Uta G. Poiger
Topics vary, but always focus on ethnic group relations and nationalism viewed from a broad, comparative, interdisciplinary perspective. Emphasis is heavily cross-cultural, and the geographical coverage world-wide.
This combined seminar and public lecture series raises questions of transnationalism, nationalism, and ethnicity through exploration of the global phenomenon of the Modern Girl as it emerged it cities around the world in the early to mid 20th century. What identified Modern Girls was their use of specific commodities and their explicit eroticism. Contemporary social scientists and members of the press and the public debated whether Modern Girls were looking for not just sexual and economic emancipation but political emancipation, and whether they posed a threat to the national or colonial order. The Modern Girl provides a case study of globalization before the invention of the term. She was shaped by global commodity and cultural flows, which intersected with modern processes of gender, racial, and national formation. Studying these issues has clear implications for the present: in the current era of globalization, not only are cross-border economic and cultural flows heightened but collective aspirations to modernity continue to be imbricated in the gendered politics of nationalism, transnationalism, and ethnicity. The Modern Girl will be an analytical tool to undertake an interdisciplinary investigation of modern processes of political formation. The basic premise of the course is that it is impossible to develop an understanding of race, ethnicity, and nationalism without the analytic of gender. Each of the speakers will present research that asks to what extent the Modern Girl was/is produced through (and helped shape) colonial or neo-colonial relations, the mass media, multinational corporations, and modernist literary and the political discourses such as those of individualism, capitalism, socialism, scientific racism, and social reform.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Class assignments and grading
The requirements for the seminar include attendance at all lectures, and reading and discussing the articles/books required.
Students will be evaluated on the basis of seminar participation, involvement in the lecture series, short response papers, and an end of quarter term paper. The paper must adopt a gendered frame to questions of transnationalism, nationalism, ethnicity.