This course explores the intimate relationship between colonialism, racism, and feminism from the eighteenth century until today. We will study the emergence of feminism across British imperial spaces, including America and Britain, India, and Sub-saharan Africa. The central problematic of the course is the concept of liberation. We will critically engage how the idea of “liberation” organizes global feminist thought: liberation from what, by whom, and to what end? Readings and assignments focus on primary historical sources that explore colonial power, racial difference, religious emancipation, and social and sexual revolution.
Students write and analyze short stories, paying close attention to key writing concepts such as characterization, voice, point-of-view, dialogue, and setting, while also investigating thematic issues related to women, gender, and sexuality studies. Frequent writing assignments, including written evaluations of peers' stories.
This interdepartmental, interdisciplinary seminar will offer the chance to analyze ways by which diverse constructs of gender influence public health research and practice. Using different examples each week, the core WGH faculty and students will focus on how gender contributes to classifying, surveying, understanding and intervening on population distributions of health, disease, and well-being. Discussion of these examples will draw on different disciplines, conceptual frameworks, and methodological approaches (both quantitative and qualitative). For example, traditional epidemiological and biostatistical methods, along with multilevel, ecosocial, and health and human rights frameworks will be applied, as appropriate, in the assessment of gender-based health related disorders. The format will include formal presentations and informal discussions.
The Circle of Concerned African Women Theology challenges patriarchy by using religious resources. Storytelling is the major theological methodology. This methodology is rooted in indigenous ways of being interconnected and interdependent within creation and with the Creator. The latter is also the basis for eco-feminist ethics.
This course examines a range of works from the U.S. canon that engage themes of same-sex desire, homosexual and transgender identity, and other “queer” relations. Questions around sexual norms have been central to American literature from its beginnings, but the course will focus on texts from the second half of the nineteenth century through the very contemporary. With help from queer theorists and social historians, we’ll pay close attention to how changing legal, medical, and religious discourses shape queer literary expression, and how queer writers have changed culture. Authors include Melville, James, Cather, Larsen, Baldwin, Lorde, Bechdel, and Nelson.
This field course uses insights from behavioral science to promote organizational health, in particular, as it relates to equality, diversity and inclusion. Getting and staying healthy includes preventing undesirable events from happening, detecting issues when they arise and mitigating against the consequences as they occur. To promote healthy behaviors, organizations typically rely on “soft” instruments such as awareness raising and appeals through training programs and information sharing, or “hard” instruments such as command-and-control through rules, carrots and sticks. This course argues that behavioral design or “nudges” offer a middle ground to establish healthy behaviors, often more powerful than awareness raising and less costly than shoves. In working with organizations across the sectors, we will design nudges promoting desired behaviors regarding effective talent management, organizational design that levels the playing field for all and inclusive culture. We treat lack of diversity and inclusion as a “want-should” dilemmas, where people know what they should be doing but then, do not get around to doing it. Behavioral design helps people bridge this intention-action gap. The course emphasizes evidence-based reasoning. Students will learn how to diagnose the “behavioral health” of an organization, design potential treatments for what is broken, and rigorously evaluate their impact, using big data analytics and experimentation. Students will work in groups and partner with an organization—a tech start-up having developed behaviorally inspired software to help organizations address these issues or an organization (company, government or International Organization) interested in advancing equality, diversity and inclusion through the use of behavioral design.
The body has been always an object of imagination, literature, science, philosophy and religion. It is the object of health and disease, birth and death, reward and punishment, and is the vehicle of both the divine and the profane. It is at the center of debates on sexuality, gender identities, race, and politics. In this course, we look at how different views on the body and on sexuality developed and changed in the Middle East throughout the medieval period and how they influenced and were influenced by the religious doctrines, the medical theories, the Islamic law, and the intellectual environment of the Islamic Middle Ages. The course addresses these different views and perceptions as manifested in the religious, philosophical, legal, scientific, and literary production of the period. The recorded lectures are from the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences course History of Science 108.
This course examines how bodies, genders and sexualities in the modern Middle East, from the nineteenth century to the Arab revolts, have been shaped and represented via changing and competing discourses. Through a variety of historical, ethnographic, media and literary readings, the course studies multiple and dynamic representations of bodies in flux: medicalized bodies, gendered bodies, sexualized bodies, (re)productive bodies, aging bodies and bodies in revolt. The course pays special attention to medicine and science in their interaction with laws, traditions and religious practices. Some of the topics covered include analyzing histories of and discourses on slavery, femininity and masculinity, homosexuality, health, reproduction, disabilities, circumcision and genital cutting/mutilation and gender-based violence.
This course will examine the traditions of humor in Jewish women's writing and performance. We will be looking at questions such as: What is Jewish humor? What is feminist humor? How have Jewish women influenced American popular culture? What is the relationship between Jewish male humor and Jewish female humor? How do cultural stereotypes function? What is the role of anger in humor – especially women’s humor? We will examine how Jewish humor, and specifically, Jewish women's humor, is the basis for much of what we call "American humor" today. We will be reading, listening to, and watching a wide range of materials. Readings will include performance theory, humor theory, sociology of American popular culture, Jewish American history, the sociology of immigration and gender roles, essays on Jewish humor, feminist humor, as well as writings by Dorothy Parker, Gertrude Berg, Grace Paley, Bel Kaufman, Roseanne Barr, Fran Lebowitz among others. Films and television shows screened will range from classics of the Yiddish cinema such as “Yidl mitn Fiddl” (with Molly Picon) to early 20th century films such as “Be Yourself” (with Fanny Brice) to contemporary film such as “Outrageous Fortune,” “Jesus is Magic,” and television shows from the 1950s “The Goldbergs, to “The Nanny.” We will also be listening to a variety of women standup comics such as Joan Rivers, Tottie Fields, Betty Walker, Belle Barth, Pearl Williams, Rita Rudner, and Sarah Silverman.
Whether your aspirations are to work domestically or internationally, collaboration across difference is an inescapable imperative of leadership for the public interest. Contemporary levels of conflict and instability make the capacity to work effectively across difference a fundamental requirement of political, diplomatic, and military leadership. Innovation in the government sector is dependent on the capacity for policy makers to work across political divides and increasing involves collaboration across agencies and with business and civic leaders. Service to communities in need—whether from the private, public or nonprofit sectors—requires a capacity to analyze and bridge differences in perspective on the barriers to and opportunities for enhancing social and economic welfare, health, and education. Whether managed locally or internationally, environmental sustainability requires the engagement of a broad range of stakeholders. Moreover, in all sectors and policy areas, work teams have become progressively demographically diverse in terms of gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, and national culture. his module will equip students with fundamental concepts and frameworks for analyzing pitfalls and opportunities for collaboration across social identity- and group-based differences within teams and across organizational boundaries. Key concepts are drawn from research on biases in individual and group decision-making, group dynamics, social network analysis, and organizational diversity perspectives. The module is designed for students to learn and practice applying course material through interactive exercises, case analyses, and self-reflection so that students enhance their personal potential to lead in the global work environment.
Constitutions around the world guarantee sex equality, or gender justice, in a variety of ways: through general equality clauses, gender-specific non-discriminating guarantees, political and other quotas, reproductive and social rights, and a broader range of international human rights guarantees. This course will explore these provisions, and their interpretation via courts around the world, with a view to addressing three broad questions: What are the consequences of these different provisions for the achievement of gender justice? What do they tell us about US constitutional models and practices regarding sex equality? And what theories of gender justice or sex equality do they reflect or advance? Note: This course will meet for the first six weeks of the semester.
This course will examine the complex disconnections and intersections between studies of race, gender, sexuality and disability. Why are disabled people so often represented in the popular media as sexless, innocent, and childlike? Why are the few portrayals we do see of disabled people in relationships heterosexual, white, and cis-gendered?. Topics include: shifting definitions of disability and mental illness in relation to sexuality; fetish and desire; vulnerability and violence; the role of technology as cure; neurodiversity; disability art; the media’s role in shaping cultural perceptions of disabled people’s desires and pleasures; Mad pride and LGBT pride; queer and crip theory; politics and liberation.
In this course, we will examine the ways in which various types of diversity -- such as class, culture, disability, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and sexual orientation -- impact the way we negotiate and resolve conflict, including the effects of intersectionality and privilege. Although the main focus of the class will be on readings and discussion, we will also use experiential exercises, including role plays, to enhance our personal understanding of how diversity affects our experience of conflict and our ability to manage difficult conversations involving identity and diversity. Teaching Assistant Rabiat Akande (who is an S.J.D. candidate at HLS) will participate as a co-leader of discussions. Readings will include excerpts from Mahzarin Banaji, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kim Crenshaw, Richard Delgado, Carol Gilligan, Trina Grillo, Michele LeBaron, Carol Liebman, Larry Susskind, and Kenji Yoshino. Enrollment in the course is limited to 24 students. There will be no final exam or research paper -- instead, students will write a 300-500 word reading response for each day of class, except for the final class, for which the reading response is 600-1,000 words.
American institutions of higher education continue to face challenges promoting broad access and equity for a diverse array of students, faculty, and staff. The United States is among the most diverse nations in the world. As such, our institutions of higher education will continue to be challenged to reflect our broadening national diversity. Meeting this challenge requires an appreciation of higher education's history relative to diversity and equity, exploring and understanding the issues that lie ahead, and learning from the promising efforts and practices that have been developed at a variety of institutions to advance diversity and equity. Race and ethnicity, social class, and gender will serve as initial topics for the course. Students will learn how higher education has struggled (and succeeded) in advancing equity and inclusion within each topic, and will then consider the ways in which these topics interact. Students also will be given an opportunity to explore other dimensions of diversity. Class discussions will be framed by theoretical literature from a variety of fields, along with a focused examination of practical efforts aimed at improving equity across the landscape of American higher education.
This course will focus on the social and biological processes and relationships from interpersonal to institutional involved in embodying gender, as part of shaping and changing societal distributions of, including inequities in, health, disease, and well-being. It will consider how different frameworks of conceptualizing and addressing gender, biological sex, and sexuality (that is, the lived experience of being sexual beings, in relation to self, other people, and institutions) shape questions people ask about and explanations and interventions they offer for a variety of health outcomes. Examples span the lifecourse and historical generations and include chronic non-communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, occupational injuries, reproductive health, mental health, and mortality, each analyzed in relation to societal and ecological context, global health policy and human rights, work, and the behaviors of people and institutions. In all these cases, issues of gender and sexuality will be related to other societal determinants of health, including social class, racism, and other forms of inequality. The objective is to improve praxis for research, teaching, policy, and action, so as to advance knowledge and action needed for producing sound public health policy and health equity, including in relation to gender and sexuality.
This course explores both the role of gender and sexuality in shaping young peoples' schooling experiences, opportunities, and outcomes, and the role of schooling experiences in shaping young people's notions of gender and sexuality. In many ways, the course is about the "hidden curriculum" of heteronormativity, or the subtle practices in schools that privilege heterosexual, gendered identities and ways of being. As such, students in the course will apply the concept of the hidden curriculum to the study of gender and schooling in order to understand why and how children and youth with different gender identities experience schooling differently and why and how heteronormative schooling detrimentally impacts all students. By the end of the module, students should be able to: (1) identify specific strategies that educators at various levels might use to support students in negotiating gender and sexuality norms; (2) identify tools that schools can use to build positive, nurturing environments, which open up possibilities for complex gender and sexual identity development; and (3) analyze and evaluate a variety of school practices, curricula, policies, and programs that seek to support healthy gender and sexual identity development for U.S. children and adolescents. The course will provide opportunities to consider the ways in which other elements of identity (e.g.,race, culture, socio-economic status, age, geography, etc.) intersect with gender and sexuality in the process of identity development. Although schools will be the central setting examined, course materials are also applicable to community-based settings.