Tulane University:

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.

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.

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.

Newcomb Scholars Seminar – Seeking Knowledge: How Various Disciplines Recognize Truth (with Jacquelyne Howard)

This course examines knowledge production through discussion and exploration of the research process. It also attends to the question of how gender and other identities intersect with the processes of research, knowledge production, and becoming a scholar. Readings, class discussions, and guest lectures will provide Scholars with the opportunity to engage with interdisciplinary perspectives, connect with Tulane faculty, and begin to develop their own identities as scholars.

Scholars’ main task in this course is to produce a literature review as a means to thinking about how their intellectual interests are situated in a particular discipline or at the nexus of more than one discipline. As Scholars work on understanding and executing this task, we will hear from faculty who work in multiple disciplines address questions like: How is knowledge created? What constitutes a good research question? What does being a scholar have to do with being a leader? What does a feminist lens bring to the process of producing knowledge? How does one become a scholar?

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.