University at Albany
 

Courses in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Spring 2018


See Graduate Courses

Undergraduate Courses

A WSS 101/101Z Introduction to Feminisms (3)
Instructor: Teaching Collective

Days and Times:
TTH 10:15-11:35am BB B004
TTH 2:45-4:05pm SS 131
TTH 4:15-5:35pm BB 137
TTH 5:45-7:05pm HU B19
TTH 7:15-8:35pm HU 115

The origins and development of feminist thought, with emphasis on the political, social, and economic conditions of contemporary women’s lives in the United States and abroad. Emphasis on student exploration of issues that confront women and men across the range of their differences in race, class and sexual orientation, and that produce multiple orientations to feminism. Based on a pedagogy of peer-learning; co-facilitated by undergraduate members of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Teaching Internship working under the supervision of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty and graduate students from related departments. Only one version of A WSS 101 may be taken for credit.

A WSS 109X Women, Biology and Health (3)
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
TTH 11:45am-1:05pm LC 3C

In this class we will interrogate what constitutes women in relation to biology and health, and how these terms are deployed for political, professional and popular purposes. We begin with a look back at the historical movements that constituted a politicized notion of women’s health - their legacies, accomplishments and controversies. We will explore some of the theoretical constructs, classic critiques of biomedical practice, and values, which stem from these movements such as medicalization, self-help, experiential knowledge, informed consent, and patient’s rights. We will examine how professionalization, popularization, neo-liberal economic globalization and shifting social, cultural and institutional forms of the 21st century have impacted these ideas and given rise not only to new concerns and issues, but also new ways of analyzing them. Throughout the course, we will practice “double vision” by examining topics from both professional and movement or advocacy-oriented material. From menstruation, fertility, childbirth and breast cancer to egg freezing, the course will grapple with both emerging and contemporary iterations of classic issues related to women, biology, and health.

A WSS 220 Introduction to Feminist Theory (3)
Instructor: Carolina Diaz
TTH 4:15-5:35pm BB 129

Offers multidisciplinary, introductory perspectives on intersectional feminist theory and considers the range of frameworks for analysis from the beginnings of “second wave” feminism to the present, including liberal, lesbian/radical, socialist/materialist, women of color, psychoanalytic, standpoint, and ecofeminist perspectives.

A WSS 240 Classism, Racism, and Sexism (3)
Instructor: Wen Liu
TTH 1:15-2:35pm ES 241

In this course we will begin by exploring the concepts of power and oppression. Once we understand what these concepts entail, we will study the ways in which they underlie and constitute race, class, and sex. Some of the questions we will ask in this class are: What is the structure of inequality? How are bodies disciplined and regulated? How are bodies raced, classed, and gendered? The student is expected to read and prepare for each class as well as to consistently participate in class discussions.

A WSS 260 History of Women and Social Change (3)
Instructor: Vivien Ng
Fully Online Course

With an emphasis on the diversity of U.S. women, this course examines the social, historical, and economic forces that have shaped U.S. women’s lives from about 1800-1970 and the contexts within which women have participated in and sometimes led social and political movements. Only one version of A WSS 260 may be taken for credit.

A WSS 262/A SOC 262 Sociology of Gender (3)
Instructor: TBA
MWF 11:30am-12:25pm LC 21

This course examines how gender is socially constructed in contemporary U.S. society. The course examines how gender orders our everyday lives-our sense of self, our friendships, romances, conversations, clothing, body image, entertainment, work, sexuality, and parenthood. Students will learn how conceptions about gender create and enforce a system of gender difference and inequality. This course will examine the lives, experiences and representations of heterosexual and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer (LGBTQ) persons. The course will reveal the “common sense” world of gender that surrounds us by exposing the workings of institutions such as the family, the classroom, the workplace, and the media. Throughout the course we will emphasize the ways in which people experience gender opportunities and constraints differently according to their race, gender, class, and sexuality.

A WSS 308 Global Perspectives on Women (3)
Instructor: Barbara Sutton
TTH 8:45-10:05am SS 131

The course addresses women’s issues in the local context of women’s movements in several regions and countries around the world as articulated by feminist scholars within those countries, with some attention to the relationship between U.S. women and global feminist struggles. Interdisciplinary readings, including fiction and feminist theory, bring the perspective of gender to global/international political and economic structures. Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing.

A WSS 320 Feminist Pedagogy in Theory (3)
Instructor: Ess Niessl
M 5:45-8:35pm BL25 B003

Continuation of A WSS 310 for students who are members of the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Teaching Internship. Theory is discussed in the context of students serving as facilitators in sections of A WSS 101. Students work under supervision in a collaborative, collective mode of shared responsibility and leadership. Taken concurrently with A WSS 322Y. Prerequisite(s): A WSS 310 and 360, and permission of chair. Open only to Teaching Collective Members.

A WSS 322Y Feminist Pedagogy in Practice (3)
Teaching Collective Practicum (see A WSS 101)

With preparation from A WSS 310 and, concurrently A WSS 320, students serve as facilitators in sections of A WSS 101 under faculty supervision. This course can be taken only once for credit. Prerequisite(s): A WSS 310 and 360, and permission of Chair of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Open only to Teaching Collective Members.

A WSS 363/A SOC 362 Sociology of Sexualities (3)
Instructor: TBA
TTH 8:45-10:05am LC006
TTH 1:15-2:35pm LC005

This course reviews the core of the sociology of sexuality from a socio-historical perspective. Among the topics to be discussed are the theoretical approaches to sexuality, the making of sexual identities, the relationship between sexuality and social institutions, and sexual politics and ethics. Specific examples include hip-hop sexualities, gay marriage, sexual tourism, transgender identities, and heterosexual intimacy. Only one version of A WSS 362 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A SOC 115.

A WSS 399 Workshop in Oral History (3)
Instructor: Susan McCormick
MW 2:45-4:05pm BB B02

This course offers students a broad introduction to the history, theory, and practice of oral history, including the use of oral history in documentary and public history projects, and historical research-gathering and preserving the experiences of those who are often overlooked. Students will learn the skills needed for interviewing, recording, and editing oral histories while exploring the ethical, legal, social, and cultural issues that surround these practices. This class provides students with the opportunity to engage in a wide-range of community-based oral history projects; in addition to hands-on experience, students will further develop their understanding through critical examination of documentary works and historical texts based heavily on oral history interviews, focusing on those who have often been marginalized in the historical record. The skills taught in this class are especially useful for those considering careers that emphasize interpersonal communication: journalism, communications, documentary media production, social work, and community organizing.

The course is a small seminar course, averaging about 12 students. The core of the course centers on learning about oral history and developing interviewing and recording skills that are useful in a wide range of situations from research to journalism to finding ways to learn about people’s experiences that might go unheard. In part, the topics covered will depend on the interests of the class. Students have a great deal of flexibility in choosing their interviewee and topics to explore. The course is cross-listed among history, documentary studies, and women’s studies.

A WSS 399 African American Literature (3)
Instructor: Derik Smith
TTH 1:15-2:35pm HU B39

Through reading, writing, discussion and performance, this course will introduce students to some of the most influential literary and vernacular texts emerging from the African American cultural context.  For the most part, these literary and vernacular works will be considered in relation to the historical moments in which they were produced.  This historicized approach will enable class discussions to focus on the way in which black literary production chronicled, reflected and contributed to African America’s varied, vexed relation to the American “democratic project.”  Attention to history will also lead students into considerations of the intimate connection between the aesthetic choices of African American writers and the evolving legal and social statuses of black people in America.

A WSS 492Y Internship in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (3)
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
TH 2:45-5:35pm BB B003

The Internship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies is rooted in the department’s commitment to link feminist education with community activism for social justice. The course is designed to provide students with opportunities for learning and working in organizations in ways that connect their coursework in women’s, gender & sexuality studies to specific issues in community settings. The internship program provides a venue for students to put theory into practice, to participate in community-based organizations, to engage in a service-learning course and to think critically about participating as feminists in activism.

The Seminar focuses on linking learning and doing through reading, reflection, and classroom discussion. Together, we will explore the meaning of active citizenship, community engagement, and public leadership. Overall, the goal of the course is to deepen student understanding of contemporary social issues, strengthen relationships between the SUNY campus and the larger community, and create an intellectual environment of learning by doing.

The course utilizes a “theory/practice learning” approach. Theory/practice learning is a holistic approach to education, which holds that students need a strong theoretical and factual grounding, as well as time to evaluate and analyze their experiences, when they engage in community-based research, learning and activism. Through concrete experience in collaboration with community members, mentors and peers, students test what they have been taught and synthesize their own ideas and strategies for change.

A WSS 497 Transnational Sexualities (3)
Instructor: Wen Liu
Wed 5:45-8:35pm BB B004

How do queer theories teach us about the current phase of globalization, neoliberal capitalism, and imperialism? How can queer desires interrogate the sexualized, gendered, raced, and classed dynamics of transnational social relations of our time? This course will begin with the classical texts on queer theories and move toward the contemporary discussion on globalization, including the changing forms of intimacies, shifting boundaries of normality, homonationalism and neo-colonialism, and transnational mobility and diaspora. The class will challenge students to embrace queerness as a critical perspective that examines sexuality but also as a potential of theoretical and activist bridging across the issues of feminism, racial justice, labor rights, disability, indigeneity, and anti-war movements globally.

A WSS 498 Black Diasporas, Feminisms, and Sexual Politics (3)
Instructor: Janell Hobson
Mon 2:45-5:35pm AS 15

This interdisciplinary course will explore feminist thought, action, and sexual politics as they manifest in the Black Diaspora – including the Caribbean, North America, the African continent, and other locations that have come about through migrations and cross-cultural exchanges. We will examine both historical and contemporary narratives and consider how racial, sexual, and gender identities are shaped by (trans)national dynamics. These issues will be explored through an interdisciplinary lens – integrating literature, art, music, film, and anthropology – and through such recurrent themes of the Diaspora as slavery, colonialism, African retention, modernity, globalization, and the racialization of gender and sexuality. Expect to analyze works by Sowande’ Mustakeem, Toni Morrison, Michelle Cliff, Julie Dash, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Beyoncé, and Gloria Wekker, among others.

A WSS 498 Feminist New Materialisms: Gender, Race, and the Environment (3)
Instructor: Carolina Diaz
Tue 5:45-8:35pm BB 209

This class situates feminist new materialist debates within the current discourses on climate change and environmentalism. Since its inception, feminist theory has always been critical of the universal, disembodied “man” which now informs the “anthropo-” of the newly coined Anthropocene. Therefore, feminism has been a pioneer in denouncing the philosophical model that upholds our current capitalist, postcolonial ideology. However, the role of nature in feminism has long been controversial precisely due to the naturalization of women’s bodies and their social, political, symbolic, and material discrimination by the same masculinist knowledges that have plunged the ecosphere to its current climate crisis. The return to nature may appear, at first glance, contradictory within feminist agendas, but its insistence upon a situated body, with its positive differences, in a material world, has much to offer to a renewed understanding of the human, the more-than-human, matter, production, and reproduction. What kind of agency can the subject have within a world of intermingled, non-human agencies? With what kind of geopolitics can a revitalized materiality provide us? What is the role of the gendered and raced body within the mapping of Western geopolitics and environmental politics? These are some of the questions that will animate our class. We will read feminist philosophers such as Claire Colebrook, Elizabeth Grosz, Stacey Alaimo, Jane Bennet, and Karen Barad, but we will also read male philosophers such as Charles Darwin, Bruno Latour, Giorgio Agamben, Richard Grusin, and Henri Bergson, among others.

For a complete list of WGSS courses, go to Undergraduate Bulletin


Graduate Courses

A WSS 515 Global Politics of Women’s Bodies (4)
Instructor: Barbara Sutton
Tue 2:45-5:35pm PH 116

This course is a critical examination of the politics of women’s bodies across national boundaries, in diverse cultures, and in relation to pressing social forces, such as militarization, economic globalization, religious fundamentalisms, colonial legacies, and global policies with health and environmental impacts.  Ideas, practices, and policies affecting women’s bodies in different countries will be examined not only in relation to particular cultural milieus, but also in connection to more global trends, including historical, economic, social, and political linkages among countries.  Possible topics include embodiment and social suffering; transnational sexualities; reproductive politics; beauty and the media; bodies as sites of violence; women’s bodies, racism, and colonialism; embodiment and political protest; bodily scars of neoliberalism; environment, health, and disability; and transnational activism centered on women’s bodies.

A WSS 545/ A LCS 545 Black Diasporas, Feminisms, and Sexual Politics (4)
Instructor: Janell Hobson
Mon 2:45-5:35pm AS 15

This interdisciplinary course will explore feminist thought, action, and sexual politics as they manifest in the Black Diaspora – including the Caribbean, North America, the African continent, and other locations that have come about through migrations and cross-cultural exchanges. We will examine both historical and contemporary narratives and consider how racial, sexual, and gender identities are shaped by (trans)national dynamics. These issues will be explored through an interdisciplinary lens – integrating literature, art, music, film, and anthropology – and through such recurrent themes of the Diaspora as slavery, colonialism, African retention, modernity, globalization, and the racialization of gender and sexuality. Expect to analyze works by Sowande’ Mustakeem, Toni Morrison, Michelle Cliff, Julie Dash, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Beyoncé, and Gloria Wekker, among others.

A WSS 560/ A SOC 560 Families (3)
Instructor: Katherine Trent
TH 4:15-7:05pm HU 111

Introduction to research literature on families, with emphasis on contemporary industrial societies, and on diversity among family types. Topics include theoretical perspectives, formation and dissolution, interactions and power, economic issues, parent-child relations, extended family, and family policy.

A WSS 590 Research Seminar in Women's Studies (4)
Instructor: Vivien Ng
Wed 2:45-5:35pm BB 326

Seminar in the theory and practice of women's studies research to examine: what distinguishes women's studies from other disciplines; the relationship between research and community/political activism; how research is changing the traditional disciplines and the methods used in research. Permission of instructor required.

A WSS 592 Internship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (2)
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
TH 2:45-5:35pm BB B003

The Internship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies is rooted in the department’s commitment to link feminist education with community activism for social justice. The course is designed to provide students with opportunities for learning and working in organizations in ways that connect their coursework in women’s, gender & sexuality studies to specific issues in community settings. The internship program provides a venue for students to put theory into practice, to participate in community-based organizations, to engage in a service-learning course and to think critically about participating as feminists in activism.

The Seminar focuses on linking learning and doing through reading, reflection, and classroom discussion. Together, we will explore the meaning of active citizenship, community engagement, and public leadership. Overall, the goal of the course is to deepen student understanding of contemporary social issues, strengthen relationships between the SUNY campus and the larger community, and create an intellectual environment of learning by doing.

The course utilizes a “theory/practice learning” approach. Theory/practice learning is a holistic approach to education, which holds that students need a strong theoretical and factual grounding, as well as time to evaluate and analyze their experiences, when they engage in community-based research, learning and activism. Through concrete experience in collaboration with community members, mentors and peers, students test what they have been taught and synthesize their own ideas and strategies for change.

A WSS 599 Transnational Sexualities (3-4)
Instructor: Wen Liu
Wed 5:45-8:35pm BB B004

How do queer theories teach us about the current phase of globalization, neoliberal capitalism, and imperialism? How can queer desires interrogate the sexualized, gendered, raced, and classed dynamics of transnational social relations of our time? This course will begin with the classical texts on queer theories and move toward the contemporary discussion on globalization, including the changing forms of intimacies, shifting boundaries of normality, homonationalism and neo-colonialism, and transnational mobility and diaspora. The class will challenge students to embrace queerness as a critical perspective that examines sexuality but also as a potential of theoretical and activist bridging across the issues of feminism, racial justice, labor rights, disability, indigeneity, and anti-war movements globally.

A WSS 599 Feminist New Materialisms: Gender, Race, and the Environment (4)
Instructor: Carolina Diaz
Tue 5:45-8:35pm BB 209

This class situates feminist new materialist debates within the current discourses on climate change and environmentalism. Since its inception, feminist theory has always been critical of the universal, disembodied “man” which now informs the “anthropo-” of the newly coined Anthropocene. Therefore, feminism has been a pioneer in denouncing the philosophical model that upholds our current capitalist, postcolonial ideology. However, the role of nature in feminism has long been controversial precisely due to the naturalization of women’s bodies and their social, political, symbolic, and material discrimination by the same masculinist knowledges that have plunged the ecosphere to its current climate crisis. The return to nature may appear, at first glance, contradictory within feminist agendas, but its insistence upon a situated body, with its positive differences, in a material world, has much to offer to a renewed understanding of the human, the more-than-human, matter, production, and reproduction. What kind of agency can the subject have within a world of intermingled, non-human agencies? With what kind of geopolitics can a revitalized materiality provide us? What is the role of the gendered and raced body within the mapping of Western geopolitics and environmental politics? These are some of the questions that will animate our class. We will read feminist philosophers such as Claire Colebrook, Elizabeth Grosz, Stacey Alaimo, Jane Bennet, and Karen Barad, but we will also read male philosophers such as Charles Darwin, Bruno Latour, Giorgio Agamben, Richard Grusin, and Henri Bergson, among others.

A WSS 599 /ENG 581 Queer Poetry and Politics (4)
Instructor: Eric Keenaghan
Mon 4:15-7:05pm HU B41

“The personal is political.” This famous slogan, coined by Carol Hanisch, was introduced into second-wave feminist discourse in 1969, the same year as New York City’s Stonewall riots which often are used to date the start of gay and lesbian liberation. It is a commonplace to assume that poetry is one of the most personal of the arts. What better form, then, to bring together a personal politics and the intimate experiences of individuals’ sexual and erotic lives? But what does a personal politics truly mean? And in the wake of Romanticism’s negative capability and modernist poetics of impersonality, what does it mean for poetry to be presumed to be a form of “personal” expression? How can an often-esoteric art form like poetry be political—that is, can poetry really transform institutions and the socio-political landscape?

Conceptually, this course sets out to examine how queer poetries have held the personal and the political in tension while addressing what it means to love, to live, to survive, and to revolutionize. Pragmatically, this seminar will explore this conceit through a twofold objective: (1) An introduction to the history of American LGBT+ politics and culture during the Cold War (c.1950-1989), from the start of the homophile movement through gay and lesbian liberation to the rise of intersectionality and the response to the HIV/AIDs crisis; (2) The study of a range of American poetries produced alongside, and sometimes as part of, the gender and sexual activist movements from the latter half of the twentieth century. Eight to ten activist-poets will be studied in depth, either in key standalone volumes or their selected works. Emphasis will be placed on “experimental” poetries, but we also will examine agitprop and formalist queer verse by LGBT-identified writers. By using digital archives and published anthologies to access primary historical materials (activist periodicals, mimeo newsletters, manifestos, broadsides), we will consider the poets’ political and aesthetic innovations in light of their respective moments’ activist rhetorics. Selections from LGBT+ cultural and political histories, plus poetics and craft statements by the examined writers, will supplement our readings of the poetry and the primary historical materials. Our ambition will be to do what most queer theorists have failed to do—i.e., to take poetry seriously, by considering its historical, aesthetic, and political ambitions. Thus, we will use the form as a foundation for develop new theories and political understandings, rather than groundlessly apply existing queer theory or other literary theories to these poetries. Queer writers (inclusive of straight-identified seropositive writers) who might be studied in-depth include: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Spicer, John Wieners, Judy Grahn, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Ronald Johnson, Gloria Anzaldúa, Aaron Shurin, Essex Hemphill, Tory Dent. Other LGBT+ poets from whose work we might read samplings include: Stephen Jonas, Frank O’Hara, Paul Goodman, Muriel Rukeyser, Robert Duncan, Harold Norse, Diane di Prima, Jonathan Williams, Tim Dlugos, Jack Sharpless, Leland Hickman, Antler, Elana Dykewoman, Olga Broumas, Marilyn Hacker, Pat Parker, Martha Shelley, Joan Larkin, John Giorno, Charley Shively, Kenneth Pitchford, Miguel Piñero, James Baldwin, Paul Mariah, Dennis Cooper, Thom Gunn, June Jordan, Eileen Myles, Mark Doty, Kevin Killian, Reinaldo Arenas.

Requirements for PhD and MA students: (1) Preparation for every class meeting and participation in discussion; (2) Three brief response papers (3-5 pages, one per unit —the homophile movement, gay and lesbian liberation, the HIV/AIDS crisis), to be shared on Blackboard 24 hours before the class session; (3) Prewriting assignments for a seminar paper (including proposal, annotated bibliography, and revised abstract); and (4) A researched critical seminar paper (20-30 pages, 15-20 sources). Given our historical focus, no hybrid or creative projects will be permitted for the final projects. We will deal with the writers who have come before us on their own terms, as best as we can, without the temptation of trying to force them into our conceptual, aesthetic, or political rubrics.

Required and recommended texts: In late December or early January, a complete list of required poetry volumes will be sent to enrolled students. A brief reading assignment for the first class session will be available through Blackboard two weeks before the semester’s start. Before then, students are encouraged to find online cheap editions of the following required out-of-print or costly (if bought at full price) texts — We Are Everywhere: A Historical Sourcebook of Gay and Lesbian Politics, edited by Mark Blasius and Shane Phelan (Routledge); Rethinking the Gay and Lesbian Movement, by Marc Stein (Routledge); and Gay and Lesbian Poetry in Our Time, edited by Carl Morse and Joan Larkin (St. Martin’s Press). I also highly recommend that you purchase one or two of the following out-of-print LGBT+ period poetry anthologies (all available and inexpensive from online retailers)—The Male Muse: A Gay Anthology, edited by Ian Young (1973); Angels of the Lyre: A Gay Poetry Anthology (1975), edited by Winston Leyland (this title will be available on reserve at the library); Amazon Poetry: An Anthology (1976), edited by Elly Bulkin and Joan Larkin; Orgasms of Light: The Gay Sunshine Anthology (1977), edited by Winston Leyland; Lesbian Poetry: An Anthology (1981), edited by Elly Bulkin and Joan Larkin; The Son of the Male Muse: New Gay Poetry, edited by Ian Young (1983); Poets for Life: Seventy-Six Poets Respond to AIDS, edited by Michael Klein (1989).

Lastly, all graduate students should apply for a New York Public Library card. As SUNY students and/or NY State residents, you are eligible. It is easiest to get one if you visit the city; just pop into any NYPL branch with the required identification. You also can apply online (https://www.nypl.org/library-card), but it could take some time to validate your application. For this course, I recommend students research primary historical documents (and some poetry magazines) through the following online research databases and digital archives, available through NYPL.org: Independent Voices and the Archives of Sexuality & Gender. Through UAlbany’s library, you can access the following, more limited databases: LGBT Life with Full Text and Alternative Press Index.

For a complete list of WGSS courses, go to Graduate Bulletin

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