This advanced seminar addresses some of the many meanings and manifestations of “gender performance” in literature and popular culture. Primary sources include a wide variety of media -- novels, plays, poems, films, magazines and cartoons. Sample sources: works by William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Elizabeth Bishop, Sarah Waters, David Henry Hwang, Diane DiMassa, Ian Iqbal Rashid; films such as Osama, The Ballad of Little Jo, Tootsie; postcards, Playboy, Ms. Magazine, news articles and advertisements. Primary material will be balanced with careful consideration of work in areas such as feminist theory, identity politics, queer and performance theory. The course is divided into distinct theme-based units, e.g. transvestism, gender identity, etiquette, beauty and the body, regulation of the household, violence, maternity, the trans community. Cross-listed with English. PREREQUISITES: Third or Fourth-year standing in Gender Studies or SXGD or permission of the Department.
The seminar will address the ways in which the history of colonialism and transatlantic slavery anticipated contemporary struggles over identity, place, and politics. Texts and discussions will explore how promises of modernity—specifically freedom embodied and articulated as reason, progress, liberal democracy, civility—are underwritten by particular racial-sexual unfreedoms that, paradoxically, bolster facile feminist, queer, and anti-racist emancipatory projects that thrive on accumulation, authenticity and practices of violence and exclusion. Central to and amidst the paradoxes of modernity, exclusion, emancipation, will be texts and discussions that draw attention to the creative, intellectual, and alternative emancipatory strategies of subaltern communities.
The seminar is reading and theory intensive and assumes a strong knowledge of contemporary feminist theory and key debates in anti-racist and queer theories.
Key texts will (tentatively) include the work of: Sara Ahmed, Jasbir Puar, Scott Morgensen, Christina Sharpe, Trish Salah, Judith Halberstam, Toni Morrison, Judith Butler, Sylvia Wynter, Dionne Brand, Andrea Smith, Kara Walker, Nicholas Mirzoeff, Paul D Miller (DJ Spooky), Lil Kim, A Tribe Called Red, MIA.