Spring 2023 Women's Studies UN3225 section 001



Call Number 00788
Day & Time
R 10:10am-12:00pm
214 Milbank Hall (Barnard)
Points 3
Grading Mode Standard
Approvals Required None
Instructor Paisley Currah
Course Description

This course introduces the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies. While we will read about gender variable bodies within a long historical arc, the categories of both “transsexual” and "transgender" are recent social constructions. How did the many different forms of gender variance resolve into these singular forms and what has been lost in the medical and legal narrowing of gender variance to only these forms? Can we make any connections between witches in the 17th century (often accused on the grounds of cross-gender identification), mollies and dandies in the 19th century (often marked as effeminate), inverts in the late 19th and early 20th century and later constructions that assemble under the banner of “trans*”?

Many academic disciplines-- including anthropology, history, gender studies, literary studies, and gay and lesbian/queer studies--have studied transgender identities, bodies and communities, but only very recently has the field become institutionalized in the academy as a discipline "Transgender Studies." In this course we examine the ongoing development of the concept of transgender as it is situated across social, cultural, historical, medical, and political contexts. Along the way, we will try to answer some fundamental questions: when did trans* emerge as a distinct social formation? What might be the differences between the understanding of gender variance in the second half of the 20th century and formulations of the phenomena of cross-dressing and passing and transvestism in earlier periods? Is the term "transgender" applicable to non-Western and previously occurring embodiments and practices?

Web Site Vergil
Department Women's, Gender, Sexuality Studies @Barnard
Enrollment 17 students (25 max) as of 5:05PM Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Subject Women's Studies
Number UN3225
Section 001
Division Barnard College
Campus Barnard College
Section key 20231WMST3225W001