WGSS 301
Sexual Economies Fall 2018
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed WGSS 301 / AMST 334 / ANTH 301
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This course examines various forms of sexual labor around the world in order to better understand how gendered and sexual performances are used in a variety of cultures and contexts for material benefit. Our topics include “traditional” forms of sex work such as street prostitution, pornography, and escorting as well as other forms of sexualized performances for benefit such as stripping or camming. We also discuss current issues and debates about discourses of “sex trafficking.” Course readings come from a range of fields, but focus most heavily on anthropology, sociology, American studies, and gender studies. The readings for this class will frequently foreground the lived experiences of sex workers from a variety of nations, races, classes, religions, and backgrounds in order to explore the broader social implications of our subject matter. The format is largely discussion-based, with short lectures supplementing the reading with summaries of current scholarly and activist debates. We will have either guest speakers or a field trip to hear from people working in various commercial sex sectors.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 20
Expected: 20
Class#: 1473
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: midterm essay exam, final research paper, research proposal/annotated bibliography
Prerequisites: none, though WGSS 101 and/or 202 may be helpful, but not required
Enrollment Preferences: based on statement of interest
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: DPE: We will study various questions related to sexual empowerment, agency, vulnerability, and exploitation in myriad global contexts. We pay particular attention to the intersecting questions of race, sexuality, gender, and class as we explore the political economy of commercial sex. The course teaches students to examine the underlying political and economic structures that create systems of privilege and power, thereby complicating questions and assumptions about sexual consent, coercion, agency, and empowerment with particular attention to race and gender in comparative transnational contexts.
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
WGSS 301 Division II AMST 334 Division II ANTH 301 Division II

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