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2011-2012 Course Offerings


WS 9550A Feminist Theory (required course)
Professor Susan Knabe

September - December 2011
Friday 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Somerville House 3307
Course outline

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 theintersections 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 9560B Researching Lived Experience - Feminist Methodologies
Professor Katherine McKenna

January - April 2012
Thursday 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Location: Alumni Hall 101
Course outline

This course will provide an overview of a variety of feminist research methodologies with a focus on the Social Sciences, both quantitative and qualitative. Guest lecturers from a broad variety of disciplines will demonstrate the different forms and common themes of feminist research. Questions such as the following will be raised: How do factors such as class, gender, race and ethnicity affect research? Should political change be the goal of feminist research or should it be primarily deconstruction and analysis? Are some methodologies more "feminist" than others? Students will be required to complete a major assignment in which they pick a topic of interest and suggest at least three different research methodologies that could be used to investigate that topic.


WS 9565A Feminist Theory and Methods in the Arts and Humanities
Professor Tracy Isaacs

September - December 2011
Thursday 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Location: Somerville House 3315
Course outline

This course will explore how different feminist theoretical and methodological approaches inform research and practice in the disparate disciplines which comprise the Arts and Humanities. Experts in each field will provide insight into the way these theoretical and methodological approaches have been taken in relation to research or practices in the visual arts, philosophy, literature, cultural studies and theatre and performance. Particular attention will focus on the interdisciplinary nature of feminist contributions to these fields through an exploration of the productive intersections and tensions between and among different theoretical and methodological approaches in the Arts and Humanities, including, but not limited to, performance theory, poststructuralist theory, queer theory and post-colonial theory.


WS 9586B Queer Theory
Professor Wendy Pearson

January - April 2012
Monday 12:30 - 3:30 p.m.
Location: Lawson Hall 2210
Course outline

This course will address the historical development of queer theory and its relationship to both feminist theory and lesbian and gay studies. The focus, however, will be primarily on contemporary approaches to queer theory, which may include such topics as gender identity and trans issues; intersectionality (with race, ethnicity, class, etc.); queer theory's relationship to more recent theoretical formations, such as fat studies and "crip" theory; Marxism and queer theory; queer globalization and queer diasporas; the critique of homonormativity; the study of queer kinship, queer families and the queer child; queer liberalism; queer critiques of war and/on terrorism; human rights; and responses to discourses of citizenship, migration and asylum-seeking.


WS 9561B Feminism, Health and Biopolitics
Professor Jessica Polzer

January - April 2012
Friday 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Location: Alumni Hall 101
Course outline

How do developments in biotechnology and genetics (re)situate various parts of the female body as sites for surveillance, control, and resistance? How are biotechnologies implicated in the disciplining of the female body and in the governance of populations? This interdisciplinary course draws on studies in biopolitics and feminism to critically explore and question the politics of health in the 21st century. Emphasis will be placed on analysis of current developments in biotechnology and genetics in order to explore, from a feminist perspective, their ethical, legal, social and political implications.


WS 9540B Women and Employment: Discrimination and Equality Policy in Canada
Professor Carol Agocs

January - April 2012
Wednesday 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Stevenson Hall 1155
Course outline

Using readings and cases from several disciplines to inform discussions and seminar presentations, course participants will critically examine theories and research on workplace discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender and race. We will then consider policy remedies including human rights processes, employment equity, pay equity, and diversity programs, and assess their outcomes for women. Central themes of the course include the critical analysis of ways in which policies are constructed and implemented, and the dynamics of organizational change and resistance to change in the workplace.

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WS 9587A Re-Membering: Feminist Interventions in Trauma and Testimony
Professor Kim Verwaayen

September - December 2011
Wednesday 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Location: Stevenson Hall 1155
Course outline

How have feminist interventions in trauma theories troubled conventional understandings of history, experience, violence/rupture, and the everyday, and with what effect? How are acts of witnessing sometimes made to serve hegemonic interests -- and how can this co-optation be contested by in(ter)ventive feminist actions? Reading various practices across feminist theory, literature, art, film, and clinical therapy, this course explores feminist understandings of trauma, the use of testimony, and feminist resistance through political, clinical, and aesthetic actions. Specifically, topics include: feminist understandings of trauma, particularly vis-a-vis relationships between the personal (that is, private or individual experience, memory, testimony) and the public (collective and cultural trauma and its witnessing); conflicts between culturo-historical perspectives on/of trauma and experience; mislit and the fetishism of the trauma spectacle; and, most centrally, feminist responses through often experimental forms of witnessing.


WS 9588A Critical and Feminist Perspectives on Social Demography
Professor Danielle Belanger

September - December 2011
Monday 1:30 - 4:30 p.m.
Location: Social Science Centre 5406
Course outline

This course will discuss population processes studied in the social sciences (social demography, population geography, sociology and anthropology) from a critical and feminist perspective. Topics to be addressed include the national and global politics of reproduction control (contraception, abortion, reproductive technologies, population policies), the international migration of women (labour markets, women migrants' rights) and women's health and survival. The course will take a global approach and discuss case studies and examples from various countries of the world. The course will not involve the statistical analysis of data.


WS 9575 Directed Reading Course (Full or Half Course)

The directed reading course is conducted under the supervision of a faculty member, and is taken only by permission of the Chair of Graduate Studies. Normally, only PhD students are permitted to take a directed reading course, and Master's students will only be allowed to do so under exceptional circumstances.


WS 9599 Independent Research Project (Full Course)
September 2010 - August 2011

The Independent Research Project is only available to MA students See the IRP Guidelines here.


WS 9585 Scholarly Practicum (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.

 

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Courses Offered in Other Departments 2011-2012

Please note: Courses will be added as information becomes available.

DEPARTMENT OF HISTORY

HIS 9406 History of Women in the Western World
Professor Katherine McKenna

September 2011 - April 2012 (Full Course)
Tuesday 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Location: TBA

This course is not only the story of how women have lived over time in different contexts and from different perspectives in the history of the western world. Rather, it is as much about how historians have written about the female gender, and about the theoretical debates that have informed their writings. The broad expanse of history covered in this course allows for only some select 'flashpoints' to be examined. These will allow us to focus on key issues both in the historical debate and in the history of women in the western world. This will provide an overview or framework for understanding the complexities of changes in women's roles in the western world over time.

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DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH

ENG 9036A Sex, Suffrage and Democracy in Early 20th Century Britain
Professor Alison Lee

September - December 2011
Tuesday 3:30 - 6:30 p.m.
Location: University College 77

The campaign for Women's Suffrage in early Twentieth-Century Britain was also a campaign for a radical change to the period's perspectives on the changing roles of women. Many who were involved in the agitation for the vote, both pro-and anti-suffrage, characterised it as fundamentally a sex war. Women who dared publicly to manifest their desire for the vote, were understood, according to baldly contradictory logic, as hysterical, unsexed and unwomanly designations that authorised the physical violence to which they became increasingly subject including public assaults, imprisonment and forcible feeding. Author Laurence Housman, who helped to found the Men's League for Women's Suffrage, points out that adjectives such as screaming, hysterical and unreasonable were, in the school of thought which applied them to militant action, regarded as essentially and almost exclusively feminine. Suffragists, therefore, are accused, almost in the same breath, both of deserting and of accentuating the characteristics of their sex. As Susan Kingsley Kent argues: The vote became both the symbol of the free, sexually autonomous woman and the means by which the goals of a feminist sexual culture were to be attained. This course, then, will examine some of the fiction written during the campaign whose aim was not only to intervene in and propagandise about women's right to vote, but also to redefine perceptions surrounding women's sexuality. In order to contextualise the intersecting discourses of politics and sexuality, we will also read contemporary non-fiction texts on sexology, marriage, eugenics, pro-and anti-suffrage, feminism and democracy.




ENG 9066A Women, Toleration, and the English Novel, 1750-1810
Professor Alison Conway

September - December 2011
Wednesday 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: University College 377

This course asks: how did women's claims to equality intersect with an emergent discourse of religious toleration in the second half of the eighteenth century? We will study how the problem of difference plays itself out across a field of cultural discourses crucial to the novel's development in the latter part of the eighteenth century. Having examined in some detail the philosophical discourses that shaped toleration debates in eighteenth-century England (in particular, the works of Pierre Bayle and John Locke), we will turn our attention to the controversies generated by the Hardwicke Marriage and Jewish Naturalization Acts of 1753; the evolution of feminist discourse from the conservative Bluestockings to Mary Wollstonecraft; the historical ruptures marked by the Quebec Act of 1774 and the Gordon Riots of 1780; Jacobin aesthetics and the conservative backlash of the 1790s; and the significance of the novel's formal properties for the representation of difference.

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DEPARTMENT OF PHILOSOPHY

Philosophy 9107A Gender and Race
Professor Carolyn McLeod

September - December 2011
Thursdays 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Location: Stevenson Hall 1145
This course deals with various types of philosophical questions about gender and race. One example is the metaphysical question of what gender and race are. Are they natural or social kinds? If we assume the latter (i.e., that they are socially constructed), then we can ask the political question of whether a just world would have gender and race in it. We will explore this last question, along with others in moral and political philosophy about the wrongs of sexism and racism. Further questions we will pose include those in moral psychology about the nature of gender and racial identities and the psychological effects of racism and sexism, and those in applied ethics about selecting offspring based on sex or race. Our goals will be to analyze each of these questions carefully and to consider how answers to them may differ depending on whether we are talking about gender or race.


PHIL 9278B Feminist Critiques of Science
Professor Kathleen Okruhlik

January - April 2012
Wednesdays 11:30 a.m. -2:30 p.m.
Location: Stevenson Hall 1145

For more than 20 years feminist critiques of science were largely ignored by mainstream philosophy of science. Recently, that situation has begun to change as even such staid organizations as the Philosophy of Science Association have begun to take seriously the values question in science. In this course, we shall begin by examining some of the classic case studies developed during the 1980s that showed the many ways that androcentric values permeate experimental practice and theory formation in some sciences. We shall also examine attempts by feminist scientists and philosophers to figure out what these case studies tell us about science. Does the gender of the knower make a difference? Is science just politics by other means? Is value-laden science always bad science? Could more rigorous adherence to scientific method be counted on to eliminate gender bias? Or would it be better to acknowledge the impossibility of gender-neutral science and insist instead on the epistemic superiority of a feminist standpoint? Alternatively, should we simply abandon altogether the idea of objective knowledge and recognize sexist and feminist theories as alternative narratives, different versions, neither of which can claim epistemic superiority? These questions and others will be discussed with an eye to understanding the relationship between feminist critiques of science and mainstream philosophy of science.
Note: Admission into the course requires permission from the professor.


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DEPARTMENT OF POLITICAL SCIENCE

POLS 9755A Gender and the Challenges of Transnational Politics
Professor: Veronica Schild

September to December
Friday 9:30 - 11:30 am
Location: Social Science Centre 4112

This course explores the challenge posed by feminist and critical theory to the study of transnational politics. It proceeds through cross-cultural and historical comparisons to discuss the centrality of gender to three processes: work and migration; citizenship and human rights; and indigenous mobilizations. Transnationalism is a broad ranging concept that emphasizes the flow of capital, people, ideas, and objects across the borders of nation-states in contexts where states shape but do not contain these relations and flows. Transnationalism, and its associated transnational political processes, is not a new phenomenon. It is, however, one which we have until recently been ill equipped to study because of the nationalist and gender bias of our methodological approaches. Methodological nationalism assumes national borders to be the natural unit of study for political phenomena. It also assumes that particular nations provide the constant units of observation through all historical transformations. Gender bias assumes the conspicuous absence of women and their particular (racialized and classed) experiences from transnational political processes. And these biases have hampered scholars in their ability to move beyond dominant nationalist and gendered paradigms.

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Department of Women's Studies and Feminist Research - Western University
Lawson Hall Room 3260
London, Ontario, Canada, N6A 5B8
Tel: 519.661.3759
Fax: 519.661.3491
ws-ugrad@uwo.ca

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