Chair: Rebecca Jordan Young (Professor)

Professors: Elizabeth Bernstein,  Janet Jakobsen, Rebecca Jordan-Young, Neferti Tadiar

Associate Professors: Manijeh Moridian

Assistant Professors: Marisa Solomon

Requirements for the Major

The WGSS major requires a minimum of 11 core courses distributed as follows:

1) Introductory course: Select one course from any of three emphases (gender, ethnicity and race, or sexuality)
WMST UN1001Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies3
or SOCI UN3302 Sociology of Gender
WMST BC2150PRACTICING INTERSECTIONALITY3
or CSER UN1040 CRIT APPRO-STUDY OF ETH & RACE
Pleasures and Power: An Introduction to Sexuality Studies
The Sociology of Sexuality
2-5) Four core foundation courses:
WMST BC2140Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory3
WMST UN3311FEMINIST THEORY4
WMST BC3514HIST APPROACHES FEMINIST QUES4.00
WMST UN3915Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective (OR other approved course in transnational gender/feminist studies, e.g. HIST BC4999 Transnational Feminism, WMST BC4303 Gender, Globalization, and Empire.)4
6-10) Electives: Select five electives, at least two of these must be at an advanced level and require a research paper assignment; one of the advanced electives may be the Advanced Writing-Intensive Research Seminar (Honors Thesis). *
11) Sr. Seminar:
WMST UN3525SEN SEM:KNWLDG PRCTCE POWER4

Notes:

  • Electives – WGSS majors are required to take 5 electives; at least of two of these electives must be advanced seminars (4 credits) and require a research paper assignment. One of the advanced electives may be the Advanced Writing-Intensive Research Seminar (Senior Seminar II: Honors Thesis).
  • WMST BC 3903 Senior Seminar I: Knowledge, Practice, Power – offered in the fall; restricted to WGSS Seniors

Requirements for the Combined Major

The combined major requires eight courses, distributed as follows:

1) One Introductory Course (choose one out of three theoretical emphases): gender, race & ethnicity, or sexuality:
WMST UN1001Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies3
or SOCI S3302Q Sociology of Gender
WMST BC2150PRACTICING INTERSECTIONALITY3
or CSER UN1040 CRIT APPRO-STUDY OF ETH & RACE
WMST BC3125Pleasures and Power: An Introduction to Sexuality Studies3
or SOCI V3318 The Sociology of Sexuality
2-5)
WMST BC2140Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory3
WMST UN3311FEMINIST THEORY4
WMST BC3514HIST APPROACHES FEMINIST QUES4.00
WMST UN3915Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective (OR other approved courses in transnational gender/feminist studies, e.g. HIST BC4999 Transnational Feminism.)4
6-7)
Select two electives, at least one of these elective should be at an advanced level and require a research paper assignment
8)
Select one semester of Senior Seminar, taken either through Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies or the other department or program

*NOTE: Students combining WGSS with Human Rights must complete the FULL WGSS major (11 courses); use the ‘WGSS Major Checklist’ instead.

Students combining WGSS with Africana Studies must either complete the FULL WGSS major OR the FULL Africana Studies major. If the student chooses to complete the full Africana Studies major, you may use this checklist. Students choosing the ‘combined major’ option for Africana Studies (7 Af Studies courses) must use the ‘WGSS Major Checklist’ instead, and complete 11 WGSS courses.

Requirements for the Minor

Minor Requirements Five courses, distributed as follows:

1. One introductory course (from the same list as applies to majors):
WMST UN1001Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies3
or SOCI UN3302 Sociology of Gender
WMST BC2150PRACTICING INTERSECTIONALITY3
or CSER UN1040 CRIT APPRO-STUDY OF ETH & RACE
WMST BC3125Pleasures and Power: An Introduction to Sexuality Studies3
or SOCI V3318 The Sociology of Sexuality
2-3. Two of our four 'foundations' courses:
WMST BC2140Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory3
WMST UN3311FEMINIST THEORY4
WMST BC3514HIST APPROACHES FEMINIST QUES4
WMST UN3915Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective (OR One other approved course in transnational gender/feminist studies (e.g. HIST BC4999 Transnational Feminism))4
4-5. Two WGSS electives (from the same list that applies to WGSS majors)

FALL 2020

WMST BC1050 WOMEN AND HEALTH. 3.00 points.

Combines critical feminist and anti-racist analyses of medicine with current research in epidemiology and biomedicine to understand health and health disparities as co-produced by social systems and biology. (Prerequisite for Spring A course “Racism is a Pre-Existing Condition”)

WMST BC2140 Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory. 3.00 points.

This course examines the conceptual foundations that support feminist and queer analyses of racial capitalism, security and incarceration, the politics of life and health, and colonial and postcolonial studies, among others

Spring 2021: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00646 M W 2:40pm - 3:45pm
Online Only
Marisa Solomon 3.00 59/70
Fall 2021: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00675 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Marisa Solomon 3.00 22/50

WMST UN3311 FEMINIST THEORY. 3.00 points.

Prerequisites: LIMITED TO 20 BY INSTRUC PERM; ATTEND FIRST CLASS
Prerequisites: LIMITED TO 20 BY INSTRUC PERM; ATTEND FIRST CLASS This course provides a theoretical itinerary to the emergence of contemporary queer theory and engagement with some contemporary legacies of the movement. The goal is not to be exhaustive nor to establish a correct history of queer theory but to engage students in the task of understanding and creating intellectual genealogies

WMST UN3312 Theorizing Activism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Critical Approaches or Feminist Theory or permission of instructor.

Considering local, national, and international activist case studies through social movement theories, we work together to understand what activism looks like, the people who engage in it, how activist messages are constructed, and how visions of transformation are developed.

WMST UN3514 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions. 4 points.

This class is an introduction to the debates on women that played a dominant role in both the philosophical and literary traditions of the European/Atlantic world from the classical period through the seventeenth-century. Beginning with the works of ancient political theory that actively debated women’s political, social, and ethical position in society (chiefly Aristotle, Plato, and Plutarch), the course will address the pan-European books of “Good Women” that served as exemplary case studies, the querelle des femmes (or debate on women) that dominated political and humanist discourse of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the crucial importance of the political analogies between the household and the state and the marital and social contracts in the premodern world (and, indeed, in our own).  We will study works from ancient Greece and Rome and medieval and early modern Italy, Spain, France, England, Ethiopia and Mexico, and topics ranging from domestic violence and political resistance theory to transvestitism and lesbianism.

WMST BC3518 STUDIES IN U.S. IMPERIALISM. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 20 students.
Historical, comparative study of the cultural effects and social experiences of U.S. imperialism, with attention to race, gender and sexuality in practices of domination and struggle

WMST UN3813 COLLOQUIUM ON FEMINIST INQUIRY. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: WMST V1001 and the instructor's permission.
A practical and multi-disciplinary exploration of research methods and interpretive strategies used in feminist scholarship, focusing on larger questions about how we know what we know, and who and what knowledge is for

WMST UN3525 SEN SEM:KNWLDG PRCTCE POWER. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors.
Student-designed capstone research projects offer practical lessons about how knowledge is produced, the relationship between knowledge and power, and the application of interdisciplinary feminist methodologies

Fall 2021: WMST UN3525
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3525 001/00631 W 10:00am - 11:50am
Room TBA
Rebecca Jordan-Young 4.00 8/20

SPRING 2021

WMST BC2140 Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory. 3.00 points.

This course examines the conceptual foundations that support feminist and queer analyses of racial capitalism, security and incarceration, the politics of life and health, and colonial and postcolonial studies, among others

Spring 2021: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00646 M W 2:40pm - 3:45pm
Online Only
Marisa Solomon 3.00 59/70
Fall 2021: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00675 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Marisa Solomon 3.00 22/50

WMST BC2150 PRACTICING INTERSECTIONALITY. 3.00 points.

This introductory course for the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE) is open to all students. We focus on the critical study of social difference as an interdisciplinary practice, using texts with diverse modes of argumentation and evidence to analyze social differences as fundamentally entangled and co-produced. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this course, the professor will frequently be joined by other faculty from the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS), who bring distinct disciplinary and subject matter expertise. Some keywords for this course include hybridity, diaspora, borderlands, migration, and intersectionality

Spring 2021: WMST BC2150
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2150 001/00647 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Online Only
Manijeh Moradian 3.00 68/70
Fall 2021: WMST BC2150
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2150 001/00628 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Kimberly Springer 3.00 70/70

WMST V3312 THEORIZING ACTIVISM. 4.00 points.

Considering local, national, and international activist case studies through social movement theories, we work together to understand what activism looks like, the people who engage in it, how activist messages are constructed, and how visions of transformation are developed

Spring 2021: WMST V3312
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3312 001/00654 T Th 9:00am - 10:50am
Online Only
Kimberly Springer 4.00 12/15

WMST UN3526 Senior Seminar II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors.

Individual research in Women's Studies conducted in consultation with the instructor. The result of each research project is submitted in the form of the senior essay and presented to the seminar.

Spring 2021: WMST UN3526
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3526 001/00652 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Online Only
Elizabeth Bernstein 4 4/10

WMST BC3530 Feminist Media Theory. 4 points.

The integration of contemporary media and social practices of all types is intensifying. This seminar examines media theory and various media platforms including Language, Photography, Film, Television, Radio, Digital Video, and Computing as treated by feminists, critical race and queer theorists, and other scholars and artists working from the margins.

Spring 2021: WMST BC3530
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3530 001/00653 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Jonathan Beller 4 22/30

WMST BC3814 ACTIVISM & INQUIRY LAB A. 1.00 point.

This lab course is an optional addition to the WGSS junior colloquia courses “Theorizing Feminist Activisms” and “Feminist Inquiry”; students must take one of those courses simultaneously with this lab. The lab gives students an opportunity to gain practical experience with one or more qualitative research methods that are frequently used in feminist and gender studies. It will be particularly valuable as groundwork for senior thesis research, but all students enrolled in Theorizing Activisms or Feminist Inquiry are encouraged to take the lab to deepen their understanding of practical and ethical issues in conducting research in support of social change

Spring 2021: WMST BC3814
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3814 001/00665 F 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Online Only
Kimberly Springer 1.00 5/15

WMST GU4000 GENEALOGIES OF FEMINISM. 4.00 points.

Even before Laura Mulvey’s classic feminist essay on the “male gaze,” feminist artists and filmmakers, as well as theorists of visuality, have analyzed, critiqued and contested the association of vision with power and knowledge. Creatively reframing the gaze and subverting conventions of visual representation, they have reimagined the relationship of media technologies to embodied and social difference, and to social constructions of gender, race, class and sexuality. This course will study these theories and practices by looking at late 20th and early 21st century painting, film, television, photography, performance, activism and social media in transnational perspective

Spring 2021: WMST GU4000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4000 001/18033 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Neferti Tadiar 4.00 13/20
Fall 2021: WMST GU4000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4000 001/12727 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Marianne Hirsch 4.00 12/20

WMST BC4303 Gender, Globalization, and Empire. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 20 students.

Study of the role of gender in economic structures and social processes comprising globalization and in political practices of contemporary U.S. empire. This seminar focuses on the ways in which transformations in global political and economic structures over the last few decades including recent political developments in the U.S. have been shaped by gender, race, sexuality, religion and social movements.

Spring 2021: WMST BC4303
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4303 001/00648 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Manijeh Moradian 4 17/20

WMST GU4317 ADVANCED TOPICS. 4.00 points.

In this course, our point of departure will be the precariousness of embodied existence, in which precarity is understood as both an existential condition and as the socially uneven culmination of neoliberal political and economic trends. We will draw upon a variety of interdisciplinary literatures—including feminist, critical race, and queer studies; science and technology studies; disability studies; and medical sociology and anthropology—to consider some of the ways in which our bodies have served as both the repository and substratum of recent social transformations. Within the context of current pandemic crises relating to both public health and to myriad forms of social inequality, we will also consider appeals to the beneficence of science, technology, medicine, and the rational governance of dis-ease. What can critical histories of plagues, epidemics, and quarantines teach us about emergent forms of biopolitics? We will conclude by considering the interventions of contemporary disability and social justice activists, and the alternative possibilities that they have posited for self-care and mutual aid

Spring 2021: WMST GU4317
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4317 001/00692 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Neferti Tadiar 4.00 8/18

WMST GU4336 GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN YIDDISH LITERATURE. 4.00 points.

Early publications in Yiddish, a.k.a. the mame loshn, ‘mother tongue,’ were addressed to “women and men who are like women,” while famous Yiddish writer, Sholem Aleichem, created a myth of “three founding fathers” of modern Yiddish literature, which eliminated the existence of Yiddish women writers. As these examples indicate, gender has played a significant role in Yiddish literary power dynamics. This course will explore representation of gender and sexuality in modern Yiddish literature and film in works created by Sholem Aleichem, Sholem Asch, Fradl Shtok, Sh. An-sky, Malka Lee, Anna Margolin, Celia Dropkin, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Kadya Molodowsky, Troim Katz Handler, and Irena Klepfisz. You will also acquire skills in academic research and digital presentation of the findings as part of the Mapping Yiddish New York project that is being created at Columbia. No knowledge of Yiddish required

Spring 2021: WMST GU4336
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4336 001/00649 T Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Agnieszka Legutko 4.00 10/30

AFRS GU4321 Pandemics of Harlem. 4.00 points.

This course will be co-taught by three people who worked in Harlem in the 1990s, in the middle of “mad” plagues: AIDS, HIV, crack cocaine addiction, violence, trauma and mental illness related to violence, multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, asthma, obesity and sedentary lifestyles. The course will build on the experiences and published papers of the group, but also bring in contemporary conversations related to underlying issues of serial forced displacement, which created the context for the plagues. Conceived as a collaborative colloquium linking instructors and students across three institutions, the course will be on-line with a combination of synchronous and asynchronous work. Assignments are structured to promote collaborative learning across institutional boundaries. Conditions permitting, students from the three schools -- Barnard, The New School, BMCC -- will have the opportunity to participate in the CLIMB project, a collective recovery project in Northern Manhattan that addresses the connection between the health of people and the quality of the built environment. Jordan-Young (Barnard) will take responsibility for organizing course logistics, and all students will be given access to the Columbia Courseworks site for access to readings and other materials, discussion boards, and assignments. The instructors will rotate the role of “host”/facilitator for the modules. Synchronous sessions will use a combination of live and pre-recorded brief lectures, in-class exercises, and small group discussions. Non-Barnard instructors may opt in or out of specific assignments, and will grade the participation and assignments for their respective students. (The Barnard College students will be responsible for all assignments listed in this syllabus.) Instructors will closely collaborate throughout the semester to monitor and adjust the course, especially the processes for collaboration, as needed

Spring 2021: AFRS GU4321
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
AFRS 4321 001/00656 M Th 4:10pm - 5:25pm
Room TBA
Rebecca Jordan-Young 4.00 23/26

 Summer 2021

WMST BC3138 Affect and Activism. 4 points.

Course Description


From love to anger to disappointment to hope, political activism mobilizes emotions towards certain ends but also generates new affective states and feelings along the way. This advanced seminar will familiarize students with feminist, anti-racist and queer scholarship on affect, feelings and emotion as intrinsic to politics and as crucial for understanding how political thought and action unfold in contingent and often unexpected ways. Mixing theoretical and cultural texts with case studies, we will look at how affect permeates structures of power and domination, embodiment and identity, and collective activist projects concerned with gender and sexual liberation. Students will have an opportunity to read theories of affect as well as to “read” activist movements for affect by working with archival documents (such as zines, manifestos, and movement ephemera) and other primary sources (such as memoir, photography and documentary film).

WMST BC3512 Art/Work: Sex, Aesthetics, and Capitalism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: none

How can performances, theatrical texts, and other art/media objects illuminate the operations of gender, sexuality, and race in global capitalism? Drawing from a range of artistic media and critical traditions, we explore how aesthetic thought can help us analyze the sexual, racial, and national character of contemporary labor and life.

WMST GU4317 ADVANCED TOPICS. 4.00 points.

In this course, our point of departure will be the precariousness of embodied existence, in which precarity is understood as both an existential condition and as the socially uneven culmination of neoliberal political and economic trends. We will draw upon a variety of interdisciplinary literatures—including feminist, critical race, and queer studies; science and technology studies; disability studies; and medical sociology and anthropology—to consider some of the ways in which our bodies have served as both the repository and substratum of recent social transformations. Within the context of current pandemic crises relating to both public health and to myriad forms of social inequality, we will also consider appeals to the beneficence of science, technology, medicine, and the rational governance of dis-ease. What can critical histories of plagues, epidemics, and quarantines teach us about emergent forms of biopolitics? We will conclude by considering the interventions of contemporary disability and social justice activists, and the alternative possibilities that they have posited for self-care and mutual aid

Spring 2021: WMST GU4317
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4317 001/00692 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Neferti Tadiar 4.00 8/18

Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Courses

WMST BC Art/Work: Sex, Aesthetics, and Capitalism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: none

How can performances, theatrical texts, and other art/media objects illuminate the operations of gender, sexuality, and race in global capitalism? Drawing from a range of artistic media and critical traditions, we explore how aesthetic thought can help us analyze the sexual, racial, and national character of contemporary labor and life.

WMST BC1050 WOMEN AND HEALTH. 3.00 points.

Combines critical feminist and anti-racist analyses of medicine with current research in epidemiology and biomedicine to understand health and health disparities as co-produced by social systems and biology. (Prerequisite for Spring A course “Racism is a Pre-Existing Condition”)

WMST BC2140 Critical Approaches in Social and Cultural Theory. 3.00 points.

This course examines the conceptual foundations that support feminist and queer analyses of racial capitalism, security and incarceration, the politics of life and health, and colonial and postcolonial studies, among others

Spring 2021: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00646 M W 2:40pm - 3:45pm
Online Only
Marisa Solomon 3.00 59/70
Fall 2021: WMST BC2140
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2140 001/00675 T Th 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Marisa Solomon 3.00 22/50

WMST BC2150 PRACTICING INTERSECTIONALITY. 3.00 points.

This introductory course for the Interdisciplinary Concentration or Minor in Race and Ethnicity (ICORE/MORE) is open to all students. We focus on the critical study of social difference as an interdisciplinary practice, using texts with diverse modes of argumentation and evidence to analyze social differences as fundamentally entangled and co-produced. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of this course, the professor will frequently be joined by other faculty from the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS), who bring distinct disciplinary and subject matter expertise. Some keywords for this course include hybridity, diaspora, borderlands, migration, and intersectionality

Spring 2021: WMST BC2150
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2150 001/00647 T Th 1:10pm - 2:25pm
Online Only
Manijeh Moradian 3.00 68/70
Fall 2021: WMST BC2150
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 2150 001/00628 M W 10:10am - 11:25am
Room TBA
Kimberly Springer 3.00 70/70

WMST BC2175 Masculinities. 3 points.

This course surveys interdisciplinary studies that inquire into how masculinity is performed or embodied, as well as how "masculinity" itself poses challenges as an object of study. We will consider how, why, and when it is appropriate to study multiple masculinities and the ways they relate to each other.

WMST BC2530 Global South Women Film Directors. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL).
Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Students registering for this course are required to attend the screening and commentary on Tuesdays 6:10-8:55 pm, and lecture and discussion section on Thursdays 9:10-10:50 am. Enrollment limited to 20 students.

Globalization has both shrunk the world and broadened the impact of cultural meanings.  Drawing on women directors from Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, this course analyzes emerging aesthetics, trends and debates shaping cinemas of the Global South.  The course explores the work of key women filmmakers (from the Global South) as they forge a visual semantics in a celluloid landscape dominated by male directors.

WMST BC3117 Film and Feminism: Transnational Perspectives. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: The Visual and Performing Arts (ART).
Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Students registering for this course are required to attend the screening on Tuesdays 6:10-9:00 pm, and lecture and discussion section on Thursdays 9:00-10:50 am. Enrollment limited to 25 students.

  WMST BC3117 Film and Feminism is part of the "CCIS Critical Inquiry Lab: Theorizing Diasporic Visuality" with AFRS BC3110 Theorizing Diasporas (Instructors: Tina Campt and May Joseph). "Theorizing Diasporic Visuality," is the first CCIS Critical Inquiry Lab - an innovative series of linked courses sponsored by the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS). This year's lab links Prof. Tina Campt's (Barnard Africana/Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies [WGSS]) Africana Studies colloquium, AFRS BC3110 Theorizing Diasporas, with May Joseph's (Pratt Social Science and Cultural Studies) WGSS course, WMST BC3117 Film and Feminism. Because cinematic visuality is an increasingly powerful tool for influencing public opinion across international borders, this course will train students in essential skills in visual literacy and reading, and provide fluency in the theoretical vocabularies of Diaspora Studies and feminist film theory and analysis. The Lab will use films by and about women in the quotidian conditions of the African Diaspora to teach students how gender and racial formation are lived in diaspora, and to engage the diasporic visual practices women mobilize to represent themselves. The course is structured around a Tuesday evening film series featuring African women filmmakers and presentations by filmmakers, curators, and visual artists and seminar discussion on Thursday mornings. Students may enroll by registering for either AFRS BC3110 or WMST BC3117.

WMST BC3121 Black Women in America. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS).
Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Students must attend first day of class and admission will be decided then. Enrollment limited to 20 students.

Examines roles of black women in the U.S. as thinkers, activists and creators during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Focusing on the intellectual work, social activism and cultural expression of African American women, we examine how they understood their lives, resisted oppression and struggled to change society. We will also discuss theoretical frameworks (such as "double jeopardy," or "intersectionality") developed for the study of black women. The seminar will encourage students to pay particular attention to the diversity of black women and critical issues facing Black women today. This course is the same as AFRS BC3121 Black Women in America.

WMST BC3122 Contemporary American-Jewish Women Writers: 1990 to the Present. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA).
Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Explores the international character of the Jewish people through the experiences of Jewish women in various historical periods and contexts. Identifies issues and concerns, past and present, articulated by contemporary Jewish feminists: perspectives of secularists, observant traditional women, heterosexuals, lesbians, feminists, and activists committed to diverse political ideologies.

WMST BC3125 Pleasures and Power: An Introduction to Sexuality Studies. 3 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I).

This introduction to sexuality studies is an examination of the historical origins, social functions, and conceptual limitations of the notion of “sexuality” as a domain of human experience and a field of power relations. Sexuality is often taken to be a natural and unchanging element of individual life. In this course, we seek to examine the ways in which sex is both social and political. We will consider how sexuality has been socially constructed, paying careful attention to the ways these ideas relate to other social forces such as gender, race, and class.

WMST BC3131 Women and Science. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 18 students.

History and politics of women's involvement with science. Women's contributions to scientific discovery in various fields, accounts by women scientists, engineers, and physicians, issues of science education. Feminist critiques of biological research and of the institution of science.

Fall 2021: WMST BC3131
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3131 001/00674 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Laura Kay 4 10/18

WMST BC3132 Gendered Controversies: Women's Bodies and Global Conflicts. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I).

Investigates the significance of contemporary and historical issues of social, political, and cultural conflicts centered on women's bodies. How do such conflicts constitute women, and what do they tell us about societies, cultures, and politics? - D. Ko

Fall 2021: WMST BC3132
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3132 001/00629 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Janet Jakobsen 4 18/18

WMST BC3134 Unheard Voices: African Women's Literature. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Cultures in Comparison (CUL)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Literature (LIT).
Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 14 students.

How does one talk of women in Africa without thinking of Africa as a ‘mythic unity’? We will consider the political, racial, social and other contexts in which African women write and are written about in the context of their located lives in Africa and in the African Diaspora. This course is the same as AFRS BC3134 Unheard Voices: African Women's Literature.

WMST BC3138 Affect and Activism. 4 points.

Course Description


From love to anger to disappointment to hope, political activism mobilizes emotions towards certain ends but also generates new affective states and feelings along the way. This advanced seminar will familiarize students with feminist, anti-racist and queer scholarship on affect, feelings and emotion as intrinsic to politics and as crucial for understanding how political thought and action unfold in contingent and often unexpected ways. Mixing theoretical and cultural texts with case studies, we will look at how affect permeates structures of power and domination, embodiment and identity, and collective activist projects concerned with gender and sexual liberation. Students will have an opportunity to read theories of affect as well as to “read” activist movements for affect by working with archival documents (such as zines, manifestos, and movement ephemera) and other primary sources (such as memoir, photography and documentary film).

WMST BC3506 Memory, Childhood and Dictatorship. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Limited to 20 students.

"What is a 'normal' childhood under a dictatorship? Focusing on the last Argentine military dictatorship (1976 – 83), the seminar examines the memory of childhood experience in sociocultural, historiographic and cinematographic approaches. Topics include childhood as political subject, public policy aimed at children, children of the disappeared and everyday life.

WMST BC3509 Gender, Knowledge and Science in Modern European History. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Reason and Value (REA)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Historical Studies (HIS)., BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Ethics and Values.
Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Develops historical strategies for uncovering the significance of gender for the cultures and contents of Western science. We will consider how knowledge is produced by particular bodies in particular spaces and times.

WMST BC3510 Interpreting Bodies: Engendering the Black Body. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Students must attend first day of class and admission will be decided then. Enrollment limited to 20 students.

This course examines how the body functions as an analytic model and a process of embodiment by focusing on the black female body in particular. Looking at feminist theorizing of the black body, it explores how the black female body has been marked in particular ways and with profound effects.

WMST BC3512 Art/Work: Sex, Aesthetics, and Capitalism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: none

How can performances, theatrical texts, and other art/media objects illuminate the operations of gender, sexuality, and race in global capitalism? Drawing from a range of artistic media and critical traditions, we explore how aesthetic thought can help us analyze the sexual, racial, and national character of contemporary labor and life.

WMST BC3513 Critical Animal Studies. 4 points.

"This course collaborates between students and professor, humans and animals, subjects and objects, to investigate the Animal Problem.  What are non-human animals? How do we relate to them?  How do we account for our animal nature while reconciling our cultural aspirations?  What are our primary desires with respect to non-human animals?

WMST BC3514 HIST APPROACHES FEMINIST QUES. 4.00 points.

Comparative study of gender, race, and sexuality through specific historical, socio-cultural contexts in which these systems of power have operated. With a focus on social contexts of slavery, colonialism, and modern capitalism for the elaboration of sex-gender categories and systems across historical time

Fall 2021: WMST BC3514
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3514 001/00630 Th 11:00am - 12:10pm
Room TBA
Neferti Tadiar 4.00 20/18

WMST BC3518 STUDIES IN U.S. IMPERIALISM. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 20 students.
Historical, comparative study of the cultural effects and social experiences of U.S. imperialism, with attention to race, gender and sexuality in practices of domination and struggle

WMST BC3519 Sex Work and Sex Trafficking: Empowerment, Exploitation, and the Politics of Sex. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 15 students.

This course explores the history, politics, and social meaning of sex work. Focusing particularly but not exclusively upon prostitution, we will pay careful attention to the diverse range of social experiences which form sex work, as well as the way in which prostitution is utilized as a governing metaphor within sexual relations more generally. Some questions the course will consider:  How has sex work changed over time, and what do these changes tell us about both the nature of sex work and about the broader society? In what ways is sex work similar to or different from other forms of service labor or other types of intimate relationship? How do questions of race, class, sexuality and gender alter the meaning and experience of sex work? What sorts of desires and expectations do clients bring to interactions with sex workers, and in what ways have these shifted over time? Recent controversies concerning sex trafficking and underage prostitution will also be addressed, as will the effects of various regulatory schemes which have been developed around the world.

WMST BC3530 Feminist Media Theory. 4 points.

The integration of contemporary media and social practices of all types is intensifying. This seminar examines media theory and various media platforms including Language, Photography, Film, Television, Radio, Digital Video, and Computing as treated by feminists, critical race and queer theorists, and other scholars and artists working from the margins.

Spring 2021: WMST BC3530
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3530 001/00653 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Jonathan Beller 4 22/30

WMST BC3599 Independent Research. 3-4 points.

WMST BC3814 ACTIVISM & INQUIRY LAB A. 1.00 point.

This lab course is an optional addition to the WGSS junior colloquia courses “Theorizing Feminist Activisms” and “Feminist Inquiry”; students must take one of those courses simultaneously with this lab. The lab gives students an opportunity to gain practical experience with one or more qualitative research methods that are frequently used in feminist and gender studies. It will be particularly valuable as groundwork for senior thesis research, but all students enrolled in Theorizing Activisms or Feminist Inquiry are encouraged to take the lab to deepen their understanding of practical and ethical issues in conducting research in support of social change

Spring 2021: WMST BC3814
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3814 001/00665 F 12:00pm - 1:00pm
Online Only
Kimberly Springer 1.00 5/15

WMST BC4303 Gender, Globalization, and Empire. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 20 students.

Study of the role of gender in economic structures and social processes comprising globalization and in political practices of contemporary U.S. empire. This seminar focuses on the ways in which transformations in global political and economic structures over the last few decades including recent political developments in the U.S. have been shaped by gender, race, sexuality, religion and social movements.

Spring 2021: WMST BC4303
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4303 001/00648 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Online Only
Manijeh Moradian 4 17/20

WMST G4440 Gender and Affective Politics: Hate, Fear and Love in the MENA region. 4 points.

The course will examine how masculinities and femininities are produced, remade, expressed and negotiated through theories of materiality and affect and relate them to relevant ethnographic examples of such processes (for example masculine soundscapes and edible portraits of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on chocolate pralines). We will explore gender in relation to the multifaceted dynamic processes unfolding in North Africa in the aftermath of earlier political fluxes, as well as today’s instabilities and unrest and tomorrow’s politics. Materiality and non-discursive forces, what can be called affective politics, impact our sense of belonging and desire for comfort in times of chaos, religious and political instability. Specifically we will focus on forces of affect and the material aspects of its public manifestation—the materiality of affect—through tangible manifestations of affects of passion: hate and love: two opposed but interlinked “emotions of revolution”, as well as their sibling, fear. The same material experiences can produce materialized emotions such as love or hate depending on specific political and social positioning within the larger polity. Passion is at once a phenomenological state and an extremely fluid currency of social, political and economic transaction. The experience of passion morphs continuously, changing valence while passing from hand to hand, body to body, circumstance to circumstance.

WMST G6001 Theoretical Paradigms of Feminist Scholarship: Sex Work and Trafficking. 3 points.

Prerequisites: introductory class in gender or sexuality studies, or introduction to human rights. Instructors permission.

This seminar examines contemporary issues of sex work and trafficking into forced prostitution, with emphasis on implications for human rights and health. The class explores the use of ethnographic and social research methods in producing complex and culturally grounded descriptions of diverse combinations of work, sexuality, migration, and exploitation, globally and in the US. The seminar also considers the relationship between social research and the development of policy and interventions.    Historical background, gender theory, and current legal frameworks are also examined. Prerequisite: introductory class in gender or sexuality studies, or introduction to human rights.    *Enrollment by permission of the instructor, email instructor directly csv1@columbia.edu

WMST GR6001 THEORETICAL PARADIGMS. 4.00 points.

This course consists of in-depth engagements with recent works by leading feminist theorists and artists committed to anti-racist, anti-imperialist, activist ways of seeing, knowing, thinking and doing. Forging a participatory practice of “seeing with companions,” we will respond to the provocations posed by the course materials to go beyond critique, to reconceive feminist and queer epistemologies and pedagogies, and to imagine different ways of being in the world. We will study recent works by Ariella Azoulay, Judith Butler, Saidiya Hartman and Diana Taylor, as well as visual art works, performances, and films by Regina José Galindo, Arthur Jafa, Simone Leigh, Doris Salcedo, and Kara Walker, among others. Students will write substantial responses to the required seminar reading and other materials each week, and share the responsibility of presenting and responding to the seminar discussions. For the final assignment, initially presented in workshop form as “Introduction to Other Companions,” members of the seminar, working singly or collaboratively, will introduce the rest of us to one or more of their own “companions,” including a substantial account of a feminist theorist of visuality, embodiment or performance, and a practice of “seeing with companions.” Catalogue contribution to online exhibition, on the topic of “Seeing With Companions,” will be due on the final day of the exam period

WMST GR6165 The Sexual Difference of Psychoanalysis (Freud, Lacan, Cixous, Kofman et al.). 4 points.

Psychoanalysis makes a difference.


This difference is both at its most fragile and most flagrant when it comes to sexuality. Since its invention by Freud, psychoanalysis may be seen as a place where sexuality, the difference that it makes in respect to any other determination of the “human”—philosophical, social, historical, or scientific—as well as the difference and differences that occur with and as the sexual, can invent their own language or speak in their own voice. And it cannot be excluded that these, language, voice, and speaking, appear in the name of a criticism or refusal of the very concepts linked to “sexual difference.”


This seminar presents an occasion to read or reread some of the classical psychoanalytic texts on sex, sexuality, sexual difference, and sexuation as well as their commentaries, criticisms, or refutations.


The French contributions to this complex since the 1960s, coming from psychoanalysis as well as from philosophy and literature, have been extremely rich. Therefore, particular attention will be paid to some of these contributions.

WMST GR8001 Feminist Pedagogy. 1 point.

This is a course is oriented to graduate students who are thinking about issues in teaching in the near and distant future and want to explore forms of pedagogy. The course will ask what it means to teach “as a feminist” and will explore how to create a classroom receptive to feminist and queer methodologies and theories regardless of course theme/content. Topics include: participatory pedagogy, the role of political engagement, the gender dynamics of the classroom, modes of critical thought and disagreement. Discussions will be oriented around student interest. The course will meet 4-5 times per SEMESTER (dates TBD) and the final assignment is to develop and workshop a syllabus for a new gender/sexuality course in your field.  Because this course is required for graduate students choosing to fulfill Option 2 for the Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies at IRWGS, priority will be given to graduate students completing the certificate.

Spring 2021: WMST GR8001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 8001 001/14283 F 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Marianne Hirsch 1 19/20

WMST GR8010 Advanced Topics: Significant Others. 2 points.

What is the relationship between homoeroticism and homosociality?How does this relationship form conceptions of gender and sexuality in ways that might be historically unfamiliar and culturally or regionally specific?We pursue these questions through the lens of friendship and its relationship to ideas and expressions of desire, love, and loyalty in pre-modern times.We begin by considering the intellectual basis of the modern idea of friendship as a private, personal relationship, and trace it back to earlier times when it was often a public relationship of social and political significance.Some of these relationships were between social equals, while many were unequal forms (like patronage) that could bridge social, political or parochial differences.Thinking through the relationships and possible distinctions between erotic love, romantic love and amity (love between friends), we will draw on scholarly works from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, particularly philosophy, sociology, political theory, literature, history, and art history.We will attend to friendship’s work in constituting, maintaining and challenging various social and political orders in a variety of Asian contexts (West, Central, South and East Asian), with reference to scholarship on European contexts.Primary source materials will include philosophy, religious manuals, autobiographies, popular love stories, heroic epics, mystical poetry, mirror for princes, paintings, material objects of exchange, and architectural monuments.

WMST GR9000 IND RES IN FEMINIST SCHOLARSHP. 3.00 points.

WMST GU4000 GENEALOGIES OF FEMINISM. 4.00 points.

Even before Laura Mulvey’s classic feminist essay on the “male gaze,” feminist artists and filmmakers, as well as theorists of visuality, have analyzed, critiqued and contested the association of vision with power and knowledge. Creatively reframing the gaze and subverting conventions of visual representation, they have reimagined the relationship of media technologies to embodied and social difference, and to social constructions of gender, race, class and sexuality. This course will study these theories and practices by looking at late 20th and early 21st century painting, film, television, photography, performance, activism and social media in transnational perspective

Spring 2021: WMST GU4000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4000 001/18033 Th 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Neferti Tadiar 4.00 13/20
Fall 2021: WMST GU4000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4000 001/12727 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Room TBA
Marianne Hirsch 4.00 12/20

WMST GU4200 Temporality and Sexuality. 4 points.

If queerness, as José Muñoz put it, “exists for us as an ideality that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future,” we can ask about what comes next, what comes after the future? What queer understandings of time and place enliven the field of queer studies now? Where are we going, where have we been, what time is it and when will we get there? Temporality has become a major concern in studies of sexuality and gender in the last decade and this class sets out to explore why and with what impact? How do concerns about time and temporality rest upon assumptions about space and spatiality? How does a focus on time and temporality allow for or foreclose upon post-colonial questions of mimicry, authenticity, sequence and procession? What can a study of queer temporalities reveal about orientations, speed, embodiment, becoming, being, doing,touching, feeling, unbecoming? Finally, what does the focus on temporality allow us to think, say, see or imagine about the multiple points of intersection between race and sexuality in a global frame?

WMST GU4235 Indigenous Feminisms. 4 points.

Indigenous women, queers, trans- and Two Spirit people have been at the forefront of activism and resistance to state incursion into Indigenous lands and waters. This was evident most recently at Mauna Kea, a mountain sacred to Kanaka Maoli in Hawaii as women, trans and queer formed the first line of resistance and occupation against the construction of a 1000-meter telescope on the site. This is not unique, their voices, along with indigenous queer and feminist scholars, have been working to address issues as far-ranging as mascots, settler appropriation of indigenous cultures, missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, and the violence against indigenous urban youth. This seminar will consider how those indigenous feminist, queer, and Two Spirit scholars have theorized gender, sexuality, race, and colonialism, alongside issues of land, water and sovereignty. We will read works that consider how indigeneity challenges how gender and sexuality are expressed in the context of settler colonialism and racial capitalism.

Spring 2021: WMST GU4235
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4235 001/19145 T Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Audra Simpson 4 9/15

WMST GU4275 Medea Goes to Court. 4 points.

Medea has, like many of her Greek counterparts, proven a pivotal figure for sharply contrasting interpretations of her roles as woman, mother, wife, deity, immigrant, and murderer.  This course explores facets of Medea the character and Medea the play in light of today’s politics and with the aim of understanding the extent of Euripides’ feminism in its ancient Greek context.  How are we to judge Medea, the character and Medea the play? What do we make of the question of justice, of a woman’s honor and her claim to reason well in a culture of misogyny, both then and now?  Might Medea herself go to court in our times?  This course pursues these and many other questions in a seminar jointly taught by Patricia Dailey and Lisa Dwan. This seminar has the dual purpose of engaging in depth with the stage and literary traditions of Medea while preparing the terrain for the writing of a new Medea by Lisa Dwan and Margaret Atwood.  With this in mind, students will be readings relevant selections by Atwood (poetry, fiction, essays) to better understand Atwood’s feminism and astute portrayals of the complexity of gender in contemporary culture.

WMST GU4300 Queer Theory/ Visual Culture. 4 points.

This class will ask you to read a set of theoretical essays and social science studies in order to think deeply about sexuality, identity, desire, race, objects, relationality, being, knowing and becoming. We will consider sexuality, desire and gender not as a discrete set of bodily articulations, nor as natural expressions of coherent identities so much as part of the formulation of self that Avery Gordon names “complex personhood.” Over the course of the semester, we will explore new and old theories of queer desire alongside a history of queer cultural production.

WMST GU4302 The Second Wave and Jewish Women's Artistic Responses: 1939-1990. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 13 students.

A study of  Jewish women’s fiction, memoirs, art and film in response to the feminist/gender issues raised by the Second Wave. The seminar includes analysis of the writings and artwork of Jo Sinclair, Tillie Olsen, Judy Chicago, Helene Aylon, Elana Dykewomon, Rebecca Goldstein, E.M. Broner and others.

WMST GU4310 Contemporary American Jewish Women's Literature: 1990 to Present. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 15 students. Sophomore standing.

Identifies trends in Jewish American women's writing of this period: integration of Jewish and feminist consciousness into Jewish women's mainstream writing; exploration through fictive narratives of women's roles in Jewish orthodox communities; recording of experiences of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and from Arab countries.

WMST GU4317 ADVANCED TOPICS. 4.00 points.

In this course, our point of departure will be the precariousness of embodied existence, in which precarity is understood as both an existential condition and as the socially uneven culmination of neoliberal political and economic trends. We will draw upon a variety of interdisciplinary literatures—including feminist, critical race, and queer studies; science and technology studies; disability studies; and medical sociology and anthropology—to consider some of the ways in which our bodies have served as both the repository and substratum of recent social transformations. Within the context of current pandemic crises relating to both public health and to myriad forms of social inequality, we will also consider appeals to the beneficence of science, technology, medicine, and the rational governance of dis-ease. What can critical histories of plagues, epidemics, and quarantines teach us about emergent forms of biopolitics? We will conclude by considering the interventions of contemporary disability and social justice activists, and the alternative possibilities that they have posited for self-care and mutual aid

Spring 2021: WMST GU4317
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4317 001/00692 W 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Neferti Tadiar 4.00 8/18

WMST GU4325 Embodiment and Bodily Difference. 4 points.

At once material and symbolic, our bodies exist at the intersection of multiple competing discourses, including the juridical, the techno-scientific, and the biopolitical. In this course, we will draw upon a variety of critical interdisciplinary literatures—including feminist and queer studies, science and technology studies, and disability studies—to consider some of the ways in which the body is constituted by such discourses, and itself serves as the substratum for social relations. Among the key questions we will consider are the following: What is natural about the body? How are distinctions made between presumptively normal and pathological bodies, and between psychic and somatic experiences?  How do historical and political-economic forces shape the perception and meaning of bodily difference? And most crucially: how do bodies that are multiply constituted by competing logics of gender, race, nation, and ability offer up resistance to these and other categorizations?

WMST GU4336 GENDER AND SEXUALITY IN YIDDISH LITERATURE. 4.00 points.

Early publications in Yiddish, a.k.a. the mame loshn, ‘mother tongue,’ were addressed to “women and men who are like women,” while famous Yiddish writer, Sholem Aleichem, created a myth of “three founding fathers” of modern Yiddish literature, which eliminated the existence of Yiddish women writers. As these examples indicate, gender has played a significant role in Yiddish literary power dynamics. This course will explore representation of gender and sexuality in modern Yiddish literature and film in works created by Sholem Aleichem, Sholem Asch, Fradl Shtok, Sh. An-sky, Malka Lee, Anna Margolin, Celia Dropkin, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Kadya Molodowsky, Troim Katz Handler, and Irena Klepfisz. You will also acquire skills in academic research and digital presentation of the findings as part of the Mapping Yiddish New York project that is being created at Columbia. No knowledge of Yiddish required

Spring 2021: WMST GU4336
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4336 001/00649 T Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Agnieszka Legutko 4.00 10/30

WMST GU4350 Performing feminist activisms in Contemporary Latin America. 4 points.

This course explores different ways in which feminist artists and activists use performance to spark social change in Latin America. Using feminism and performance studies as critical lenses, this course addresses how performative actions can challenge patriarchal systems in neoliberal times. We begin the course by reviewing key texts to discuss the key terms “feminisms”, “performance” and “activisms” Then, the course turns to an examination of contemporary feminist activisms in Latin America, including the #niunamenos movement in Argentina, the 2018 feminist tsunami in Chile and the work of Mujeres Creando in Bolivia. In each session, we will discuss the performative strategies activists use to denounce, protest and resist dominant discourses of power, neoliberalism and gender violence, searching to trace connectivities and fractures among different contemporary feminist activist movements across Latin America.

WMST GU4506 Gender Justice. 3 points.

This course will provide an introduction to the concrete legal contexts in which issues of gender and justice have been articulated, disputed and hesitatingly, if not provisionally, resolved. Readings will cover issues such as Workplace Equality, Sexual Harassment, Sex Role Stereotyping, Work/Family Conflict, Marriage and Alternatives to Marriage, Compulsory Masculinity, Parenting, Domestic Violence, Reproduction and Pregnancy, Rape, Sex Work & Trafficking. Through these readings we will explore the multiple ways in which the law has contended with sexual difference, gender-based stereotypes, and the meaning of equality in domestic, transnational and international contexts. So too, we will discuss how feminist theorists have thought about sex, gender and sexuality in understanding and critiquing our legal system and its norms.

WMST OC3550 WOMEN & SOCIETY - SEX-TRADE ECONOMY. 3.00 points.

CC/GS/SEAS: Partial Fulfillment of Global Core Requirement

Prerequisites: 5 semesters of college-level French or the equivalent. This course in taught in French. Eligibility: This course is open to undergraduates, graduate students, and visiting students Based on an interdisciplinary, intersectional, subalternist and post-colonial approach, this course is a general introduction to the history, sociology and anthropology of the economy of the sex-trade in Africa, America, Asia and Europe from the early nineteenth century to today. It aims to clarify: 1) the historiographical situation by questioning and analyzing the French regulatory system and its many avatars in Europe, the United States and in the colonial world, but also questioning the backlash to this system that consisted firstly of the abolitionist (born in England in the second half of the nineteenth century) and then the prohibitionist movements; 2) The relationship between class, “race” and gender in the sex market via issues of human trafficking and sex tourism in Europe, America, Africa and Asia; 3) The socio-economic issue - and its political connections – in the economy of sex with particular attention to individuals (prostitutes versus sex workers), their voices, their legal status, and even their mobilization (rallies and demonstrations, community collectives and trade unions, political and / or literary publications), but also the many heated debates that these demands for recognition and these mobilizations have provoked in places as diverse as France, the Netherlands and India to take only three specific examples in the world covered in the course. To enroll in this course, you must apply to the Columbia Summer in Paris Program through the Center for Undergraduate Global Engagement (UGE). Tuition charges apply; scholarships available. Please note the program dates are different from the Summer Term B dates

WMST S3112D Feminist Theory: Reading the Body. 3 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to key concepts and analytical categories in Feminist Theory through a focus on "reading the body." How do we define "deviant" bodies and which bodies get to count as "normal"? How does our understanding of Nature and Culture, authenticity and artifice structure our beliefs about the body and gender, sexuality, ethnicity and race? The course will explore a range of topics, including: Racial politics and reproductive justice; Discipline, power, and the modern body; "Somatechnics," cosmetic surgery, and other forms of body modification; Gender-based violence, activism, and narratives of trauma; Diseased bodies, hysteria, and psychoanalysis; Transnational bodies and the politics of labor and migration; Queer politics, utopia and futurity. Class will be supplemented by excursions to the theater (including "Eclipsed" on Broadway) and NYC museums. This course fulfills the Feminist Theory requirement for the Columbia major in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

WMST SD Writing Women. 3 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

This course has a dual focus: to explore the work of women writers of the 18th century to the present and also to grapple with the ways in which women, gender and sexuality are written and represented in a range of literary, cultural, and historical texts. This course fulfills the elective requirement for the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality major, providing a solid introduction to key concepts and analytical categories in women's, gender, and sexuality studies. The course not only interrogates the category of "Women," but also grapples with gender in its complex intersection with other systems of power and inequality, including: sexuality, race and ethnicity, class and nation. Authors will include: Christine de Pizan, Assia Djebar, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Virginia Woolf, Marjane Satrapi, Alison Bechdel, Harriet Jacobs, Sapphire, Toni Morrison.

WMST UN1001 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies. 3 points.

An interdisciplinary introduction to key concepts and analytical categories in women's and gender studies. This course grapples with gender in its complex intersection with other systems of power and inequality, including: sexuality, race and ethnicity, class and nation. Topics include: feminisms, feminist and queer theory, commodity culture, violence, science and technology, visual cultures, work, and family.

WMST UN2340 Women, Power, and Popular Music. 3.00 points.

From blues singers to girl groups, pop divas to hip-hop icons, women are central to the histories of popular music. The musical landscape of the past century would be unrecognizable without the contributions of women including Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton, Celia Cruz, Queen Latifah, Lady Gaga, Lauryn Hill, Beyoncé, Nicki Minaj, and Cardi B. Women, Power, & Popular Music develops modes of feminist listening to a range of music, including the blues, spirituals, jazz, gospel, traditional music, pop, rock, R&B, soul, salsa, country, hip-hop, and crossover music. The course’s primary focus will be attending to sounds, words and images with an ear to themes of voice, power, presence, and representation. Students will develop a critical vocabulary and practice a variety of modes of hearing and analyzing the meanings and effects of popular music. By examining popular music in relation to intersections of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, the body, class, politics, and activism, students will examine a wide repertory of music by using a variety of analytical “sieves,” refining and enriching their musical experience as critically astute listeners and writers. The course weaves together close listening with some of the central writings on women musical artists, listening, and feminist theory through seminar-style discussion and written work. Students will develop skills in hearing popular music through critically aware ears and will reflect upon popular music and the discourse about it through close listening and viewing, discussion of assigned readings, recordings, and videos, and writing projects

WMST UN3125 Introduction to Sexuality Studies. 3 points.

This course is designed to introduce major theories sexuality, desire and identity. We will be considering the relations between the history of sexuality and the politics of gender. We will read some primary texts in gender theory, and in the study of sexuality, desire, and embodiment. This course also provides an introduction to the interdisciplinary examination of human sexual and erotic desires, orientations, and identities. We will study how desires are constructed, how they vary and remain the same in different places and times, and how they interact with other social and cultural phenomena such as government, family, popular culture, scientific inquiry, and, especially, race and class.   

Fall 2021: WMST UN3125
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3125 001/12725 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Jack Halberstam 3 90/90

WMST UN3200 Queer Theory. 4 points.

This class will ask you to read a set of novels, theoretical essays and social science studies in order to think deeply about sexuality, identity, desire, race, objects, relationality, being, knowing and becoming. We will consider sexuality, desire and gender not as a discrete set of bodily articulations, nor as natural expressions of coherent identities so much as part off the formulation of self that Avery Gordon names “complex personhood.” Beginning with a recent film from the UK that rereads queerness back through a history or labor and ending with a recent film made entirely on the iPhone and that stages queerness as part of an alternative articulation of Hollywood, we will explore new and old theories of queer desire.

Through the readings, discussions, and assignments, you will develop critical analytical skills to consider social change movements with particular attention to how sex, gender, race, class, sexuality, sexual orientation, and other systems of power shape people’s everyday lives. We will trace the intersection of histories of labor, medicine, representation and activism and we will ask difficult questions about assimilation, mainstreaming, globalization and pink capitalism.

Spring 2021: WMST UN3200
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3200 001/13834 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
Online Only
Tey Meadow 4 25/28

WMST UN3225 TRANSGENDER STUDIES - THEMES AND TOPICS. 3.00 points.

This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies. While we will read about gender variable bodies within a long historical arc, the categories of both “transsexual” and "transgender" are recent social constructions. How did the many different forms of gender variance resolve into these singular forms and what has been lost in the medical and legal narrowing of gender variance to only these forms? Can we make any connections between witches in the 17th century (often accused on the grounds of cross-gender identification), mollies and dandies in the 19th century (often marked as effeminate), inverts in the late 19th and early 20th century and later constructions that assemble under the banner of “trans*”? Many academic disciplines-- including anthropology, history, gender studies, literary studies, and gay and lesbian/queer studies--have studied transgender identities, bodies and communities, but only very recently has the field become institutionalized in the academy as a discipline "Transgender Studies." In this course we examine the ongoing development of the concept of transgender as it is situated across social, cultural, historical, medical, and political contexts. Along the way, we will try to answer some fundamental questions: when did trans* emerge as a distinct social formation? What might be the differences between the understanding of gender variance in the second half of the 20th century and formulations of the phenomena of cross-dressing and passing and transvestism in earlier periods? Is the term "transgender" applicable to non-Western and previously occurring embodiments and practices?

WMST UN3265 Queer & Trans Migration. 3.00 points.

Queer & Trans Migration places a special emphasis on queer, transgender, and gender nonbinary global migrant experiences and how these expand conceptions such as citizenship and diaspora alongside sexuality, gender, race, indigeneity and class. This course will ask: how do queer, transgender and feminist studies offer critical insights on - and inform politics regarding - issues of forced displacement, migration, citizenship, national belonging and global rights? Students will engage with ethnography, history, fiction, and digital media to explore the multi-dimensional phenomenon of (internal and transnational) queer, transgender and gender nonbinary migration. The course gives special attention to viewpoints from the global South and to New York City as a queer migrant nexus. Students will develop their expertise on course themes through their own digital ethnographic research projects, that can include observation of social media and other virtual spaces for queer, transgender, and non-binary communities in diaspora. Throughout the course, they will put their research in conversation with queer and feminist theory from interdisciplinary perspectives that draw attention to the ways migration and citizenship is entwined with sexuality, gender, race, settler colonialism, indigeneity, Blackness, and political economy. In class dialogue and readings will allow students to consider the implications of such analysis for political and cultural movements related to migration, and how these politics play out in everyday life, from language to love and desire

WMST UN3311 FEMINIST THEORY. 3.00 points.

Prerequisites: LIMITED TO 20 BY INSTRUC PERM; ATTEND FIRST CLASS
Prerequisites: LIMITED TO 20 BY INSTRUC PERM; ATTEND FIRST CLASS This course provides a theoretical itinerary to the emergence of contemporary queer theory and engagement with some contemporary legacies of the movement. The goal is not to be exhaustive nor to establish a correct history of queer theory but to engage students in the task of understanding and creating intellectual genealogies

WMST UN3312 Theorizing Activism. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Critical Approaches or Feminist Theory or permission of instructor.

Considering local, national, and international activist case studies through social movement theories, we work together to understand what activism looks like, the people who engage in it, how activist messages are constructed, and how visions of transformation are developed.

WMST UN3335 Gender and Wars: Perspectives from the Global South. 3 points.

Wars are salient features of globalization. But, how can we understand the relationship between gender and war? How do notions of masculinities and femininities operate in the organizing, waging, protesting, and commemorating war? Starting from the premise that gender is crucial to explaining what happens in national revolutionary wars, postcolonial conflicts and civil wars, peacekeeping and humanitarian interventions, and the social and personal aspects when wars come to an end; this course considers a transnational feminist analysis to reflect on the relationship between gender and militarism. It pulls together literature from different disciplinary fields to explore the gendered dimensions of wars of national liberation, armed conflicts, wartime gender based/sexual violence, politics of victimhood, anti-war activism, resistance and agency. We will pay particular attention to case studies from the global South.


The gendered analyses of war will be explored from a multi-disciplinary framework including history, anthropology, sociology, political science, international relations, philosophy, literature and film. We will utilize film, journalistic accounts, ethnographic narratives and other resources to explore the complex ways in which people, especially men and women experience and respond to wars differently. 

WMST UN3345 Reframing Gender Violence: Global Agendas. 3 points.

Over the past couple of decades, violence against women (VAW) and gender-based violence (GBV) have come to prominence as loci for activism throughout the world. Both VAW and GBV regularly garner international media attention and occupy a growing place in international law and global governance. Since 2000 alone there have been more than 25 UN protocols, instruments and conventions directed at its eradication or mitigation.  By embedding gendered violence in a complex matrix international norms, legal sanctions, and humanitarian aid, the anti-VAW movement has been able to achieve a powerful international “common sense” for defining, measuring, and attending to violence against women in developing countries, particularly during conflict and post-conflict situations. When invoked in the halls of the United Nations and used to shape international policy, the terms violence against women (VAW) and gender-based violence (GBV) are often assumed to have stable meanings; yet they do not.  What do different parties mean when they talk of violence against women or of gender-based violence?  What is left out when the problem is framed in particular ways, and whose interests are served by such framings?  Religion, culture, and ethnicity are often linked to gendered violence with entire groups pathologized. Women in conflict situations are abstracted from their local contexts while the conflicts themselves are insistently localized. The definition of VAW or GBV is narrowed to attacks on bodily integrity, with economic, political and structural forms of violence increasingly excluded from the frames.


This course will explore transnational feminist debates about gender-based violence and examine the critical concepts being developed within the scholarly literature to question this “common sense.” What are the elisions and exclusions in many common-sense understandings of these terms? Can we deepen the ways in which we engage with the manifestations and causes of such violence?


We will proceed through close readings of the texts of the key feminist thinkers, researchers, and activists who are contributing to the critical analysis of the dynamics and history of this international agenda. We pay special attention to place-based research on the applicability and deployment of particular approaches to gender-based violence as found in human rights work, humanitarianism, philanthrocapitalism, and the proliferating organizations, governmental and nongovernmental, around the world that promote girls’ and women’s rights and freedom from violence. Case studies will focus mostly on the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa.


This course is open to advanced undergraduates with preference given to WGS majors and those with previous coursework on the relevant regions. By permission, cap of 20.

WMST UN3450 Topics in Sexuality and Gender Law. 3 points.

As society shifts in its views about sexuality and gender, so too does the law.  Indeed, legal developments in this area have been among the most dynamic of the past couple of decades.  Yet law does not map easily or perfectly onto lived experience, and legal arguments do not necessarily track the arguments made in public debate.


In this seminar, we will explore the evolving jurisprudence of sexuality and gender law in a variety of areas.  Our goal throughout the semester will be to understand and think about these issues as lawyers do - with our primary focus on understanding and evaluating the arguments that can be made on both (or all) sides of any particular case, with some attention to the factors outside of the courtroom that might shape how courts approach their work.  Related to this, we will also seek to understand how and why some of the jurisprudence has changed over time.

WMST UN3514 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions. 4 points.

This class is an introduction to the debates on women that played a dominant role in both the philosophical and literary traditions of the European/Atlantic world from the classical period through the seventeenth-century. Beginning with the works of ancient political theory that actively debated women’s political, social, and ethical position in society (chiefly Aristotle, Plato, and Plutarch), the course will address the pan-European books of “Good Women” that served as exemplary case studies, the querelle des femmes (or debate on women) that dominated political and humanist discourse of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the crucial importance of the political analogies between the household and the state and the marital and social contracts in the premodern world (and, indeed, in our own).  We will study works from ancient Greece and Rome and medieval and early modern Italy, Spain, France, England, Ethiopia and Mexico, and topics ranging from domestic violence and political resistance theory to transvestitism and lesbianism.

WMST UN3521 Senior Seminar I. 4 points.

The Senior Seminar in Women's Studies offers you the opportunity to develop a capstone research paper by the end of the first semester of your senior year. Senior seminar essays take the form of a 25-page paper based on original research and characterized by an interdisciplinary approach to the study of women, sexuality, and/or gender. You must work with an individual advisor who has expertise in the area of your thesis and who can advise you on the specifics of method and content. Your grade for the semester will be determined by the instructor and the advisor. Students receiving a grade of "B+" or higher in Senior Seminar I will be invited to register for Senior Seminar II by the Instructor and the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  Senior Seminar II students will complete a senior thesis of 40-60 pages. Please note, the seminar is restricted to Columbia College and GS senior majors.

Fall 2021: WMST UN3521
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3521 001/12726 M 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Lila Abu-Lughod 4 2/10

WMST UN3522 Senior Seminar II. 4 points.

Individual research in Women's Studies conducted in consultation with the instructor. The result of each research project is submitted in the form of the senior essay and presented to the seminar.

Spring 2021: WMST UN3522
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3522 001/14285 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Online Only
Vanessa Agard-Jones 4 1/20

WMST UN3525 SEN SEM:KNWLDG PRCTCE POWER. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors.
Student-designed capstone research projects offer practical lessons about how knowledge is produced, the relationship between knowledge and power, and the application of interdisciplinary feminist methodologies

Fall 2021: WMST UN3525
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3525 001/00631 W 10:00am - 11:50am
Room TBA
Rebecca Jordan-Young 4.00 8/20

WMST UN3526 Senior Seminar II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors.

Individual research in Women's Studies conducted in consultation with the instructor. The result of each research project is submitted in the form of the senior essay and presented to the seminar.

Spring 2021: WMST UN3526
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3526 001/00652 W 6:10pm - 8:00pm
Online Only
Elizabeth Bernstein 4 4/10

WMST UN3600 THE POLITICS OF FOOD. 4 points.

Who is food for? The simple answer is that food is for everyone, yet a close look at the stories we tell reveals that, actually, food is not for everyone. In our novels, nonfiction, films and even in our manifestoes, some people eat and some provide food; some appetites must be unleashed and others, regulated and controlled; and some people—some people are food. Instead of a benign arena for the imagination and enactment of universal rights, food thus exposes “universal” “human” and “rights” as crucial and deeply contested terrains of raced and

gendered power. This economy of exchange, of consumption and deprivation, of the satiation of some bodies through devourment of others, of the invisibility of some hungers and the criminalization of some appetites, are all aspects of our founding narrative. These relations define the past and have also come to define our time. In this seminar, will explore the ways that we imagine food and narrate acts of feeding and eating as a means of examining both the historical enactments and contemporary mechanisms of power.

WMST UN3655 Gender and Public Health: Disparities, Pathways, and Policies. 3.00 points.

This seminar providea an intensive introduction to critical thinking about gender in relation to public health. We begin with a rapid immersion in social scientific approaches to thinking about gender in relation to health, and then examine diverse areas in which gendered relations of power – primarily between men and women, but also between cis- and queer individuals – shape health behaviors and health outcomes. We engage with multiple examples of how gendered social processes, in combination with other dimensions of social stratification, shape health at the population level. The overarching goal of this class is to provide a context for reading, discussion, and critical analysis to help students learn to think about gender – and, by extension, about any form of social stratification – as a driver of patterns in population health. We also attend consistently to how public health as a field is itself a domain in which gender is reproduced or contested

Spring 2021: WMST UN3655
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3655 001/13913 W 8:10am - 10:00am
Online Only
Jennifer Hirsch 3.00 11/13

WMST UN3785 Narrating Rape: Literature, Gender and Violence. 4 points.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission.

(Seminar).  Despite the fact that gender-based violence destroys the frameworks of identity and community, testimony and truth, memory and justice, rape has been a fundamental and globally pervasive literary and artistic theme and trope, often the very act that engenders representation, narrative and plot.  This seminar will explore how rape has been imaged, written and told in the face of its unspeakability and the silences surrounding it, and how the act of bearing witness can become an act of resistance, rebuilding voice, subjectivity and community.  Literary texts will be read alongside feminist theoretical work on gender-violence, embodiment, trauma, testimony and law.


Requirements: class attendance and participation, weekly one-page postings on the readings, two 8-10 page papers. 


Application instructions:E-mail Professor Marianne Hirsch (mh2349@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Narrating Rape seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course. Admitted students should register for the course; they will automatically be placed on a wait list from which the instructor will in due course admit them as spaces become available.

WMST UN3800 Feminist Listening. 3 points.

Prerequisites: HUMA UN1123

Feminist Listening: Critical and Intersectional Approaches to Popular Music develops modes of feminist listening to a variety of examples in popular music including hip-hop, pop, rock, R&B, country music, and crossover/experimental music. By examining the sonic, texted, and visual components of popular music in relation to gender, sexuality, the body, race, ethnicity, economics, and nation, students will develop a critical vocabulary for discussing and analyzing the effects and meanings of popular music as filtered by twenty-first century listeners. Through close listening, discussion of assigned readings and pieces, and analytical writing on recorded and live performances, the course will encourage students to examine a wide repertory of popular music by using a variety of intersectional analytical “sieves,” refining and enriching their experience of popular music as critically astute listeners and writers. This course is designed for students who are interested in sharpening their listening practices but does not assume previous formal study of music. The course 1) introduces the fundamental of music through exercises in listening and writing, 2) focuses on a selection of current literature on listening, theoretical approaches to music analysis, and feminist/queer criticism; 3) attunes students to the various indices of musical structure (melody, form, harmony, rhythm & meter, words, flow & groove, performance); 4) brings together these parts of music into feminist/queer, alternative hearings of specific works. COURSE

WMST UN3813 COLLOQUIUM ON FEMINIST INQUIRY. 4.00 points.

Prerequisites: WMST V1001 and the instructor's permission.
A practical and multi-disciplinary exploration of research methods and interpretive strategies used in feminist scholarship, focusing on larger questions about how we know what we know, and who and what knowledge is for

WMST UN3915 Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 15.

Prerequisites: Instructor approval required

Considers formations of gender, sexuality, and power as they circulate transnationally, as well as transnational feminist movements that have emerged to address contemporary gendered inequalities. Topics include political economy, global care chains, sexuality, sex work and trafficking, feminist politics, and human rights.

,

If it is a small world after all, how do forces of globalization shape and redefine both men’s and women’s positions as as workers and political subjects? And, if power swirls everywhere, how are transnational power dynamics reinscribed in gendered bodies? How is the body represented in discussions of the political economy of globalization? These questions will frame this course by highlighting how gender and power coalesce to impact the lives of individuals in various spaces including workplaces, the home, religious institutions, refugee camps, the government, and civil society, and human rights organizations. We will use specific sociological and anthropological case studies, to look at how various regimes of power operate to constrain individuals as well as give them new spaces for agency.This course will enable us to think transnationally, historically, and dynamically, using gender as a lens through which to critique relations of power and the ways that power informs our everyday lives and identities. 

Spring 2021: WMST UN3915
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3915 001/14284 W 10:10am - 12:00pm
602 Northwest Corner
Nimmi Gowrinathan 4 21/28

WMST V1001 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies. 3 points.

An interdisciplinary introduction to key concepts and analytical categories in women's and gender studies. This course grapples with gender in its complex intersection with other systems of power and inequality, including: sexuality, race and ethnicity, class and nation. Topics include: feminisms, feminist and queer theory, commodity culture, violence, science and technology, visual cultures, work, and family.

WMST V3112 Feminist Texts II. 0 points.

Contemporary issues in feminist thought. A review of the theoretical debates on sex roles,  feminism and socialism, psychoanalysis, language, and cultural representations

WMST V3125 Introduction to Sexuality Studies. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Sexuality is often taken to be a natural and unchanging element of individual life. In this  course, we seek to examine ways in which sex is both social and political. That is to say, sexuality has different meanings in different contexts, and it has different effects in terms of power relations within the social order. To this end, we will examine how sexuality has been socially constructed, paying careful attention to the ways these ideas relate to other social forces such as gender, race, and class. We begin with a historical examination as to how sexuality has been defined as a natural component of self by early sexologists and eugenicists, paying careful attention to their contemporary legacies. We continue this historical overview through an examination of early scholars who increasingly argued that sexuality has a social basis, culminating in the theoretical analyses of Foucault. The first part of this course thus seeks to historically situate and denaturalize some of the basic concepts we tend to take for granted, including that of “sexuality” itself. In the second part of the course, we will consider the state of sexual politics within the contemporary United States, focusing upon key arenas of political struggle including sex education, prostitution, and homosexuality.

WMST V3137 Feminist Sexual Politics in Historical Perspective. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Why, and in what ways, has sex been a central issue for feminism throughout its history?  How have feminist attitudes towards sex changed over time, and how did attitudes vary amongst feminists themselves? What connections did feminists make between sexual reform, women’s rights, and broader social, political, and economic change?  And what are the legacies of  past feminist sexual politics for the present day? This course addresses these questions by exploring the history of feminist sexual politics in Europe over the course of the “long nineteenth century,” that is, between the years 1789 and 1918, and will focus on developments in Britain, France, and Germany.  From the French Revolution to the achievement of women’s suffrage, we will examine feminists’ writings on and activism surrounding sex and sexuality to understand how definitions of “sex,” “feminism,” and “sexual politics” changed over time, and how issues of class and race shaped feminist sexual politics.  We will also analyze contradictions, tensions and continuities within diverse feminist approaches to sexuality, and assess similarities and differences amongst feminists from different national backgrounds.  Furthermore, by adopting a focus on feminism and sexuality, this course offers a unique lens on the major “world historical” events of modern European history.

WMST V3140 Race and Sexuality: Black Queers. 4 points.

Seminar.Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: the instructor's permission. Application instructions: women's and gender studies majors and concentrators should e-mail Professor Marcellus Blount (mb33@columbia.edu) with the subject heading "Race and Sexuality seminar." In your message, include basic information: your name, school, major, year of study, and relevant courses taken, along with a brief statement about why you are interested in taking the course.

This undergraduate seminar draws upon feminist, African American, and queer theories and cultural practices to explore the relations of male masculinity and queer subjectivities. We will use literature and film, primarily, to provide a critique of normative notions of the binary oppositions of "black" and "gay" that oversimplify the complex social formations that structure racial and queer representations. We will attempt to find a way into discussions of how sexuality studies can enhance discussions of race and gender within the context of African American artistic forms. Cultural theorists include Judith Butler, Jack Halberstam, Karla Holloway, bell hooks, Kobena Mercer, and Robyn Wiegman. Writers and filmmakers will come from diverse canons, including the black feminist tradition of Mae V. Cowdery, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, and Dees Rees. This course will pay particular attention to the possibility of black queer texts and critical practices with an emphasis on deconstructing black masculinity through the languages of intimacy. Artists include Melvin Dixon, Thomas Allen Harris, Essex Hemphill, Issac Julien, Randall Kenan, Richard Bruce Nugent, and Marlon Riggs. One fifteen-page essay.

WMST V3312 THEORIZING ACTIVISM. 4.00 points.

Considering local, national, and international activist case studies through social movement theories, we work together to understand what activism looks like, the people who engage in it, how activist messages are constructed, and how visions of transformation are developed

Spring 2021: WMST V3312
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3312 001/00654 T Th 9:00am - 10:50am
Online Only
Kimberly Springer 4.00 12/15

WMST V3526 Senior Seminar II. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors.

Individual research in Women's Studies conducted in consulation with the instructor. The result of each research project is submitted in the form of the senior essay and presented to the seminar.

WMST W3151 Seminar in Sexuality, Gender, Health, and Human Rights. 4 points.

Prerequisites: introductory course in human rights or sexuality/gender studies, and the instructor's permission (please request application from csv1@columbia.edu)

This seminar uses the new scholarship on sexuality to engage with ongoing theoretical conversations and activism on sexuality, rights, gender, and health. Pressed by the increasing recognition of the importance of sexuality in a wide range of rights and advocacy work (for example, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and sexual violence), theorists and advocates alike have struggled with complex, sometimes fluid and elusive nature of sexuality. What is this "sexuality" in need of rights and health? How does it manifest itself across a range of persons and cultures? And how can culturally and historically situated work about sexuality inform and improve legal and advocacy interventions? The seminar also turns a critical eye on recent scholarship, in light of current issues raised by policy interventions and advocacy in many countries and cultures. Finally, the seminar aims to promote dialogue and exchange between academic, activist, and advocacy work.

WMST W3153 Sexing Art Sound. 4 points.

Open to all majors.

This course explores sound-based creative practices as sites where gender, race, and sexuality are always, and sometimes explicitly negotiated. We will study contemporary sound art that variously speaks to inequalities in canon-formation, participates in human rights movements of the late 20th and 21st centuries, and suggests feminist and queer readings of everyday sonic praxis. Readings in feminist theory, critical theory, art history, musicology, and media studies will guide in-class discussion of artworks accessed through on-line archives and New York-based installations. We will also review artist statements, exhibition catalogues, conference programs, on-line media, and journalistic articles. The seminar will address the following questions: What role do sound-based creative practices play in re-/de-/forming raced, gendered, and sexual subjects? What is the place of activism in sound-based arts engaged with feminist and queer politics? Can sound be feminist, queer, Afrofuturist? How should theorists of race, gender, and sexuality address sound in and out of the arts?

WMST W3514 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions. 4 points.

This class is an introduction to the debates on women that played a dominant role in both the philosophical and literary traditions of the European/Atlantic world from the classical period through the seventeenth-century. Beginning with the works of ancient political theory that actively debated women’s political, social, and ethical position in society (chiefly Aristotle, Plato, and Plutarch), the course will address the pan-European books of “Good Women” that served as exemplary case studies, the querelle des femmes (or debate on women) that dominated political and humanist discourse of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the crucial importance of the political analogies between the household and the state and the marital and social contracts in the premodern world (and, indeed, in our own).  We will study works from ancient Greece and Rome and medieval and early modern Italy, Spain, France, England, Ethiopia and Mexico, and topics ranging from domestic violence and political resistance theory to transvestitism and lesbianism.

WMST W3625 Memoir and Embodiment. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Recent decades have witnessed a flood of life writing about the body, much of it by women and much of it about experiences of illness and disability.  This development represents a significant change, as autobiography has historically been reserved for the most accomplished and able-bodied among us.  Our course will study the rise of what G’ Thomas Couser calls “the some body memoir,” asking how it revises traditional autobiography as it attempts to carve out literary space for voices and bodies that have not historically been represented in public.  We will consider how these new memoirs talk back to doctors and other health care professionals who medicalize the disabled body, as well as social environments that stigmatize and exclude the ill and disabled.  We will also ask how race and gender inform stories of illness and disability, as well as investigating differences between physical and mental illness and/or disability.   Each week we will read one memoir, paired with other writings meant to prompt discuss and critical examination.  In addition to more traditional academic writing, students will also have opportunities to experiment with their own life writing.

WMST W3880 History of Sex in the 'West,' 1789-1967. 4 points.

This course explores the importance of sexuality to modern histories of North America and Western Europe, with particular emphasis on the U.S. and U.K., and secondarily Canada, Germany and France.  We will examine changing sexual cultures and their relationship to new gender norms from the late seventeenth century through the mid twentieth century.  The emergence and ascendance of concepts of gender, the self, heterosexuality and homosexuality will be examined through political, intellectual, cultural, and social history.  The course begins when new attitudes about individual privacy, equality, and freedom first took hold in ways that helped to define the “West” and “modern” attitudes about gender and sex.  We will track the continual revisions to, and contestations over, this first sexual revolution through the 1960s, when celebrations and concerns about sexual liberation, hedonism, and the “decline of virtue” came to occupy the center of cultural debates.  We will examine the ways in which the study of sexuality intersects with, and offers opportunities to re-think, other major topics in the histories of the ‘West,’ including the role of state regulation, and ideas about reproduction, racial categories, violence, pleasure and love.

WMST W3890 From Exclusion to Inclusion? Sexuality and Citizenship in American Politics. 4 points.

For much of the 20th century, the American political system excluded lesbians and gay men from full citizenship.  This course seeks to understand the political and social forces shaping the transformation of these sex nonconformists from a pariah group into a viable social movement and eventually into a powerful constituency within the Democratic Party.  Special emphasis will be placed on the state’s role in defining lesbian and gay identities, the ways in which gender and racial diversity have shaped the LGB movement, and the role that partisan electoral strategies played in ushering sexuality to the center of American political conflict.

WMST W3900 Reading and Writing (on) the Body in the Francophone Middle Ages. 3 points.

  In this course, we consider the body both as a site for textual production—the animal skin used to make medieval parchment—and as an object of representation in medieval francophone literature. How does the choice of literary genre inflect the presentation of gender? What characterized the corporeality of the medieval hero? How did writers depict themselves and the objects of their desire? When genitalia “speak for themselves,” as in some the medieval fabliaux we will read, what do they say and whose desire do they express? Which bodies are clearly gendered and why? How does bodily metamorphosis intersect with sexual transgression and other kinds of gender trouble?

WMST W3915 Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 15.

Prerequisites: Critical Approaches or the instructor's permission.

Considers formations of gender, sexuality, and power as they circulate transnationally, as well as transnational feminist movements that have emerged to address contemporary gendered inequalities. Topics include political economy, global care chains, sexuality, sex work and trafficking, feminist politics, and human rights.

WMST W3916 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions” examines issues of gender and sexuality across time and space. We explore how feminist analyses may reorient how we think about the past. We also ask how historical perspectives can bring the contingent and contextual nature of ideas about gender and sexuality into relief. We will consult both primary and secondary historical sources as well as key theoretical texts on the politics of women’s history and the history of sexuality in intersection with other forms of identity and inequality.

WMST W3922 The Jazz Age: fictional representations of Jewish-American and African-America women in the city. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

The “Roaring 20s” evokes images of jazz, the flapper, cabarets, Harlem, the bohemian life of Greenwich Village, and a time of greater freedoms for women in the US.  All of these images are associated with urban life and have clear racial, class, gender, and sexual connotations. In this course, we will be examining classic Jazz-Age Jewish-American and African-American fiction that presents "New Woman" female protagonists.   We will be tracing the differences between the representation of the Jewish-American "New Woman" and the "New Negro Woman," while discussing what these differences might signify with respect to the positionality of Jewish and black women in the US. 

WMST W3940 Queer Theories and Histories. 4 points.

This course examines a genealogy of contemporary debates in queer theory beginning with feminist debates on sexuality and power in the 1970s and moving through critical race theory, the rise of antinormativity, affect theory, and posthumanism. Will fulfill Feminist Theory requirement.

WMST W4300 Advanced Topics in Women's and Gender Studies. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

This seminar considers the family at a historical and socio-technical juncture at which its form is both remarkably flexible and deeply intractable. The course begins with an overview of sociological and feminist scholarship on the family. We then examine how developments stemming from genetic science have spurred the emergence of new reproductive technologies over the last few decades and, in turn, novel forms of procreation and affiliation. To what extent do assisted reproduction practices, such as in vitro fertilization, prenatal diagnosis, and surrogacy, offer novel ways for constituting and conceptualizing the family? Which constituencies benefit from these possibilities, which enable them, and which are constrained by them? To what extent do clinical and reproductive genetics privilege biological relatedness and, therefore, traditional gender ideologies? How is the family now simultaneously case as a source of (health) risk, a necessary resource for optimal (healthy) living, and a volitional social form? We will take up these questions against the backdrop of forms of kin-keeping sociality (family reunions, genealogy, etc.), on the one hand, and, on the other hand, "biosociality" and biological affinity. Readings include works by Cartsen, Engels, Franklin & McKinnon, Furstenberg, Nelkin, Povinelli, Katz Rothman, Strathern and Weston. 

WMST W4301 Early Jewish Women Immigrant Writers: 1900-1939. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Literature (LIT).
Enrollment limited to 15.

Prerequisites: students must attend first day of class and admission will be decided then.

Covers significant pre-Holocaust texts (including Yiddish fiction in translation) by U.S. Ashkenazi women and analyzes the tensions between upholding Jewish identity and the necessity and/or inevitability of integration and assimilation. It also examines women's quests to realize their full potential in Jewish and non-Jewish communities on both sides of the Atlantic.

WMST W4302 The Second Wave and Jewish Women's Artistic Responses: 1939-1990. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Literature (LIT).

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 13 students.

A study of  Jewish women’s fiction, memoirs, art and film in response to the feminist/gender issues raised by the Second Wave. The seminar includes analysis of the writings and artwork of Jo Sinclair, Tillie Olsen, Judy Chicago, Helene Aylon, Elana Dykewomon, Rebecca Goldstein, E.M. Broner and others.

WMST W4303 Gender, Globalization, and Empire. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Social Analysis (SOC I).

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 20 students.

Study of the role of gender in economic structures and social processes comprising globalization and in political practices of contemporary U.S. empire. This seminar focuses on the ways in which transformations in global political and economic structures over the last few decades including recent political developments in the U.S. have been shaped by gender, race, sexuality, religion and social movements.

WMST W4304 Gender and HIV/AIDS. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 15 students.

An interdisciplinary exploration of feminist approaches to HIV/AIDS with emphasis on the nexus of science and social justice.

WMST W4305 Feminist Postcolonial Theory. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Critical Approaches and/or permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to 20 students.

Examines important concerns, concepts and methodological approaches of postcolonial theory, with a focus on feminist perspectives on and strategies for the decolonization of Eurocentric knowledge-formations and practices of Western colonialism. Topics for discussion and study include orientalism, colonialism, nationalism and gender, the politics of cultural representations, subjectivity and subalternity, history, religion, and contemporary global relations of domination.

WMST W4307 Sexuality and the Law. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Because this seminar emphasizes weekly discussion and examination of the readings, enrollment is strictly limited to 20 students. Please read and follow the updated instructions: 1) Interested students must write a 50-100 word essay answering the following question: "What background, experience or expertise do you bring to the discussion of Sexuality and the Law that will help inform and challenge the other 19 students in the class?"; 2) Include the following: your name, institution you are graduating from, year of graduation, declared major, and whether you are working towards a Women's Studies major or minor; 3) Send your information and essay through email with the subject line "Barnard Sexuality & the Law"; 4) Send your email to Riya Ortiz, WS Department Assistant, at sortiz@barnard.edu no later than Wednesday, September 1, 2010. The final list of students who are registered for the course will be announced on Friday, September 3, 12 pm. Classes start on Monday, September 13. (Note: Students who have registered for the course must also submit the essay to guarantee their registration).

Explores how sexuality is defined and contested in various domains of law (Constitutional, Federal, State), how scientific theories intersect with legal discourse, and takes up considerations of these issues in family law, the military, questions of speech, citizenship rights, and at the workplace.

WMST W4308 Sexuality and Science. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Examines scientific research on human sexuality, from early sexology through contemporary studies of biology and sexual orientation, surveys of sexual behavior, and the development and testing of Viagra. How does such research incorporate, reflect, and reshape cultural ideas about sexuality? How is it useful, and for whom?

WMST W4309 Sex, Gender and Transgender Queries. 4 points.

Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 20 students.

Sex, sexual identity, and the body are produced in and through time.  “Trans” – as an identity, a set of practices, a question, a site, or as a verb of change and connection – is a relatively new term which this course will situate in theory, time, discipline, and through the study of representation.

WMST W4310 Contemporary American Jewish Women's Literature: 1990 to Present. 4 points.

BC: Fulfillment of General Education Requirement: Literature (LIT).

Prerequisites: Enrollment limited to 15 students. Sophomore standing.

Identifies trends in Jewish American women's writing of this period: integration of Jewish and feminist consciousness into Jewish women's mainstream writing; exploration through fictive narratives of women's roles in Jewish orthodox communities; recording of experiences of immigrants from the former Soviet Union and from Arab countries.

WMST W4311 Feminism and Science Studies. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Feminist Theory or permission of instructor.

Investigates socially and historically informed critiques of theoretical methods and practices of the sciences. It asks if/how feminist theoretical and political concerns make a critical contribution to science studies.

WMST W4320 Queer Theories and Histories. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 20.Not offered during 2021-22 academic year.

The course will cover a range of (mostly U.S. and mostly 20th-Century) materials that thematize gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender experience and identity. We will study fiction and autobiographical texts, historical, psychoanalytic, and sociological materials, queer theory, and films, focusing on modes of representing sexuality and on the intersections between sexuality and race, ethnicity, class, gender, and nationality. We will also investigate connections between the history of LGBT activism and current events. Authors will include Foucault, Freud, Butler, Sedgwick, Anzaldua, Moraga, Smith. Students will present, and then write up, research projects of their own choosing.

WMST W4506 Gender Justice. 3 points.

This course will provide an introduction to the concrete legal contexts in which issues of gender and justice have been articulated, disputed and hesitatingly, if not provisionally, resolved. Readings will cover issues such as Workplace Equality, Sexual Harassment, Sex Role Stereotyping, Work/Family Conflict, Marriage and Alternatives to Marriage, Compulsory Masculinity, Parenting, Domestic Violence, Reproduction and Pregnancy, Rape, Sex Work & Trafficking. Through these readings we will explore the multiple ways in which the law has contended with sexual difference, gender-based stereotypes, and the meaning of equality in domestic, transnational and international contexts. So too, we will discuss how feminist theorists have thought about sex, gender and sexuality in understanding and critiquing our legal system and its norms.For more information, go to: http://web.law.columbia.edu/gender-sexuality/faculty/katherine-franke/gender-justice.

Cross-Listed Courses

Africana Studies (Barnard)

Anthropology

Art History (Barnard)

Classics

Classics (Barnard)

Comparative Literature (Barnard)

Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race

Dance (Barnard)

East Asian Languages and Cultures

Economics (Barnard)

Economics

English (Barnard)

French (Barnard)

History

History (Barnard)

Music

Psychology (Barnard)

Religion (Barnard)

Sociology (Barnard)

Spanish and Latin American Cultures (Barnard)

Theatre (Barnard)