Race, Nature, and Biological Disaster
This interdisciplinary course examines the intersections of race, politics, and biological disaster. This course will examine how structural racism on a national and global scale contributes to the disproportionate vulnerability of certain groups to biological disaster. We will look at the construct of nature, how it has informed racism historically, and how it functions in political discourse to obscure the human-made dimensions of disaster. We will investigate a number of disease crises throughout history and across the globe. Readings and discussions focus on the human-made dimensions biological disasters, such as the typhus, the bubonic plague, HIV/AIDS, the cholera outbreak in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Sexuality, Childhood, and Media
This course focuses on the relationships between childhood, sexuality and reproduction, and popular media in the United States. Students will encounter theories of sexuality and childhood within historical and cultural studies scholarship, including queer and gender theories. They will also learn key concepts and techniques of media analysis as they explore representations of sexuality and reproduction within children’s media, as well as representations of childhood sexuality within popular culture. The course covers historical and contemporary portrayals with a focus on their racial, class, and gendered dimensions. Students grapple with the relationships between what the media teaches children about sex and reproduction and the role constructions of childhood play in policing acceptable forms of sex and family. In sum, this course maps the intersections between childhood, sexuality, and the media, while helping students develop their analytical prowess, communication skills, and knowledge of media, culture, and heteronormativity in the United States.
Reproductive Politics in New Orleans
From sex education for middle and high schoolers to nutrition assistance for impoverished new parents, the phrase “reproductive politics” encompasses far more than debates over abortion and contraception. This one-credit first-year course explores American studies scholar Laura Briggs’ claim that “all politics [are] reproductive politics,” with a particular focus on the political and legal realities of reproductive life in the city of New Orleans.
Students will be introduced to broad historical trends in reproductive politics in the United States as well as to the theoretical frameworks of biopolitics and reproductive justice, which help us make sense of gender, race, class, sexuality, and reproduction in modern society. By interacting with local experts and community organizers, students will gain an understanding of the landscape of reproductive politics within the unique context of New Orleans, a city that is an influential center of reproductive rights/health/justice activism within a state that has some of the most stringent restrictions on women’s reproductive lives. For students who are new to the city, this course will give them much needed knowledge about the reproductive context in which they plan to spend their next four years.
Media and Reproductive Rights
This course focuses on the relationships between reproductive politics, popular and social media, and movements for reproductive rights in the United States. Students learn key concepts and theories related to reproductive rights and justice, as well as media studies and analysis. The course covers historical and contemporary portrayals of reproduction within popular and alternative media with a focus on their racial, sexual, class, and gendered dimensions. Students also learn about various ways in which television, film, and new media technologies function within government and nonprofit advocacy around reproductive issues. In sum, this course maps the intersections between reproductive politics and media technologies, while helping students develop their analytical prowess, communication skills, and knowledge of media, culture, and social inequality in the United States.
Newcomb Scholars Seminar – Feminist Epistemologies and Research Design (with Jacquelyne Howard)
In this course, students will read and discuss key texts that outline philosophies and methods of feminist knowledge production. Students will engage with foundational feminist epistemologies, such as standpoint theory, situated knowledges, and intersectionality, to understand the complex relationships between gender, race, class, and other categories that shape the distribution of power both within and outside the academy. They will explore research methods across fields while examining important debates about a researcher’s role and responsibilities to her/his/their subjects and the public. Research ethics regarding data collection, interpretation, and dissemination will be discussed through the lens of feminist and antiracist commitments.
Applying these interdisciplinary theories of knowledge production, students will develop a research proposal. During weekly writing workshops, students will draft, peer-review, and revise portions of a research proposal that address the question, methods, literature review, and significance of that project.
Honors Colloquium: Quest for Answers – Sexuality, Knowledge Production, and Education
This course introduces students to the various ways that the pursuit of knowledge is carried out within and across scholarly disciplines. Grounded in an interdisciplinary exploration of sexuality, knowledge production, and education, students learn about the purpose and processes of academic research; examine various forms of academic research to appreciate the similarities and differences in questions and methods of scholarship; and study the organization of knowledge and the role of the scholarly communities. In so doing, students analyze research across disciplines relating to human sexuality, as well as the effects and implications of research on policy and practice related sexuality education.
Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies
Fields of scholarship that seek to understand the categories of gender and sexuality shed crucial light on the institutions and discourses that structure our lives, both inside and outside of college campuses in the historical and contemporary United States. Using the work of prominent feminist and queer theorists and gender and sexuality studies scholars, students begin to uncover the ways that gender and sexuality function as socially constructed, historically situated categories of social difference. We examine how dominant frameworks for proper gender roles and approved sexualities help determine the distribution of social privilege and burden our society. With an eye toward the lived realities of gender and sexuality that escape and defy what is widely considered normal, as well as toward the social movements that have challenged and disrupted dominant constructs and institutions, we explore how other categories of difference, such as race, class, ethnicity, age, and nationality help shape both individual sexual and gender identities as well as societal expectations for what constitutes proper gender and sexual behavior.
Women Leading New Orleans – Read this article to learn more about this course.
From non-profit organizations to government, social movements to Mardi Gras, and restaurants to boardrooms, women have led and continue leading New Orleans. Using an intersectional feminist lens, this course explores how personal, organizational, and institutional factors affect women’s practices of leadership. Students read and discuss research on gender and leadership, while examining historical and contemporary examples of women practicing leadership in New Orleans. The course begins with a brief introduction to theories of gender as a social construct and intersectionality – foundational concepts of the course – and moves into discussions of how and why women lead, as well as barriers they encounter to leadership. Guest speakers, field trips, and writing assignments ask students to think broadly and analytically about what leadership is, what it means to them, and how identities and institutions shape the experience of leadership.
University of New Mexico:
Race, Nature, and Disaster
This interdisciplinary course examines the intersections of race, politics, and environmental and biological disaster. Students look at how ideas about race in the U.S. have shaped and been shaped by social policy, global politics and economics, and U.S. foreign policy, and investigate how certain populations within and outside the U.S. become disproportionately vulnerable to wide-scale disaster. Readings and discussions focus on the human-made dimensions of disasters like the destruction of New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the AIDS epidemic, and the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
In thinking about how vulnerability is created and maintained according to a racial logic, we will interrogate the following questions: How is the construct of “nature” framed in opposition to “humanity”? How do claims to objective knowledge about nature operate in political realms? In what ways has the nature/humanity binary informed the construction of racial categories and racism? How do ideas of nature serve to obscure the complex intersections of environmental and social factors in our daily realities? How do discussions of crisis and disaster (in other words, exceptional situations) serve to authorize extreme measures? How do certain versions of international humanitarianism deny the global interconnectedness of nation-states and the culpability of those giving aid in the dire circumstances of those receiving it?
Introduction to Race, Class, and Ethnicity
In this interdisciplinary course, students examine the ways that race, class and ethnicity intersect in U.S. society. With attention also to other categories of identity, such as gender and sexuality, students explore theoretical and historical material to gain an understanding of how notions of race, class and ethnicity have functioned and continue to shape our reality. Students also engage with television, film, internet sources and literature in order to analyze the course themes.
Introduction to Popular Culture
This is an interdisciplinary course designed to examine the ways that popular culture texts shape and are shaped by dominant notions of national identity, gender roles, racial and class difference, and other ideological factors. We seek to understand and employ theories that define pop culture and posit explanations for how it functions within society at large. We look at various media and genres of what is considered pop culture, identifying unifying themes within and between them. In doing so, we learn to critically analyze texts and communicate ideas about them effectively in writing and oral presentations. This course emphasizes the importance of incorporating questions of production, textual analysis, audience reception and historical circumstances into the analysis of pop culture texts.