WGSS Courses

Upcoming WGSS Courses

From women’s health to media and popular culture to global perspectives to LGBTQ Studies, WGSS courses cover a wide array of topics.

Winter 2020

Undergraduate Course
 

AWSS 363: Sociology of Sexualities (3)
Cross-listed with ASOC 362 
Instructor: Elizabeth Harwood
Fully Online

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. 


Spring 2021

Undergraduate Courses
 

AWSS 101: Introduction to Feminisms (3)
Instructor: Teaching Collective (coordinator: Ashley Casale)
Meeting in person

Sections:
Tu/Th 9:00-10:20am
Tu/Th 10:30-11:50am
Tu/Th 3:00-4:20pm
Tu/Th 4:30-5:50pm
Tu/Th 6:00-7:20pm
Tu/Th 7:30-8:50pm

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 Collective working under the supervision of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies faculty and graduate students.


AWSS 109X: Women, Biology, and Health (3)
Instructor: Louise-Anne McNutt
MW 4:30-5:50pm
Meeting in person
This introduction to an integrated approach to women’s biology analyzes biological and social influences affecting women’s physical and mental health. Attention is given to similarities and differences in biology and health across gender, racial/ethnic, and class groupings. Intended for freshmen and sophomores. 


AWSS 217: Women and Music (3)
Instructor: Ellen Burns
Fully Online: asynchronous

An examination of the contributions of women in music through a historical survey of Western art music and a brief survey of popular and non-Western music. Works by women composers as well as other phases of women’s activities as musicians will be studied. Live performances and interviews will be arranged when possible. 


AWSS 240: Classism, Racism, and Sexism (3)
Cross-listed with AAFS 240 and ALCS 240
Instructor: Keziah Abigail
Tu/Th 12:00-1:20pm
Fully Online: synchronous and asynchronous 

This course examines the mutually reinforcing nature of historical and contemporary racism, (hetero)sexism, and classism in American society. We will pay particular attention to how such “-isms” (re)produce and maintain the structures of inequality, which affect marginalized people and communities in different ways. Some of the questions we will ask in this class are: What are the structures of inequality? How are bodies disciplined and regulated? How are bodies raced, classed, and gendered? 


AWSS 320: Feminist Pedagogy in Theory (3)
Instructor: Ashley Casale
Mondays 6:00-8:50pm
Blended/Hybrid Course (30-79% of course taught in person)

Open only to Teaching Collective members: In ascending to your roles as discussion co-facilitators for the undergraduate sections of AWSS 101: Introduction to Feminisms, you now possess a multi-perspective view of the academy as an institution, knowledge production and dissemination, and critical feminist pedagogy as praxis. Through the articles and other course materials you read and selected last semester in the creation of the 101 course reader, the syllabus you created, as well as the projects and writing you will assign and the class discussions you will facilitate, you will wield conceptual, theoretical, and experiential knowledge in communicating (sometimes across extreme difference) what it means to be a feminist in 2021: the historical perspectives and social justice movements that brought us to this point, as well as what feminist activism will look like in the future within varying social and political conditions. AWSS 320 will provide more of a theoretical background to guide you through effective co-facilitation of AWSS 101. As we workshop final lesson plans, situate facilitation topics more deeply within feminist theory, contextualize the issues alongside current events, and promote intersectional feminist activism on campus, Feminist Pedagogy in Theory will ground you each Monday night before your sections meet that week.


AWSS 322Y: Feminist Pedagogy in Practice (3)
Arranged with Ashley Casale and the Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department

This is the practicum component for the Teaching Collective experience. 


AWSS 362: Introduction to LGBTQ+ in American Literature (3)
Cross-listed with AENG 362
Instructor: Eric Keenaghan
MW 3:00-4:20pm 
Fully Online: synchronous and asynchronous

Understandings of people with nonconforming sexualities and gender identities have changed over time. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise queer (LGBTQ+) persons have been erroneously diagnosed as ill, suffering from psychopathologies. They have been falsely accused by religious and cultural authorities of embodying moral and ethical threats and perversions. Because of who and how they love and experience intimacy and because of how they self-identify, their very existences have a history of being illegalized by local, state, and federal authorities. Such medical, religious, cultural, and legal misjudgments have led to social marginalization and dehumanization, thus implicitly sanctioning violence and injury ranging from covert microaggressions to hate crimes and murder. Only fairly recently, since the 1950s, have LGBTQ+ persons self-identified as belonging to one or more social minorities defined by sexual and/or gender nonconformity to secure social and political recognition of their full humanity and legal protections as citizens. 
    As early as a half-century before these advances, LGBTQ+ persons used literature to find their voices, to contest oppression, and to represent their experiences. This course sets out to provide a general introduction to LGBTQ+ history in the United States, from the turn of the twentieth century until today, and major literary texts produced out of those cultural, social, and political experiences by LGBTQ+ poets, fiction writers, graphic novelists, and playwrights. We will consider such questions as: How has LGBTQ+ literature changed over the last century and a quarter? How has varying constructions of, and preconceptions about, LGBTQ+ identities affected queer persons’ self-representation? At the time of their writing, did LGBTQ+ authors imagine their work could transform the experiences of other people like themselves? Does their literature foreground the need to transform understandings and oppressions of sexual and gender difference? Or, because of issues such as war culture, capitalism and imperialism, and intersectionality (i.e., the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, class, citizenship status, and other identities), was gender or sexual difference only part of what they sought to transform? How do our assessments of their work today differ from how the authors themselves or their contemporaries saw their work? 
    We will read Vicki Eaklor’s cultural history Queer America: A GLBT History of the United States; critical essays from The Cambridge Companion to American Gay and Lesbian Literature (ed. Scott Herring) and other essays in Queer Studies; and poems, novels, stories, plays, and graphic novels by such authors as: Walt Whitman, Gertrude Stein, Hart Crane, Djuna Barnes, Bruce Nugent, Frank O’Hara, James Baldwin, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Gloria Anzaldúa, Tony Kushner, Essex Hemphill, David Wojnarowicz, Kazim Ali, Natalie Diaz, Danez Smith, Qwo-Li Driskill, Ocean Vuong, Marcelo Hernandez Cruz, Emil Ferris, Akwaeke Emezi. (Assigned authors may vary from this list.)
    This is an online class, with synchronous Zoom sessions and asynchronous Blackboard discussion posts. Most weeks, with a few exceptions and excepting the tutorial sessions (see below), we will have asynchronous Mondays and Zoom Wednesdays.
 

AWSS 363: Sociology of Sexualities (3)
Cross-listed with ASOC 362 
Instructor: TBD
Fully Online

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. 


AWSS 381: Anthropology of Gender (3)
Cross-listed with AANT 381
Instructor: Elise Andaya
Fully Online

This course is designed to help students develop an anthropological perspective on gender and sexuality by questioning our cultural ideas about gender difference, gender roles, and gender/sexual identity. It considers gender as a relation of power and as a key variable for understanding historical processes and the contemporary world. By reading works ranging from classic feminist studies in anthropology to more contemporary approaches, we consider how gender is related to issues such as race, class, ethnicity, aging, globalization, colonialism, capitalism, and so forth. Theoretical issues in the literature will in turn be linked to “real life” experiences and to policy debates throughout the world. 


AWSS 399: Workshop in Oral History (3)
Cross-listed with AHIS 394 and ADOC 394
Instructor: Susan McCormick

For Spring 2021 this course is offered fully online, although there will be occasional online meetings with each other and the instructor as arranged. The course will explore how the oral history community has pivoted from in-person to remote interviewing in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, making significant changes in audio recording and interview practices, as well as efforts to capture and preserve current experiences, including COVID, Black Lives Matter, immigrants, and more. 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, preserving, and disseminating oral histories while exploring the social, cultural, ethical, and legal dimensions of oral history practice.  In addition to hands-on experience, students will develop their understanding of oral history as a qualitative research method through critical examination of community oral history projects, documentary works, and historical texts based on oral history interviews, focusing on those who have often been marginalized in the historical record.  Students will complete a final project based on a topic of their choice. The skills taught in this class are also useful for those considering careers that emphasize interpersonal communication and interviewing skills: journalism, communications, documentary media production, social work, and community organizing. 


AWSS 399: History of Women in the U.S. (3)
Cross-listed with AHIS 310
Instructor: Kori Graves
MWF 9:30-10:25am
Fully Online: Synchronous and Asynchronous

As mothers, activists, laborers, institution builders, and reformers, women have pushed to create cultural, political, social and economic changes in U.S. laws and customs. Collectively, these efforts have dramatically altered women’s experiences throughout U.S. society. Such change has not been easy or uncontested. As some groups have pushed for women’s greater access to opportunities, others have resisted reform. Additionally, the advances made by some created the conditions for greater inequality between women based on differences of class, status, race, ethnicity, and sexuality. In this survey, we will consider the reasons for this seeming contradiction by exploring the nature of women’s involvement in a range of U.S. institutions from the seventeenth century to the present. Through the analysis of primary evidence, scholarly journal articles, monographs, documentaries, and popular media, students will investigate topics that expose the significance of productive and reproductive labor, education, and politics in determining a woman’s place in U.S. society. Permission of instructor is required.


AWSS 492Y: Internship in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (3)
Shared resource with AWSS 592
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
Mondays 3:00-5:50
Blended/Hybrid Course (30-79% of course taught in person)

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.


AWSS 497: Queer Futures and the Utopian Imagination (3)
Topics in LGBTQ Studies
Instructor: Keziah Abigail
Tu/Th 4:30-5:50pm
Blended/Hybrid Course (30-79% of course taught in person)

This course is grounded in José Esteban Muñoz’ assertion that “[q]ueerness is not yet here…” (2009: 1). Drawing on Muñoz’s principal of “queer utopianism” and Julia Kristeva’s “abjection,” alongside queer of color critique, queer diasporas, transgender studies, feminist theory, and decolonization theory, this course engages with the potentialities of a queer futurity by employing hope as a critical methodology–a “backward glance that enacts a future vision” (Muñoz, 2009: 4) which rejects the here and now. To understand the here and now, we will first examine differential conditions in our contemporary, in which hetero- and homonormative neoliberalism becomes the condition for queer politics and liberation. Alongside scholarly work, we will employ speculative fiction in films, art, and literature as critical sources to engage with the (queer) promise of “the not yet here,” and to (re)imagine transformative potentialities of a queer futurity.  


AWSS 498: Global Cultures and Transnational Feminisms (3)

Shared Resource with AWSS 599

Instructor: Janell Hobson
Tu/Th 1:30-2:50pm
Blended/Hybrid Course (30-79% of course taught in person)

This interdisciplinary course will examine the impact of Western colonization throughout the world and the feminist reclamations of culture and identities as resistance to colonial legacies. We will further examine contemporary issues, including sexual politics, reproductive health, global economies, wars and crises, and environmental sustainability. We will also develop a “decolonized” feminist worldview while engaging in creative projects to understand the intersecting effects of gender, race, class, nationality, and sexuality alongside global processes of ideologies, goods, and cultural exchanges. 


AWSS 498: Music Research Seminar
Cross-listed with AMUS 495 and Shared-resource with AWSS 599
Instructor: Nancy Newman
Fully Online

A capstone course focused on writing about music from historical and theoretical perspectives. Discussion and analysis of seminal readings and repertory are based on skills and conceptual tools acquired through prior coursework in the major. Strategies for critical writing about music will be developed through examination of current methodologies and resources. The course culminates in the development of a substantial independent research project, which may include a performative component. 

For a complete list of WGSS courses, see the Undergraduate Bulletin 


Graduate Courses


AWSS 520: Advanced Feminist Pedagogy in Theory (2)
Instructor: Janell Hobson
Mondays 3:00-4:50pm
Fully Online synchronous

This is a pro-seminar for students serving as graduate instructors of record for Introduction to Feminisms (WSS 101), an undergraduate introductory course taught across different sections with undergraduate discussion facilitators who make up the Teaching Collective, the longest running peer-teaching program in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. This seminar will give graduate instructors of record opportunities to reflect on the experience and to examine different elements of feminist pedagogy and to learn new teaching skills. Discussion sections for AWSS 101 will be meeting in person.


AWSS 590: Research Seminar in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies (3)
Instructor: Rajani Bhatia
Wednesdays 3:00-5:50pm
Blended/Hybrid Course (30-79% of course taught in person)

This graduate seminar engages the building blocks behind feminist, queer, anti-racist, and decolonial research products from the selection of a topic and formulation of research questions on to the application of research “tools” or methods and the interpretation of data.  It assists emerging scholars with building a research profile and situating their work within a frame.   With a focus on reflexivity and process, the course interrogates not only the “what” of feminist knowledges produced but the “how.”  We will contemplate questions of power, voice, positionality, and representation at the heart of feminist research ethics as well as their methodological implications.  Using a hands-on approach, students will engage in exercises to practice different approaches for data collection, analysis, and writing.  These include crafting interview questions, writing fieldnotes and a reflexive research journal, coding, and memo writing.  Students will conduct searches for primary and secondary sources, visit an archive, and conduct preliminary data analysis.  Through ongoing engagement with a topic of the student’s choice the student will produce a research proposal as their culminating project. 


AWSS 599: Global Cultures and Transnational Feminisms (3)
Shared Resource with AWSS 498

Instructor: Janell Hobson
Tu/Th 1:30-2:50pm
Blended/Hybrid Course (30-79% of course taught in person)

This interdisciplinary course will examine the impact of Western colonization throughout the world and the feminist reclamations of culture and identities as resistance to colonial legacies. We will further examine contemporary issues, including sexual politics, reproductive health, global economies, wars and crises, and environmental sustainability. We will also develop a “decolonized” feminist worldview while engaging in creative projects to understand the intersecting effects of gender, race, class, nationality, and sexuality alongside global processes of ideologies, goods, and cultural exchanges.


AWSS 599: Music Research Seminar
Cross-listed with AMUS 495 and Shared-resource with AWSS 498
Instructor: Nancy Newman
Fully Online


A capstone course focused on writing about music from historical and theoretical perspectives. Discussion and analysis of seminal readings and repertory are based on skills and conceptual tools acquired through prior coursework in the major. Strategies for critical writing about music will be developed through examination of current methodologies and resources. The course culminates in the development of a substantial independent research project, which may include a performative component. 


AWSS 604: Inequality and Public Policy (4)
Cross-listed with RPUB 604
Instructor: Jennifer Dodge
Thursdays 6:00-9:40pm 
Fully Online: synchronous

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. 


AWSS 645: Gender and Education (3)
Cross-listed with ASOC 645
Instructor: Kate Avarett
Thursdays 4:30-7:20pm
Fully Online: synchronous

This course explores sociological theory, research, and major debates about gender and education through an intersectional lens. We will examine how gender interacts with other social structures such as race, class, and sexuality to shape experiences of/within schools, as well as the discursive and material construction of “education” more broadly. We will focus primarily on research within the United States in order to consider how the broader political economy and cultural context – particularly neoliberal education reform and school segregation – shape both education itself, and research on education (though students whose research interests lie outside of the United States are encouraged to pursue those interests). Topics will include single-sex education, school discipline, peer relationships, sexuality and sex education, and student activism. Readings will include some of the foundational sociological texts on gender and education but will focus primarily on recent scholarship that speaks to current debates.

For a complete list of WGSS courses, see the Graduate Bulletin.