Women & Gender Studies Institute

Courses

 

Program requirements for the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies (CWGS) changed as of the 2014-2015 academic year.

WGS graduate courses are offered in the Fall/Winter session.  Certain enrolment restrictions apply.  First preference is given to students registered in graduate programs at the Women & Gender Studies Institute.

Required Courses

 WGS5000H F  Feminist Theories, Histories, Movements I
 (Master’s students are required to take this course.  Ph.D. students have the option of completing WGS5000H or WGS5001H)
This core course explores interdisciplinary feminist theories, methodologies and epistemologies, with particular attention to transnational feminism, anti- and post-colonialism, global capitalism, critical race theory, nation and state formation, gender and sexuality studies and affect theory.

Instructor:         Professor Shana Ye

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS5001H S  Feminist Theories, Histories, Movements II
(This course is for Ph.D. students only)
This is an advanced course designed for doctoral students, which explores interdisciplinary feminist theories, methodologies and epistemologies, with particular attention to transnational feminism, anti- and post- colonialism, global capitalism, critical race theory, nation and state formation, gender and sexuality studies and affect theory.

Instructor:        Professor Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS Electives (not all courses are offered every year):

WGS1004H F Histories, Theories, Imaginaries: Themes in Technoscience
This course mobilizes, develops and experiments with “terraformations” as a critical concept. Terraforming was first proposed as a speculative concept in science fiction that imagined the engineering of other worlds. The term then moved into scientific discussions of the possibilities of planetary colonization, naming the process whereby a hostile environment could be altered in order to become suitable for human life. Today, in response to global climate change, terraforming is increasingly invoked in common parlance to name a planetary-scaled engineering fix to the problem of massive environmental violence.  In this course, we seek to re-form terraformations as a critical term, one which points beyond the geo-engineering imaginary to the always situated and always political processes of geosocial processes of worlds-making. In this course we will study and experiment methodologically with “terraformations.” We will read and work together to consider powerful terraforming enterprises tied to the cumulative force of colonialism and capitalism. How, we will ask together, have terraforming practices built, rather than ameliorated, hostile worlds? Attending to the pluriverse of terraformations, we also ask, what other visions and practices of world building are possible?  How have core concepts of land, planet, world, and earth been forged in non-innocent formations – that is, through historically specific infrastructural, conceptual, material, and social relationships? What other relationships to land are possible, or are already here?  

This course is part of the Engineered Worlds Project, a multi-year collaborative research project that examines and creates alternatives to the terms currently available for theorizing the relationships between technoscience, anthropogenic environments, and planetary conditions. The project develops a set of questions and methods for research involving the affective, imaginary, and material engagements with environment, thinking about how the long history of land in relation to anti-black, settler colonial, military, and extractive capitalist formations. An interdisciplinary undertaking, this seminar virtually brings together students and faculty from Science and Technology Studies, Anthropology, Geography, History, and Women and Gender Studies at four universities: University of Toronto (Michelle Murphy, instructor), UC Davis (Tim Choy, instructor), UC Berkeley (Jake Kosek, instructor), and University of Chicago (Joe Masco, instructor). Together we will engage works from fields such as Indigenous Studies, Black studies, science and technology studies, and environmental studies. Authors include Nick Estes, Aileen Moreton- Robinson, Daniel Nemsler, Jason De Leon, Katherine McKittrick, Zoe Todd, Marisol de la Cadena, Tiffany King, Manu Karuka, Katheryn Yussof, and others.

Instructor:           Professor Michelle Murphy

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS1006Y  Community Engagement (Practicum)
This course provides students the opportunity to study, engage directly in, and reflect upon the multiple definitions of feminist social change work outside the university classroom. Students can choose from among many organizations in the Greater Toronto Area. Students will develop new understandings of the relationship between academic and activist work in thinking critically about the practice of experiential learning. Students will spend approximately 7-10 hours a week in their organization from September through February and will have scheduled progress meetings with an on-site mentor. They will gain exposure to the breadth of tactics organizations use, and will think about the politics of scale, coalition across groups/movements/borders, intersectionality and diversity, and neoliberalism. Students will learn how to conduct feminist social action research and program evaluation, and will gain practical skills in areas such as writing grant applications, press releases, outreach materials, organizational histories, and participating in community organizing. The final project is a written case study that contends with a central organizational problem or contradiction.

Instructor:         Professor Judith Taylor

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS1009H F  Gender and Cyberpolitics
This course focuses on theories of feminist cyber-activism and examines the relevance of gender, race, class and sexuality to understanding cyberpolitics.  We question how women transform digital sites into feminist spaces and how online networking serves to complicate, diversify and redefine feminist activism.

Not offered in 2019-2020

Instructor:          Professor Victoria Tahmasebi-Birgani

This course is open to UofT graduate students.  Students are considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the WGSI Program Office at grad.womenstudies@utoronto.ca

WGS1010H F  Race, Sex and Pleasure
Pleasure: that which exceeds the limits of the body always pushing us into a realm where one’s sense of self begins to fragment. Pleasure: that which is associated with the body and the sex/ual; always gesturing towards excess and seepage. What does pleasure mean for those subjects whose racialization as black and/or brown is buttressed by negative affects associated with (bodily) excess and abjection? Do minoritized subjects have access to this abstract concept of pleasure? This seminar examines the concepts of sex and pleasure, especially as it relates to race and racialization. We will discover that sex and pleasure are highly fraught and contested in feminist and queer theories. However, recent shifts in women and gender studies (especially black feminist studies and women of color feminism), black studies, and queer of color critique point to the importance of sex and pleasure as analytics to think about, and theorize, racialized difference. How do we understand sex and pleasure within the contexts of settler colonialism, slavery, indigenous violence, neoliberalism, and other forms of dispossession? How do the colonized, dispossessed, and racialized/ethnicized other use sex and pleasure not only to resist and critique but also to produce counterintuitive social worlds in the face of ongoing violence designed to obliterate their humanity? What are the stakes of examining the pleasures in racialization and can sex and pleasure provide analytics to understand the complexities of racialized sexual subjectivities in a world that is inherently anti-black and anti-brown? Throughout this seminar we will investigate the complexities of racialized sexual desires, sexual behavior or practices, sexual identities, and subjectivities. Rather than offering any conclusive definition of sex or pleasure, we will interrogate what the stakes of talking about sex and pleasure have been within contemporary theory and culture. This course takes gender, race, and sexuality as central analytic components to understand how pleasure is defined and who has access to it.

Instructor:  Professor Jordache Ellapen

This course is open to UofT graduate students.  Students are considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the WGSI Program Office at grad.womenstudies@utoronto.ca.

WGS1011H F  Transnational Filipino Studies: Directions, Dialogues & Debates
Grounded in feminist, queer, and postcolonial reading practices, this course examines the field of Filipino studies from a global and diasporic perspective.  It offers students the critical vocabularies needed to pursue interdisciplinary research on and by Filipinx communities. This course historicizes the effects of empire, dictatorship, migration, militarism, globalization, multiculturalism, and settler colonialism on the diaspora. It also explores how everyday practices of solidarity, community, and care reframe conceptions of gender, sexuality, class, and race. By placing scholarship produced in Philippines, United States, and Canada in productive dialogue, students will ultimately examine the key contributions of Filipino Studies to broader theories of social justice.

Not offered in 2019-2020

Course Instructor:  Professor Robert Diaz

This course is open to UofT graduate students.  Students will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the WGSI Program Office at grad.womenstudies@utoronto.ca.

WGS1013H  Intimacy, Empire, Violence
This course surveys scholarship on contingency and mutual construction of violence, normality and intimacy, emerged from critical race and ethnic studies, feminist and queer studies, and postcolonial studies. We will explore the geopolitics of war, border control, sex work, labor exploitation, slavery in relation to colonialism/empire, neoliberalism and nation-state.

Not Offered in 2019-2020

Instructor:  Professor Shana Ye

This course is open to UofT graduate students.  Students will be considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the WGSI Program Office at grad.womenstudies@utoronto.ca.

WGS1014H  Challenging Coloniality: Caribbean Sexualities in Transnational Perspective
This course foregrounds the Caribbean as a transnational space, where sexuality, gender, race and class are intimately connected and shaped by colonial legacies and contemporary circuits of globalization.

Not Offered in 2019-2020

Instructor: Professor Alissa Trotz

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS1016H S  Migration, Mobility, Displacement in Africa
Why do people move? What are the causes and consequences of migration and displacement in Africa? This course critically examines the multifaceted dimensions of migration, mobility, and displacement through (text, art, film and narratives) with a specific focus on communities and populations displaced by war, environmental destruction and disaster, economic failings, and the quest for economic opportunities or individual freedom. We will: 1) explore canonical and emergent interdisciplinary scholarships and their epistemic claims and debates, key theories and concepts on migration, mobility and displacement; 2) engage in current debates and public discourses on these intersecting themes, analytics, and phenomena; and 3) interrogate the morality of media representation and gaze, discursive practices on the ‘migrant’ and ‘refugee’ subject formation, the ‘catastrophic’ biopolitics and governmentality of migration, the instrumentality and contingencies of political (non) interventions/(in)action, humanitarianism, and the politics of rights, justice, ethics, and solidarity. You will have the opportunity to unpack your own positionality and trajectories to reflect on the differentiated categories and trajectories of migration and mobility and to formulate your own critique and alternative epistemology.

Instructor:          Professor Marieme Lo

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS1017H   Black Feminist Movements: Transnational Histories
An introduction to historical methods in transnational black feminist studies. This course examines foundational and emerging scholarship on women, gender and black radical traditions, with a focus on intellectual, social, and political histories of Pan-Africanism, anticolonialism, and Black Marxism. We will explore disparate but interconnected genealogies, itineraries, demands and visions of Black Feminist, Pan-Africanist, Women of Colour and Third World feminist campaigns against racism, heterosexism, capitalism, and imperialism; aesthetic insurgencies; and the challenge of building solidarity across difference.

Not Offered in 2019-2020

Instructor:  Professor Chris Johnson

This course is open to UofT graduate students.  Students are considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the WGSI Program Office at grad.womenstudies@utoronto.ca.

WGS1018H S  Theories of the Flesh: Transnational Feminist Sensibilities
What does it mean to sense? What epistemological and ideological assumptions do we bring to the project of sensing? Grounding these questions within women of colour and transnational feminist theory, this course explores flesh and skin and as the meditations required for theorizing the sensorial across studies of decolonization, technology, biopolitics and citizenship.

Instructor:  Professor Nicole Charles

This course is open to UofT graduate students.  Students are considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the WGSI Program Office at grad.womenstudies@utoronto.ca.

WGS1019H S  Decolonization, Settler Colonialism, and Anti-blackness
This course examines settler colonialism and antiblackness as entwined historical and contemporary social structures. Appraises lived consequences for Indigenous peoples, Black peoples, European settlers, and other arrivals. Considers theories of decolonization and abolition within settler colonial contexts.

Instructor:  Professor Eve Tuck

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS1020H   Gender and Globalization: Transnational Perspectives
This course critically examines current interdisciplinary and feminist scholarship on globalization, its intersections with gender, race and class, neoliberal transformations, power structures, and sexualized and feminized economies. The related socio-spatial reconfigurations, “glocal” convergences, and tensions are explored, with special emphasis placed on feminist counter-narratives, alternative epistemologies and theorizing of globalization, the theoretical and political debates on the meanings and impacts of globalization, and the exploration of radical possibilities of resistance, agency, and change in local and transnational contexts.

Not Offered in 2019-2020

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS1021H  Black Diasporic Feminisms: Modernity, Freedom, Belonging
This course examines transnational feminist genealogies of the black diaspora, paying careful attention to the contexts and movements that generated key questions, and exploring how these interventions disclose preoccupations with modernity, freedom and citizenship.  Topics include history, trauma and memory, diaspora and indigeneity, racialised embodiment, queer kinship, Afrofuturism, confinement and deportation, and the careful calibration of political communities.

Not offered in 2019-2020

Instructor: Professor Alissa Trotz

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS1022H S  Race, Space and Citizenship
How do we come to know who we are and how is this knowledge emplaced, raced and gendered? For educators, these questions underpin pedagogy. In focusing on the formation of racial subjects and the symbolic and material processes that sustain racial hierarchies, educators can consider how dominance is taught and how it might be undermined. Drawing on recent scholarship in critical race theory, critical geography, history and cultural studies, the course examines how we learn who we are and how these pedagogies of citizenship (who is to count and who is not) operate in concrete spaces–bodies, nations, cities, institutions. This course is about the production of identities–dominant ones and subordinate ones in specific spaces. It is taught from an educator’s and a researcher’s viewpoint. As an educator, the compelling question is how we might interrupt the production of dominant subjects. As a researcher, the question is how to document and understand racial formations, and the production of identities in specific spaces. The course begins by exploring the racial violence of colonialism, of periods of racial terror (lynching, the Holocaust), and of the New World Order (in particular, the post 911 environment, and the violence of peacekeeping and occupations) as well as state violence. In all these instances, law often has a central role to play in producing and sustaining violence. It is through law, for example, that nations are able to legally authorize acts of racial violence and legal narratives often operate to secure social consent to acts of racial terror. Through a feminist and anti-racist framework, we explore how racial violence is sexualized and gendered, and how it operates as a defining feature of relations between dominant and subordinate groups. The course examines how racial violence is linked to empire and nation building, and how individuals come to participate in these racial and gendered social arrangements.

Instructor:   Professor Vannina Sztainbok

Enrolment is restricted to students registered in the Master’s and Ph.D. Degree Programs in Women and Gender Studies and the Collaborative Specialization in Women and Gender Studies.

WGS1023H F   Studies in Aesthetic Expression and Radical Hope
This course treats aesthetic imagination and and creativity as the processes by which we give value to human experience and make knowledge. Students will study the relationship between aesthetic expression and radical hope/futures. Readings will be drawn from the fields of cultural theory, affect studies, and psychoanalysis. Students will also examine and reflect on expressive texts.

Not offered in 2019-2020

Instructor:  Professor Dina Georgis

 

WGS1024H F  Gendering Racial Capitalism
This course historicizes racial capitalism – as both a theoretical intervention and as a system of political economy – while also asking how and in what ways it intersects with categories of gender difference. This course asks: if racial capitalism achieves class stratification through racialism, then how was and is gender difference co-constructed and mobilized alongside racial differentiation in order to facilitate capitalism’s need to separate workers from owners and from each other? Students will also critically examine select black feminist writings that center the simultaneous importance of race and gender to liberation movements. Through a close reading of Cedric J. Robinson’s hallmark text, Black Marxism: The Black Radical Tradition, as well as scholarship from South African Marxist thinkers, historians of race and reproduction, the writings of Claudia Jones, Angela Y. Davis, and black feminist thinkers and writers, students will gain a deeper historical understanding of the genealogies of gendered racial capitalism. Topics engaged in this course include: black Marxism, early modern transnational capital formation, race and reproduction from slavery to the contemporary moment, black women and superexploitation, racial capitalism and neoliberalism, racial capitalism and the carceral state.

Course Instructor:  Professor Shauna Sweeney

This course is open to UofT graduate students.  Students are considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the WGSI Program Office at grad.womenstudies@utoronto.ca.

WGS1025H S  Indigenous Aesthetics: Hip Hop, Media and Futurities
Explores the complexities of decolonization in relationship to social change.  Engages various articulations of Indigenous lands and lives through film, performance, gesture and other activations.  Examines tensions around issues of appropriation, accountability in narratives and knowledge production.

Instructor:  Professor Karyn Recollet

This course is open to UofT graduate students.  Students are considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the WGSI Program Office at grad.womenstudies@utoronto.ca.

WGS1027H  Women’s Rights in Transnational Perspective
This course addresses the challenges of achieving substantive gender equality under different constitutional and human rights regimes. The first part of the course will examine the effectiveness of several key court decisions in achieving gender equality at the national, regional and international levels. The second part of the course will explore some of the theoretical and methodological challenges that have surfaced in applying gender equality principles. The third part of the course will focus on the opportunities and challenges of achieving particular dimensions of equality, such its redistribution, recognition, participation and transformative dimensions. The course aims to go beyond a formalistic understanding of legal obligations in order to examine the complexities of achieving gender equality in different contexts.

Not offered in 2019-2020

Instructor:  Professor Rebecca Cook

WGS1028H F  Queer of Color Critique
This course tracks the deployment and emergence of “queer of color critique” and its interconnections with women of color feminisms.  We will examine theoretical texts, cultural production and forms of activism by queer scholars of color who attend to questions of race, class, sexuality and gender as intersecting social practices.

Instructor:  Professor R. Cassandra Lord

This course is open to UofT graduate students.  Students are considered on a case-by-case basis.  Please contact the WGSI Program Office at grad.womenstudies@utoronto.ca.

Previous Course Timetables:

CWGS 2012-2013 course timetable (PDF)

CWGS 2011-2012 course timetable (PDF)