Course Syllabi

Ghosts That Haunt Us: Memory, Identity, and Micro Histories

Acknowledged or unacknowledged ghosts reside in the mundane landscapes of daily human life: looking in the mirror when we brush our teeth; sitting at the family dinner table; or opening a car door on the passenger side. We can choose to embrace or deny their presence. When ghosts arrive unexpectedly –without the reception of a warm welcome–the possibility of unknown consequences exists. But we can not prepare ourselves emotionally for their potentially terrifying and disruptive arrival. After “a visitation” our lives may change for ever and the social history of the world-at-large must be reconsidered.
Full Syllabus (PDF)

Art, Activism, and Academics: The Work of Audre Lorde

This seminar will examine the life, work, and critical contributions to feminist theory of the Black lesbian writer and activist Audre Lorde and her essential place in twentieth-century women’s studies, American literature, and global feminism, with particular emphasis on the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality in her work and on her understanding of art as activism. Additionally students will study Lorde’s primary influence on the development of Black feminist thought through readings by Patricia Hill Collins, Barbara Smith, Barbara Christian, and Jewelle Gomez. The academic response to Lorde’s writing spans multiple disciplines from health care to queer theory; from the aesthetics of poetry to political science; to her meteoric use of language — all of which will be considered in the course.
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Reading and Writing Autobiography: Creating An Ethnic, Gendered Self Through Language

This three hour, weekly seminar will explore the ways in which lives are embedded within their social and cultural contexts, how those contexts change over time, and the ways in which men and women construct their lives. We will have a particular focus on the impact of sexuality, race, and culture on the construction of identity. Other social structures such as class, gender and ethnicity will be discussed in terms of the impact they have on race and sexuality. Examining their own lives in their particular cultural and historical contexts, students will create written autobiographical work, which reflects and synthesizes the theories discussed in class.
Full Syllabus (PDF)