Women's and Gender Studies

Current Special Topics Courses

Click the '+' to see the course description and other details.  For a complete list of all our current course offerings or to register in one our of awesome special topics courses, visit BearTracks!

Spring Term 2019 (1670)

  • WGS 298: Critical Issues - Feminist Approaches to Reconciliation

    The purpose of this course is to understand the historical and contemporary meanings of the concepts of settler colonialism, neoliberalism, capitalism and patriarchy within our local contexts and as they link to reconciliation. Exploring justice through concepts such as reconciliation and intersectional feminisms entails exploring what constitutes political, economic, technological, cultural, ecological, and emotional well-being and allowing students to develop a critical feminist perspective. Our collective engagement in this course will allow us to work together to recognize activism and community engagement as relative and specific to peoples’ cultures and histories. Doing this, we move towards more just and ecologically-centered solidarity movements that seek to address the contradictions of settler colonialism, dispossession, and capitalism. 

    Instructor: STARR, Rochelle
    Days & Time: T/R, 18:00 - 20:50
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: none

     

  • WGS 470: Sexualities - Sexualities in Contemporary Television

    This course will examine how sex and sexualities are represented in 21st Century television, including gay, lesbian, asexual, heterosexual, queer, trans, polyamorous, demi-sexual, monogamous, pansexual, aromantic, and bisexual subjectivities. Through an analysis of documentary, animation, reality TV, science fiction, fantasy, soap operas, comedy, and drama television series, we will discuss how popular culture depicts sexualities and how representations of sexualities intersect with gender, race, class, and culture. 

    Instructor: HUTCHINSON, Kristen
    Days & Time: T/R, 10:00 - 12:50
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite:
    Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent


Summer Term 2019 (1680)

  • WGS 298: Critical Issues - Breasts

    One, two, or none at all? Female, male, fluid bodies? Transitioning, drag? Breastfeeding in public? Lactating fathers? Milk kinship? Breast cancer, gynecomastia? What to do with this fatty tissue situated on chest muscles: reduce, remove, reconstruct, enlarge? Using intersectional analyses, we will focus on circulating forces in film, advertising, music videos, medical representations, politics and national identities, that shape ideas and ideals about breasts. In doing so we’ll discover ideological representations of breasts as cultural symbols and disciplinary practices serving political ends, as well as tactics of resistance and transformative self-representation.

     

    Instructor: WOODMAN, Dorothy
    Days & Time: M/W, 10:00 - 12:50
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: none


Fall Term 2019 (1690)

  • WGS 298: Critical Issues - Consent

    Description coming soon.

    Instructor: GOTELL, Lise
    Days & Time: T/R, 09:30 - 10:50
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: none

     

  • WGS 298: Critical Issues - Women of Color Feminisms

    Description coming soon.

    Instructor: TBA
    Days & Time: M/W/F, 15:00 - 15:50
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite: none

  • WGS 498: Topics in WGS - Cultural Memory & Social Justice

    The course will introduce students to the vast field of cultural memory studies and its literatures. Students have the opportunity to work with specific case studies of violent traumatic pasts (usually cases of mass violence such as the Holocaust, Settler Colonialism, the transatlantic slave trade, violence against women and queers etc.) to analyse how these pasts are transmitted and negotiated in the present and for the future. A focus will be on the various technologies of memory and commemoration (museums, monuments, days of remembrance, but also possibly film, literature, tourism etc.). A guiding question is how the difficult knowledge of state-sponsored or tolerated mass violence configures contemporary struggles for social justice.

     

    Instructor: LUHMANN, Susanne
    Days & Time:
    M, 17:00 - 20:00
    Units:
    *3.00
    Note: Taught in conjunction with GSJ 598 X01

  • WGS 498: Topics in WGS - Gender, Violence, and Social Justice in Africa

    This course explores the forms, patterns, controversies and consequences of bodily violence against women in and from Africa, using specific experiences of violence as entry points. For this semester, we will focus on: Female Circumcision, Forced Sexual Recruitment and Sex Trafficking. Students will explore relevant questions such as: What factors render African women vulnerable to these forms of violence? In what ways do these forms of violence define or influence African women’s cultural and socials in specific contexts? How do African women navigate or confront these experiences? In what ways do Western representations of these forms of violence inform our understandings of African women’s lives and place in society? This course provides a rare opportunity for students to critically examine the heated controversies around violence against African women based on insights gained from feminist debates, the survivors’ experiences of trauma, and the studies of “experts” in the field. Through class discussions/commentaries, seminar presentations, group debates and research essays, students gain a deeper understanding of the complexity of factors that structure or reinforce violence against women as well as the challenges of addressing what remains one of the important social responsibilities of our time. 

    Course Objectives: Students should leave this class with a critical understanding of (1) Violence against women as a problem of as well as an obstacle to building healthy societies, (2) the complicity of systematic inequities in violence against women, 3) Importance of social and academic discourses on new forms of violence that target women’s bodies.

     

    Instructor: OKEKE-IHEJIRIKA, Philomina
    Days & Time:
    T/R, 12:30 - 13:50
    Units:
    *3.00
    Note: Taught in conjunction with GSJ 515 A1


Winter Term 2020 (1700)

  • WGS 470: Sexualities - Sex and Disability

    Description coming soon.

    Instructor: ST. PIERRE, Joshua
    Days & Time: T/R, 12:30 - 13:50
    Units: *3.00
    Prerequisite:
    Any 100- or 200-level WGS (or W ST) course, or Department consent

  • WGS 498: Intersectional Digital Humanities

    Description coming soon.

     

    Instructor: VERHOEVEN, Deb
    Days & Time:
    T, 13:00 - 16:00
    Units:
    *3.00 
    Note: Taught in conjunction with GSJ 598 B1 and DH 530 B2.  Department consent required.

  • WGS 498: Topics in WGS - Feminism, Capitalism, Labour

    In her book on depression, Ann Cvetkovich posits that bad feelings and feeling bad – here, depression – might be the “ground for transformation”. Within this framework, she suggests that the question “How do I feel?” can productively be transformed as “How does capitalism feel?” (2012: 4). This course will consider not only how capitalism feels, but how capitalism, late capitalism, and the possibility of capitalism’s end shape our lives, our relationships, our work, and our identities.

     

    Any course on capitalism ought to begin with an exploration of Karl Marx and Frederich Engels. We will read selections of their work (The Manifesto, Capital, and On the Origins of the Family) in order to understand the social relationships that are determined by and required of this economic system. As many feminist readers will be quick to note, Marx’s analysis of the class system has not always made space for understanding women’s oppressions. Inspired by New Left politics of the 1960s, which embraced anti-capitalist class politics but were resistant to transform gender roles, leftist feminists nevertheless drew on both Marx and Engels in an effort to produce theories of power that could explain both gender and class exploitations. Though often left out of contemporary narratives of the “second wave,” this scholarship played a vital role in feminist theory in the 1970s and 1980s. Armed with gendered analysis of class, capitalism, and labour, some feminist scholars attended carefully to the gendered specificities of women’s work lives (i.e., the second shift and the emotional labour associated with “women’s work,” both derived from the work of sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild); others insisted on what would come to be described as “intersectional” analyses that place class in relationship with race and gender (i.e., Angela Davis’ Women, Race, and Class; or “Between the Lines: On Culture, Class, and Homophobia” in This Bridge Called My Back). The class will consider both the legacy of earlier feminist materialist approaches to capitalism, labour, and class, and the capacity of this work to serve as a resource to contemporary feminist theories and politics.

     

     

    Instructor: MEAGHER, Michelle
    Days & Time:
    M, 14:00 - 17:00
    Units:
    *3.00
    Note:  Taught in conjunction with WGS 504 B1