Jessica A. Johnson
Exploration of various topics and issues relevant to the study of gender, women, and sexuality.
This course explores connections between the gendered politics of national security and counterinsurgency post-9/11, an unending “global war on terror,” and fluctuating processes of a transnational economy driven by neoliberal policies, industrial outsourcing, and the corporatizing of public services. Students will be introduced to feminist, anthropological, and cultural studies scholarship that investigates how everyday projects of military conscription, both within and outside the United States, shape and complicate hegemonic notions of masculinity, femininity, and the roles of fathers and mothers in defending the stability of family and nation against threats both “domestic” and “foreign.” We begin by investigating how war making has become a way of American life with cultural, economic, and social ramifications. Our readings then move into an examination of how women and men participate as “citizen-soldiers” in distinct geo-political militarized zones during combat operations, through sexualized labor practices, and in acts of spiritual warfare that include prayer, charitable giving, community policing, and individualized metrics of moral accounting. This course approaches the study of militarization as it affects how gender dynamics are performed, negotiated, and embodied in relation to rights and practices of citizenship as well as intersecting processes of identity formation such as race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion, class, and national belonging.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This course is organized as a discussion 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. 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 assignments, which include analyses of readings and films, a take home mid-term exam, and a final research paper.
Class assignments and grading