Jessica A. Johnson
Delineation and analysis of a specific problem or related problems in anthropology. Offered occasionally by visitors or resident faculty.
This course approaches gender and sexuality as social, cultural, political, and material processes of subject formation intersecting with race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, and class. The primary aim of this course is to ask how our understandings and performances of gender and sexuality are shaped by and trouble notions of “the norm,” definitions of community, and discourses of national belonging.
Throughout the quarter, we will examine ethnographic texts that challenge normative, stabilized categories of masculinity/femininity, male/female, and gay/straight, as well as strict boundaries of community and nation that are increasingly in flux given dynamics of globalization and transnational political economy. In our theoretical readings, we will investigate how gender and sexual identities are constituted and represented through institutional discourses produced via the courts, church, marriage, family, media, and medicine.
Another focus of our analysis is to examine how bodies are disciplined and managed not only according to regulatory systems of power and technologies of surveillance but also by those who “queer” or flout standards of sexual morality and gender conformity in order to survive.
Finally, we will inquire as to how trends in gay rights activism and U.S. identity politics are impacting the national and global futures of “the gay community.” We will consider whether and how there is the potential for coalitional politics to bridge a spectrum of issues that affect the lives of those who may not consider themselves members of said “gay community” and yet also struggle for rights and protection in the United States and abroad.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This course is organized as a seminar with in-class writing prompts and small group work leading into large group discussions. Each week, we will establish key terms and examine course topics through theoretical, ethnographic, and visual texts.
Class assignments and grading
Thoughtful contribution to class discussions is a key component of your grade. Close reading and critical assessment of the assigned texts are necessary to complete the required written work, which includes three short journaling assignments (2-3 pages) and a final project/presentation.
Class Participation 20% Journaling Assignments 30% Final Project/Presentation 50%