Workshop for Dissertation Writers in Women’s and Gender Studies
Fall and Spring, Wednesdays, 5-8 PM, 9/4/13-5/7/14
*Meets every other week at MIT, Building and Room TBD
A writing workshop for graduate students at the dissertation level. Classes will include presentations and discussions of students work-in-progress. Discussions will move back and forth between theoretical considerations and practical ones as we address three areas central to dissertation writing: archive, methodology, and interpretation. Students will be asked to reflect on the ways that feminism and gender studies have affected their views of what discourses are considered relevant, worthy, and timely. We will also consider issues of scholarly voice, clarity, and vision. The course will consider how dissertation writers speak to various audiences while maintaining a core feminist engagement. Each student will also give an oral presentation that has been consciously adapted for an interdisciplinary audience.
Kimberly Juanita Brown is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Northeastern University. Her book, The Repeating Body: Slavery’s Visual Resonance in the Contemporary examines the gendered manifestations of slavery’s memory and is forthcoming from Duke University Press. She is an interdisciplinary scholar working at the intersection of feminist theory, literature and visual culture studies (particularly photography). Her next project explores the visuality of indifference in documentary photographs in the New York Times.
Taught in the Fall semester
The topic of pornography is deeply charged. Both feminists and non-feminists from a range of disciplines, and outside the academy, have taken up the topic of pornography (or better said, pornographies), producing dynamic debate but little consensus. Some have attended to the links between pornography and key concepts of personal autonomy, bodily integrity, and civil society. Others have set out to describe and analyze what pornography is and has been its formal elements, proximity to other genres and media forms, and development over time. Still others have fought vociferously over it some claiming that it degrades and distorts minds and societies, others seeing within it opportunities for subversion and resistance. Thus scholars work to investigate, describe, contextualize, analyze and regulate pornography. Battles rage; the object of study continues to be both provocative and protean, and there are adherents and detractors of all political, ideological, and academic persuasions.
This course asks how and why feminist scholars in multiple disciplines have set out to study pornography, and why their findings frequently diverge. We will explore criticisms of pornography and celebrations of it, as well as more ecumenical efforts to study and understand what pornography is and has been. As a class, we will work to understand how pornography has been defined by various cultures and across time periods throughout history, how it is produced and consumed and by whom, the impacts of pornography consumption on individuals, families, communities, and societal norms, and importantly how pornography interacts with the intersectionality of multiple forms of oppression and expression (e.g., race and class, gender and sexual identities).
Sarah L. Leonard is Associate Professor of History at Simmons College. She is the author of several articles situating pornography in historical context. Her book, Fragile Minds and Vulnerable Souls: Books, Obscenity, and the Problem of Inner Life in Nineteenth-Century Germany, will be published by University of Pennsylvania Press.
Emily F. Rothman, ScD is an Associate Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health and Boston University School of Medicine. She is also a visiting scientist at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Her primary area of research is violence prevention, including dating violence, adult partner violence, and sexual violence. She began studying the impact of pornography on youth in 2012. She is a former battered womenis shelter advocate and batterer intervention counselor.
Burlin Barr is Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Cinema Studies at Central Connecticut State University. He has published articles in Camera Obscura, Screen, Jump Cut, and other journals. His scholarly interests concern the constructions of gender in film, as well as the intersection of film form and cultural politics.