Settling in to Graduate School

I have never been indecisive about my class schedule until this semester. Even as a freshman my class schedule seemed to be pretty well guided, but this semester, things have changed so much from my initial registration.

Theoretical Approaches to Sexuality and Introduction to Lesbian and Gay Studies has been a constant on my schedule. Those two have not changed at all.

The other spaces have shifted around. I went from Philosophy of Social Justice and Research Methods to Counseling Ethics and Tutorial in Sociology. Finally I am in Tutorial in Sociology and Transnational Feminism.  Course descriptions are provided below.

For the Tutorial in Sociology I am working on the topic of “masculinity”.  I started off being a little nervous about the tutorial course because initially I could not get any information about the course from the assigned instructor and then I found documents that contradicted what I was being told. I am becoming a little more relaxed with it now that I have met the instructor that I am doing the course with. I now know what is expected and know that I can do it.

Initially I started this semester knowing that I would have 1 class with Chris, Lesbian and Gay Studies. It is a class that is of interest to both of us, for obvious reasons. At least for me it is sort of like having an overview class of a missing part of my cultural history, as well as giving some insight into the movements for social justice.  Now, after a week of classes, Chris found displeasure in one of his other courses, and is joining me in Transnational Feminism (it is a cross-listed grad/undergrad course). I am looking forward to having someone to discuss the course with, but I’m not looking forward to the fact that when he writes his final paper, it doesn’t have to be nearly as long as my final paper.


Theoretical Approaches to Sexuality [WGST6601]
Katherine S. Stephenson
An interdisciplinary examination of the history of sexuality and contemporary theories of sexuality and the body. Topics covered include historical aspects of sexuality; representations of sexuality; politics of sexuality; critiques of psycho-analytic approaches to sexuality; feminist engagement with biological constructions of sexuality; and queer theory. — 3 hours


Introduction to Lesbian and Gay Studies [WGST2050]
Theresa L. Rhodes
An overview of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues from historical, sociological, psychological, and cultural perspectives. This introductory course examines a broad range of contemporary gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in various contexts including bio-medical, sociological, political, racial and sexual. The purpose of the course is to introduce the students to key concepts, terms, and issues related to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Additionally, the class will include historical influences over the past fifty years that have shaped the present day culture within the LGBT communities. — 3 hours


Tutorial in Sociology [SOCY6895]
Stephanie M. Smith
Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Directed reading and/or research; development of expertise in substantive area. May be repeated for credit. (Fall, Spring, Summer) — 3 hours


Transnational Feminism [WGST5050]
Robin James
Transnational feminisms address questions of gender and sexuality as they pertain to or emerge in contexts that cross, transgress, and problematize “national” borders and the idea of the “nation” itself. It is a discipline that examines how women’s lives, and the functioning of gender and sexuality, shape and are shaped by “globalization.” While this “globalization” is often the “invisible hand” of a neocolonial, neoliberal, Eurocentric capitalist hegemony, it also includes bottom-up feminist, queer, and postcolonial practices that resist and subvert this hegemony. Transnational feminism both makes this invisible hand visible, and gives it a kick in its erstwhile ass. In contrast to “global” liberal feminisms, which ultimately fail to de-center Western notions of gender, sexuality, politics, etc., transnational feminisms examine the intersections of “local” knowledges, practices, and values, with this more “global” Western hegemony. Transnational feminisms are attentive to the heterogeneity of women and queers both across and within nations. — 3 hours