Women's and Gender Studies

Program Office: 763 Schermerhorn Extension; 212-854-3277; 212-854-7466 (fax)
http://irwgs.columbia.edu/

Director of Undergraduate Studies: Prof. Katherine Biers, 408b Philosophy Hall; 212-854-2490; klb2134@columbia.edu

Located within the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and taught in cooperation with Barnard College’s Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, the program in women's and gender studies provides students with a culturally and historically situated, theoretically diverse understanding of feminist scholarship and its contributions to the disciplines. The program introduces students to feminist discourse on the cultural and historical representation of nature, power, and the social construction of difference. It encourages students to engage in the debates regarding the ethical and political issues of equality and justice that emerge in such discussion, and links the questions of gender and sexuality to those of racial, ethnic, and other kinds of hierarchical difference.

Through sequentially organized courses in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, as well as required discipline-based courses in the humanities and social sciences, the major provides a thoroughly interdisciplinary framework, methodological training, and substantive guidance in specialized areas of research. Small classes and mentored thesis-writing give students an education that is both comprehensive and tailored to individual needs. The major culminates in a thesis-writing class, in which students undertake original research and produce advanced scholarship.

Graduates leave the program well prepared for future scholarly work in women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, as well as for careers and future training in law, public policy, social work, community organizing, journalism, and professions in which there is a need for critical and creative interdisciplinary thought.

Major in Women’s and Gender Studies

The requirements for this program were modified on September 22, 2014. Students who declared this program before this date should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the department in order to confirm their correct course of study.

Students should plan their course of study with the undergraduate director as early in their academic careers as possible. The requirements for the major are:

WMST UN1001 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies
or WMST UN3125 Introduction to Sexuality Studies
WMST UN3311 Colloquium in Feminist Theory
WMST UN3514 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions
WMST UN3521 Senior Seminar I
WMST UN3915 Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective
Six approved Elective Courses on women, gender, and/or sexuality in consultation with the director of undergraduate studies.*
*

Electives will be selected in coordination with the director of undergraduate studies to best suit students' specific interests and to provide them with the appropriate range of courses, whether their focus is ethnic studies, pre-med, pre-law, sociology, public healthy, queer studies, visual culture, literature, or another area of interest. Students are encouraged to take a broad interdisciplinary approach. The director of undergraduate studies will help students fine-tune their academic program in conjunction with IRWGS courses, cross-listed courses, and other courses offered at Columbia.


Concentration in Women’s and Gender Studies

The requirements for this program were modified on September 22, 2014. Students who declared this program before this date should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the department in order to confirm their correct course of study.

The same requirements as for the major, with the exception of WMST UN3521 Senior Seminar I.


Special Concentration for Those Majoring in Another Department

The requirements for this program were modified on September 22, 2014. Students who declared this program before this date should contact the director of undergraduate studies for the department in order to confirm their correct course of study.

WMST UN1001 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies; plus four additional approved elective courses on gender.

Fall 2017

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 2017: WMST UN3125
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3125 001/81498 M W 2:40pm - 3:55pm
Room TBA
Jack Halberstam 3 6/70

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 with be determined by IRWGS's Director of Undergraduate Studies in consultation with your advisor. Students receiving a grade of "B+" of higher in Senior Seminar I will be invited to complete Senior Seminar II in Spring 2015. Senior Seminar II students will complete a senior thesis of 40-60 pages in a course facilitated by the IRWGS Director.

Fall 2017: WMST UN3521
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3521 001/25515 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
4 0/20

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.

Fall 2017: WMST UN3785
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3785 001/25033 T 2:10pm - 4:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Marianne Hirsch 4 10/25

WMST GR6001 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

Fall 2017: WMST GR6001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 6001 001/67300 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Saidiya Hartman 3 6/25

WMST GR8010 Advanced Topics: EcoFeminism. 4 points.

The course will reconstruct the major arguments formulated by ecofeminist theorists by reading some of the major ecological treatises of the 19th and 20th centuries, and by introducing some of the questions that have preoccupied feminist philosophers in the last couple of decades. We will thus begin by inquiring into how philosophers, and later ecologists, from Schelling, Hegel and Nietzsche to Jakob von Uexküll, Simone Weil, and Gilles Deleuze, understood the earth, matter, and life on earth, before moving to discuss questions of gendered subjectivity and embodied personhood as formulated in the works of Simone de Beauvoir (selections from The Ethics of Ambiguity), Luce Irigaray (selections from The Forgetting of Air, Marine Lover) and Julia Kristeva (selections from Black Sun and Tales of Love). In this introductory part of the course we will pay special attention to how feminist thinkers developed a philosophy of elements and vegetal life in order to articulate aspects of the feminine, or what some of them also called “woman’s” subjectivity. 

Spring 2017: WMST GR8010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 8010 001/81780 T 6:10pm - 8:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Elizabeth Povinelli 4 12/20
Fall 2017: WMST GR8010
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 8010 001/75780 M 12:10pm - 2:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Branka Arsic 4 6/20

Spring 2018