AMST 313 Fall 2014 Gender, Race, and the Power of Personal Aesthetics (D)

Cross Listed as WGSS313, LATS313
This course focuses on the politics of personal aesthetics among U.S. women of color in an era of viral video clips, the 24-hour news cycle, and e-commerce sites dedicated to the dermatological concerns of "minority" females. With a comparative, transnational emphasis on the ways in which gender, sexuality, ethno-racial identity, and class inform personal style, we will examine a variety of materials including commercial websites, histories, personal narratives, ethnographies, sociological case studies, and feminist theory. Departing from the assumption that personal aesthetics are intimately tied to issues of power and privilege, we will engage the following questions: What are the everyday functions of personal aesthetics among women of color? Is it feasible to assert that an easily identifiable "African American," "Latina," "Arab American" or "Asian American" female aesthetic exists? What role do transnational media play in the development and circulation of popular aesthetic forms? How might the belief in personal style as a tactic of resistance challenge traditional understandings of what it means to be a "feminist" in the first place? Readings include works by Susan Bordo, Ginetta Candelario, Patricia Hill Collins, Amira Jarmakani, Nadine Naber, Lisa Nakamura, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Kobena Mercer, and Catherine Ramírez, among others.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: participation, one student-led discussion period, two written essays of 5-7 pages, final take-home exam
Additional Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Additional Info2:
Prerequisites: LATS 105, AMST 201, WGSS 101 or permission of the instructor; first year students are not permitted to take this course
Enrollment Preference: Latina/o Studies concentrators, American Studies majors, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies majors by seniority
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Exploring Diversity
Other Attributes: AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora,ASAM Related Courses,WGSS Racial Sexual + Cultural Diversity Courses,WGSS Feminist Theory Courses
Enrollment Limit: 12
Expected Enrollment: 12
Class Number: 1451
AMST 313 - 01 (F) SEM Gender, Race, Beauty, Power (D) Division 2: Social StudiesExploring Diversity Initiative Maria Elena Cepeda
MR 2:35 PM-3:50 PM Hollander 241 1451
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