Wangechi Mutu, Indurated Ulcers of the Cervix, 2005 Collage on found medical illustration paper

Feminism and Sexuality

The Barnard Center for Research on Women
3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

In 1989, Catherine MacKinnon wrote, “Male dominance is sexual. Meaning: men in particular, if not men alone, sexualize hierarchy; gender is one. As much a sexual theory of gender as a gendered theory of sex, this is the theory of sexuality that has grown out of consciousness raising in the women’s movement.” Around the same period, Judith Butler was critiquing the unintelligibility of the sex/gender distinction and Gayle Rubin’s monumental work “Thinking Sex,” exploring the oppressive dimensions of sexuality, was being reprinted. Clearly feminist perspectives on sexuality diverge, especially in relation to biology, politics, socialization, idea-construction, and intersectionality.

This four-week course investigates contemporary approaches to studying women, gender and sexuality in history and across geographies, and will survey the particular challenges of studying these issues in different local, transnational and global contexts. Chief among our inquiries: according to feminists, in what ways are gender and sexuality constructed, and how are they interlaced with other forms of oppression (patriarchy, heteronormativity, capitalism, empire, and race) and identification (gender, sexual orientation, class, ethnicity, and citizenship)? Reading selections from the above authors as well as from Elizabeth Grosz, Kumari Jayawardena, Leila Ahmed, Patricia Hill Collins, Sheila Jeffreys, and others, we’ll explore the development of feminist writings on sexuality, identifying individual strands and shifting perspectives which have subsequently emerged on the gendering of bodies, spaces, nations, and peoples.

Course Schedule

Monday, 6:30-9:30pm
October 17 — November 14, 2016
4 weeks

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