain knowledge about the lives of women, trans people, and gay people in the South. Second, we consider how African Americans, women, and LGBTQ individuals struggled for freedom and how these efforts changed over time in response to opposition, developments elsewhere in the world, and victories. We will explore the circumstances under which people from different backgrounds come together in pursuit of a common goal and the times when conflicts arise. We will read poetry and novels, manifestos and diaries, and secondary literature written by historians. In addition, we’ll watch videos and listen to music to understand the different ways people queered the South during the last century. The course recognizes that Southerners do not fit neatly into racial, gender, or sexual boxes and so investigates the intersections of identities to lend complexity and verve to the histories of people often forgotten.

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    Black Masculinities

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2019

    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.

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    Feminist Theory as Critique

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    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. One of the major concerns of the course is the relationship between feminism, theory, and politics. Throughout the course, we will discuss the contemporaneous movements that intersected with emergence of these theoretical concerns.

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    Beyond the Sound Bite: Women, Gender, and Sexuality in The Daily News

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2019

    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.

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    Medieval Women and the Problem of Knowledge

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    From Eve to Mary and from Lady Philosophy to Chaucer’s Wife of Bath, medieval women are associated with knowing, good and bad, philosophical and experiential.  We seek our own knowledge of them through allegories and visions, autobiographies and visions, philosophical studies and gynecological treatises.  Works by Robert Grosseteste, Catherine of Siena, Christine de Pizan, Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe.

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    Black Womens Voices in the #MeToo Era

    Semester: 

    N/A

    Offered: 

    2019

    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. Through extensive reading and tough discussion this class examines the current discourse around sexual harassment and assault from the #MeToo movement through the informed lens of Harriet Jacobs’s slave narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Both “texts” involve navigating spaces of subjugation and supremacy and yet one voice has remained steadily ignored in mainstream audiences. We will also look at the intersection of race and gender that Incidents reveals and trace how these remain intact or not through today.

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    Global Feminisms

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    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.

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    "The Words to Say It": Women Writing in French from Colette to Satrapi

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Motherhood, romantic love, independence, sexuality, citizenship, fantasy, death: these are just some of the themes explored in women's novels, written in French, in the twentieth century. We will read eight novels together, exploring how they have finally become classics, even given what they say about life and what it means for women to write about it.

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    Men, Women and Work

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    Why do men and women tend to cluster into different occupations? Why do they earn different wages? Is there a certain path that all countries follow as they become more economically prosperous, or do issues concerning men's and women's work differ dramatically across countries because of cultural reasons? This course provides an overview of key issues and perspectives in the study of men, women, and work in contemporary society. 
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