Women's Studies and Feminist ResearchWestern Arts and Humanities

Past Graduate Courses


WS 9540B Women and Employment: Discrimination and Equality Policy in Canada
Professor Carol Agocs
January - April 2014 Thursday 1:30 - 4:30 pm
Location: LH 2205 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.

WS 9550A Feminist Theory (required course)
Professor Helen Fielding
September - December 2013
Wednesday 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Location: TBA

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 9560B Researching Lived Experience - Feminist Methodologies
Professor Erica Lawson
January - April 2014
Tuesday 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Location: LH 2205 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. In this course, we will examine the following questions: How do factors such as class, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality and dis/ability affect research? Should political change be the goal of feminist research or should it be primarily deconstruction and analysis? What are some of the ethical considerations in research? Are some methodologies more "feminist" than others? In addressing these questions, guest lecturers from different disciplines will discuss their approach(es) to feminist research. Students will be required to complete a major assignment in which they design a research proposal for presentation and discussion.

WS 9565A Feminist Theory and Methods in the Arts and Humanities
Professor Tracy Isaacs
September - December 2013
Tuesday 1:30 - 4:30 pm
Location: TBA

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 9581A Feminism and Race
Professor Erica Lawson
September - December 2013
Thursday 1:30 - 4:30 pm
Location: TBA

A study of race, ethnicity, and racism, especially, but not exclusively, as they arise in feminisms and feminist scholarship. Questions will include, but are not limited to: How should we understand race? How does intersectional identity (including racial, ethnic and class identity) challenge feminist discourse? Is there a difference between exclusion and racism? How is anti-racist feminism different from feminism? What would an inclusive feminist movement and inclusive feminist scholarship look like? Authors will include Linda Martin Alcoff, Maria Lugones, Audre Lorde, Patricia Hill Collins, Patricia Monture, Chandra Mohanty, Jimani Bannerji, and Gloria Anzaldua.

WS 9591B Screening Sex
Professor Wendy Pearson
January - April 2014
uesday 1:30 - 4:30 pm
ocation:AH 101 Course outline

This course examines the representation of sexuality in film and video with a specific focus on the history of representation of queer identities in film. The course will begin by considering early cinema's representations of gay men and lesbians, including the production of particular stereotypes, and the effects of the Production Code on Hollywood, particularly in contrast to European cinemas. We will then look at European and Canadian filmmaking, the rise of independent film and video in North America, and the challenge posed by New Queer Cinema in the 1990s to such still stereotypical Hollywood representations, such as The Birdcage and To Wong Foo. Along the way, we will consider specific themes, such as coming out, family relationships, intersections with race and class, and AIDS. The course will finish by looking at the mainstreaming of certain types of queer representation, particularly in Milk, The Kids are All Right and A Single Man, and the effects such films have on the viability of independent queer film making. Films that may be screened for this course include: Queen Christina (1933), Sylvia Scarlett (1935), Dance, Girl, Dance (1940), Some Like It Hot (1959).

WS 9592B Gender and Development: Engaging with Theory, Practice and Advocacy
Professor Bipasha Baruah
January - April 2014
Monday 9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Location: LH 2210 course outline

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 9594B Biopolitics, Violence and the Body
Professor Julia Emberley
January - April 2014 Thursdays 12:30 - 3:30 pm
Location: LH 2205 Course outline

This course will cover a range of theoretical materials that will allow students to theorize the intersections of biopolitics, violence and the body. Students will read works by Foucault, Agamben, Butler, Stoler, Berlant, Povinelli, Arendt, Zizek, Mmembe, and others. Students will consider questions related to how the body and its physical, emotional, and intellectual attachments are being re-constituted by political and economic forces today. Students will engage in discussions around a range of cultural practices from museum exhibits to literary texts.

WS 9595B Sexual Citizenship
Professor Samantha Brennan
January - April 2014
Wednesday 8:30 -11:30 am
Location: Stv Hall 1145 Course outline

In this course we'll examine a new body of work on sexuality and citizenship. We'll examine the concept of sexual rights and see how rights language been used to articulate demands in relation to sexuality. What do we mean by sexual rights or duties? In addition we'll ask questions about the relationship between feminist theory and the sexual citizen. Readings will include works by Shane Phelan, Diane Richardson and Brenda Cossman.

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. Top of Page 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.

WS 9599 Independent Research Project (Full Course)
September 2013 - August 2014

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

Courses Offered in Other Departments 2013-2014

ENGLISH English 9087A Regulating the Edwardian Body
Professor Alison Lee
September- December 2013 Monday 6:30-9:30 pm
Location: TBA

The aim of this course is to examine discourses of eugenics and degeneration in the context of Edwardian literature, science and politics. Michel Foucault calls eugenics one of the 'two great innovations in the technology of sex in the second half of the nineteenth century' (HS, 118). The administration of sex and its fertility to which Foucault refers, however, reached a crisis point at the beginning of the 20th Century. Economic challenges to British supremacy, a humiliating showing by Britain in the Boer War and a declining birthrate, at least among the upper classes, led many Britons to fear that the Empire was becoming less than robust, and that its decline could be mapped onto the bodies of the populace. Eugenics, the 'science of improving stock' (Galton) appeared to offer a solution to what was seen as a national deterioration in health, wealth and power. As Karl Pearson writes: "without high average soundness of body and soundness of mind, a nation can neither be built up nor an empire preserved. Permanence and dominance in the world passes to and from nations even with their rise and fall in mental and bodily fitness" (1909). Surprisingly, eugenics in this period appealed to a broad spectrum of political opinion, and was invoked not only by conservatives, but also by sex radicals and social reformers. The atrocities of WWII and the latter half of the 20th Century have understandably impoverished our perception of eugenics but, in the Edwardian period, eugenics was a site of political contestation for both radicals and conservatives. In both its 'positive' (the encouragement of 'fit' procreation) and 'negative' (the discouragement of 'unfit' procreation) aspects, eugenics took a central role in debates on issues such as maternity, birth control, poverty, women's suffrage, sexology, class, disease and race.Indeed, it is hard to overstate the extent to which eugenics permeated Edwardian public discourse. Edwardian eugenics, then, becomes an exemplary site that raises questions about biopolitics in the period, as well as questions about why it was such an attractive theory to fiction writers and theorists who were also socialist, feminist or queer. Writers we will consider include: Michel Foucault, Charles Darwin, Francis Galton, Karl Pearson, Havelock Ellis, Edith Ellis, Marie Carmichael Stopes, Margaret Sanger, Olive Schreiner, Christabel Pankhurst, Joseph Conrad, Cecily Hamilton, Vita Sackville-West, Elinor Glyn and Grant Allen.

HISTORY History 9274A Oh Gendered Canada:' Gender in Canadian History
Professor Monda Halpern
September-December 2013 Day and Time: Tuesday 9:30-11:30 am
Location: Lawson Hall 1227

Gender History, since its birth in the 1990s, has contributed to the emergence of some lively debates in Canadian History. This graduate half-course will explore the ways in which gender (largely the social construction of masculinity and femininity) has played a role in selected trends and time periods, and will examine some of the major historiographical questions that have surrounded this complex role. These questions have often addressed the related issues of race, class, and sexuality. This investigation will challenge students to utilize gender as an integral tool of historical analysis, and to reconsider conventional narratives in Canadian History. History 9371A Women and American Antislavery Professor Margaret Kellow September-December 2013 Day and Time: Thursday 1:30-3:30 pm Location: Lawson Hall 2270C Students will read extensively in literature on the experience of women in the American antislavery movement including classic works which identified the pivotal role played by women, but also recent trends which examine the antislavery experience of African American women; religion's impact on women's antislavery activism; women's work as political actors and influence on antebellum politics and new explorations of transnational networks created by British and American women. Through engaged discussions, critical readings and informed analysis around these and related themes, plus a research paper, students will be enabled to interrogate traditional narratives of women's and antislavery history.

PHILOSOPHY Philosophy 9278A Feminist Critiques of Science
Professor Kathleen Okruhlik
September-December 2013
Day and Time: Wednesday 8:30 to 11:30 am
Location: StvH 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.

POLITICAL SCIENCE Politics 9755B Gender and the Challenges of Transnational Politics
Professor Veronica Schild
January- April 2014
Day and Time: Friday 9:30 - 11:30 am
Location: SSC 4103

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. Politics 9758A Social Diversity, Gender and the Law Professor Carolyn Dick September-December 2013 Day and Time: Tuesday 11:30 - 1:30 pm Location: SSC 4103 From religious minorities and Aboriginal peoples to feminists and gays and lesbians, Canadian social groups contend that group-differentiated rights and group-sensitive legal and constitutional interpretations are a necessary condition of equality. While the Canadian state has responded with group-specific provisions in the Charter and Constitution, as well an official policy of multiculturalism, social groups continue to press for legal concessions and the expansion of their rights. This course will examine the relationship between Canadian social groups and the law to assess how social groups employ the legal system in pursuit of equality and how they challenge laws that fail to attend to social group differences. Additionally, this course will examine how the differences that cut across social groups complicate the legal accommodation of group differences.