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The Sex of Things

AMST 302
Spring 2013
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: FGSS 300
Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory

This readings seminar will critically examine the ways that material culture has shaped the social and cultural construction of sex, gender, and sexuality in Modern America. We will begin by "rereading" selections from social theorists such as Karl Marx, Raymond Williams, Norbert Elias, Pierre Bourdieu, and Michel Foucault to gain insight into the processes that "fetishize" objects as desirable, alluring, or grotesque. The class will then survey particular genres of material culture (fashion, art, the decorative arts, technology, and consumer products) to understand how physical objects communicate sex, gender, eroticism, and racial difference. We will explore how everyday consumer products like the car, Tupperware, clothing, and cosmetics facilitated or restricted sexual expression and the formation of gendered and queered identities. Students will be introduced to scholarly studies that evaluate the eroticism of statues, paintings, and artistic reproductions; interrogate the role medical devices played in regulating or liberating the body (the speculum, birth control devices, menstrual technology, plastic surgery, Viagra); and analyze the subversive potential of sexual paraphernalia (Bondage, various sex toys, and other forms of erotica).
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS AMST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: None
Past Enrollment Probability: Not Available

Last Updated on JUL-24-2024
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