Spring 2008

Polit: Gender/Sexuality

Listed in: Political Science, as POSC-21


Anissa E. Helie-Lucas (Section 01)


(Also Political Science 21.) This course examines the centrality of conceptions of masculinity and femininity, as well as bodies and desires, to social hierarchies past and present. Why was enforcing heterosexual norms such a core concern of western colonial regimes? How were gender constructs and regulation of sexual relations further complicated by race, class, culture and ethnicity? A central feature of the course is an exploration of the role of contemporary nationalist discourses and particularly of the Muslim religious Right's rhetoric in stigmatizing sexual minorities. The course also looks at a range of activist initiatives designed by sexual rights advocates, drawing especially on cases from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia, and asking how adequate categories like lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and intersex are in reflecting gender plurality and sexual diversity transnationally. Readings will include human rights reports, theoretical analyses and activists' testimonies. Visual sources, films in particular, are an especially important part of the course. Limited to 20 students. Second semester. Teaching Fellow Helie.