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Who is considered the dominant subject of labor? This course offers an overview of queer, women of color feminist, decolonial, and black and critical ethnic studies critiques of orthodox Marxism. Starting with core texts from the Marxist tradition, we will explore a range of social positions and forms of labor that complicate Marx’s emphasis on the white male industrial worker. Each unit, we will study key scholarship that centers reproduction, slavery, care and domestic work, indentured servitude, sex work, and low wage flexible labor, to name a few, alongside queer and feminist modes of performance that respond to and/or provide strategies to live and survive under racial capitalism. We will discuss seminal works by theorists, including Karl Marx, Luce Irigaray, Cedric Robinson, Jennifer Morgan, Hortense Spillers, Lisa Lowe, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Dorothy Roberts, Angela Davis, José Esteban Muñoz, and Leo Bersani, in tandem with performances, such as paintings, performance art, poetry, protests, photography, prints, music, and sculptures. This course will equip students with a critical understanding of the ways racial capitalism has centrally relied upon the mass capture and recruitment of racialized and gendered labor in and beyond the U.S. and how, through performance, life under these conditions have been reimagined.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
In-class discussion, short weekly reading posts, class presentation, final paper
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 labor is valued over other forms.