Fall Term

WS 9459A Professional Development
Tuedays 10:30-1:30 pm
Instructor: Wendy Pearson
Location: Stevenson Hall 1119

This course is intended to assist graduate students in Women's Studies and Feminist Research with their professional development. The emphasis will be on developing practical skills for being successful as a graduate student, including developing pedagogical skills as a teaching assistant, scholarship application writing, cv development, abstract writing and submission, conference presentations, and publishing in journals and edited collections. While the majority of the emphasis will be on academic skills, there will be at least one class on non-academic grant writing and alternative career pathways.

WS 9533A What’s love got to do with it?: A survey of feminist thinking about romance, children, and the family
(please note the switch in terms to Fall)  

Wendesday 10:30-1:30 
Instructor: Samantha Brennan
Location: New location - UCC 54A

This seminar will start with an investigation of feminist criticisms of marriage, the family, motherhood, and the very idea of romantic love.We’ll move on to a discussion of alternatives such as polyamory, marriage contracts, queer parenting, intentional communities, platonic co-parenting, etc.Readings include Elizabeth Brake, Claudia Card, Shulamith Firestone, Laura Kipnis, Maggie Gallagher, Carrie Jenkins, and Patricia Hill Collins.

WS 9550A Feminist Theory
Thursdays 1:00-4:00
Instructor: Susan Knabe
Location: Stevenson Hall 3166

This course will analyze feminist theoretical approaches providing students with an understanding of the fundamental questions at stake in each. We will consider epistemological perspectives as well as the intersections of feminist theories with other theoretical approaches such as queer theory and critical race theory. The implications of feminist theory for academic research will be addressed throughout. This course is restricted to WSFR graduate students.

WS 9586A Queer and Transgender Studies
Mondays 10:30-1:30 pm
Instructor: Wayne Martino
Location: Stevenson Hall 1155

This course examines the work of significant queer and trans theorists/activists. Students will be invited to examine the significance of various queer and trans theoretical perspectives and accounts in light of reflecting on both their own ‘personal’ experiences and representations of gender and sexuality in the popular culture. Attention will be given to the political significance and destabilization of certain sexual, genderqueer and transgender identities, with some focus on the significance of embodiment. Central to the course is engaging with debates about the political efficacy of queer theory and the questions of gender democratization raised by key trans theorists and activists. Various tensions are examined, but the overall focus of the course is on encouraging students to generate their own explanations of the queer and trans theories to which they are introduced, and to reflect on both their significance and application in everyday life and in specific clinical and educational settings.

Winter Term

WS 9458B Critical Race Theory (please note term change to Winter)
Wednesdays 10:30-1:30  
Instructor: Erica Lawson
Location: Weldon library 259 

This course is a critical engagement with race, ethnicity, and racism as they arise, broadly, in feminism and feminist scholarship. Through historical and contemporary readings in feminism and race, the course addresses these fundamental questions: How did race and racism shape early feminist aspirations? What points of differences, similarities, and contestations did these movements engender? What are their legacies in contemporary feminist projects? How did patriarchal and racist systems come about – who benefits from them and at whose expense? How do intersectional identities both challenge and enrich feminist discourse and practice? And how do existing material realities of sexism and racism trouble celebratory ‘post-feminist/racial’ discourses? We will address these questions, especially, but not exclusively in areas such as law, media, sexuality, imperialist projects, and the “war on terror” as we consider the possibilities for stronger feminist and anti-racist collaborations.

WS 9464B- Feminist Methodologies
Thursdays 1:00-4:00
Intructor Jessica Polzer
Location: Stevenson Hall 3166
This course will review feminist research methodologies from a variety of disciplinary traditions and theoretical perspectives. Through readings and assignments, a primary objective of this course will be to examine and articulate distinctions and relationships between epistemology, methodology and methods. Through guided practices of critical reflection, students will be able to articulate the assumptions that underlie and inform various feminist research methodologies and understand their implications for research methodology. Emphasis will also be placed on specific methodological issues that span across this range, and will include, for example: ethical issues, researcher reflexivity and positionality, sampling, and the practices and politics of data collection, interpretation and reporting.

WS 9523B Contemporary Art and the Process of Witnessing (Cross-listed with Visual Arts)
Monday 2:30-5:30
Instructor: Joy James
Location: VAC 247
This graduate seminar will provide an opportunity to address specific exhibitions and works of art in relation to historical and contemporary ideas regarding processes of witnessing, notions of subjectivity, and an ethics of difference.

WS 9592B Gender and Development: Theory, Practice, Advocacy
Tuesday 1:30-4:30
Instructor: Bipasha Baruah
Location: Stevenson Hall 1119
This course seeks to provide an introduction to ‘gender and development’ as a domain of theory, practice, advocacy and interaction. The course is informed by the needs and interests of future ‘practitioners,’ i.e. students who hope to engage in research, project design and implementation, policy analysis, advocacy and/or networking in the ‘gender and development’ field or a closely related domain. To best serve the needs of such students, a few lectures of the course are devoted to providing students with a historical perspective on the evolution of the theory and practice of gender and development discourse, and rest of the course focuses almost exclusively on key contemporary and emerging gender issues and debates. Students who do not intend to work as gender and development ‘practitioners,’ but who want to acquire an up-to-date understanding of the field are welcome in the course, which is open to all graduate students with an interest in the contemporary theory and practice of gender and development.

WS 9575 A/B Directed Reading Course (Half Course)
The directed reading course is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member, and is taken only with permission of the Chair of Graduate Studies. Normally, only PhD students are permitted to take a directed reading course.

WS 9599B Independent Research Project (Full Course)
September 2017 - August 2018 
The Independent Research Project is only available to MA students.

WS 9585 Scholarly Practicum (Full or Half Course)

The Scholarly Practicum course is designed to provide students with an opportunity to receive academic credit for experiential learning. It could involve a community placement, an internship or an applied project. Students must have their practicum approved by submitting a written proposal describing the activity and the benefit of it to the student's current program of study and future goals to the graduate chair at least two months (longer if ethics approval is required) before the its commencement. Within one month after the completion of the practicum, a report must be submitted to the graduate chair. The course will be graded on a pass/fail basis. It is normally open only to doctoral students.

Courses Offered in Other Departments 2017 - 2018

Enrollment in these courses is dependent on availability. This course list is updated regularly from June 1 to June 30. Students may get special permission to take a course not listed on the WSFR website in consultation with the graduate chair. 


HIS 9803A Critical Moments in Women’s and Gender History
Professor: Katherine McKenna
September - December 2017
Wednesdays 1:30-4:30 pm - New time!
Location: LH 2270C

This course will focus on some critical moments in women’s and gender history primarily in the history of North America/Europe, but also in other parts of the world. Key themes will be the evolution of women’s/gender history over time, how history changes when we look outside of the political history of male elites, debates about historical periodization and interpretation, whether women’s status has progressed or regressed over time, how women have been viewed historically in colonized states and debates over sexuality. Students will be given the opportunity to write an essay which will explore a topic in women’s/gender history of their choice.


Survey of Feminist Philosophy 
Professor Carolyn Mcleod
January to April
Thursdays 11:30-2:30pm 

Location: Stevenson Hall 1145

This course provides a survey of different areas of feminist philosophy, including (though not necessarily limited to) feminist metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, philosophy of language, and political philosophy. The course also covers core concepts in feminist philosophy, such as oppression, privilege, and intersectionality.

Centre for Theory and Criticism

TC 9538B Feminist Phenomenology
Professor: Helen Fielding
Friday 10am-1pm
Location: TBA

Although feminist phenomenology has roots going back to the first half of the twentieth century it has only relatively recently been identified as a body of thinking as such. Although many of the tenets of feminist phenomenology—a focus on embodiment and the account of context, limits and history—were central to feminist theorizing and methodologies in the latter half of the twentieth century, some feminists approached phenomenology with caution since it was discredited for privileging the transcendental subject and ego understood as cognition that surpasses the sensible world, the world of experience. As the locus of reason, the transcendental subject was also identified as the neutral white European privileged male subject. Nonetheless, some feminists were reluctant to give up on phenomenology altogether because it was the one methodology that provided a robust account of embodied living experience, which was a central starting point for many feminist analyses. In this course we will trace some of the earlier roots of feminist phenomenology such as the work of Beauvoir, and even Arendt who did not consider herself a feminist as such, as well as place the movement within its contemporary dynamic emerging—with a number of new publications in this area which we will draw upon. This will mean situating this intellectual movement in relation to the poststructuralist feminist tradition with which it is allied (Irigaray, Butler), and material feminism with which it critically intersects (Barad, Bennet). We will also consider its intersections with sexuality, race and disability. Ultimately, we will critically explore how Feminist phenomenology can open up an interrelational ontology, offering not only the account of embodied experience for which it is usually recognized, but also the ways in which embodied perception underlies the production of knowledge and grounds politics and ethics.

Visual Arts

VAH 9561A/9661A: Race & Gender in the Americas
Professor: Charles Cody Barteet
Tuesday, 11:30-2:30
Location: VAC 148

This course explores how the visual arts were used to document and present racial and gender concerns during the pre-modern era in North and South America. We begin by establishing a theoretical framework for exploring gender and race. Next, we examine specific studies, beginning with conceptions of gender and race among some pre-contact Indigenous cultures in comparison to select European cultural traditions. From, here shift our focus to the colonial era by considering the cultural conceptions and stereotypes developed about colonial peoples, whether European, Indigenous, or African. As such we will be considering how women, Amerindians, and African peoples were represented in and how they affected pre-modern art production in the Colonial Americas, whether as subjects, creators, patrons, etc.