Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
FACULTY ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROGRAM OF WOMEN’S, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY STUDIES
Professors Julia Adams (Sociology), Carol Armstrong (History of Art), Seyla Benhabib (Political Science, Philosophy), Jill Campbell (English), Hazel Carby (African American Studies, American Studies), Kang-i Sun Chang (East Asian Languages & Literatures), George Chauncey (History), Deborah Davis (Sociology, East Asian Studies), Kathryn Dudley (Anthropology, American Studies), Ron Eyerman (Sociology), Glenda Gilmore (History), Jacqueline Goldsby (African American Studies, English), Inderpal Grewal (American Studies, ER&M, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Dolores Hayden (School of Architecture, American Studies), Margaret Homans (English, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Marcia Inhorn (Anthropology, Global Affairs), Jennifer Klein (History), Marianne LaFrance (Psychology, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Kathryn Lofton (American Studies, Religious Studies), Mary Lui (American Studies, History), Kobena Mercer (History of Art, African American Studies), Joanne Meyerowitz (American Studies, History), Priyamvada Natarajan (Astronomy), Sally Promey (American Studies, Institute of Sacred Music), Frances Rosenbluth (Political Science), Alicia Schmidt Camacho (American Studies), William Summers (Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry), Michael Warner (English, American Studies), Laura Wexler (American Studies, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Elisabeth Wood (Political Science)
Associate Professors Crystal Feimster (African American Studies), Moira Fradinger (Comparative Literature), Zareena Grewal (American Studies, Religious Studies), Janet Henrich (School of Medicine), Deb Margolin (Adjunct) (Theater Studies), Naomi Rogers (History, History of Science, Medicine, and Public Health)
Assistant Professors Rene Almeling (Sociology), Joseph Fischel (Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Greta LaFleur (American Studies), Vida Maralani (Sociology), Dixa Ramirez (American Studies)
Senior Lecturers Geetanjali Singh Chanda (Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Becky Conekin (History), Ron Gregg (Film & Media Studies), Rebecca Tannenbaum (History), Maria Trumpler (Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies)
Lecturers Melanie Boyd (Assistant Dean of Student Affairs, Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), Ziv Eisenberg (History), Graeme Reid (Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies), George Syrimis (Hellenic Studies)
Genders and sexualities are powerful organizing forces: they shape identities and institutions, nations and economies, cultures and political systems. Careful study of gender and sexuality thus explains crucial aspects of our everyday lives on both intimate and global scales. The scholarship in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is interdisciplinary and wide-ranging, drawing on history, literature, cultural studies, social sciences, and natural science to study genders and sexualities as they intersect with race, ethnicity, class, nationality, transnational processes, disability, and religion.
Students majoring in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies take a series of core courses, develop an individual area of concentration, and write a two-term senior essay. The program encourages work that is interdisciplinary, intersectional, international, and transnational. Individual concentrations evolve along with students’ intellectual growth and academic expertise. Recent examples of concentrations include literature and queer aesthetics; transnational feminist practices; the intellectual history of civil rights activism; AIDS health policies; gender, religion, and international NGOs; women’s health; food, sexuality, and lesbian community; and gender and sexuality in early education.
Requirements of the major Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies requires twelve term courses and may be taken either as a primary major or as one of two majors. Requirements include two intermediate courses: WGSS 205 and WGSS 206. Majors are required to take both, preferably prior to the junior sequence. The major also includes one transnational perspectives course, one methodology course, courses in an area of concentration, the junior sequence, and the senior sequence. The area of concentration consists of at least five courses, the majority of which should be drawn from program offerings. Courses for the area of concentration may also fulfill the requirements in transnational perspectives and methodology. Substitutions to the major requirements may be made only with the written permission of the director of undergraduate studies.
Transnational perspectives course Ideally, each student's course work engages a broad diversity of cultural contexts, ethnicities, and global locations. Such study illuminates the links among nations, states, cultures, regions, and global locations. Most students take several classes that focus on genders and sexualities outside the U.S. context; majors are required to take at least one (not including WGSS 205).
Methodology course Given its interdisciplinary nature, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies necessarily relies on a wide range of methodologies: literary criticism, ethnography, visual analysis, historiography, and quantitative data analysis, among others. Each student is expected to acquire competence in at least one methodology relevant to his or her own concentration and planned senior essay. In preparation for the senior essay, students are advised to complete the methods requirement in the junior year.
Junior sequence The two-term junior sequence consists of WGSS 340 and WGSS 398. All students in the major must take both courses. (Individualized alternatives are found for students who study abroad during the junior year.)
Senior sequence and senior essay The two-term senior sequence consists of the Senior Colloquium (WGSS 490), in which students begin researching and writing a senior essay, followed by the Senior Essay (WGSS 491), in which students complete the essay. The senior essay is developed and written under the guidance and supervision of a WGSS-affiliated faculty member with expertise in the area of concentration. Students are expected to meet with their essay advisers on a regular basis.
REQUIREMENTS OF THE MAJOR
Number of courses 12 term courses (incl senior req)
Distribution of courses 1 transnational perspectives course; 1 methodology course; electives in area of concentration
WGSS 120a, Women, Food, and Culture Maria Trumpler
Interdisciplinary exploration of the gendering of food production, preparation, and consumption in cross-cultural perspective. Topics include agricultural practices, cooking, pasteurization, kitchen technology, food storage, home economics, hunger, anorexia, breast-feeding, meals, and ethnic identity.
WGSS 200a / AMST 135a / HIST 127a, U.S. Lesbian and Gay History George Chauncey
Introduction to the social, cultural, and political history of lesbians, gay men, and other socially constituted sexual minorities. Focus on understanding categories of sexuality in relation to shifting normative regimes, primarily in the twentieth century. The emergence of homosexuality and heterosexuality as categories of experience and identity; the changing relationship between homosexuality and transgenderism; the development of diverse lesbian and gay subcultures and their representation in popular culture; religion and sexual science; generational change and everyday life; AIDS; and gay, antigay, feminist, and queer movements.
WGSS 201b / AMST 271b / HIST 171b, Women in Modern America Joanne Meyerowitz
U.S. women's history and the history of gender from 1900 to the present. Changing meanings of femininity, masculinity, sex, gender, and sexuality; intersections of class, race, ethnicity, and gender; women's labor in industrial and postindustrial economies; women's participation in politics and social movements; trends in sexual expression, gender presentation, reproduction, child rearing, and marriage; and feminist and other gender-equity movements.
* WGSS 222b / ER&M 221b, Introduction to Critical Refugee Studies Quan Tran
Reconfiguring refugees as fluid subjects and sites of social, political, and cultural critiques. Departing from dominant understandings of refugees as victims, consideration instead of refugees as complex historical actors, made visible through processes of colonization, imperialism, war, displacement, state violence, and globalization, as well as ethical, social, legal, and political transformations. Focus on second-half of the twentieth century.
* WGSS 261a / FILM 421a / MGRK 213a, Cinema of Migration George Syrimis
Cinematic representations of the migrant experience in the past thirty years, with some emphasis on the post–Cold War period. Focus on southeastern Europe and its migrant populations. Topics include identity, gender, sexual exploitation and violence, and nationalism and ethnicity.
WR, HU Tr
* WGSS 205a, Bodies and Pleasures, Sex and Genders Kaneesha Parsard
Sexuality explored as an embodied, historical production. Focus on the dynamic, contested relationship between the concepts of gender and sexuality. Investigation of sexuality at the sites of racial difference, psychoanalysis, AIDS, transnationality, U.S. law, publicity, and politics. Ways in which pleasure, power, and inequality are unevenly imbricated. Includes occasional evening screenings.
* WGSS 206b, Globalizing Gender and Sexuality Andrew Dowe
Examination of transnational debates about gender and sexuality as they unfold in specific contexts. Gender as a category that can or cannot travel; feminist critiques of liberal rights paradigms; globalization of particular models of gender/queer advocacy; the role of NGOs in global debates about gender and sexuality.
* WGSS 340a / ENGL 357a / LITR 426a, Feminist and Queer Theory Marta Figlerowicz
Historical survey of feminist and queer theory from the Enlightenment to the present, with readings from key British, French, and American works. Focus on the foundations and development of contemporary theory. Shared intellectual origins and concepts, as well as divergences and conflicts, among different ways of approaching gender and sexuality. WR, HU
* WGSS 398b, Junior Seminar: Theory and Method Staff
An interdisciplinary approach to studying gender and sexuality. Exploration of a range of relevant theoretical frameworks and methodologies. Prepares students for the senior essay.
WR, HU, SO
* WGSS 490a or b, The Senior Colloquium Joseph Fischel
A research seminar taken during the senior year. Students with diverse research interests and experience discuss common problems and tactics in doing independent research.
* WGSS 491a or b, The Senior Essay Staff
Independent research on, and writing of, the senior essay.
* WGSS 025a / AMST 025a, The American Essay Tradition Greta LaFleur
Exploration of the American essay tradition, from some of its earliest moments to more recent iterations. Consideration of the essay as a rhetorical form, a political tool, and a literary tradition. Authors include Thomas Paine, Claudia Rankine, Benjamin Franklin, Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, Cherrie Moraga, Sherman Alexie, and Hilton Als. Students will write political essays, as well as develop competencies in literary analysis. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.
* WGSS 032b, History of Sexuality Maria Trumpler
Exploration of scientific and medical writings on sexuality over the past century. Focus on the tension between nature and culture in shaping theories, the construction of heterosexuality and homosexuality, the role of scientific studies in moral discourse, and the rise of sexology as a scientific discipline. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.
* WGSS 033a / HIST 033a, Fashion in London and Paris, 1750 to the Present Becky Conekin
Introduction to the history of Western fashion from the mid-eighteenth century to the present, with a focus on Paris and London. Approaches, methods, and theories scholars have historically employed to study fashion and dress. Enrollment limited to freshmen. Preregistration required; see under Freshman Seminar Program.
* WGSS 170a / ENGL 303a, Consciousness in the Novel from Austen to Woolf Ruth Yeazell
Close study of selected novels by Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James, and Virginia Woolf, with particular attention to the representation of consciousness and the development of free indirect discourse, as well as recent speculations about so-called theory of mind. Readings supplemented by narrative theory. Pre-1900 with permission of instructor.
* WGSS 171b / ENGL 202b / LITR 176b, Medieval Women's Writing Jessica Brantley and Ann Killian
This course explores writings by women in medieval Britain, with attention to questions of authorship, authority, and audience. Readings include the Lais of Marie de France, Ancrene Wisse, Christine de Pizan's Book of the City of Ladies, the Showings of Julian of Norwich, The Book of Margery Kempe, the Digby Mary Magdalene play, and the Paston letters.
* WGSS 209b / CLCV 216b / LITR 239b / MGRK 216b, Dionysus in Modernity George Syrimis
Modernity's fascination with the myth of Dionysus. Questions of agency, identity and community, and psychological integrity and the modern constitution of the self. Manifestations of Dionysus in literature, anthropology, and music; the Apollonian-Dionysiac dichotomy; twentieth-century variations of these themes in psychoanalysis, surrealism, and magical realism.
* WGSS 217a / ER&M 213 / GLBL 277a, Human Trafficking and Modern-Day Slavery Wendy Hesford
Drawing upon feminist and human rights theories, students will examine legally and culturally driven representations of human trafficking and modern-day slavery; the scholarly promise and limitations of the analogy between modern trafficking in humans and the slave trade of the past; and how anti-trafficking laws allow for the moral condemnation of modern-day slavery, and yet run the risk of obscuring ongoing relations of racial slavery, gendered oppression, and restrictive immigration policies.
* WGSS 220b / PLSC 220b, Women and U.S. Politics Rachel Silbermann
The role of women in current U.S. political processes and institutions. Whether American women and men differ in their political opinions and behavior. Differences in leadership between women and men as legislators, executives, and judges. Why women continue to be underrepresented as officeholders despite their voting at a rate equal to or higher than men's.
* WGSS 223a / ENGL 225a, Race and Gender in Transatlantic Literature, 1688–1818 Jill Campbell
Construction of race and gender in literatures of Great Britain, North America, and the Caribbean from the late seventeenth to the early nineteenth century. Focus on the role of literature in advancing and contesting concepts of race and gender as features of identity and systems of power, with particular attention to the circulation of goods, people, ideas, and literary works among regions. Some authors include Aphra Behn, Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, Leanora Sansay, Maria Edgeworth, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Mary Shelley. First of a two-term sequence; each term may be taken independently.
* WGSS 224b / ENGL 226b, Race and Gender in Transatlantic Literature, 1819 to the Present Margaret Homans
Construction of race and gender in literatures of Great Britain, North America, and the Caribbean from the early nineteenth century to the present. Focus on the role of literature in advancing and contesting concepts of race and gender as features of identity and systems of power, with particular attention to the circulation of goods, people, ideas, and literary works among regions. Some authors include Charlotte Bronte, Sojourner Truth, Zora Neale Hurston, Virginia Woolf, Audre Lorde, Chimimanda Adichie, and Kabe Wilson. Second of a two-term sequence; each term may be taken independently.
* WGSS 230a / ANTH 230a, Evolutionary Biology of Women's Reproductive Lives Claudia Valeggia
Evolutionary and biosocial perspectives on female reproductive lives. Physiological, ecological, and social aspects of women's development from puberty through menopause and aging, with special attention to reproductive processes such as pregnancy, birth, and lactation. Variation in female life histories in a variety of cultural and ecological settings. Examples from both traditional and modern societies.
* WGSS 241b / THST 240b, Performativity and Social Change T.L. Cowan
Exploration of the relation between gender and sexuality and activist expressive cultures. Focus on how these cultures enact social change through cultural productions, performances, and embodied activist art practices. Special attention to Canadian and United States contexts.
* WGSS 243a / MMES 253a, Gender in North Africa Zakia Salime
Study of gender in North Africa, including, law, religion, activism, sexuality, community, labor, and migration, as well as artistic expression and cultural production, with in-depth focus on North Africa as a distinctive part of the geography and history of the Middle East. Readings are interdisciplinary, combining theoretical approaches from history, sociology, anthropology, political science, media studies, and gender and feminist studies.
WGSS 272b / AMST 272b / ER&M 282b / HIST 183b, Asian American History, 1800 to the Present Mary Lui
An introduction to the history of East, South, and Southeast Asian migrations and settlement to the United States from the late eighteenth century to the present. Major themes include labor migration, community formation, U.S. imperialism, legal exclusion, racial segregation, gender and sexuality, cultural representations, and political resistance.
* WGSS 293b / CLCV 319b / HIST 242Jb / MGRK 300b, The Olympic Games, Ancient and Modern George Syrimis
Introduction to the history of the Olympic Games from antiquity to the present. The mythology of athletic events in ancient Greece and the ritual, political, and social ramifications of the actual competitions. The revival of the modern Olympic movement in 1896, the political investment of the Greek state at the time, and specific games as they illustrate the convergence of athletic cultures and sociopolitical transformations in the twentieth century.
* WGSS 300b, Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Global South Andrew Dowe
Comparative exploration of relationships between race, gender, sexuality and nation in contemporary Anglophone Caribbean and South Africa in literature, memoir, film and visual arts. Emphasis on transnational approaches to questions of identity, hybridity, citizenship, rights, migration, and visibility in interdisciplinary scholarship.
* WGSS 304a / ANTH 484a, Men, Manhood, and Masculinity Andrew Dowe
Cultural and historic constructions of masculinity explored through an investigation of male bodies, sexualities, and social interactions. Multiple masculinities; the relationship between hegemonic, nonhegemonic, and subordinate masculinities.
* WGSS 306a / AMST 314a, Gender and Transgender Greta LaFleur
Introduction to transgender studies, an emergent field that draws on gender studies, queer theory, sociology, feminist science studies, literary studies, and history. Representations of gender nonconformity in a cultural context dominated by a two-sex model of human gender differentiation. Sources include novels, autobiographies, films, and philosophy and criticism.
WGSS 315a / PSYC 342a, Psychology of Gender Marianne LaFrance
Exploration of the relationship between gender and psychological processes at individual, interpersonal, institutional, and cross-cultural levels.
* WGSS 317b / ITAL 317b / LITR 180b / RLST 335b, Women in the Middle Ages Christiana Purdy Moudarres
Medieval understandings of womanhood examined through analysis of writings by and/or about women, from antiquity through the Middle Ages. Introduction to the premodern Western canon and assessment of the role that women played in its construction.
* WGSS 324b, Transgender Cultural Production T.L. Cowan
Introduction to Trans- Studies, with focus on transfeminist cultural production in the United States and Canada. Exploration of key theoretical texts; activist histories and archives; and wide range of expressive cultures, including film and video, performance, spoken word, memoir, blogging, and other new media.
* WGSS 325a / ER&M 324a, Asian Diasporas since 1800 Quan Tran
Examination of the diverse historical and contemporary experiences of people from East, South, and Southeast Asian ancestry living in the Americas, Australia, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Organized thematically and comparative in scope, topics include labor migrations, community formations, chain migrations, transnational connections, intergenerational dynamics, interracial and ethnic relations, popular cultures, and return migrations.
* WGSS 348a / AMST 353a / HIST 160Ja, Selected Topics in Lesbian and Gay History George Chauncey
Readings and discussions focus on recent studies of twentieth-century queer family life, religion, migration, race, urban politics, state regulation, and sexual culture in the United States, and help frame research questions for students to pursue in Yale's archival collections. Attention to methodology and the craft of historical writing.
* WGSS 358a / MMES 336a, Middle East Uprisings Zakia Salime
Understanding Middle East politics in light of the 2011 uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East, particularly the genealogy of political protests, occupations, and wars in the region. How the 2011 uprisings are classed, sexed, and gendered while considering the encounters of state and non-state actors during these uprisings. SO
* WGSS 372a, Theory and Politics of Sexual Consent Joseph Fischel
Political, legal, and feminist theory and critiques of the concept of sexual consent. Topics such as sex work, nonnormative sex, and sex across age differences explored through film, autobiography, literature, queer commentary, and legal theory. U.S. and Connecticut legal cases regarding sexual violence and assault.
* WGSS 373a / AFST 380a / PLSC 402a, Gender, Sexuality, and Human Rights in Africa Lyn Ossome
Interrogation of the powerful role of human rights as an organizing discourse and hegemonic order through examination of shifting state sovereignties; political economy of human rights in Africa and beyond, with a focus on the dialectical relationships between access to resources, political power, and global capitalism; identity politics and policing of identities through human rights; liberal democratic regimes; institutionalization of human rights; and the emancipatory potential of human rights.
* WGSS 380a / AMST 402a / ANTH 302a / FILM 324a, Gender and Sexuality in Media and Popular Culture Laura Wexler and T.L. Cowan
Investigation of visual media and popular culture in the United States and transnationally. Gender, race, class, and sexuality in relation to the production, circulation, consumption, and reception of media culture. Focus on theories of media and the visual. Significant lab component in which students use media technologies to make and illustrate theoretical arguments.
* WGSS 383a, Critical Disability Studies T.L. Cowan
Exploration of feminist, queer, critical race, and disability studies in the emergent field of crip theory, through various manifestations of cyborg politics and "posthuman performative." Consideration of the politicization of disability; the ways that all beings are assisted in their capacity to live; the condition of assistance; interspecial assistances and co-operations; military and medical technologies that enhance ability in the disabled; and the possibilities and limitations of cyborg theory for radical crip politics. Prerequisite: at least one WGSS course or equivalent suggested.
WGSS 405a / EALL 211a / LITR 174a, Women and Literature in Traditional China Kang-i Sun Chang
A study of major women writers in traditional China, as well as representations of women by male authors. The power of women's writing; women and material culture; women in exile; courtesans; Taoist and Buddhist nuns; widow poets; cross-dressing women; the female body and its metaphors; footbinding; notions of love and death; the aesthetics of illness; women and revolution; poetry clubs; the function of memory in women's literature; problems of gender and genre. All readings in translation; no knowledge of Chinese required. Some Chinese texts provided for students who read Chinese. Formerly CHNS 201.
* WGSS 410b / AFAM 410b / AMST 310b, Interdisciplinary Approaches to African American Studies Heather Vermeulen
An interdisciplinary, thematic approach to the study of race, nation, and ethnicity in the African diaspora. Topics include class, gender, color, and sexuality; the dynamics of reform, Pan-Africanism, neocolonialism, and contemporary black nationalism. Use of a broad range of methodologies.
WR, HU, SO
* WGSS 431a / ANTH 451a, Intersectionality and Women’s Health Marcia Inhorn
The intersections of race, class, gender, and other axes of “difference” and their effects on women’s health, primarily in the contemporary United States. Recent feminist approaches to intersectionality and multiplicity of oppressions theory. Ways in which anthropologists studying women’s health issues have contributed to social and feminist theory at the intersections of race, class, and gender.
* WGSS 440a / ENGL 420a, Midcentury Queer Writing Michael Warner
Covering the period after modernism (Stein, Woolf, Proust) and before Stonewall, this course traces the literature of queerness in a time when it was not yet stabilized by lesbian and gay identity. Readings include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama, on both sides of the Atlantic. Major authors include Isherwood, Auden, Genet, Highsmith, Jane Bowles, Burroughs, Ginsberg, O’Hara, Bishop, Nabokov, Baldwin, Vidal, and Orton.
* WGSS 443a / THST 448a, Dancing Desire, Gender, and Sexuality in Embodied Performance Jessica Berson
Exploration of how contemporary embodied performances construct and reflect gendered and sexual identities. Students work with a broad definition of embodied performance that includes examples from social, popular, and concert dance; performance art; music videos; film and television; and devised performance. At least one course in either Theater Studies or Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
* WGSS 448a / HIST 177Ja / HSHM 448a, American Medicine and the Cold War Naomi Rogers
The social, cultural, and political history of American medicine from 1945 to 1960. The defeat of national health insurance; racism in health care; patient activism; the role of gender in defining medical professionalism and family health; the rise of atomic medicine; McCarthyism in medicine; and the polio vaccine trials and the making of science journalism. WR, HU
* WGSS 461a / AMST 450a / ER&M 430a, Islam in the American Imagination Zareena Grewal
The representation of Muslims in the United States and abroad throughout the twentieth century. The place of Islam in the American imagination; intersections between concerns of race and citizenship in the United States and foreign policies directed toward the Middle East.
* WGSS 466b / PSYC 414b, Gender Images: A Psychological Perspective Marianne LaFrance
The nature and psychological impact of exposure to visual images that portray various dimensions of gender, such as sex differences and sexuality, in various media, including advertising, television, film, and Facebook. How to empirically decode gender images in contemporary media as well as assess their range of influences. The overall aim is to understand how visual representations of gender affect psychological identity and well-being.
* WGSS 471a or b, Independent Directed Study Staff
For students who wish to explore an aspect of women's, gender, and sexuality studies not covered by existing courses. The course may be used for research or directed readings and should include one lengthy or several short essays. Students meet with their adviser regularly. To apply for admission, students present a prospectus to the director of undergraduate studies along with a letter of support from the adviser. The prospectus must include a description of the research area, a core bibliography, and the expected sequence and scope of written assignments.