This course offers a framework for understanding debates about gender and sexuality that “go global” as they cross borders, languages, and histories. Through readings, discussions, film screenings, and conversations with guest speakers, we will consider the relationships—and disagreements—that characterize academic and activist work in transnational queer and women’s, gender, and sexuality studies. The main themes to be considered in this seminar include: feminist critiques of liberal rights paradigms, the globalization of particular models of gender/queer advocacy, and the role of NGOs in global debates about gender and sexuality.
In each semester’s iteration of the course we immerse ourselves in two gendered controversies, as case studies. We explore each issue to ask how knowledge about gendered controversies circulates transnationally and to plumb how knowledge about these issues is produced, distributed and consumed in different places around the world. We will think together about categories, definitions, and ways of knowing as we work to understand the histories and (im)mobilities of the terms we use to describe gender justice, gender normativity, same-sex desire and gender non-conformity.
Methodologically, this course is oriented around a praxis of slow critique. We will ask how feminists develop their public voice(s) about hot-button issues, and will ask what it might mean to engage in ethical feminist critique. By slowing down to focus on the details of one issue, one context, and its idiosyncrasies, students will be provided a vantage point from which to make a considered decision about their perspectives on a series of complicated debates.