University at Albany
 

Courses in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Spring 2019


See Graduate Courses

Undergraduate Courses

A WSS 101 Introduction to Feminisms (3)
Instructors: Teaching Collective members

TTH 8:45-10:05am LC 15
TTH 10:15-11:35am BBB002
TTH 1:15-2:35pm PH 116
TTH 2:45-4:05pm HU 027
TTH 4:15-5:35pm HU 112
TTH 5:45-7:05pm ES 139

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 202 Introduction to LGBTQ Studies (3)
Instructor: Wen Liu
TTH 2:45-4:05pm CH 151

This course will provide you a thematic introduction and theoretical foundation to the field of LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) studies. Considering LGBTQ studies as an interdisciplinary field, the course draws from history, literature, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and the critical theoretical and activist traditions of feminisms, queer studies, marxism, critical race theory, postcolonialism, and disability studies to outline the intellectual and political landscape that has been inspired by queer lives and movements. While “queer” has been commonly applied as a prescribed sexual minority identity, in this class, we will use “queer” as an intervention to the normative constellations and regulatory power of gender, sexuality, and identity by discussing its intersection with the development of sexology as a science, the continued disciplining of racialized and non-normative bodies, the emergence of capitalist market, and the neoliberalization of the state, and so forth.

A WSS 240 Classism, Racism, and Sexism (3)
cross-listed with A AFS/A LCS 240
Instructor: Wen Liu
TTH 11:45am-1:05pm BBB012

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 308 Global Perspectives on Women (3)
Instructor: Barbara Sutton
TTH 10:15-11:35am SS 255

This course examines the lives, struggles, and visions for social change of women around the world in local and transnational contexts. The course is organized around critical issues shaping diverse women’s experiences, including the legacies of colonialism, the globalization of the capitalist economy, the social control of women’s bodies, increasing environmental degradation, women’s roles in world politics and religion, and the effects of diverse forms of violence. We will look at how women cope with, confront, and challenge these social forces. Women’s vibrant political organizing will be examined within local communities, at the national level, and in international arenas such as United Nations conferences, the World Social Forum, and street protests that challenge state, corporate, and international financial institutions. While the study of women’s realities in different countries will allow us to make some comparisons, the emphasis of the course will be on linkages, on how social forces affecting women in one place are related to developments in other areas of the world. This lens will also help us to see inequalities based on class, race-ethnicity, gender, nationality, and sexuality as relationships, not just differences. By looking at political, cultural, and everyday expressions of women’s activism globally, we will expand notions of what feminism is about and will de-center definitions rooted on the concerns of feminists with relative privilege. As we follow women’s struggles for local and global justice, I invite you to consider the idea that “another world is possible” as well as to think about practical strategies to create it.

A WSS 320 Feminist Pedagogy in Theory (3)
Instructor: Victoria Melo
Mondays 5:45-8:35pm HU 125
open only to members of the Teaching Collective

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.

A WSS 322Y Feminist Pedagogy in Practice (3)
Instructor: Victoria Melo
Arranged through A WSS 101 and Teaching Collective
open only to members of the Teaching Collective

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.

A WSS 336 Representations: Music, Gender, Race, and Class (3)
cross-listed with MUS 336
Instructor: Nancy Newman
MW 4:15-5:35pm PC 213

This course will examine portrayals of gender, race and class across a wide range of musical media, including film, opera, theater, and song. Through a series of theoretical readings and listening/viewing assignments, we will investigate historical and contemporary issues concerning self-representation and the representation of others. Who has the right to speak, and for whom? How can music convey ideas about identity? The many ways music communicates meaning will be explored through lectures, discussion, small-group presentations, and independent writing projects. Only one version of A WSS 336 may be taken for credit. Prerequisite(s): A MUS 100 or permission of instructor.

A WSS 363 Sociology of Sexualities (3)
Instructor: TBA
TTH 8:45-10:05am LC 22

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 368 Women Writers: Our Emily Dickinson (3)
Instructor: Erica Fretwell
MW 2:45-4:05pm HU 128

This seminar will address a complex yet seemingly simple question: What is an Emily Dickinson poem? From the jilted bride to the frustrated lesbian, from the anorexic hermit to the quiet revolutionary challenging a masculine god, from the poet of scatter to the poet who crafted devotional fascicles, Emily Dickinson remains one of the more elusive women writers. In the first half of the semester, you will learn ways to read poems and then apply that knowledge to study Dickinson’s language, rhythms, and moods – intensively. We will then consider the stakes of how we as readers define Dickinson’s poetic project, which has appeared in various altered versions from the 1890s forward. In so doing, we will focus on how Dickinson's poetry engaged ideas of, and was made possible by, race and class. The case of Emily Dickinson offers an occasion to examine the battle over how to turn a manuscript poet into a print poet…into a digital poet.

A WSS 399 Workshop in Oral History (3)
Instructor: Susan McCormick
MW 2:45-4:05pm SLG024

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.

A WSS 399 Women's Health: Where Science, Medicine, Politics and Economics Meet (3)
Instructor: Louise-Ann McNutt
Thursdays 5:45-8:35pm SS 255

This course focuses on understanding the multiple influences that impact women’s health and health care, including science, medicine traditions, culture, politics and economic forces. The course will focus on (1) developing skills to assess the quality of scientific data utilized to support preventive and treatment recommendations, and (2) developing students insights on how they utilize information to make both personal and policy decisions related to women’s health. The course will include a survey of research topics needed to understand medical publications, including basic study designs used in medical research (eg, randomized trials, observational studies) and medical and research ethics. Based on the interests of the class, women’s health topics will be utilized to develop students’ ability to critically assess medical research and policies. Possible health topics included domestic violence, heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer screening (ie, self-breast exam, mammogram), sexually transmitted diseases, travel medicine, and vaccines.

A WSS 399 Music, YouTube, and Sexuality (3)
cross-listed with MUS 393
Instructor: Kyra Gaunt
TTH 5:45-7:05pm PC 213

This is an ethnomusicological course on music, technology, and interactivity as a
frame for examining oppression and inclusion. Its materials, practices, and
interactivity are all designed to help students learn to think like
ethnomusicologists while questioning the costs and benefits of user-generated
videos now that YouTube is currency for platinum records and Billboard charts –
the music video will be our main focus. What role does race, gender, and sexuality play in what scales musically, what goes viral in video, or what’s trending on YouTube? What gets eclipsed in the process? To examine these questions, we will explore the history of interactivity --
musical sound, gendered embodiment, racial performativity, etc. – in audiovisual
communication during the transition from radio to television through the
rise of MTV to user-generated/corporate-controlled YouTube videos.

A WSS 492 Internship in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (3)
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
Mondays 2:45-5:35pm BBB005

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 498 Feminist New Materialisms (3)
Instructor: Carolina Diaz
Wednesdays 5:45-8:35pm BB 213

Following the philosophical insights of feminist theory and ecofeminism, this course starts from the assumption that our current ecological crisis stems from a crisis in Western reason, substantiated by the dualistic and oppressive logic of human/nature. Against this background, we will start by positing nature as a discursive and conceptual category, hence, as a marked construction just as culture is (de-naturalization), while also reassessing its extra-discursive reality, its there-ness, through the lens of current speculative realist ontologies and new materialisms (re-naturalization). In order to do so, we will read different texts that either put nature in quotation marks or write it with a capital n (“nature,” Nature) in their attempt to negate or destabilize its apparent given, a priori status and to complicate its relationship to culture as its conceptual other. After defining what nature is and is not within our current climate crisis and anthropogenic era, we will unravel and contest nature’s assumed passivity and the capitalist definition of it as a “standing reserve,” through the lens of feminist new materialist theories.

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


Graduate Courses

A WSS 501 Feminist Science, Technology, and Biomedicine (4)
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
Wednesdays 2:45-5:35pm BBB007

In this course, we will focus on the interplay between, science, technology, and medicine, on the one hand, and gender on the other – always with attention to the ways in which gender intersects with other axes of social division and inequality such as race, class, nation, sexuality, age, health and ability status. In particular, feminist theorists have long engaged the biomedical sciences and biotechnologies as sites for critical reflection on the epistemologies and ontologies of gender. Further, as loci of shifting social, cultural and institutional forms, biotechnologies continue to generate new possibilities for living alongside new inequalities, thereby providing fertile ground for new theorizing on the mutual shaping of gender and technology. We begin with classic critiques of biomedicine and science stemming from feminist theory and then move to current iterations of core conceptual ideas that continue to underpin conversations on gender and biomedicine. In the second half of the course, the class will take up ethics in medical research and justice as sites of contestation towards alternative science and knowledge production practices.

WSS 515 Global Politics of Women's Bodies (4)
Instructor: Barbara Sutton
Tuesdays 2:45-5:35pm BBB004

Women’s bodies have been sites of oppression and resistance in different societies around the world: spaces where cultural wars are played out, sexual violence perpetrated, hopes for ethnic survival located, and economic policies inscribed. Concrete social practices embedded in systems of social inequality—including unequal distribution of food, exploitative work arrangements, unrealistic beauty ideals, constraining expectations about gender expression and sexuality, or institutionalized violence—have influenced the production of women’s bodies of diverse types, including starved bodies, ill bodies, confined bodies, exploited bodies, and super-sexualized bodies. Yet social forces, while powerful, do not completely determine women’s embodied existence. Women, as embodied subjects, have also resisted oppressive power relations. Women from different regions and with diverse national identities have challenged, both individually and collectively, various forms of discrimination based on gender hierarchies, heteronormativity, racism, colonialism, ableism, xenophobia, and class exploitation, which operate at the level of the body. Many women have also carved in their bodies spaces for pleasurable and positive experiences, with or without the approval of society. In doing so, their bodies are turned into sites of affirming sexual and sensual experiences and of enriching connections with other human beings, the built environment, and the natural world. Finally, women’s political agency and their participation in protests are also embodied performances, imbued by the contradictions and possibilities of social location, cultural context, and collective action.

A WSS 560 Families (3)
Instructor: Zoya Gubernskaya
Mondays 12:35-3:25pm LI 220

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the research literature on families, with emphasis on the contemporary United States. Topics will include theoretical perspectives on families, family formation and dissolution, family interaction and power, parent-child relations, economic issues, relations with extended family members, violence, and family policies. These topics will be reviewed with attention directed to both theoretical and empirical issues. The course emphasizes diversity among families and attempts to examine research literature with a critical eye toward underlying assumptions.

A WSS 590 Research Seminar in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (4)
Instructor: Janell Hobson
Thursdays 2:45-5:35pm HU 041

This seminar introduces students to feminist theories and practices that shape research in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. Specifically, we will engage in hands-on exercises, foster inquiries into the links between research and feminist praxis, and examine structures of interdisciplinary scholarship and analyses based in intersectionality.

A WSS 592 Internship in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (2)
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
Mondays 2:45-5:35pm BBB005

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 Feminist New Materialisms (3-4)
Instructor: Carolina Diaz
Wednesdays 5:45-8:35pm BB 213

Following the philosophical insights of feminist theory and ecofeminism, this course starts from the assumption that our current ecological crisis stems from a crisis in Western reason, substantiated by the dualistic and oppressive logic of human/nature. Against this background, we will start by positing nature as a discursive and conceptual category, hence, as a marked construction just as culture is (de-naturalization), while also reassessing its extra-discursive reality, its there-ness, through the lens of current speculative realist ontologies and new materialisms (re-naturalization). In order to do so, we will read different texts that either put nature in quotation marks or write it with a capital n (“nature,” Nature) in their attempt to negate or destabilize its apparent given, a priori status and to complicate its relationship to culture as its conceptual other. After defining what nature is and is not within our current climate crisis and anthropogenic era, we will unravel and contest nature’s assumed passivity and the capitalist definition of it as a “standing reserve,” through the lens of feminist new materialist theories.

A WSS 604 Inequality and Public Policy (4)
Instructor: Jennifer Dodge
Thursdays 5:45-9:35pm HS 14

This course addresses the formulation and implementation of public policies that seek to end inequalities based on gender, race, class, sexual identity and/or other categories of marginalization.  Theoretical and case study readings focus on the challenges, paradoxes and successes of a variety of social change initiatives.  Prerequisite: Wss 525 (Feminist Thought and Public Policy) recommended.

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

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