Anger and rage, fear and shame, love and lust, joy and happiness: gender, race, class, and sexuality matter for how each of these feelings is experienced by individuals and received by others. Turning on its head the Western historical tradition that has casts women and feminine people as more emotional, this class explores what contemporary feminist thinkers have to say about how feelings are involved in the construction of, and struggle against, gender inequality and subordination.
What is gender? How does it impact your everyday life? Designed to introduce students to the study of gender, sexuality, and feminism, this course will explore these questions by focusing on settings in which gender shapes how we live, work, consume, see ourselves, forge identities, relate to others, navigate institutions, and make ethical decisions. Students’ reflections on their own experiences and understanding of gender will be a consistent theme. How does gender define the social spaces we move through and inhabit? How does gender structure the various social institutions that shape our lives? In every part of the course, gender will be connected to race, sexuality, class, and nation.
This course explores gender in the context of waged and unwaged work. Though anchored in the United States, it scales up and down to encompass investigation into the nexus of gender and labor in a global context. Thematic units are designed to offer students basic introductions to core topics in the study of gender and labor.
This course will introduce students to legal and ethical issues at the intersection of law, gender and sexuality. The course will use interpretive methods used in jurisprudence, as well as conceptual tools developed by feminist, critical race and queer theoreticians to explore such issues as the criminalization of gay sex, the equal protection of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and the role of the state in resolving perceived conflicts between that right to equal protection and the right to religious freedom. The course will take a cross-cultural / multi-jurisdictional comparative approach to these issues.
The aim of this course is to critically analyze media culture and communication landscapes from a feminist and gender studies perspective. We will address a wide range of media innovations and their histories, unpacking and critically questioning them through the insights offered by feminist, queer, and intersectional analytical tools. To each, we will examine historical, ethical, sociological, theoretical, literary or film perspectives. What roles do media spaces play in our everyday lives and how do our politics and self-understandings inform and reflect burgeoning platforms? This course will consider these questions in terms of US media cultures and its interconnected global frameworks.
This survey course examines constructions of masculinities in political arenas in reference to sites across the globe. It investigates configurations that proliferate hegemonic masculinities and maps male locations and social practices that produce masculine bodies and selves: embodied desires, fragilities and fears: as well as communities of men. The course considers amongst others political arenas structured by militarism, religiosity, the carceral state, and dispossession and precarity. While the course builds on scholarship, we will also engage film, visual artwork and media. Each student is trained to conduct oral interviews with three male-identifying persons from different generations and will complete a final paper based on analysis of this research.
This course is on the words of women, written and spoken, who practice both feminism and a religious faith. North Carolina has a deep, diverse history of feminist collaboration and activism, from within particular faith communities and bridging different faiths. We begin with selections from the Women's History Manuscript Collection at the Rubenstein Library, ranging from pamphlets to internal correspondence about strategy, focusing on the 20th Century; and recordings from the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-CH, focusing on the "Women's Leadership and Grassroots Activism" collection. We will then host women from across the Triangle currently working at intersections of faith and feminism, reading or viewing chosen material prior that inspire and inform each woman's particular work. Safety permitting, we will offer some sessions as campus-wide events. This course is intentionally introductory, providing students with skills in 1) archival research, 2) close reading of imagery and word choice in historical and cultural context, 3) ethical reasoning across different religious practices, and 4) attention to the authority of women inside and outside traditional, institutional leadership in North Carolina. Students will gain practical knowledge of library resources at Duke and UNC-CH, and use of the Robertson Express Bus. Grading based on participation and weekly, close reading papers (2-3 pp).
Sex work from the perspective of the labor and the purchase. Controversies over questions of gender and power, consent and coercion, sexual practices and labor contracts, trafficking and migration. Cultural representations of sex workers and their clients. Legal regimes from abolition to regulation and decriminalization.
Capitalism as a historical force in its relation to gender and race structures. The intellectual history provided by Marxist critiques of capital for the development of a distinct body of feminist materialist thought, including dual systems theory, ideology critique, poststructuralist understandings of language and culture, and the rise of globalization as the latest economic context in which to think about gender, material life and power.
This interdisciplinary survey of Queer Theory begins with a historical survey of bodies deemed non-normative in the West. Centering on the major debates that have come to shape contemporary Queer Theory, the course is anchored by E. Patrick Johnson’s question, "What is the utility of queer theory on the front lines, in the trenches, on the street, or anyplace where the racialized and sexualized body is beaten, starved, fired, cursed— indeed, where the body is the site of trauma?” The course takes as a given that race, gender, geography, disability, class and other forms of social difference fundamentally shape one's experience of sexuality, and that theory alone is not best way to understand the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and gender non-conforming people. The course relies on a variety of scholarship, but also centers artist expression as well as popular culture to explore the contemporary shape of Queer Theory and the queer lives on which that theory is based in contexts within the West as well as Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa.
This class examines the role that technology, globalization, late capitalism, ideas about health and ability, and advances in feminist theory play in human reproduction. It will investigate new frontiers of reproductive technology, and try to understand the many different ways of using and viewing interventions such as IVF, surrogacy, and embryo selection. We will examine popular ideas about “the perfect child,” and how the issue of abortion intersects and competes with the quest for healthier, able-bodied children.
In this course, students will explore the foundations of Black Feminist Thought in the United States, and critically engage with the self-representations of Black women in art, poetry, and film from roughly 1970 to the present. The course uses The Black Woman: An Anthology, Toni Cade Bambara’s seminal collection of essays, short stories, and poetry by black women writers as one of the core texts for the class. The class begins by exploring the complicated nature of studying “The Black Woman,” for whom there is no single, monolithic understanding or set of experiences. We move on to explore “The Roots of Black Feminist Thought,” considering the development of the core concepts that continue to circulate within Black Feminist Theory. And finally, we examine contemporary Black Feminist theoretical engagements which explore issues of Black women's pleasure, joy, and popular forms of artistic expression.
This seminar explores the concept of intimacy as it emerges in literary, social, and political inquiry. Through discussions on citizenship, religion, migration, political economy, legality, and activism, we examine what it means for bodies to exist in relation to other bodies, and within the larger body of the nation-state.
This seminar will introduce students to feminist art: artwork that reveals the effects of images on recognizable definitions of gender, sexuality, race, and class. Feminist art was inspired by, and a significant part of, the Women’s Liberation Movement and the general milieu of protest and critique sparked by the political upheaval of the late 1960s and 1970s. This course therefore involves thinking about how to make connections between artwork, the historical contexts it emerges out of, aspirations for political change, and demands for greater equality.
This course is a rigorous introduction to the varied traditions, approaches, and preoccupations that constitute feminist theory. Each week will be organized around a keyword (e.g. care, archive, university, night/life, reproduction), and we will read a body of feminist thought that thinks with (and sometimes against) that keyword. Students will also participate in the annual Feminist Theory Workshop.