Spring 2014 not offered
FGSS 241, AMST 263|
This course is an introduction to the anthropology of sexuality. Our focus will be on practices and relationships understood as nonnormative--and thus on the relationships between gender, sexuality, and power. For anthropologists, this might mean same-sex marriage or mail-order brides, butch/femme relationships or ritualized homosexuality, two-spirit people or transgender sex workers, gay immigration or Caribbean sex tourism, female genital surgeries or plastic surgery.
We will explore bodies, genders, desires, sexual practices, sexual identities, sexual labor, and socio-sexual relationships in a variety of locations: the United States, Brazil, Suriname, India, the Dominican Republic, Nigeria, Indonesia, China, Thailand, and Japan, among other places. Our readings will range from the classic to the contemporary: Margaret Mead's (1928) COMING OF AGE IN SAMOA to Esther Newton's (1972) MOTHER CAMP to several ethnographies published in the last year or two. Throughout, we will ask, How do sexuality, sex, desire, and gender vary across cultures? How are our concepts--queer, gay and lesbian, transgender, sex worker, or heterosexual--challenged by these similarities and differences? What happens when our concepts travel across temporal, national, and cultural boundaries? And, finally, how does thinking both locally and globally help us understand, analyze, and reformulate the content of basic social categories like gender, sex, and sexuality?
Our course will take an intersectional and transnational approach, paying careful attention to the ways sexuality intersects with class, nation, and race, as well as the effects of globalization, transnational mass media, and cross-border economies and activisms on local or "traditional" genders and sexualities. Our aim is to use ethnography to illuminate important cultural and national differences between people and thus unsettle U.S.-centric approaches to gender, sexuality, and queer studies.
||Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (AMST)(FGSS)(SISP-Anth Conc)
Email me at mdweiss at wesleyan.edu for the finalized list of course texts. Potential ethnographies include:
Jafari S. Allen, ¡Venceremos?: The Erotics of Black Self-Making in Cuba
Evelyn Blackwood, Falling Into the Lesbi World: Desire and Difference in Indonesia
Alexander Edmonds, Pretty Modern: Beauty, Sex, and Plastic Surgery in Brazil
Rudolf Gaudio, Allah Made Us: Sexual Outlaws in an Islamic African City
Mary Gray, Out in the Country: Youth, Media, and Queer Visibility in Rural America
Scott Lauria Morgensen, Spaces Between Us: Queer Settler Colonialism and Indigenous Decolonization
Esther Newton, Mother Camp: Female Impersonators in America
Mark Padilla, Caribbean Pleasure Industry: Tourism, Sexuality, and AIDS in the Dominican Republic
David Valentine, Imagining Transgender: An Ethnography of a Category
Margot Weiss, Techniques of Pleasure: BDSM and the Circuits of Sexuality
Gloria Wekker, The Politics of Passion: Women's Sexual Culture in the Afro-Surinamese Diaspora
|Examinations and Assignments: |
class project, short response papers, and final paper/ethnographic project
|Drop/Add Enrollment Requests|
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