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 V3125 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 2016

WMST UN3514 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions. 4 points.

This class is an introduction to the debates on women that played a dominant role in both the philosophical and literary traditions of the European/Atlantic world from the classical period through the seventeenth-century. Beginning with the works of ancient political theory that actively debated women’s political, social, and ethical position in society (chiefly Aristotle, Plato, and Plutarch), the course will address the pan-European books of “Good Women” that served as exemplary case studies, the querelle des femmes (or debate on women) that dominated political and humanist discourse of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the crucial importance of the political analogies between the household and the state and the marital and social contracts in the premodern world (and, indeed, in our own).  We will study works from ancient Greece and Rome and medieval and early modern Italy, Spain, France, England, Ethiopia and Mexico, and topics ranging from domestic violence and political resistance theory to transvestitism and lesbianism.

Spring 2017: WMST UN3514
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3514 001/24623 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Julie Crawford 4 16/20

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
Room TBA
4 0/20

WMST UN3525 Senior Seminar: Knowledge, Practice, Power. 4 points.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Enrollment limited to senior majors.

The Senior Seminar in WGSS offers you the opportunity to develop a capstone research project during the first semester of your senior year. The capstone project may be freestanding, or, with permission of the instructor, may be continued during the spring semester as a Senior Thesis.  The capstone project must be based on original research and involve 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 project and who can advise you on the specifics of method and content. Your grade for the semester with be determined by the Senior Seminar instructor in consultation with your advisor.

Fall 2017: WMST UN3525
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3525 001/08939 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
Janet Jakobsen 4 14

WMST UN3200 Queer Theory. 4 points.

This class will ask you to read a set of novels, theoretical essays and social science studies in order to think deeply about sexuality, identity, desire, race, objects, relationality, being, knowing and becoming. We will consider sexuality, desire and gender not as a discrete set of bodily articulations, nor as natural expressions of coherent identities so much as part off the formulation of self that Avery Gordon names “complex personhood.” Beginning with a recent film from the UK that rereads queerness back through a history or labor and ending with a recent film made entirely on the iPhone and that stages queerness as part of an alternative articulation of Hollywood, we will explore new and old theories of queer desire.

Through the readings, discussions, and assignments, you will develop critical analytical skills to consider social change movements with particular attention to how sex, gender, race, class, sexuality, sexual orientation, and other systems of power shape people’s everyday lives. We will trace the intersection of histories of labor, medicine, representation and activism and we will ask difficult questions about assimilation, mainstreaming, globalization and pink capitalism.

WMST UN3600 THE POLITICS OF FOOD. 4 points.

Who is food for? The simple answer is that food is for everyone, yet a close look at the stories we tell reveals that, actually, food is not for everyone. In our novels, nonfiction, films and even in our manifestoes, some people eat and some provide food; some appetites must be unleashed and others, regulated and controlled; and some people—some people are food. Instead of a benign arena for the imagination and enactment of universal rights, food thus exposes “universal” “human” and “rights” as crucial and deeply contested terrains of raced and

gendered power. This economy of exchange, of consumption and deprivation, of the satiation of some bodies through devourment of others, of the invisibility of some hungers and the criminalization of some appetites, are all aspects of our founding narrative. These relations define the past and have also come to define our time. In this seminar, will explore the ways that we imagine food and narrate acts of feeding and eating as a means of examining both the historical enactments and contemporary mechanisms of power.

WMST UN3915 Gender and Power in Transnational Perspective. 4 points.

Enrollment limited to 15.

Prerequisites: Critical Approaches or the instructor's permission.

Considers formations of gender, sexuality, and power as they circulate transnationally, as well as transnational feminist movements that have emerged to address contemporary gendered inequalities. Topics include political economy, global care chains, sexuality, sex work and trafficking, feminist politics, and human rights.

Fall 2017: WMST UN3915
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3915 001/02432 W 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Room TBA
4 33/25

WMST GU4000 Genealogies of Feminism. 4 points.

Please contact the Department for course description for this seminar

Spring 2017: WMST GU4000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4000 001/72270 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Marianne Hirsch 4 18/20

WMST GU4200 Temporality and Sexuality. 4 points.

If queerness, as José Muñoz put it, “exists for us as an ideality that can be distilled from the past and used to imagine a future,” we can ask about what comes next, what comes after the future? What queer understandings of time and place enliven the field of queer studies now? Where are we going, where have we been, what time is it and when will we get there? Temporality has become a major concern in studies of sexuality and gender in the last decade and this class sets out to explore why and with what impact? How do concerns about time and temporality rest upon assumptions about space and spatiality? How does a focus on time and temporality allow for or foreclose upon post-colonial questions of mimicry, authenticity, sequence and procession? What can a study of queer temporalities reveal about orientations, speed, embodiment, becoming, being, doing,touching, feeling, unbecoming? Finally, what does the focus on temporality allow us to think, say, see or imagine about the multiple points of intersection between race and sexuality in a global frame?

Spring 2017

WMST UN1001 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies. 3 points.

An interdisciplinary introduction to key concepts and analytical categories in women's and gender studies. This course grapples with gender in its complex intersection with other systems of power and inequality, including: sexuality, race and ethnicity, class and nation. Topics include: feminisms, feminist and queer theory, commodity culture, violence, science and technology, visual cultures, work, and family.

Spring 2017: WMST UN1001
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 1001 001/63865 T Th 11:40am - 12:55pm
405 Milbank Hall
Laura Ciolkowski, Alexander Pittman 3 62/91

WMST UN3514 Historical Approaches to Feminist Questions. 4 points.

This class is an introduction to the debates on women that played a dominant role in both the philosophical and literary traditions of the European/Atlantic world from the classical period through the seventeenth-century. Beginning with the works of ancient political theory that actively debated women’s political, social, and ethical position in society (chiefly Aristotle, Plato, and Plutarch), the course will address the pan-European books of “Good Women” that served as exemplary case studies, the querelle des femmes (or debate on women) that dominated political and humanist discourse of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the crucial importance of the political analogies between the household and the state and the marital and social contracts in the premodern world (and, indeed, in our own).  We will study works from ancient Greece and Rome and medieval and early modern Italy, Spain, France, England, Ethiopia and Mexico, and topics ranging from domestic violence and political resistance theory to transvestitism and lesbianism.

Spring 2017: WMST UN3514
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3514 001/24623 W 2:10pm - 4:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Julie Crawford 4 16/20

WMST UN3522 Senior Seminar II. 4 points.

Individual research in Women's Studies conducted in consultation with the instructor. The result of each research project is submitted in the form of the senior essay and presented to the seminar.

Spring 2017: WMST UN3522
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3522 001/74854 W 8:00am - 10:00am
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Patricia Dailey 4 2/20

WMST GU4000 Genealogies of Feminism. 4 points.

Please contact the Department for course description for this seminar

Spring 2017: WMST GU4000
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 4000 001/72270 T 4:10pm - 6:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Marianne Hirsch 4 18/20

WMST UN3800 Feminist Listening. 3 points.

Feminist Listening: Critical and Intersectional Approaches to Popular Music develops modes of feminist listening to a variety of examples in popular music including hip-hop, pop, rock, R&B, country music, and crossover/experimental music. By examining the sonic, texted, and visual components of popular music in relation to gender, sexuality, the body, race, ethnicity, economics, and nation, students will develop a critical vocabulary for discussing and analyzing the effects and meanings of popular music as filtered by twenty-first century listeners. Through close listening, discussion of assigned readings and pieces, and analytical writing on recorded and live performances, the course will encourage students to examine a wide repertory of popular music by using a variety of intersectional analytical “sieves,” refining and enriching their experience of popular music as critically astute listeners and writers. This course is designed for students who are interested in sharpening their listening practices but does not assume previous formal study of music. The course 1) introduces the fundamental of music through exercises in listening and writing, 2) focuses on a selection of current literature on listening, theoretical approaches to music analysis, and feminist/queer criticism; 3) attunes students to the various indices of musical structure (melody, form, harmony, rhythm & meter, words, flow & groove, performance); 4) brings together these parts of music into feminist/queer, alternative hearings of specific works. COURSE

Spring 2017: WMST UN3800
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3800 001/78530 Th 2:10pm - 4:00pm
754 Ext Schermerhorn Hall
Ellie Hisama 3 12/20

WMST UN3311 Colloquium in Feminist Theory. 4 points.

Prerequisites: LIMITED TO 20 BY INSTRUC PERM; ATTEND FIRST CLASS

An exploration of the relationship between new feminist theory and feminist practice, both within the academy and in the realm of political organizing.

Spring 2017: WMST UN3311
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3311 001/03612 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
404 Barnard Hall
Tina Campt 4 26
Fall 2017: WMST UN3311
Course Number Section/Call Number Times/Location Instructor Points Enrollment
WMST 3311 001/03462 T 10:10am - 12:00pm
Room TBA
Tina Campt 4 16/25