In my teaching, I use approaches from critical science studies to explore the processes by which socially salient categories (like race, gender, and sexuality) are naturalized to help ground, explain, and elaborate on queer and feminist claims that they are both contingent (“socially constructed”) and interconnected (“intersectional”). Feminist engagements with science and its “proper objects” (nature, bodies) become tools of critique, resistance, and the creative work of making our worlds anew.
Here’s a list of classes I’ve taught at the Five Colleges (you’ll find full course descriptions below):
- Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Science (University of Massachusetts)
- Rethinking the Sexual Body (Hampshire College)
- Methods and Practices in Feminist Scholarship (Mt. Holyoke College)
- Issues in Feminist Research (UMass, Grad)
- Feminist Science Studies (Hampshire)
- Feminist Engagements with Biomedicine: Health, Ethics, and the Nature of Difference (UMass).
- Monogamy: Queer Feminism and the Politics of Social Belonging (Hampshire and UMass, Grad and Undergrad).
- Postcolonial Feminist Science Studies (co-taught across UMass and Hampshire)
- History of Sexuality and Race in the U.S. (University of Massachusetts)
- Queer Feminist Biologies
Rethinking the Sexual Body
This course will provide a forum for students to consider the relationship between body theory, gender, and sexuality both in terms of theoretical frameworks within gender studies, and in terms of a range of sites where those theoretical approaches become material, are negotiated, or are shifted. We will pay particular attention to the historical slippage among racial and sexual bodily signs and symbols. The course is a fully interdisciplinary innovation. It will emphasize the links rather than differences between theory and practice and between cultural, material, and historical approaches to the body, gender, and sexuality.
Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Science
This course will function as an introduction to feminist science studies with a particular focus on the production of race, gender, and sexuality in the biosciences. We will consider such questions as: What knowledges count as “science?” What is objectivity? How do cultural assumptions shape scientific knowledge production in different historical periods? What is the relationship between “the body” and scientific data? Is feminist science possible? We will draw on a range of sources including theories and critiques of science, primary science publications (historical and contemporary), and the Science section of the NY Times.
Issues in Feminist Research
Spring 2012, Spring 2015
This course will begin from the question, “what is feminist research?” Through classic and current readings on feminist knowledge production, we will explore questions such as: What makes feminist research feminist? What makes it research? What are the proper objects of feminist research? Who can do feminist research? What can feminist research do? Why do we do feminist research? How do feminists research? Are there feminist ways of doing research? Why and how do the stories we tell in our research matter, and to whom? Some of the key issues/themes we will address include: accountability, location, citational practices and politics, identifying stakes and stakeholders, intersectionality, inter/disciplinarity, choosing and describing our topics and methods, and research as storytelling. The class will be writing intensive and will culminate in each student producing a research portfolio.
Methods and Practices in Feminist Scholarship
Spring 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016
This is a class about doing research as a feminist. We will explore questions such as: What makes feminist research feminist? What makes it research? What are the proper objects of feminist research? Who can do feminist research? What can feminist research do? Are there feminist ways of doing research? Why and how do the stories we tell in our research
matter? Some of the key issues and themes we will address include: accountability, location, citational practices and politics, identifying stakes and stakeholders, intersectionality, inter/disciplinarity, choosing and describing our topics and methods, and research as storytelling. The class will be writing intensive and will culminate in each student producing a research portfolio.
Introduction to Feminist Science Studies
with Jennifer Hamilton Fall 2012
This course introduces students to theories and methodologies in the interdisciplinary field of feminist science studies. Through collaborative faculty-student research projects, we will engage key conversations in the field. Specific areas of investigation include scientific cultures, science and the law, animal models, and science in the media and popular culture. While working on project-specific questions students will continuously engage larger questions such as: What kinds of knowledge count as “science?” What is objectivity? How do cultural assumptions shape scientific knowledge production in this and other historical periods? What is the relationship between “the body” and scientific data? Is feminist science possible?
Feminist Engagements with Biomedicine
Through the lenses of disability, critical race, and queer feminisms, this course will provide a forum for the exploration of conceptions of health and ethics in the overlapping fields of feminist body theory, science studies, bioethics and health movements. The course will revolve around a series of questions that arise when we think/talk/write across disciplines, genres, and settings about what it means to engage biomedical constructions of and engagements with difference from a feminist perspective. These questions include (but are not limited to): What is biology? What is “the body”? What is ethics? What is health? What is science? What is feminism? What are the relationships among these concepts? We will explore a range of types and expressions of ethical concern with the body and with bio-medical inquiry and practices. Through interdisciplinary inquiry we will begin to map ethical questions and frameworks being proposed, debated and institutionalized across and beyond the academy with regard to the status and practices of biomedicine. In the first two sections of the course, “Feminists Theorize the Body, Embodiment, and Bio-Ethics” and “Difference as/and Illness,” we will build a shared set of theoretical tools and language for thinking, talking, and writing about “the body,” biology, ethics, and difference. In the final section of the class we will look in depth at “gynecology” as a rich site of feminist engagement with biomedicine. Drawing on a wide variety of feminist engagements, we will touch on topics including trans health issues, menopause, intersex treatment, and sexual dysfunction.
Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016
Grounded in queer and feminist concerns with marriage and coupled forms of social belonging, this class will consider “monogamy” from a range of disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives. From the history of marriage to the science of mating systems to the politics of polyamory, the class will explore monogamy’s meanings. Students will become familiar with these and other debates about monogamy, a variety of critical approaches to reading and engaging them, and fields of resistance to a variety of “monogamy stories” within and beyond the academy. The course will draw in particular on feminist critiques of the nuclear family, queer historicizations of sexuality, and science studies approaches to frame critical questions about what monogamy is and what discourses surrounding it can do. Through historical analysis and critical theory, the class will foreground the racial and national formations that produce “monogamy” as we know it. Students will develop skills in critical science literacy, interdisciplinary and collaborative research methodologies, and writing in a variety of modalities.
Postcolonial Feminist Science Studies
With Jennifer Hamilton and Banu Subramaniam
Science was a central force in the ideologies of colonialism and the successes of colonial expansion. Postcolonial studies suggests that this colonial legacy lives on in postcolonial nations. In what ways does this colonial legacy shape postcolonial conceptions of the state and its citizens and subject formation? We will explore recent work in postcolonial feminist science studies by examining a range of postcolonial sites and a variety of scientific disciplines. Some of the questions we will explore are: postcolonial development, bioprospecting and biopiracy, pharmaceutical testing in postcolonial contexts, colonial sexual science and the history of sexuality, surrogacy, the rise of genomic sovereignty in postcolonial nations, GMOs and industrialized agriculture, and climate change. Throughout the course, students will engage with postcolonial feminist critiques of scientific epistemologies (theories of knowledge) and the universalizing metaphysics (theories of existence/reality/nature) they engender. Please Note: This class will be team taught by Professors Jennifer Hamilton, Angie Willey, and Banu Subramaniam. We will combine sections based at Hampshire and UMass. Classes will meet at UMass from 4-6:30pm (not at Hampshire).
History of Sexulity and Race in the United States
This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary feminist study of sexuality. Its primary goal is to provide a forum for students to consider the history of sexuality and race in the U.S. both in terms of theoretical frameworks within women’s and gender studies, and in terms of a range of sites where those theoretical approaches become material, are negotiated, or are shifted. The course is a fully interdisciplinary innovation. It will emphasize the links rather than differences between theory and practice and between cultural, material, and historical approaches to the body, gender, and sexuality. Throughout the course we will consider contemporary sexual politics from the science of sex and sexuality to marriage debates in light of histories of racial and sexual formations.
Queer Feminist Biologies
This course will serve as a semester-long exploration of bodies and how we know them. We will explore a wide range of queer and feminist approaches to “knowing bodies,” and will draw in particular on disability, critical race, and queer feminist theories of embodiment, critical theories of materialism, debates about feminism’s relationship to natural sciences, as well as on more creative treatments of these themes in queer and feminist art and non-academic writing. The course will revolve around a series of questions that arise when we think, talk, and write across disciplines, genres, and settings about bodies. These questions include (but are not limited to): What is biology? What is “the body”? What do we know and want to know about bodies? What is health? What is science? What is feminism? What relationships have been articulated among these concepts? How do we assess and bring into dialogue disparate types of knowledges about bodies? Over the course of the semester we will build a shared set of theoretical tools and language for thinking, talking, and writing about bodies and biology and for assessing different sorts of body knowledges. These will guide us in collaborative transdisciplinary research projects. This course is writing and research intensive, collaborative, and experimental. Please come curious!