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What counts as feminist and queer activism? This course challenges what we dominantly understand as activism—key to the emergence of ethnic studies and feminist and queer theory. Moving away from political actions centered in these fields, such as strikes, protests, and boycotts, this course will turn to visual and performance art works by artists of color, who consider other forms of action that are not overtly visible, resistant, oppositional, agentive, militant, loud, liberatory, and documentable. Each week, we will examine a performance at the limit of action, including silence, sexual abjection, concealment, melancholia, and waiting, alongside issues related to race, gender, sexuality, labor, and migration among others. How might we approach and reconcile with performances that once again reify notions of racialized and gendered bodies as apolitical, passive, submissive, and compliant? Drawing on scholarship within black and women of color feminist criticism, queer of color critique, critical ethnic studies, and performance studies, this course will attune students to the role of aesthetics to interrogate and expand what we typically conceive of as activism, resistance, power, and survival from racialized, feminized, and queer positions.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
In-class discussion, short weekly reading posts, class presentation, final paper/project
WGSS majors and students with experience in American Studies or performance studies coursework
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course satisfies the DPE requirement as it explores difference, power, and equity by asking how racial, gendered, sexual, and class differences are produced, whose voices are centered and whose are excluded, and what forms of activism is valued over other forms.