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Upcoming Courses: Spring 2019

*"Special Crosslist" courses are now referred to as "Special Contract" courses.  The website is in transition.

ANTH 303 Biopolitics in Medical Anthropology (Sweis) Special Contract WGGV
MW 3:00-4:15 pm
This advanced anthropology course examines the intersections of culture, politics and medicine from a variety of theoretical and scholarly approaches. Students will study conceptualizations of the body, health, healing, illness and personhood from a global and transhistorical perspective. Student will also learn the various methods anthropologists use to understand these conceptualizations. With a strong emphasis on state and transnational processes, the readings focus on how biology and politics—or biopolitics—converge in a myriad of ways to shape intimate human experience, past and present.
Topics covered in class include: the history and culture of modern western biomedicine; religious perspectives of the body; organ donation, trafficking and transplantation; sex, gender and reproductive technologies; relations between illness, disease and racial inequality; poverty and social suffering; the global politics of HIV AIDS, Ebola and other infectious diseases; medical humanitarianism and human rights; capitalism and the pharmaceutical industry; the local effects of contemporary legal healthcare regimes.

ANTH 379 ST: Bringing Human Rights Home (French/Erkulwater) WGSS
TR 12:00-1:15 pm
Current anthropological work focuses on the way human rights concepts and institutions are mobilized in particular political struggles in various parts of the world. In this course, we apply this framework to analyzing the politics of selected public policies in the United States. Through our case studies, we will consider questions such as: In whose interests are human rights deployed, why, and under what circumstances? Is the concept of human rights about freedom, and if so, what kind of freedom? Is capitalism or liberal democracy essential or inimical to human rights? Possible case studies for spring 2019 include deinstitutionalization and disability rights, mass incarceration, labor and immigration policy, and gun control policy.

CLSC 207 Greek Magic (Laskaris)Special Contract WGSS
MW 9:00-10:15 am
FSHT
Exploration of magic as a means to understanding and affecting the natural world. Major topics include erotic magic, dreams and divination, ritual purification, sacred plants, and healing.

ENG 370 ST: Politics, Social Change, and Modern Drama (Outka) Special Contract WGSS
T 3:00-5:40 pm
This course will explore the development of modern drama from Ibsen’s ground-breaking naturalism, to abstract modernist rebellions, and finally to contemporary drama’s new variations. We will consider how playwrights alter the dramatic form—and to what end—and what distinguishes the theater from other artistic endeavors. Throughout the semester, we will return to the question of social reform and the theater, asking how different playwrights saw their work in relation to, and even as a remedy for, various social, political, and cultural concerns. We will explore the performative elements of the plays we read by holding in-class readings, producing a written scene study, “casting” different plays, attending live performances, and analyzing videotaped productions. Writers may include Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, Bertolt Brecht, Eugene O’Neill, Samuel Beckett, Lorraine Hansberry, Caryl Churchill, Wole Soyinka, Harold Pinter, August Wilson, Nilo Cruz, Lynn Nottage, Moises Kaufman, Lisa Kron, and Paula Vogel.

ENGL 376 Modern Literary Theory. Queer, Feminist, Post Humanist Literary Theory (Snaza) WGFQ
MW 10:30-11:45 am
The emergence of literary studies as a discipline with its own methodologies and theoretical underpinnings is a relatively recent development, with beginnings in the early twentieth century. After a brief overview of ancient conceptions of literature, we turn to the study of Russian Formalism and American New Criticism, which set about putting literary studies on an equally rigorous foundation with scientific disciplines of the day. We then survey a range of approaches to the study of literature that followed from mid-century on, most of which had origins in other disciplines. These schools or critical theories include Feminism and Marxism, Structuralism (influenced by linguistics and anthropology), Reader-Response criticism (from German philosophy) Deconstruction (from French philosophy), Psychoanalysis (from Freud and other psychologists), and New Historicism and Postcolonial criticism (both blending Marxism and post-structuralism). This is a course that emphasizes the analysis of theoretical texts (many of which are quite difficult) more than practical, applied criticism, though we spend time both reading and writing criticism of literary texts as well.
Prerequisites: One unit of 300-level English with a grade of C or better.

HIST 199-09/10 Scottsboro Trials (Yellin) WGGV
TR 10:30-11:45 am; 1:30-2:45 pm
FSHT
This course's goal is to use an important event in United States history—the Scottsboro Trials of the 1930s—as a means to introduce students to the historian’s craft. It satisfies the FSHT general education requirement. As a WGSS elective, the course's focus on a case in which nine black men were accused of raping two white women in Alabama in 1931 involves historical examination of the intersections of race, gender, and class in the United States. Study of the internationally famous case's legal, social, and cultural meanings reveals how these social categories have operated as markers of identity and sources of social disruption and protest.

HIST 399 ST: Sex, Gender, and the Family in Modern Europe (Kahn) WGGV
TR 3:00-4:15pm
An exploration of how ideas about sex, gender, and the family have changed over time, from the 18th through 21st centuries. Topics include: marriage, motherhood, and family life; sexual violence in war and empire; eugenics, biopolitics, and fascism; the policing of prostitution and pornography; the 1960s sexual revolution; the relationship between migration and sexuality; and new approaches to studying gay, lesbian, and queer identities. Focuses on Modern Europe and its global interactions.

HIST 400 The United States in the Long 1960s (Sackley) WGKP
M 3-5:40 pm
This research seminar focuses on the United States during the “long 1960s” (1954-1973), one of the most turbulent and consequential eras in US and global history. Delving into recent scholarship on the period, students will be introduced to a range of approaches and methods, including political, cultural, gender, urban, digital, and diplomatic history. The seminar will visit local archives and emphasize the use of archival sources.

LDST 361 Sex, Power, & Politics (Lee) WGHP
T 6:00-8:40 pm
This course explores the historical landscape as it intersects with issues regarding sex, power, and politics. We begin with documentary evidence, the General Assembly of Virginia’s legislation in 1662 regarding enslaved women, reproduction rights, and race. Following a survey of key historical moments, the course concludes with an exploration of current issues and those who are deemed powerless, those who wield power and those who challenge power.

PLSC 379-01 ST: Bringing Human Rights Home (Erkulwater/French) WGSS
TR 12:00-1:15 pm
Current anthropological work focuses on the way human rights concepts and institutions are mobilized in particular political struggles in various parts of the world. In this course, we apply this framework to analyzing the politics of selected public policies in the United States. Through our case studies, we will consider questions such as: In whose interests are human rights deployed, why, and under what circumstances? Is the concept of human rights about freedom, and if so, what kind of freedom? Is capitalism or liberal democracy essential or inimical to human rights? Possible case studies for spring 2019 include deinstitutionalization and disability rights, mass incarceration, labor and immigration policy, and gun control policy.

PLSC 379-02 ST: Critical Race Theory (Simpson) WGFQ
R 10:30-1:10 pm
In the mid-1970s, Prof. Derrick Bell of Harvard University Law School began to write provocative and challenging scholarship on the origins, nature, and mechanisms of racism. Driven by the idea that racism is embedded in law, culture, and society, early writings focused on the analyses of legal cases to demonstrate how systems are designed to maintain white supremacy. Over the next 30 years, scholarship exploring the basic tenets of Critical Race Theory (CRT) flourished. While scholarship in the field has waned a bit, the theoretical power of these ideas is expanding. In fact, with the events of the last several years, police shootings of unarmed Black people, anti-immigration laws and strident racial rhetoric, and a keen awareness of the prevalence of sexual abuse and assault, call for the kind of critical analyses offered by CRT.

RELG 210 Sex & Salvation: 19th Century America (Winiarski) WGSS
TR 10:30-11:45 am
FSHT
Course about alternative/sectarian/utopian religious movements in nineteenth-century American and the challenges that presented to mainstream Victorian models of gender, sexuality, and the family.

RHCS 105 Media, Culture, and Identity (Tilton) Special Contract WGKP
MW 12:00-1:15 pm; TR 12:00-1:15 pm
FSSA
Basic theoretical frameworks and concepts in media studies. Through close analysis of a variety of texts including, but not limited to, films, music, television programs, newspapers, magazines, and websites, explores the ways in which culture is produced and consumed. Case studies and other examples will provide entry points into thinking about how culture shapes and also is informed by individual and collective identities.

RHCS 295 Doing Histories and Theories (Mifsud) Special Contract WGKP
TR 3:00-4:15 pm
This methods course focuses on history and theory writing in the study of rhetoric. Students will read histories of rhetorical theory and explore a variety of approaches to doing history and theory in general, and in rhetorical studies in particular. Assignments, in addition to reading and class participation, will focus on student presentation, essay writing, examination, and research preparation.

RHCS 353 Rhetoric and Law (Mifsud) WGSS
TR 12:00-1:30 pm
Inquiry into the law from rhetorical perspectives, using the history and theory of rhetoric and its long-standing association with law and justice. Examination of interpretive processes on which legal arguments and ideologies are based. Exploration of the language of legal argument, court decisions, and of the role of rhetoric and the law in shaping of public life and social justice.

RHCS 412-02 ST: Philosophy of Communication (Towns) WGFQ
MW 1:30-2:45 pm
This class is designed to do two things: first, it seeks to introduce you to some of the key theories of the philosophy of communication; and second, it seeks to show you some of the holes in these theories so that you may better think critically about theory. At the end of this course, students will be able to identify philosophical theories of communication and apply them to contemporary cultural contexts of racialization. Doing so facilitates critical thinking, while also allowing students to recognize that neither philosophy nor communication studies are fields without criticism. Instead, rather than disciplines, philosophy and communication studies are better thought about as processes with material implications, which we will seek to investigate throughout this semester.

SOC 379-01 ST: The Life and Times of Malcolm X (Husain) WGSS
MW 10:30-11:45 am
In this course, you will follow Malcolm X through his individual life, but also the times in which he lived. So this class is not only (or even mostly) biographical. The goal is to think about Malcolm X as a unique case study to understand a series of large scale shifts and contexts of the twentieth century with regard to race, global capitalism, class, gender, sexuality, war, social movements, religion, decolonization, and more. Malcolm X’s life takes us through each of these. He is shaped by specific contexts, and he has in turn shaped his contexts as a very influential figure of his time. His influence has not dissipated, so we will also explore his contemporary legacy.

SOC 379-03 ST: Sociology of Sexualities (Grollman) WGFQ
TR 1:30-2:45 pm
Advanced course serving as an introduction to the sociological study of sexualities. Draws from a social constructionist perspective to understand how sexuality is shaped, influenced, and regulated by society in general, as well as within particular social institutions. Examines how sexuality serves as organizing principles in society. Also draws on feminist and queer theoretical frameworks to explore diversity sexualities, particularly at their intersections with sex, gender, race, ethnicity, and social class.
Prerequisites: Sociology 211 or 221 with a grade of C- or better.

THTR 312 ST: Growing up in Civil Rights RVA: A Documentary Theater Project (Herrera/Browder) WGHP
T 3:00-5:40
This course will focus on the experiences of children and teenagers who came of age during the fifties, sixties and seventies in Richmond; we will use their oral history narratives of sitting in, marching, and integrating schools to anchor this course. We will be working closely with the programming and people connected to the exhibition Growing Up in Civil Rights Richmond: A Community Remembers, which will be on view at the Harnett Museum all semester. Since many Armstrong High School alums are featured in the exhibition, we will also work with students in the Armstrong Leadership Program to create theater vignettes that interpret the past, present and future of youth activism in Richmond.

THTR 321 History of Apparel (Stegmeir) Special Contract WGSS
MW 9:00-10:15 am
Designed to give students a recognition/understanding of the evolution of clothing from the ancients to the 21st century. Beginning with the physiological and psychological reasons for clothing. Includes focus on the relationship of fashion to the social and political issues of the time period.

THTR 370 Staging Gender (Holland) WGFQ
WF 1:30-2:45 pm
Study of selected plays and theatre productions with a focus on the representations of gender and gender relations. Readings in feminist, gender, and queer theory provide critical frameworks for analyzing representations of gender as well as representations of race and class as they intersect with gender. Culminates in a staged reading of a play. Prerequisites: Theatre 205 or Permission of the Instructor.

WGSS 200 Introduction to Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies (McWhorter/Simpson)
MW 1:30-2:45 pm; 4:30-5:45 pm; T 1:30-4:10 pm
FSSA
An introduction to the broad, interdisciplinary field of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Special attention will be paid to the meaning and history of the terms "gender" and "sexuality" and to the political movements mobilized around those terms. Students will read both contemporary and historical materials and both primary and secondary sources. No Prerequisite. 1 unit.

WGSS 201 WILL* Colloquium: Gender, Race, and Activism (Blake & Ooten)
MW 3:00-4:15 pm
This course explores the link between knowledge/power and between theory/practice by examining and applying foundational terms and concepts central to social justice work. Prerequisite: WILL* Program. 1 unit.

WGSS 279-01 ST: Feminist Theory (Skerrett) WGFQ
TR 10:30-11:45 am

WGSS 279-02 ST: Women’s Health (Nonterah) WGSS
TR 12:00-1:15 pm
Several physiological, social and psychological factors contribute to a woman’s health. This introductory course seeks to provide broad knowledge of the physical and mental health concerns of women using a biological, historical, cultural, economic, psychological and political framework. Course material will highlight historical events such as the role of feminism in shaping the women’s health movement, the impact of public policy on women’s health and research related to women’s health concerns. A specific emphasis will be on women’s reproductive health and reproductive rights by exploring the impact of laws, practices and belief systems that influence women’s decision making about having children, birth control and abortion. Discussions will also focus on the association between women’s role in society and different forms of sexual violence such as rape and sexual harassment. The influence of lifestyle choices and the health behaviors of women (e.g., nutrition, weight management and substance use) as well as medical conditions (e.g., cardiovascular disease and cancer) and mental health disorders (e.g., eating disorders and depression) prevalent among women will be addressed. The experiences of women from marginalized groups (e.g., racial/ethnic minorities, sexual minorities) will be highlighted throughout the course.

WGSS 301 WILL* Senior Seminar (Blake)
W 12:00-1:15 pm
This community based learning course enables students to connect WGSS theory and praxis, a central tenet of the WILL* program, and reflect on their WGSS learning. Prerequisite: WILL* Program. .5 units.

WGSS 379-01 ST: Race in Feminist and Queer Thought (McWhorter) WGFQ
MW 10:30-11:45 am
Racial identities and racial injustice loom large in US and world history. Feminist and queer theorists and activists have grappled with race as lived experience, site of conflicts, and changing concept throughout the histories of their movements. How have they done so? What have they had to say? This course will examine the writings of Black, Latinx, Asian, and white feminists and queer thinkers from the 1960s to the present. Authors considered will include Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, Marilyn Frye, Maria Lugones, Angela Davis, and many others. Students will have an opportunity to do independent research in an area of their choice related to the course subject matter. Seminar format.

WGSS 379-02 ST: Human Rights: A Feminist Perspective (Bergoffen) WGGV
R 1:30-4:10 pm
This course will examine the ideas expressed in human rights documents, practices and cases from a feminist perspective. It is framed by the question: In what ways have the ideals and promises of human rights achieved justice for women? In what ways have they failed women? Examining the major documents of the human rights movement it becomes clear that human rights principles are formulated in response to violence and invoked as a protest against it. The American and French human rights declarations called out the abuse of an absolute monarch's power. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights assailed the atrocities of the Holocaust. The South African Constitution called out the terrors of apartheid. The International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) confronted the horror of genocidal rape. Each of these human rights affirmations force us to examine the threat that different types of violence pose to our humanity. Taking note of the ways that appeals to human rights are intended to foster the idea that despite our gender, sex, religious, race, ethnic and national differences we belong to a shared human community, we will address the criticisms of those who argue that by protecting the humanity of some at the expense of others they reinforce the injustices of the status quo.

WGSS 379-03 “MANNING THE RACE”: Cultures of Black Manhood and Masculinity in the U.S. (Walker) WGSS
W 12:00-2:30 pm
“All debates and claims to ‘authentic’ African-American identity are largely animated by a profound anxiety about the status specifically of African American masculinity.” This claim by literary scholar and critic Phillip Brian Harper underscores the social, cultural, political and intellectual significance of the ever changing cultures of Black manhood and masculinity in African American and American culture. This course will critically examine the cultures of Black manhood and masculinity in the United States by critically interrogating the contests and conquests of Black manhood and masculinity and the cultural, ideological, and political investments and interventions influenced by representations and realities of Black men in American society. The course will explore the complex histories of Black manhood and cultures of Black masculinity in relation to evolving racial, gender, class, and sexual formations in the United Sates. Particular attention will be given to how artists, activists, and intellectuals challenge and seek to disrupt dominant racist and essentialist narratives of Black manhood and masculinity by constructing and deploying narratives and counter-narratives in advancing alternative discourses of race and racial identity as well as alternative ideas and ideologies of the nation and political citizenship. The course will revisit key thinkers, pivotal movements, and critical cultural and political formations to assess how and in what ways various ideological tendencies have influenced formulations and articulations of Black manhood and masculinity.

WGSS 379 -04 Philosophy of Communication (Towns) WGFQ
MW 1:30-2:45 pm
This class is designed to do two things: first, it seeks to introduce you to some of the key theories of the philosophy of communication; and second, it seeks to show you some of the holes in these theories so that you may better think critically about theory. At the end of this course, students will be able to identify philosophical theories of communication and apply them to contemporary cultural contexts of racialization. Doing so facilitates critical thinking, while also allowing students to recognize that neither philosophy nor communication studies are fields without criticism. Instead, rather than disciplines, philosophy and communication studies are better thought about as processes with material implications, which we will seek to investigate throughout this semester.

WGSS 490 Capstone- Race in Feminist and Queer Thought (McWhorter) WGFQ
MW 10:30 -11:45 am
Racial identities and racial injustice loom large in US and world history. Feminist and queer theorists and activists have grappled with race as lived experience, site of conflicts, and changing concept throughout the histories of their movements. How have they done so? What have they had to say? This course will examine the writings of Black, Latinx, Asian, and white feminists and queer thinkers from the 1960s to the present. Authors considered will include Audre Lorde, Gloria Anzaldua, Marilyn Frye, Maria Lugones, Angela Davis, and many others. Students will have an opportunity to do independent research in an area of their choice related to the course subject matter. Seminar format. Prerequisites: WGSS Major/Minor, 1 unit.

*WGSS courses are open to all students regardless of major. Some courses listed may have specific prerequisites, but you should always check with the professor if you are interested. Please contact the program coordinator, Dr. Mari Lee Mifsud with any questions.

**NOTE: Courses designated as "Special Contract" carry WGSS credit only if students make a contract with the professor at the beginning of the semester to do work specific to the WGSS component of the course. Interested students should consult with the professor within the first couple of weeks of class to complete paperwork for WGSS credit.

Updated 10/22/2018