This course offers an introduction to the critical study of gender in a transnational world, emphasizing gender’s imbrications with race, class, sexuality, and ability. The course will investigate several sites for the production of gendered bodies, identities, and discourses including histories of Western science and the emergence of sexual and racial difference; the invention of the modern nation-state; nationalism, colonialism and imperialism; the invention of sexuality and race in modernity; activism within and beyond identity politics; visual culture, technology, and media representation; and contemporary processes of globalization, war, and displacement. The course will provide students with methods for critiquing a binary and ahistorical conception of gender, as they will learn how gender is produced in historically and culturally specific ways and acquire a multidisciplinary understanding of how ideologies of nationalism, state institutions, legal frameworks, and cultural productions are active producers of gendered bodies.
Further, the course emphasizes a transnational approach to women and gender studies, insisting that gender cannot be understood alone but is rather part of a larger constellation that includes histories of colonialism, contemporary globalization, transnational mobilities, and capitalist production and consumption. Students will learn the skills to become critical participants in their contemporary world, and critical readers of the variety of legal, medical, cultural, and political texts they engage with on an everyday basis.