This course focuses on the politics of personal style among 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 standards of beauty, 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 style among women of color? Is it feasible to assert that an easily identifiable “African American,” “Latina/x,” “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 activist strategy challenge traditional understandings of feminist political activity?
Format: seminar; This remotely taught, synchronous course follows a discussion format.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
participation, one student-led discussion period, two written essays of 5-7 pages, final oral exam.
LATS 105, AMST 201, AFR 200, WGSS 101 or permission of instructor; first year students are not permitted to take this course.
Latina/o Studies concentrators, American Studies majors, Africana Studies majors, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies majors by seniority. If the class is overenrolled students may be asked to submit a brief writing sample.
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AMST Comp Studies in Race, Ethnicity, Diaspora
ASAM Related Courses
LATS Core Electives
WGSS Racial Sexual + Cultural Diversity Courses
WGSS Theory Courses