Women's and Gender Studies

Upcoming GSJ Courses

Click the '+' to see the course description and other details.
* denotes a Special Topics course. 

Fall Term 2019 (1690)

  • GSJ 501: Social Justice Workshop

    This seminar will introduce students to theories of social justice. Students will examine the ways that social justice departs from traditional philosophical accounts of justice as well as the association of justice with criminal law, punishment or retribution in the social imaginary. In this course we will also study a number of social justice alternatives to retributive justice such as preventative, redistributive, restorative, and transformative justice, and we will examine the concepts of environmental and multispecies justice. As part of the Social Justice Workshop, students will complete 20 hours in a community placement with non-profit organizations. The Social Justice Workshop enables students to critically interrogate the relationship between social justice theory and practice, and students will be asked to reflect on how their community service experiences were informed by or challenged the theoretical material explored in the course.

     

    Instructor: TAYLOR, Chloë
    Day & Time:
    T, 17:00 - 19:00
    Units:
    *3.00

  • GSJ 502: Gender Research Workshop

    The GSJ MA Program takes interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the political, aesthetic, and ethical questions that arise from the study of gender and social justice. Core and affiliated faculty members are trained and active in the fields of anthropology, business, cultural studies, drama, economics, education, environmental studies, history, human ecology, language and literary studies, law, music, native studies, nursing, philosophy, physical education, political science, rehabilitation medicine, religious studies, sociology, and visual arts. The Gender Research Workshop offers students the chance to delve into the published and ongoing research projects of our core and affiliated faculty members across the university, and to gain familiarity with diverse manifestations of gender-oriented research.

    In preparation for class meetings, students will be assigned articles or book chapters by U of A researchers. In the seminar meetings, they will discuss the published research with the authors themselves. Students will have the opportunity (and indeed will be expected) to ask questions about the inspirations, processes, methods, theoretical frameworks, and (social justice) goals of the authors, and to think about how the professional research and publication experiences of the guest discussants can provide guidance for the student’s own intellectual and creative aspirations. These discussions should help demystify the process of research, writing, and publication, and provide practical, concrete examples of academic scholarship as a dynamic process beginning with the initial glimmerings of interest in a topic, moving through the formulation of a research question and the unpredictable vagaries of the research process, and culminating in the crystallization of a thesis or conclusion articulated in written form.

    When possible, the class will also attend to the impact and reception of a given scholar’s published work. One complete session will be devoted to practical guidance from University of Alberta librarians keyed specifically to the research plans and projects of students in the class.

     

    Instructor: LIFSHITZ, Felice
    Day & Time:
    W, 15:30 - 18:30
    Units:
    *3.00

  • GSJ 515: 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 WGS 498 A1

  • * GSJ 598: Topics in Women's & Gender Studies - 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 WGS 498 X01


Winter Term 2020 (1700)

  • * GSJ 504: Feminist Cultural Studies - 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 498 B1

  • GSJ 520: Law and Feminism in Canada

    Interdisciplinary consideration of conceptual, political, and legal strategies that feminists have deployed to confront sexual coercion with an emphasis on the contemporary North American context.

     

    Instructor: GOTELL, Lise
    Day & Time: W, 14:00 - 17:00
    Units:
    *3.00

    Note: Taught in conjunction with WGS 431.  Not open to students with credit in WGS 431.

  • * GSJ 598: Intersectional Digital Humanities

    Description coming soon.

     

    Instructor: VERHOEVEN, Deb
    Days & Time:
    T, 13:00 - 16:00
    Units:
    *3.00 
    Note: Taught in conjunction with WGS 498 B2 and DH 530 B2.