Graduate Courses

Graduate students in class

The Department of Global Gender and Sexuality studies is committed to intersectional gender analysis, exploring the complex intersections of women, gender, race, class, sexuality and disability. Our objective is to inspire critical thinking in our students, challenging them to integrate local and global knowledge and to link theory and practice across a wide range of disciplines.

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Sample Courses

GGS 518– Readings in Feminist Theory
Feminist theories represent a complex and ever-expanding body of work that is truly interdisciplinary in its topics, themes, scope and impact. Over the semester we will be reading works within the broad rubric of Liberal, Radical, Socialist, Psychoanalytic, Postmodern, Black, Chicana, Native American and Global/Transnational feminist theory. In addition to analyzing key foundational works associated with each of these schools of thought, we will also be focusing on a number of recent works that seek to engage with many of the fundamental debates that have emerged within feminist theory.

GGS 521– Democracy & Gender (Dual listed with GGS 421)
How are democracy and transition to democracy interconnected with gender? This course will survey recent debates about democratic transitions and diffusion of democracy. Conceptual and practical understanding the concept of democracy; democratic principles; processes of democratization and re-democratization; types of democratic systems; and the most suitable conditions for development of democracy, will constitute the core of our investigations. Through lively class discussions, we’ll assess the impact these forces have on gender relations; culture and cultural identity; women vs. men social, economic, and political opportunities; and maternal health in contemporary United States, and in other countries.

GGS 525– Women’s Movements (Dual-listed with GGS 425)
This class explores current developments in women’s, feminist and sexual minority movements. These social movements have reshaped politics, economics and cultures across the world. The class will explore the current connections between local, national, regional and global women’s activism. Readings will be drawn from a variety of fields and cover a wide geographic area. Basic questions will be examined such as: Why and when do women mobilize? What have been the demands of recent women’s, feminist and sexual minority movements in different countries, and how are these demands connected across nations and regions? What role have transnational networks played in local and national women’s organizing? Why and when have transnational or regional networks been created? What roles do women’s, feminist and sexual minority movements play in the global flows of culture and capital? How should we understand the relationship between transnational women’s networks and other international institutional actors (the UN, international NGOs) and other movements (anti-globalization, labor and environmental movements)?

GGS 560 – Special Topics: Disability, Gender and Sexuality (Dual-listed with GGS 402)
This course addresses how disability, as a social justice category, intersects with gender and sexuality as well as with other vectors of identity like race, class, and nation. We will cover texts that reveal the complex interrelations among valences of power. We will ask how political thought and action addresses historical injuries and how calls for redress might or might not be successful. We will ask how forms of oppression as well as forms of liberation do or do not travel across national boundaries. Course materials may include but are not limited to texts by Eunjung Kim, Julie Minich, Robert McRuer, Ellen Samuels, and others.

GGS 560– 19c American Studies - Reclaiming Our Ancestors: African American Literature and Public History (Cross listed with AMS 537)
Reclaiming our ancestors, in their messy, painful, and complex humanity, has never been more urgent than it is now. Racism and the pressing economic, cultural, and educational legacies of slavery are among the most serious threats to the common good in the public sphere of American daily life. The city of Buffalo and the region of Western New York exemplify the polarized social realities that characterize the nation as a whole. This course will focus on reclaiming archives of knowledge from the 18th and 19th centuries in relation to slavery, race, and gender. Readings will include 18th- & 19th-century slave narratives complemented by books and films created by 20th-21st c. descendants of slaves & slaveholders about their ancestors’ legacies.

GGS 561– New Directions in Queer Theory
As queer theory enters its fourth decade of existence – reports of its death, as always, greatly exaggerated – it is more important than ever for graduate students of any discipline who want to engage with sexuality or queer critique to have a command of its history, its present, and its possible futures. This theory seminar begins with a genealogical approach to the body of knowledge known as queer theory, beginning with Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and Eve Sedgwick’s foundational claims unraveling the “normal” orders of sex, gender, desire, and aesthetics. This seminar will trace the strains of intertextual influence and conversation that have shaped the present moment in the field. Thus we will use these new directions in the field to explore queer theory’s major strains of social, sexual, and ideological critique through their descent, change, and applicability over time, highlighting the interdependency of texts and ideas, the heterogeneity of queer theory as a body of scholarship, and the flexibility of its methodological tools

GGS 601– Globalization & Gender (Dual listed with GGS 414)
This course explores the complex relationships between globalization, economic well-being and gender from a national and global, comparative perspective. It interrogates analytical and conceptual frameworks, definitions and measurements of globalization enriched by conceptual investigations of a neoliberal world system and dependency theory to view how the complex relationships between these theories explain women’s socio-economic and political position in developing and developed countries. The class is centered on analyses of relevant readings that form a base for a class discussion about globalization and about women’s experiences in globalized societies. In particular, it focuses on policies and practices that shape people opportunities and life experiences, and illustrate constraints and advancements that affect women’s positions worldwide. Drawing from multiple theoretical and conceptual frameworks this course focuses on interdisciplinary of social sciences, global development and gender.

GGS 661 – New Directions in Queer Theory: Space, Time and Matter
This graduate seminar will engage with major works of cultural, political, and philosophical theory whose connection to the traditional topics of sexuality studies is questionable, complex, or attenuated. We will cover both canonical works that form the intellectual genealogies of queer theory, and current work taking queer analysis in new directions. Readings will draw on a variety of disciplines, but I can promise a focus on history and historiography, science studies and the philosophy of science, ecology, and affect studies. The seminar will be organized around three units – Space, Time, and Matter – which in recent years have become objects of intense interest and radical redefinition in queer and non-queer thought alike. Major authors will include but are not limited to: Bruno Latour, Deleuze and Guattari, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Carla Freccero, Karen Barad, Mel Y. Chen.

GGS 709 - Qualitative Methods Social Research (Dual-listed with GGS 409)
This course introduces basic statistical methods and their application to social science research focusing on gender issues. Students will have the opportunity to learn how to conduct basic statistical analyses and apply them to research topics, such as gender and global health, maternal health, gender and global development, and contemporary democratization and women. Students will acquire knowledge of how to extract data from existing databases, as well as be guided in the collection of their own empirical data. This course is a hands-on experience and is held in a computer lab; therefore students will have a good opportunity to become skilled and experience in understanding and conducting basic statistical research. This course will also teach students how to interpret published, empirical papers that use quantitative research methods. Course objectives will be achieved through lectures, individual work, class discussion and class work on conducted projects.

AMS 620 MCC – Gender, Sexuality, Indigeneity

This seminar will feature cutting edge historical and contemporary Indigenous studies scholarship on topics of gender and sexuality. We will explore works that complicate and challenge conventional thinking about Indigenous gender roles, gender identity, and gender diversity. Academic and activist scholarship on Indigenous women including that which engages Indigenous feminism and its attendant critiques will also be foregrounded. We will examine path-breaking interventions in queer Indigenous studies and in the study of Indigenous masculinities. Political investments in controlling Indigenous sexuality and reproduction in the nation-building projects of settler states through time will be an ever present focal point in the seminar. We will also explore Indigenous critiques of proposed linkages between “tradition,” patriarchy, and heterosexism in modern Indigenous sovereignty and nation-building movements. The significance of artistic and literary expressions of Indigenous eroticism to the reclamation of Indigenous bodies, spaces, and land will also be examined in-depth in this seminar.

COL 703 SEM – Kristeva in Context: Feminism & Beyond

Having arrived in France from Bulgaria in the 1960s, Julia Kristeva is neither quite French nor quite feminist, and yet, she has been regarded as one of the most influential of the so-called French feminists. With the approaching 50th anniversary of the publication of Revolution in Poetic Language, this course will reconsider Kristeva’s contributions to feminism, psychoanalysis, modernism, affect theory, visual arts and  poetics, as well as the philosophy of language. 

SPA 535 SEM - Gender in Mexican Film

This course will examine the depiction and representation of women's concerns in Mexican films in the last thirty years. The focus is on how the domestic settings that figure in the films as well as the dramatization of gender relations reveal the nation's attitude toward rape, prostitution, love, adultery, women in the workforce, and motherhood. To be able to discuss the above issues within the context of film, we will read texts on film that provide the vocabulary appropriate for the description and analysis of movie images. We will pay attention to how lighting, sound, structure, and narrative voice contribute to a feminine, a feminist or a masculinist point of view.    

VS 500 SEM - Performance Art: History, Theory, and Institutionalization

This seminar examines the history of performance art from the mid-1950s to the present, with an emphasis on the political and aesthetic interventions of the body in art, visual culture, and museums/galleries, as well as the relationship between performance art, subjectivity and identity including queer theory and gender studies. Ranging in topics from endurance, violence, pain, love, injustice, racism, gender, sexuality, war, and science to activism, collective collaborations, and reenactment, we will consider the politics of the museum and the archive, the role of art institutions and curators in representing ephemeral and corporeal acts with live bodies, objects, and photographs, as well as the ethics and processes of institutionalization, popularization, and repeated censorship of performance works since the 1980s to the present.