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Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies


Regina Kunzel

Executive Committee

Elizabeth M. Armstrong, Woodrow Wilson School, Sociology

Wallace D. Best, Religion, African American Studies

Margot Canaday, History

Hendrik A. Hartog, History

Brian E. Herrera, Lewis Center for the Arts, Theater

Brooke A. Holmes, Classics 

Tera W. Hunter, History, African American Studies

Regina Kunzel, History, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Anne McClintock, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Erika L. Milam, History

Imani Perry, African American Studies

Gayle M. Salamon, English

Dara Z. Strolovitch, Gender and Sexuality Studies

Stacy E. Wolf, Lewis Center for the Arts, Theater

Tamsen O. Wolff, English

Associated Faculty

April Alliston, Comparative Literature

Leonard Barkan, Comparative Literature

Wendy L. Belcher, Comparative Literature, African American Studies

Ruha Benjamin, African American Studies

John W. Borneman, Anthropology

Rachel Bowlby, Comparative Literature

Michael W. Cadden, Lewis Center for the Arts, Theater

Ellen B. Chances, Slavic Languages and Literatures

Zahid R. Chaudhary, English

Anne A. Cheng, English, African American Studies 

Angela N. Creager, History

Jessica Delgado, Religion

Maria A. DiBattista, English, Comparative Literature

Brigid Doherty, German, Art and Archaeology

Jill S. Dolan, English, Lewis Center for the Arts, Theater

Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Sociology

Su Friedrich, Lewis Center for the Arts, Visual Arts 

Diana J. Fuss, English

Ruben Gallo, Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures

Alison E. Gammie, Molecular Biology

Jenny E. Greene, Astrophysical Sciences

Judith Hamera, Lewis Center for the Arts, Program in Dance

Elizabeth Harman, Philosophy, University Center for Human Values

Wendy Heller, Music

Alison Isenberg, History

Amaney A. Jamal, Politics

Melissa S. Lane, Politics

Satyel Larson, Near Eastern Studies

Russell J. Leo III, English

Sarah-Jane Leslie, Philosophy

Beth Lew-Williams, History

AnneMarie Luijendijk, Religion

Stephen J. Macedo, Politics, University Center for Human Values

Gaetana Marrone-Puglia, French and Italian

Tali Mendelberg, Politics

Deborah E. Nord, English

Jeff E. Nunokawa, English

Elizabeth L. Paluck, Psychology, Woodrow Wilson School

Sara S. Poor, German

Deborah A. Prentice, Psychology, Woodrow Wilson School

Jennifer L. Rexford, Computer Science

Rebecca A. Rix, History

Carolyn M. Rouse, Anthropology

Daniel I. Rubenstein, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Esther H. Schor, English

Janet A. Vertesi, Sociology

Moulie Vidas, Religion, Judaic Studies

Christy N. Wampole, French and Italian

Wendy Warren, History

Judith L. Weisenfeld, Religion

Virginia Zakian, Molecular Biology

Everett Y. Zhang, East Asian Studies

Sits with Committee

Alfred Bendixen, English

Melissa Deem, Gender and Sexuality Studies

The Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary forum for the study of gender and sexuality, as well as their intersections with race, class, and ethnicity, across cultures and global geographies both past and present. The program's courses, which are open to all students, examine gender and sexuality from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. The program offers core courses, seminars, and cross-listed courses, and also directs students to courses of interest that are based in other programs and departments. A current list of course offerings is available on the program website. The program also encourages summer internships in relevant community-based programs, nonprofits, and nongovernmental organizations with which the program's theoretical and historical inquiries can be applied in a practical setting.

Admission to the Program

Admission to the program is by application, available via program website, and/or consultation with the program director.

Program of Study

Students who wish to complete the requirements for the undergraduate certificate in gender and sexuality studies must take six courses: GSS 201 or 202, the introductory course; GSS 301 or 302, an advanced interdisciplinary seminar; and four additional courses chosen from among other gender- and sexuality-related departmental offerings in the program and across the University. Among these courses, at least one must be taken in each of three broad disciplinary areas: social sciences, humanities, and sciences. Students may take gender- or sexuality-related courses in their major departments for certificate credit. In addition, certificate students are required to incorporate issues related to feminism, women, gender, and/or sexuality into one junior paper and their senior thesis.

Certificate of Proficiency

Certificates of proficiency in the study of gender and sexuality are issued upon graduation to students who have completed the program and have met the requirements of their departments.

A list of gender- and sexuality-related courses across the University may be found on the program website. With the director's approval, these courses may be used to satisfy the program's requirements.


GSS 201 Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies   Fall SA

What does it mean to be a woman or a man? Or neither? How do gender and sexuality, those seemingly most personal and private of attributes, emerge from networks of power and social relations? This course introduces major concepts in the interdisciplinary field of gender and sexuality studies. We will analyze the ways in which gender, as an object of study and as a lived experience, intersects with class, race, and ability, and will examine the relation between gender, sexuality and power in literary, philosophical, political and medical discourses. G. Salamon

GSS 212 Classical Mythology (see CLA 212)

GSS 221 Inequality: Class, Race, and Gender (see SOC 221)

GSS 225 Sex, Sexuality, and Gender (see SOC 225)

GSS 301 Evolution and the Behavior of the Sexes (see EEB 301)

GSS 302 Topics in the Study of Gender (also LAS 314/REL 300)   Spring SA

Advanced seminar; focus changes from year to year. In general the seminar uses contemporary and classic works of feminist theory to examine ideas about gender that have shaped modern culture. Topics have included feminism and liberalism, literature and ideology, and psychoanalysis and feminism. J. Delgado

GSS 304 Playing Against Type (see THR 308)

GSS 306 Women and Film (also VIS 341)   Not offered this year LA

An exploration of the relationships between the idea of "woman'' and the art of film. Issues addressed will include the role of woman as performer and director, questions of film genre, the identification of the female image as constitutive of the cinematic image, the historical and social dimensions of the female image projected in films of different times and different cultures. Film screenings, one three-hour seminar. G. Marrone-Puglia

GSS 307 Theatre and Society (see THR 309)

GSS 309 Topics in Judaic Studies (see JDS 301)

GSS 310 The Family in Jewish Tradition (see JDS 315)

GSS 312 Gender and Development in the Americas (see SOC 310)

GSS 315 Sex on Stage (also THR 374)   Spring LA

This course examines theatrical performance as a mode of theorizing about gender, sex, sexuality and embodiment. Through lecture, discussion and performance workshops, this course draws upon contemporary U.S. dramatic literature as it undertakes a multinational, historical survey of theories of performance. The course considers such topics as gender as performance, cross-gender performance, performances of sexual identity, and the explicit body in performance. B. Herrera

GSS 316 Queer Boyhoods (also AMS 366/THR 358)   LA

This course examines enactments of youthful masculinity in U.S. popular performance with a particular eye toward accounts of variant or queer boyhoods. As we scrutinize the regimentation and valorization of specific boyish behaviors, we will explore the cultural impact of non-normative youthful masculinities (ie. sissies, tomboys, bois, punks, transguys, etcetera) as we also assess the place of queer boyhoods in American life. Course readings will be historical, literary and theoretical, with play scripts, films, memoirs and literature for young readers functioning as primary objects for the course's analytic project. B. Herrera

GSS 319 U.S. Women Writers (also AMS 320)   Fall LA

An exploration of the literary works of women writers in the United States with an emphasis on the role gender has played and continues to play in the development of literary movements and genres. Our examination of both canonical and non-canonical writings will focus on the formation of feminist literary conventions in the 19th century and their transformations in the 20th and 21st centuries. Our reading will include romantic tales, ghost stories, realistic stories, novels of immigration, thrillers, works for children, autobiographical mythmaking, poetry, and graphic novels. A. Bendixen

GSS 320 Topics in Medieval Greek Literature (see CLA 320)

GSS 321 Topics in German Medieval Literature (see GER 321)

GSS 328 Women and Gender in Islamic Societies (see REL 328)

GSS 329 Psychology of Gender (see PSY 329)

GSS 330 The Invention of Literature and Culture in France (see FRE 321)

GSS 331 Sex and Gender in the Ancient World (see CLA 329)

GSS 332 Queer Sexualities: Biopsychosocial and LGBT Perspectives   Spring SA

Queer Sexualities is an interdisciplinary course, which intertwines the study of human sexuality from scientific and public health perspectives with queer academic writing about sexual orientation and gender. Through the lenses of human sexuality theory, social science and medical perspectives, biological and sexual functioning, and LGBT history and subcultures, this course will explore the many ways in which queer sexualities, identities, and relationships are constructed, expressed, and regulated. D. Bazarsky

GSS 333 Friendship   SA

This course offers an introduction to the history and philosophy of friendship. We will consider friendship in relation to eros and same-sex desire; as a recurrent trope in literary history; as a mode of political thought; and in relation to questions of representation and truth. We will reflect at length on recent queer rethinkings of friendship as a way of life, and consider the intersection of class, race, and gender in the making of queer communities. In addition, this course will explore the classroom as a space for the rethinking of social relations. H. Love

GSS 334 Queering Civility: Unruly Performances and Troubled Public Norms   SA

Calls for civility saturate contemporary public culture. Cultural commentators look to the promise of civility to solve the "problems" and challenges of stabilizing public norms. Civility is invested with the hope of regulating unseemly, offensive and non-normative practices across a variety of contexts. In this course, we will examine civility as an object for which we long and which in its various manifestations can be seen doing the work of normalizing political practice. M. Deem

GSS 336 Crime, Gender, and American Culture (also AMS 436/ENG 334)   Fall LA

An exploration of the ways in which gender and crime are intertwined in some of the most significant and popular works of American fiction. Our analysis of the aesthetic, cultural, and psychological dimensions of narratives based on crime and detection will focus on texts by both women and men with an emphasis on the capacity of gender studies to illuminate American crime fiction's recurring concern with questions of race and class, justice and power, violence and victimhood. A. Bendixen

GSS 337 Reproductive Politics in the United States and Abroad since 1945   Fall SA

Questions of who should have access to abortion, adoption and birth control and who should be allowed to procreate and parent have underpinned major social struggles in the United States and abroad. How the state, medical experts, religious authorities, activists and everyday people have answered these questions has changed substantively over time and differed across and within cultures. This course takes an expansive view of the histories of reproductive politics in order to locate these debates within United States while situating the United States within a broader global conversation over reproductive access and justice. G. Frank

GSS 339 Queer Sexualities: Biopsychosocial and LGBT Perspectives   SA

Queer Sexualities is an interdisciplinary course, which intertwines the study of human sexuality from scientific and public health perspectives with queer academic writing about sexual orientation and gender. Through the lenses of human sexuality theory, social science and medical perspectives, biological and sexual functioning, and LGBT history and subcultures, this course will explore the many ways in which queer sexualities, identities, and relationships are constructed, expressed, and regulated. D. Bazarsky

GSS 340 Political Bodies: The Social Anatomy of Power & Difference (see AAS 302)

GSS 350 Topics in 19th-Century Art (see ART 343)

GSS 351 Law, Social Policy, and African American Women (see AAS 351)

GSS 352 Topics in 17th- and 18th-Century French Literature (see FRE 352)

GSS 360 Women and American Religion (see REL 360)

GSS 361 Culture, Power, and Inequality (see SOC 361)

GSS 363 Gender, Sexuality, and Contemporary U.S. Theatre and Performance (also THR 373/AMS 363)   Fall, Spring LA

Addresses contributions by women, LGBT people, feminists, and people of color to contemporary U.S. theatre and performance. Analyzes performance forms, contents, intents, contexts, and reception to ponder how people who straddle identity vectors influence American culture and help imagine our changing nation. Surveys significant U.S. human rights movements and the performance forms through which many were vitalized. Considers how some minority groups became central to theatre culture by the 21st century and whether or not forums like Broadway dilute the radical politics in which these struggles began. J. Dolan

GSS 365 Isn't It Romantic? The Broadway Musical from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim (also ENG 365/THR 369/AMS 365)   Spring LA

Song. Dance. Man. Woman. These are the basic components of the Broadway musical theatre. How have musical theatre artists, composers, lyricists, librettists, directors, choreographers, and designers worked with these building blocks to create this quintessentially American form of art and entertainment? This course will explore conventional and resistant performances of gender and sexuality in the Broadway musical since the 1940s. Why are musicals structured by love and romance? S. Wolf

GSS 370 Topics in Comparative Literature (see COM 370)

GSS 374 Culture and International Order (see ANT 375)

GSS 379 History of American Popular Entertainments (see AMS 381)

GSS 384 Gender and Sexuality in Modern America (see HIS 384)

GSS 385 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History in the United States, 1940-2003   HA

This course offers an overview of LGBT culture and history in the United States from 1945 to 2003. We will use a variety of historical and literary sources, including films and sound clips, to examine changes in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered lives and experiences during the last half of the twentieth century. The course will encourage students to think about intersections of race, sexuality, and class, and how these categories have affected sexual minority communities. The course will also explore the impact that sexual minority communities have had on the law and culture in the United States since World War II. Staff

GSS 387 Special Topics in Dance History, Criticism, and Aesthetics (see DAN 321)

GSS 389 Women Writers of the African Diaspora (see ENG 389)

GSS 391 The Ethics of Love and Sex (see CHV 390)

GSS 393 Gender and Science   Fall SA

An exploration of two aspects of the gender and science literature: the historical participation of women (and men) in scientific work and the feminist critique of scientific knowledge. The seminar will explore ways in which women have been systematically excluded from science and assess the problems with that thesis. One three-hour seminar. A. Creager

GSS 394 History and the Body (also HIS 312)   Fall, Spring HA

This course introduces students to new scholarship on the history of the body and the shifting political and cultural contests over understandings of the "natural" or "normal" body. Through primary and secondary sources, we will explore changes in the ways in which human bodies have been conceived and represented, and will consider the work of historians and cultural theorists who move further to historicize the lived experience of the human body. R. Kunzel

GSS 395 Media Spectacles, Scandalous Citizens and Democratic Possibilities   SA

Our contemporary mediascape is saturated with spectacle and scandal. In this class, we take this observation and examine, not only the logics that undergird these discursive events, but also the intimate connection between media spectacles and scandals and the regulation of non-normative bodies and speech. This class will examine the manner in which non-normative subjects and practices are hyperembodied, surveilled, stigmatized and disciplined through practices that often cast them as outside of a democratic ethos. Spectacles that might be examined include Gamergate, Trigger Warnings, Black Lives Matter, Civility, and Campus Sexual Assault. M. Deem

GSS 397 Feminist Media Studies /Media Representations of Feminism   Spring SA

Feminist media studies are a rich field of inquiry, while feminism is a recurring object of media fascination. Media stories of feminism circulate as authoritative. Feminist arguments often become public spectacles where the media leers at and dismisses feminist speech. These spectacularly public representations reduce the multiplicity of feminist positions and voices. M. Deem

GSS 398 Queer Citizenship: Merging Theory and Activism   Spring SA

Is there a particularly "queer" way to be a world citizen? Does a queer perspective mitigate for certain forms of social, interpersonal or political action? Is a university education necessary, or even useful, for these endeavors? Does academic queer theory have any relevance to "real-world" LGBTQ activism? In this course, students will examine the connections and disconnects between academic work in gender and sexuality studies and the ways feminist and LGBTQ politics are imagined and lived within contemporary activist communities. Staff

GSS 399 The Female Literary Tradition (see ENG 388)

GSS 400 Contemporary Theories of Gender and Sexuality   Spring SA

We will take as our primary text the new translation of Simone deBeauvoir"s landmark volume The Second Sex, one of the most significant origin points of current understandings of gender. In our sustained consideration of The Second Sex, we will explore Beauvoir's ideas about the influence of sex and gender on childhood, the family, sexuality, relationships, aging, work, the social order, and the philosophical imaginary. We will also consider contemporary writing alongside that text, taking Beauvoir as our tour guide as we encounter and interpret contemporary representations of gender. G. Salamon

GSS 401 Seminar. Types of Ideology and Literary Form (see COM 401)

GSS 403 For Your Viewing Pleasure: Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary American Theatre, Film, and Popular (also THR 403/ENG 426/AMS 403)   LA

For Your Viewing Pleasure considers what it means to be an ideologically invested spectator of popular culture in the contemporary U.S. Contrary to common stereotypes, viewers can consider politics, as well as gender, sexuality, race, and other identities in theatre, film, and television, and still enjoy themselves, as analysis and pleasure are not mutually exclusive. These forms both reflect and shape who we are as citizens. The course will sharpen students' instincts as fans and spectators, and provide tools to deepen the analytic skills they bring to their cultural consumption. J. Dolan

GSS 419 Intersectional Activisms and Movements for Social Justice (see AAS 404)

GSS 420 Born in the U.S.A.: Culture and Reproduction in Modern America (also SOC 420)   Spring SA

Reproduction is a basic biological process, as well as a fundamental one for all societies. While the biology of human reproduction is universal across time and place, cultural norms and social institutions powerfully inflect and shape the experience of pregnancy and childbirth in every society. This course investigates the history and sociology of reproduction, focusing on the contemporary United States, but with an eye toward other societies for comparison. How, why, and for whom does birth matter? How do reproductive practices reflect gender, race, and class? The course examines the culture, politics, and economics of reproduction. E. Armstrong

GSS 421 Seminar in American Politics (see POL 420)

GSS 422 Seminar in American Politics (see POL 422)