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Upcoming Courses

Spring 2024

GSS 1111: First Year Writing Seminar – Another World is Possible: Feminist Futures

Taught by Lara Lookabaugh

Counts toward: First Year Writing Seminar   |   AXLE: Perspectives

In this course, we will interrogate societal structures that uphold systems of oppression and learn how people in the present work against them through political activism, community-building, art, and more. We will critically assess assumptions about the future and how those dominant visions come to seem natural, predetermined, or immovable. By studying how people at different intersections of global oppressions and difference (for example: gender, race, class, nationality, sexuality, or disability) understand their histories and envision different futures, we can better understand how those structures become embedded in both our presents and potentially, our futures. We will take seriously the work of imagining what it means to build a feminist future. This is a first-year writing seminar, so we will also improve our writing using theory, case studies, and independent research. Key concepts include: feminism, colonialism, development, racial
capitalism, abolition, environmental justice, representation, borders and mobility, and more.


GSS 1150: Sex and Gender in Everyday Life

taught by Kristen Navarro

Counts towards: Intro   |   AXLE: Perspectives   |    Eligible for African American and Diaspora Studies and Latino/Latina Studies

Sex and gender roles in culture and society. Gender, race, and class. Women and men in literature, art, culture, politics, institutions. Repeat credit for students who have completed 1150W.


GSS 1150-01/02: Sex & Gender in Everyday Life

Taught by Kristin Rose

Counts towards: Intro   |   AXLE: Perspectives   |    Eligible for African American and Diaspora Studies and Latino/Latina Studies

This course is about sex, sexuality, and gender. Centrally, we will be interrogating what these terms mean, and how they might mean differently for different people in different contexts. Through our readings, discussions, and film analyses, we will consider how issues of sex and gender come to be impacted by their intersections with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, and disability, both historically and contemporarily. This course will provide you with the toolkit you will need to develop the kinds of persuasive, thoughtful arguments that responsibly engage the themes and questions of the class at hand.


GSS 1160: Sex and Society

Taught by Jennifer Gutman

Counts toward: Intro   |   AXLE: Perspectives

This class is designed as an introduction to some of the central debates that animate gender and sexuality studies. Understanding that the study of sex and gender is a dynamic and multifaceted field of thought, this course places particular emphasis on the role of sex and gender in everyday life. Throughout the semester, we will focus on three sites of everyday life wherein sex and gender have been particularly contested throughout history: ballot boxes, bars, and bathrooms. With an emphasis on twentieth- and twenty-first century U.S. history, including current events animating the political scene in Tennessee and elsewhere, this class explores how issues related to sex and gender powerfully inflect everyday environments and experiences. Through our readings and written assignments, we will consider how issues of sex and gender come to be impacted by their intersections with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, age, and disability, both historically and contemporarily.


GSS 1160: Sex and Society

Taught by Stacy Simplican 

Counts toward: Intro   |   AXLE: Perspectives

The goal of this course is to equip students with a more robust and complex understanding of sex, gender, and sexuality. The class takes an intersectional and interdisciplinary approach. Intersectionality means that our examination of sex, gender, and sexuality will change as these concepts intersect with race, ethnicity, age, nationality, place, socioeconomic class, dis/ability, and other important identity differences. An interdisciplinary approach requires that we look at sex, gender, and sexuality through different disciplines, including philosophy, political theory, history, and social science fields, including sociology, economics, and political science.

The course is divided into four units. The first unit introduces students to the field of Gender and Sexuality Studies so that all students have a shared understanding of key terms. We will use the graphic readers Queer: A Graphic History and Gender: A Graphic Guide. These books give overviews of the main concepts, intellectuals, and histories that affect how we think about gender, sex, and sexuality. In Unit 2, we turn to history to understand how our understandings have evolved over time. Specifically, we will dive deep into the activist histories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender movements in the twentieth century United States. Students will read primary and secondary sources to appreciate how activists have fought for sexual and gender freedom. In Unit 3, we switch gears and put on our social science hats to ask: how do people today experience and research sexuality? We explore topics like sexual education, sexual pleasure, sexual violence, and sexual health and reproduction. We give special attention to research ethics and methods, and we will have several invited guests from across campus and the Nashville community to help us broaden our thinking. Finally, in Unit 4, we take up sex education. Now equipped with theoretical, historical, and sociological understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality, students will design and implement their own sexual education curriculum in order to promote the sexual futures that we envision.

Along the way (and because this is a Writing course), students will deliver a graphic memoir about themselves, a podcast script & recording documenting an LGBT activist, a research poster & paper exploring a topic of their choice, and a co-authored sex education lesson plan and a solo-authored post-teaching reflection.


GSS 1160: Sex and Society

Taught by Jessica Lowe

Counts toward: Intro   |     AXLE: Perspectives

Sex is everywhere, or it seems to be. Yet sex is not a monolith, not something static and unchanging. Instead, sex and sexuality are particular to social, cultural, and historical contexts; sex is both socially constructed and historically specific. Beginning with these ideas, this course divides our ensuing discussion into five sections: sexual bodies, sexual acts, sexual identities, sexual violence, and sexual politics. In these thematic sections we will investigate the historical construction of sex and sexual identity in North America, the social experience of sex and sexual identity in the twenty-first century United States, and the critical cultural discourses that emanate from these histories and experiences. We will read historical primary sources, scholarly secondary sources, and engage with an array of modern cultural commentary to think deeply about sex and with sex in both the past and the present.


GSS 2234: Women in Judaism 

Taught by Rebecca Epstein-Levi

Counts towards: Global Fem   |   AXLE: International Cultures

Judaism and feminism. Women in the Hebrew Bible, Jewish law, natural philosophy, and history. Case studies in Jewish medieval and modern contexts; problems of assimilation and cultural specificity in modern society.


GSS 2243: Sociologies of Men and Masculinities 

Taught by Stacy Simplican 

Counts towards: Sex, Sexuality, and Society   |   AXLE: Perspectives   |   Eligible for American Studies Major

The goal of this course is to introduce students to the interdisciplinary field of masculinity studies. Special emphasis will be on theories of masculinity, sociologies of masculinity that take an ethnographic approach, and how gender and masculinity have been studied from the standpoint of critical disability studies. Prerequisite: 1150 or 1150W or 1160


GSS 2267: Seminar on Gender and Violence

Taught by Cara Tuttle

Counts towards: Sex, Sexuality, and Society   |   AXLE: Perspectives   |   Eligible for Medicine Health and Society

In-depth study of violence against women, with a service-learning component in a community setting. Topics include domestic abuse, rape, sexual harassment, pornography, and global violence. Focus on problems and potential solutions, examining violence on a societal, institutional, and individual level, interrogating the “personal as political,” and exposing power structures that shape our communities


GSS 2270: Ecofeminism: Women at the End of the World

Taught by Kristin Rose

Counts toward: Hist/Social Movements   |   AXLE: Perspectives

This course explores intersectional feminist and ecocritical texts—including critical theory, activism, films, and fiction by authors like Ursula K. Le Guin, Linda Hogan, Octavia Butler, and Claire Vaye Watkins. From The Parable of the Sower (1993) to Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), we will use dystopian imaginings as a touchstone for our study of pressing contemporary issues like climate change, resource inequality, and their intersections with class, race, gender, and sexuality.


 GSS 2610: Womanism in Global Context 

Taught by Danyelle Valentine

Counts towards: Global Fem   |   AXLE: International Cultures

Survey of global Womanist (Black Feminist) theory and praxis. Race, class, sexuality, spirituality, and activism. Controversies over female bodies.


 GSS 3312: The Making and Unmaking of Latinx and Latinidades Across the Americas

Taught by Julie Gamble

Counts towards: Global Fem   |   AXLE: International Cultures

The Making and Unmaking of Latinx and Latinidades Across the Americas; Contemporary demographic and sociopolitical events have raised scholarly and activist calls to interrogate the concept of Latinidad and the category of Latino/a, Hispanic, and/or Latinx (as well as Chicanx). Indeed, there have been calls to “cancel Latinidad” (Flores, 2021). Meanwhile, Latin American critical geographies consider how differently located colonialism and racial capitalism shape people’s experiences to produce space in diverse ways. How are we to make sense of the Latin American identity? How are Latin American identities in conversation with Latinx identities? This course explores the relationship between Latinx and Latin American identities across the Americas embracing with feminist, Black, Chicana and decolonial theorists and engaging in ethnographic methods, providing richly textured accounts of the social histories and contemporary lives of a diverse range of experiences across the United States and Latin American and the Caribbean. Course topics will focus on growing research on Latinx and Latin American identities, including but not limited to issues rooted in collective struggles such as environmental justice, race and immigration, gender and labor, mobility, and territories (urban and rural).


 GSS 3313: Sex, Sin and the Law in the Early Modern European Witch-Hunts

Taught by Jessica Lowe

Counts toward: Hist/Social Movements   |   AXLE: Perspectives

The idea of the diabolical witch–predominantly female, led in a continent-wide conspiracy by the Devil, and worshiping that Devil in wild nocturnal gatherings–emerged in Europe at the turn of the fifteenth-century. The witch was a product of societal turmoil, and combined fears about unruly gender, aberrant belief, and defiance of lawful authority into one frightful figure. In the centuries of witch-hunting that followed, powerful cultural prejudices combined with specific legal structures to allow for the ongoing prosecution of “witches,” in hunts that took place unevenly across the continent, often in quick bursts. This seminar immerses you in the early modern European witch-hunt, paying particular attention to the gendered assumptions and the legal structures that provided the preconditions for persecution. We will read key historical monographs, dive into extant trial records, and consider the gendered arguments scattered throughout demonological literature.


SOC 3723: Gender, Sexuality, and the Body

Taught by Laura Carpenter

Counts toward: Sex, Sexuality and Society    |   AXLE:

Human beings are embodied creatures.  We move through the social world in our bodies, so our bodies are more than just individual, biological entities—they are profoundly shaped by society.  Gender categories and identities greatly influence how we think about and experience our bodies, especially in relation to sexual identities and activities.  This course examines a variety of sites and situations in which gender, bodies, and sexuality intersect, such as dance, diet, body art, virginity, sexual pleasure, cosmetic surgery, aging, and health.  Throughout the course, we will consider how people conform to and resist gendered social norms; how gender and sexuality intersect with race, ethnicity, and social class; and how individual life experiences are situated in social and historical context.


GSS 4960: Senior Seminar

Taught by Kristen Navarro 

Counts towards: Advanced   |   AXLE: N/A

Advanced reading and research. Prerequisite: 1150 or 1150W or 1160.


GSS 8302: Gender and Pedagogy

Taught by Elizabeth Covington

Counts toward: Grad   |   AXLE: N/A

Feminist theories of teaching and learning; gender and diversity in the classroom; critical pedagogy. Classroom practicum