Special Topics in Gender and Sexuality Studies

REL692
Spring 2017
T 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Area: 
Area II, Area V
MDIV Requirements: 
Diversity
Professor: 
Permission Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

This course examines some recent developments in gender and sexuality studies that are important for thinking about the methods, sources, and topics of work in religion, gender, and sexuality. The first section of the course traces the politics of feminist storytelling: what are the consequences of generationalism for feminist thought? How can work sensitive to gender and sexuality move beyond dependence on the generational narratives characteristic of feminist theory? The next section examines the spatiality of bodied being and the construction of place in conversation with texts from critical geography, black feminist, and postcolonial studies. The third section looks at the body through the lens of performance studies and queer of color theory, which transitions into a final section on representation, visuality, and visibility using material from black feminist visual theory, medieval studies, and queer theory. The aim of the course is for students to develop their own research projects in conversation with one of the sets of readings engaged in the course.

Background Expected: 

This is an advanced course assuming extensive background training in gender and sexuality studies: the minimum is at least one course in gender studies, and at least one course in sexuality studies or REL 660 Queer Theology. At least two courses in the student’s area of concentration at the graduate level are required as well (discuss the fulfillment of this requirement with instructor if enrolled in the MDiv or comprehensive MAR programs). Permission of instructor is required.

Course Requirements: 
1. Reading
We will read approximately a book a week. The reading is to be done carefully and creatively. 
2. Presentation(s)
Once or twice per semester (depending on the number of students enrolled), students will be responsible for a 10-15 minute presentation on that week’s reading. The student will meet with the instructor the week before to discuss the presentation. Presentations will constitute 25% of the grade. 
3. Weekly précis
Each week (unless presenting), students will turn in a 2-page précis outlining the week’s reading and briefly considering its potential implications for work in religion and sexuality or religion and gender. The weekly précis will constitute 25% of the grade and is due at the beginning of class. Late work will not be accepted.
4. Final project, due May 9
At the end of the semester, the student will turn in a substantive (20-25 page) research paper or constructive argument engaging one or more of the issues raised in class. The topic of the project will be determined in consultation with the instructor no later than the 7th week of classes. In the 9th week of class, the student will submit a five-page outline of their paper or argument as well as an annotated bibliography of 5-10 items identifying the most important sources on which they will depend. The final project will constitute 50% of the grade. Students will be expected to meet with instructor at least three times during the development of their research project, once before each of the interim deadlines and at least once during the final three weeks of class. 
 
Basis of Evaluation: 
Presentation 25%
Precis 25%
Final project 50%