Learn more about fall 2024 FGSS and LGBT Studies course offerings

Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Studies

Fall 2024 Course Offerings

Fall 2024 tentative course offerings  (this list subject to change)
Fall 2024 course roster coming soon

A Global History of Love - FGSS 1940 (also HIST 1930). By posing seemingly simple questions such as what is love and who has the right to love, this introductory-level lecture course surveys how love has been experienced and expressed from the pre-modern period to the present. Through case studies of familial and conjugal love in Africa, Asia, the US, Europe, and South and Latin America, the course will examine the debates about and enactment's of what constitutes the appropriate way to show love and affection in different cultures and historical contexts. Among the themes we will explore are questions of sexuality, marriage, kinship, and gender rights. A final unit will examine these themes through modern technologies such as the Internet, scientific advances in medicine, and a growing awareness that who and how we love is anything but simple or universal. Instructor: Durba Ghosh. TR 11:40-12:45 plus a Friday discussion section. 4 credits.

Introduction to Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies – FGSS 2010. Feminist, Gender, & Sexuality Studies is an interdisciplinary program focused on understanding the impact of gender and sexuality on the world around us and on the power hierarchies that structure it. This course provides an overview of key concepts, questions, and debates within feminist studies both locally and globally, focusing mainly on the experiences, historical conditions, and concerns of women as they are shaped by gender and sexuality. We will read a variety of texts--personal narratives, historical documents, and cultural criticism--across a range of disciplines, and will consider how larger structural systems of both privilege and oppression affect individuals' identities, experiences, and options. We will also examine forms of agency and action taken by women in the face of these larger systems. Instructors: Jess Newman, Jane Juffer. Two sections: TR 1:25-2:40 or MW 12:25-2:40. 3 credits.

Worlding Sex and Gender – FGSS 2421 (also ANTHR/LGBT 2421). An introduction to the anthropology of sex, sexuality and gender, this course uses case studies from around the world to explore how the worlds of the sexes become gendered. In ethnographic, ethnohistorical and contemporary globalizing contexts, we will look at: intersexuality and supernumerary genders; physical and cultural reproduction; sexuality; and sex-based and gender-based violence and power. We will use lectures, films, discussion sections and short field-based exercises. Instructor: Lucinda Ramberg. MW 11:40-12:55. 3 credits.

Roman Law – FGSS 2806 (also CLASS/GOVT 2806). This course presents a cultural and historical perspective on ideas of agency, responsibility, and punishment through foundational texts of western law. We will primarily focus on three main areas of law: (1) slavery and (2) family (both governed by the Roman law of persons), and (3) civil wrongs (the law of delict or culpable harm). Through an examination of the legal sources (in translation) and the study of the reasoning of the Roman jurists, this course will examine the evolution of jurisprudence: the development of the laws concerning power over slaves and women, and changes in the laws concerning penalties for crimes. No specific prior knowledge needed. Instructor: Nicole Giannella. MWF 1:25-2:15. 3 credits.

Feminist Theory – FGSS 3000. This course will work across and between the disciplines to consider what it might mean to think 'as a feminist' about many things including, but not limited to 'gender', 'women' and 'sexuality'. We will approach theory as a tool for analyzing relations of power and a means of transforming ways of thinking and living. In particular, we will investigate the cultural, social, and historical assumptions that shape the possibilities and problematics of gender and sexuality. Throughout we will attend to specific histories of class, race, ethnicity, culture, nation, religion and sexuality, with an eye to their particular incitements to and challenges for feminist thinking and politics. Instructor: Juno Parrenas. MW 1:25-2:40. 3 credits.

Gender and Development – FGSS 3230 (also GDEV 3230). The United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal 5 states that countries should "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" by 2030. In this course, we unpack the different and often competing definitions of 'empowerment' and 'gender equality' deployed in development, and consider the historical lineages of feminisms and development theory that led to women and girls as an important constituency. We examine the programs and policies associated with these lineages and consider how women's and girls' intersectional experiences of gender, shape the outcomes of the programs and policies designed to improve their lives. This course blends practice and theory, encouraging students to evaluate the material effects of diverse approaches to reducing gender inequality through case studies, writing, and readings in gender and development. Instructor: Aubryn Sidle. MW 1:25-2:40. 3 credits.

What’s in a Sound? Gender and Race in Sound Cultures – FGSS 3316 (also MUSIC 3316). What can we hear or see in a sound? Can the sound of a voice conjure traces of a body? How does sound, musical or otherwise, construct gender and race? In this course, we will consider how listening, speaking, and music operate as mechanisms of representation. We will pay particular attention to the work representations do and how they connect to systems of power and identity. From voice-overs and machine listening to reggaeton and Brazilian funk, we will examine the ways sound practices not only mirror gendered, racial, and sexual politics but also produce them. Through several case studies, we will find that the very possibilities of representations are embedded in historical contexts and the variability of media objects. Instructor: Cibele Moura. TR 11:40-12:55. 3 credits.

Black Body Politics: Histories, Theories, and Debates – FGSS 3334 (also AMST/ ASRC/SHUM 3334). The body has been crucially important to Black liberation politics. Not only has it been a site of contestation and control, but it has also served as a productive site of protest, alliance, and collective action, in ways both real and imagined. This course explores the historical debates and theories surrounding the body with a particular focus on how blackness informs bodily meanings and negotiations across the African diaspora. Weekly topics will allow students to consider the metaphorical and material dimensions of the body while also interrogating the very concept of embodiment, the ways in which individual bodies are constituted and reconstituted over time. Instructor: Michell Chresfield. MW 1:25-2:40. 3 credits.

Social Justice: Special Topic – FGSS 3400 (also AMST 3420, ANTHR 3402, GOVT 3401). Social Justice highlights refugee-led organizing and its intersections with un/documented and Indigenous beyond borders activism. We will work with and learn from refugee and asylum seekers led organizations that are started by and run by members of formerly displaced groups. These organizations build collectives and coalitions to organize communities across identities and legal categories and advocate for access to mobility and social justice. We will closely collaborate with these organizations and work on joint research projects.Instructor: Saida Hodžić. R 11:15-1:45. 4 credits.

Kids Rule! Children’s Popular Culture – FGSS 3591 (also ENGL 3591). How is the figure of the child constructed in popular culture? When and to what degree do children participate in the construction of these representations? This course surveys a variety of contemporary media texts (television, film, and the internet) aimed at children ranging in age from pre-kindergarten to young adults. We explore how these texts seek to construct children as empowered consumers, contesting adult conformity. Our theoretical approach complicates definitions of childhood as a time of innocence and potential victimhood and challenges normative constructions of childhood as a time for establishing "proper" sexual and gender identities. Taking a cultural studies approach, the class will consider the connections between the cultural texts and the realms of advertising, toys, and gaming. Instructor: Jane Juffer. MW 10:10-11:25. 3 credits.

Queer Classics – FGSS 3636 (also CLASS/LGBT/SHUM 3635). This course engages classical antiquity and its reception through the prism of queer studies. Cruising Homer, Sappho, Euripides, Plato, Ovid and more, we will explore how queer theoretical frameworks help us account for premodern queer and trans bodies, desires, experiences, and aesthetics. We will trace how people historically have engaged with the classical past in political and affective projects of writing queer history and literature, constructing identities and communities, and imagining queer futures. We will unpack how classical scholarship might reproduce contemporary forms of homophobia and transphobia in its treatments of gender, sexuality, and embodiment in the classical past, and in turn how modern uses of the classical might reinforce or dismantle exclusionary narratives around 'queerness' today as it intersects with race, gender, sexuality, and class. Finally, we will consider how the work we are doing in this class (where the 'Queer' in 'Queer Classics' may be taken as an adjective or an imperative) relates to the ways that contemporary writers, activists, artists, and performers have animated the classical past with queer possibilities. All readings will be in translation; no knowledge of Latin and Greek is required. Instructor: Cat Lambert. MW 1:25-2:40. 3 credits.

Freud and Psychoanalysis – FGSS 3651 (also COML 3781). Psychoanalysis considers the human being not as an object of treatment, but as a subject who is called upon to elaborate an unconscious knowledge about what is disrupting her life, through analysis of dreams, symptoms, bungled actions, slips of the tongue, and repetitive behaviors.  Freud finds that these apparently irrational acts and behavior are ordered by the logic of the fantasy, which provides a mental representation of a traumatic childhood experience and the effects it unleashes in the mind and body-effects he called drives.  As "unbound" energies, the drives give rise to symptoms, repetitive acts, and fantasmatic stagings that menace our health and sometimes threaten social coexistence, but that also rise to the desires, creative acts, and social projects we identify as the essence of human life.  Readings will include fundamental texts on the unconscious, repression, fantasy, and the death drive, as well as case studies and speculative essays on mythology, art, religion, and group psychology.  Students will be asked to keep a dream journal and to work on their unconscious formations, and will have the chance to produce creative projects as well as analytic essays. Instructor: Tracy McNulty. MW 11:40-12:55. 3 credits.

Feminism and Islam in North Africa – FGSS 3686 (also COML 3685, NES 3686). The course is a survey of Feminist Islamic thinkers from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, and their diaspora, featuring both French and Arabic texts in English translation. The purpose of the course is to critically explore the competing treatment of major gendered tropes in a Muslim context (the veil, the harem, polygamy, etc.) by North African thinkers, through their examination of qur'anic surats/hadiths, the evolution of tafsirs (tradion of qur'anic exegesis) as well as their conflicting approaches to secular western feminism. Readings might include: Fatema Mernissi, Asmaa Lamrabet, Qasim Amin, Naguib Mahfoud, Assia Djebar, Mona Eltahawy, and Nawal El-Saadawi. Instructor: Imane Terhmina. TR 11:40-12:55. 3 credits.

Women and Gender in Biblical Israel – FGSS 3721/6721 (also JWST/NES/RELST 3720/6720). This course focuses on how Biblical texts represent women in ancient Israel, and how the Bible's representations constitute both a fabrication and a manifestation of social life on the ground.  We will use biblical, archaeological, and ancient Near Eastern textual evidence to consider the complicated relationship between ancient society and the textual and material records from which we reconstruct it. In addition, this course will examine how women's roles in the Hebrew Bible have been understood and integrated in later Jewish and Christian thought, and how these discourses shape contemporary American attitudes towards women, sexuality, and gender. Instructor: Lauren Monroe. MW 1:25-2:40. 3 credits.

Parody – FGSS 3740 (also AMST 3745, LGBT 3740, PMA 3740). In A Theory of Parody, Linda Hutcheon defines parody broadly as "repetition with critical difference, which marks difference rather than similarity." Taking a cue from Hutcheon, we will consider parody as a form of meaning making that is not necessarily used in the service of ridicule. Rather, we will examine a number of late-twentieth- and early-twenty-first-century imitative works in order to distinguish the rich variety of political agendas and aesthetic rationales for recent parody. An emphasis on postmodern or contemporary performances and media that renovate images, ideas, and icons from modernism and modernity will unite our otherwise diverse efforts. Some of these efforts will also highlight what happens when an artist takes up a work made for one platform (for example, theatre, performance art, installation, cinema, television, the Web) and parodies it in another. Creators and works under consideration may range from Christopher Durang, Split Britches, and Pig Iron Theatre Company to The Simpsons, Cookie's Fortune, and Strindberg and Helium. Instructor: Nick Salvato. MW 1:25-2:40. 3 credits.

Spoken Work, Hip-Hop Theater, and the Politics of Performance – FGSS 3754 (also AMST 3754, ENGL 3954, LGBT 3754, LSP 3754, PMA 3754). In this course, we will critically examine the production and performance of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender through literature and contemporary performance genres such as spoken word, slam poetry, and hip-hop theatre. Instructor: Karen Jaime. TR 2:30-4:10. 4 credits.

Topics in Feminist Media Arts – FGSS 4153/6153 (also ARTH/VISST 4153). Fall 2024 Topic: Feminist Posthumanisms in Visual Arts. While feminist art in new media address traditional feminist concerns such as the female body, identity, representation, feminist history, and consumerism, others directly engage with recent theoretical currents on the Anthropocene, posthumanism, and new materialisms that view humans and non-humans as co-dependent. Non-humans include environmental factors, animals, plants, bacteria, and machines. This seminar will examine work by contemporary artists from various geographical areas and cultural traditions engaged with posthumanist perspectives in relation to relevant theoretical texts and previous feminist media arts. Instructor: Maria Fernandez. W 11:15-1:45. 3 credits.

Black Women’s Autobiography in the 21st Century WritingHerStory – FGSS 4212 (also AMST 4212, ASRC 4212, ENGL 4912, SHUM 4212). In this course, we will focus on how black women have continued to write and share their personal stories in the new millennium by examining autobiographies that they have produced in the first years of the twenty-first century. More broadly, we will consider the impact of this writing on twenty-first century African American literature, as well as African diasporan writing in Africa and the Caribbean. In the process, we will draw on a range of critical and theoretical perspectives.  We will read memoirs and autobiographies by a range of figures, including Michelle Obama, Jennifer Lewis, Monica Coleman, Serena Williams, Gabrielle Union, and Tiffany Haddish, among others. Instructor: Riché Richardson. TR 2:55-4:10. 3 credits.

Sociology of Sex and Gender – FGSS 4371 (also SOC 4370). This course provides an introduction to the theoretical and empirical literature on the sociology of sex and gender. The readings cover theory and methods, feminism, masculinity, intersectionality, international/comparative perspectives, gender roles, and recent sociological research in this area. Instructor: Vida Maralani. R 11:15-2:15. 3 credits.

Feminism and Philosophy – FGSS 4491 (also PHILL 4490). Feminist approaches to questions in metaphysics, epistemology, language, and value theory. Instructor: Kate Manne. M 11:15-1:45. 4 credits.

Performance Studies: Theories and Methods – FGSS 4835/6835 (also LGBT/PMA 4835/6835). Charting the advent and defining principles of performance studies, this course explores the interdisciplinary history of the field, including its association with anthropology, visual studies, theater, gender studies, sociology, psychology, literature, philosophy, and critical race studies. This class examines performance as a means of creative expression, a mode of critical inquiry, and an avenue for public engagement. We will attend to both the practice of performance - as gesture, behavior, habit, event, artistic expression, and social drama - and the study of performance - through ethnographic observation, spectatorship, documentation, reproduction, analysis, and writing strategies. Through a study of research paradigms and key issues related to performance, we will explore not only what this highly contested term "is" and "does," but when and how, for whom, and under what circumstances. Instructor: Karen Jaime. TR 12:20-2:00. 4 credits.

Poetics and Bio-Politics of Nakedness – FGSS 4947/6947 (also COML 4947/6947). This course explores representations of and reflections on the use of "nakedness" as a form of conflict management/protest, using visual media and fiction. Hinging on nakedness are important concepts of biopolitics, sexuality, spirituality, privacy, and injury as they intersect with age, race, gender, and bodily abilities, among others. These topical explorations will be achieved through analyses of fiction, films, social media material, and theoretical ruminations by the most seminal artists and thinkers of our time. Through deep attention to writing (reaction papers, an abstract and annotated bibliography, and a final paper) and public speaking (class discussions and presentations), you will develop new comparative approaches to naked protest, a universal practice that nevertheless puts pressure on our yearning for universal legibility. Instructor: Naminata Diabate. M 2:00-4:30. 3 credits

Before applying to the FGSS undergraduate major, the student must complete any two FGSS courses with a letter grade of C+ or better. For FGSS courses that are cross-listed with another department, students may register through FGSS or the cross-listing department.

The FGSS undergraduate minor is available to all students in any college at Cornell. With a minor, you'll be able to study a wide range of fields from the perspectives of feminist and LGBT critical analysis, in a global context and with the purpose of promoting social justice. Only five courses required!

The LGBT Studies undergraduate minor is available to all students in any college at Cornell. LGBT Studies is founded on the premise that the social organization of sexuality is best studies from interdisciplinary perspectives. Only four courses required!

More news

View all news
Student walks on Arts Quad in fall