Current Special Topics Courses

Click the '+' to see the course description and other details. For a complete list of all our current graduate course offerings or to register in any graduate course, search for GSJ courses in BearTracks!


Spring Term 2021 (1750)

GSJ 598: A2 Queer Theory

While some might say that with the dawn of a new millennium, the era of queer theory had passed, work in queer studies is without a doubt as vibrant as ever. Queer theory has had a major influence on the academy and continues to be integrated and transformed in today’s academic culture. One of the goals of this course will be to consider the relation between the past and present of “queer studies,” but the main focus of the course is on very recent work in queer studies (much of it published after 2000). As a group, we will engage with some of the main threads of contemporary queer theory--queer of color critique, trans studies, disability studies, Indigenous studies--to think through some of the key issues, questions, and debates in this wing of gender studies. As this course is not a survey of the full trajectory of queer theory, we will not read the “classics” of queer theory (e.g. Butler, Foucault) per se, but much of the recent critical work that employs these thinkers as jumping-off points in order to (re)consider those classics and think about how they have recently been reworked and reread by various thinkers. 

Throughout the course, students will learn about and discuss theoretical readings and develop an understanding of how normative ideas around identities and bodies have impacted the construction of social hierarchies and shaped an unequal distribution of power. Students will learn to critically engage with various topics pertinent to the field of queer studies both in interactions with others as well as in their own intellectual engagement and utilize the debates and impulses of scholarship in contemporary queer theory to discuss the role that subjectivity, intimacy, and affect play in thinking critically about intersecting concepts such as gender, sexuality, race, class, nationality, Indigeneity, and disability. These critical skills and new knowledge bases will be developed and homed in regular engagement with the readings through synchronous and asynchronous discussions, short written responses or blog posts, and a collaborative community service learning (CSL) project. At the end of the course, therefore, students will have gained considerable insight into a variety of topics within the field of queer studies. 

Based on the co-taught nature of the course, students from one institution will be paired with a fellow classmate from the other institution to foster cross-cultural exchange and a truly transatlantic experience through project-based work. This form of engagement and exchange is particularly valuable for all participants and instructors for the purpose of enhancing the project of internationalization at the respective home institutions. With this aim in mind, all students will be exposed to a variety of approaches and ideas that will expand their understanding of how to engage with academic scholarship and activism beyond one’s own academic training and framework.

Instructor: PFLEGER, Simone
Days & Time:
 T, R, 10:00 - 12:50 
Units:
 *3.00
Note: TBA

498/598: Indigenous Genders and Sexualities

This course will explore diverse Indigenous genders and sexualities from Indigenous feminist and Indigenous ways of knowing and being, including critical examination of colonial constructions of gender and sexuality. We will survey the effects colonization, from colonial history and politics to the contemporary experiences surrounding issues, resistance and resurgence of diverse Indigenous gender and sexuality identities. Students will engage in a variety of learning activities, from lectures, guest speakers, readings, class discussions, to creative practices and reflections. 

Instructor: WHISKEYJACK, Lana
Days & Time:
 M, W, 10:00 - 13:10 
Units:
 *3.00


Summer Term 2021 (1760)

498/598: Building Intersect Feminist Archives

This is an all hands-on deck, intensive course in which students will collaborate with each other and a community organization to create an online information archive. In this process we will explore the capabilities and limitations of standardized information practices and develop an alternative digital archive inspired by intersectional feminist principles. Both existing and innovative information tools and techniques will be studied and evaluated. Topics such as open data, information inequality, collections as data, vernacular ontologies, data sovereignty and serendipitous discovery will be interrogated. No prior technical expertise is required for this course.

As many of us are now working remotely (although not perhaps as remotely as me – in Melbourne) we can especially understand the value of libraries, archives, and museums that share their collections online as digital resources. However, as consumers of these collections, many of us take for granted what happens “under the hood”, blissfully unaware of the conceptual underpinnings that structure these collections, the human labour and decision-making that go into their construction, and the intellectual property or authorship issues that need to be resolved before they are made available. In this course, by collaborating together and with a community organisation to build an online collection you will be better able to appreciate and critically evaluate these resources. 

Instructor: VERHOEVEN, Deb
Days & Time:
 Online
Units:
 *3.00
Note: Taught over 6 weeks, from July 12 - August 18


Fall Term 2021 (1770)

GSJ 598: Gender Social Justice - Indigenous Arts-Based Research and Practice

This course is an exploration of the relationship between Indigenous knowledge, art, research, and the self. Arts-based research exists as a creative, critical, and community practice of social inquiry. Using the circle process, seminars, and creative thinking, students will develop critical thinking skills, interpret visual narratives, and build capacity for aesthetic approaches to research. Focusing on Indigenous ways knowing and being within creative processes and practices, students will evolve new insights and understandings of community engagement, arts-based inquiry, and creative practices.

Instructor: WHISKEYJACK, Lana
Days & Time: T, 09:00 - 11:50
Units:
 *3.00

*Cross-listed with MACE 597: Topics in Community Engagement.

WGS 498/GSJ 599: Special Topics - Feminism at the End of the World

How do global warming, biodiversity loss, the pollution and plastification of the world’s bodies of water (including human bodies, which are mostly water), and various technofixes that are being deployed to respond to the above, impact the ways feminist theorists think about bodies, the relationship between biology and social construction, science and gender, human-animal relations, capitalist realism, and environmental racism, sexism, ableism and settler colonialism? What can feminists learn about survival, flourishing, political resistance, eroticism, wonder, and the ethics of living on a shared planet by attending to water, marine animals, mollusks, worms, dirt, fungi, and moss? In this advanced course in feminist theory, we will explore these and other questions through close readings of works by feminist philosophers and theorists. Some of the areas of feminist theory to which students will be exposed in this course are feminist phenomenology, feminist new materialisms, critical race feminisms, Indigenous feminisms, and queer feminisms, as each of these has been taken up in response to a world in crisis. This course will be taught in conjunction with GSJ 599: Special Topics in Feminist Theory.

Instructor: TAYLOR, Chloe
Days & Time: R, 11:00 - 13:50
Units:
 *3.00


Winter Term 2022 (1780)


WGS 470/GSJ 570: Sexualities - Sex and Disability

Introducing students to various models of disability, this course will explore the assumption of asexuality and "innocence" often ascribed to diabled people. We will consider the practical issues and variations in sexual experience for people living with disabilities, and examine many ethical questions including: medically assisted sex; intellectual disability and consent; caregiver relationships; sex and institutionalization; disability and sex workers; pornography and fetishization; and reproduction, eugenics, and sterilization. We will also explore the vast intersections of disability and LGBTQIA identities.

Instructor: ST PIERRE, Joshua
Days & Time: F, 11:00 - 13:50
Units:
 *3.00

WGS 498/GSJ 598: Special Topics - Cultural Memory and Social Justice

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (Santanya, 1905) is a commonly invoked axiom. It that what we collectively remember (or forget) matters for our present and future. Traditionally, cultural memory --for example: war memorials, national days of remembrance, the names of public buildings – aimed at building national pride and identity. More recently, social justice movements have turned to memory activism to counter dominant forgetting practices to bring into public consciousness the violence and suffering experienced by minoritized groups (think: the AIDS quilt, December 6 celebrations, or the toppling of confederate and colonial monuments). This course will introduce students to central terms of the new field of memory studies to think deeply about the relationship between social justice and cultural memory. Working with specific examples (including but not limited to: the Holocaust, slavery, Apartheid, residential schools, as well as gender-based violence, heterosexism, ableism, and environmental degradation) we will ask: Can cultural memory lead to greater accountability, repair, and reparations for past injustices -- and, in the future, to reconciliation?

Instructor: LUHMANN, Susanne
Days & Time: M, 17:00 - 20:00
Units:
 *3.00

GSJ 598: Topics Gender Social Justice - Feminist Approach to Digital Information
Description TBA.

Instructor: VERHOEVEN, Deb
Days & Time: T, 13:00 - 15:50
Units:
 *3.00

GSJ 598: Topics Gender Social Justice - Religion, Spirituality, and Social Justice

Ways in which adherents of world (Eastern and Western), Indigenous, and neo-pagan religious systems have advocated for social justice. Taught in conjunction with WGS 455.

Instructor: LIFSHITZ, Felice
Days & Time: R, 14:00 - 16:50
Units:
 *3.00