WGSS 301 Fall 2012 Sexual Economies (D)

This discussion-based course examines various forms of sexual labor in order to better understand how gendered and sexual performances are used in a variety of cultures and contexts for material benefit. We begin with the 1980s Feminist Sex Wars, a series of debates among feminist activists and scholars about pornography, prostitution, queerness, and issues of sexuality and power. The majority of the course, however, is a global and ethnographic exploration through cross-cultural case studies that includes "traditional" forms of sex work such as street prostitution, pornography, and escorting as well as sexual labor without contact such as stripping and phone sex. Finally, we will explore other examples of people who engage in sexualized gender performances in exchange for material benefit such as runway models, beauty pageant queens, and drag performers. Course readings come from a range of fields, but focus most heavily on cultural anthropology, feminist/queer ethnographies, and feminist theory. (Major authors include: Gayle Rubin, Don Kulick, Denise Brennan, Andrea Dworkin, and Catharine Mackinnon.) This course meets the requirements of the Exploring Diversity Initiative in that it focuses on empathetic understanding, power and privilege, and critical theorization, especially in relation class, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity in both the US and global comparative contexts. A prominent feature of this course is that it includes opportunities to travel together to New York to attend events and meet with relevant interlocutors (e.g., tour modeling agencies, meet sex worker-rights NGOs).
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, weekly online forum, online quizzes, and one 8-10 page research paper (can be historical, anthropological, or rhetorical to suit student interests)
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: WGSS majors
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Divisional Attributes: Division II,Exploring Diversity
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Enrollment Limit: 20
Expected Enrollment: 15
Class Number: 1534
WGSS301-01(F) SEM Sexual Economies (D) Division 2: Social StudiesExploring Diversity Initiative Gregory C. Mitchell
TR 09:55 AM-11:10 AM Pareksy 220 1534
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