Diversity at Reed

Faculty Consortium on Sex, Gender and Sexuality

The Faculty Consortium on Sex, Gender and Sexuality is a group of faculty who teach courses related to sex, gender, and sexuality. This page provides information about the Sex, Gender, and Sexuality Symposium Lecture and the faculty consortium.


Sex, Gender, and Sexuality Symposium Lecture

C. Riley Snorton: "DeVine's Cut"

Friday, September 22 at 5:00 p.m.
Psychology 105
Free and open to the public

In this lecture, C. Riley Snorton interrogates the absent presence of Phillip DeVine in both the public memory of the Humboldt killings and in the national narration of Brandon Teena as a transgender martyr. Making use of biomythography and following Sylvia Wynter’s work, Snorton ponders what aspects of DeVine’s figuration constitute a usable history for more livable black and trans lives.

C. Riley Snorton is associate professor of Africana studies and feminist, gender, and sexuality studies at Cornell University and visiting associate professor of American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. He is a recipient of a predoctoral fellowship at the W.E.B. Dubois Institute at Harvard University (2009), a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship at Pomona College (2010), and a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (2015). Snorton’s research and teaching expertise include cultural theory, queer and transgender theory and history, Africana studies, performance studies, and popular culture. He has published articles in Black Scholar, International Journal of Communication, Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, and Culture and Society. Snorton’s first book, Nobody is Supposed to Know: Black Sexuality on the Down Low (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), traces the emergence and circulation of the down low in news and popular culture. He is currently working on his second book, tentatively titled Black on Both Sides: Race and the Remaking of Trans History, which explores the transitivities of blackness and transness across the long twentieth century. He has also been listed as one of the “Ten Transgender People You Should Know” by BET.

Courses on Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Anthropology 344, Anthropology of Sex and Gender
Charlene Makley

Full course for one semester. What is the difference between sex and gender? And why is this important in today’s world? This course introduces students to an anthropological perspective on the relationship between sex (the biological attributes by which a person is deemed “male,” “female," "intersex," etc.) and gender (the norms and ideals associating appropriate roles, behaviors, and sexualities with "men", "women," "trans," etc.). In order to understand the various debates and their stakes, we will read anthropological accounts of communities in which sex, gender and sexuality are construed very differently from our own and combine these with discussions of documentary and popular movies and video clips. The course will provide students with ways to understand how we come to consider and express ourselves as sexed/gendered/sexualized persons and the sociocultural relations that constrain and shape us to act and think as such, as well as the potential consequences for not conforming to those norms. Prerequisite: Anthropology 211. Conference.

Anthropology 362, Gender and Ethnicity in China and Tibet
Charlene Makley

Chinese and Tibetan peoples have interacted for centuries, but it is only in the last half of the twentieth century that the "Tibet questions" in China has risen to global attention. This course looks at modern Sino-Tibetan relations through the lens of ethnicity and gender as a way to understand the contentious process through which the Chinese nation-state and national identity have been constructed. Through readings, films, discussions and lectures, we will explore the diversity of Tibetan and Han Chinese family organization, gender ideologies and ethnic identities just prior to, during, and after the Communist revolutionary period. This perspective will shed light on the incorporation of Tibetans as a "minority nationality" in the Chinese "multinational state," the role of such minorities in constructing Han Chinese majority identity, and the differing impact of state policies on men and women in the context of rapid economic reform and globalization in the PRC. Prerequisite: Anthropology 211 or consent of instructor.

Anthropology 373, Two-Spirit, Berdache, Akoziigokwe?: Social Gender in Indian Nations
miishen Carpentier

Full course for one semester. Beginning with early narratives of social gender among Indian Nations, the course will give critical examination to the ways in which contact with other nations effected tribal notions of man, woman, other. We will pay particular attention to the gendered discursive practice of these contact nations and the changes that created among Indian peoples. The course will further consider the work of contemporary two-spirit writers in the face of hetero-normativity, and the ways in which Indian nations navigate their unique legal position to allow for same-sex marriages. Readings include both sex/gender theory and ethnographic and historical case studies. Prerequisite: Anthropology 211 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Art 355, Representation and After
Kris Cohen

Full course for one semester.  Starting with second wave feminism, gay liberation, and civil rights in the 60s, we will study different forms of representational politics in and around the visual arts. For the second half of the course, we will ask whether representational politics have been superseded by new structural conditions (e.g., new identify formations seen in their intersections with new media), study some of those conditions as they pertain to questions of collective politics, and then ask what forms of political action in the aesthetic realm (broadly conceived) have become possible or are now needed. Prerequisite: Art 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Dance 360, Queer Dances: Gender, Sexuality, and Identity in Modern and Contemporary Concert Dance (visitor)

Full course for one semester. How does dance reflect and affect our notions of queer identity? How are issues of gender, sexuality and power manifested in drag performances, in club dancing and on the concert dance stage? This course traces the history of gay, lesbian, and transgender concert dance performance and choreography in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in the U.S. and Europe. We will examine gender, sexuality, and power, and how dances reflect choreographers’ identities, from gay and lesbian modern dance icons, to drag performance, to genderqueer expression, to how choreography reflects personal identity, historical politics, and social movements. Prerequisite: Dance 201 or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Econ 364, Economics of Population, Gender, and Race
Denise Hare

This course will consider race and gender as they influence and are reflected in decisions about schooling, work, and family. It will also examine trends in population and consider how and why they might change over time. We will use microeconomic models of fertility, migration, decisions to work, and decisions to invest in human capital in an effort to analyze and explain observed outcomes. Drawing on well-established literatures in the fields of labor economics and economic demography to provide frameworks for our discussions, we will consider the theoretical and empirical findings in light of their potential contributions to policy. Prerequisite: Economics 201.

English 341, American Literature to 1865: Sex and Gender
Laura Leibman

Full course for one semester. This course explores the origins and development of the notions of masculinity and femininity in American literature to 1865. We will pay close attention to how gender and sexuality were used to construct individual, communal, and racial identities and how definitions of transgressive behavior changed during periods of social unrest and cultural anxiety. Beginning with the "discovery" of the Americas, we will address the construction of identity over the course of four centuries and four distinct cultures: the Spanish American colonies, the Puritan colonies, the early republic, and the early to mid-nineteenth-century United States. Throughout the semester we will be using religion, philosophy, art, history, music, and material culture to enrich our understanding of these cultural and literary shifts. Prerequisite: two 200-level English courses, or Anthropology 344, or one U.S. history course, or consent of the instructor. Applies toward the literature prior to 1900 requirement. Lecture-conference. Not offered 2016–17.

History 363, American Social Reform from Revolution to Reconstruction
Margot Minardi

This course examines significant social movements in the nineteenth-century United States, including women's rights, abolitionism, temperance, utopian socialism, and more. The course frequently considers how these movements both drew upon and responded to contemporary gender dynamics. 

History 378, Gender and Family
Jackie Dirks

Full course for one semester. The course begins with the rise and spread of waged labor, with emphasis on how new economic structures altered household and familial life. Families under slavery will be considered, especially African Americans under slavery and in transition to freedom. Migration and resettlement in the West shaped families on the frontier and workers in male-dominated mining towns. The legal and political meanings of marriage also changed; we will examine arguments for and against married women's ownership of property, and Mormon polygamy, to see how nineteenth-century Americans understood the relationship between patriarchy (legal rights of fathers and husbands over children and wives) and democracy. Prerequisite: sophomore standing or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Linguistics 335, Language, Sex, Gender, and Sexuality
Kara Becker

This course is an introduction to the large body of literature on language and gender within sociolinguistics and the study of language in context more generally. Students will investigate how language in use mediates, and is mediated by, social constructions of gender and sexuality. An emphasis on the history of research in language and gender, which contains distinct phases and movements in the field, will culminate in a current description of the state of language and gender research today. Particular attention will be paid to the evolution of feminist theory, the political economy, ideology, hegemony, performativity, resistance, and the "borders" of gender identities. Students will reach scholarly articles and write critical reflection papers, and complete a final paper on a topic of their choosing related to language and gender. Prerequisite: Linguistics 212 or equivalent, or consent of the instructor.

Political Science 393, Sex, Gender, and Political Theory
Tamara Metz

What do we see when we look at politics through the lens of sex and gender, and sex and gender through the lens of politics? Scholars have produced a rich body of literature engaging these questions. This research challenges and reconceptualizes not only traditional views of sex, gender, sexuality, and "gender relations," but also fundamental notions of power and politics, public and private, human identity, agency, and subjectivity. In this course, we examine some of these developments, their influence on political theory and use in analyzing politics. Prerequisite: Pol 23- or another course in political theory or consent of instructor.

Psychology 240, Gender and Sexuality
Kateryna Sylaska (visitor)

Full course for one semester. This course will explore the many ways we define, enact, and maintain gender and sexuality over the life course in the United States. Although class content is strongly grounded in psychological science, students will be exposed to several interdisciplinary perspectives, including discourse from other fields such as sociology, gender studies, queer studies, public health, and medicine. We will also examine the methodological challenges to the scientific study of gender and sexuality. Drawing on scientific and popular press literature, we will discuss the biological and social underpinnings of gender and sexuality with particular focus on the role of intersecting identities (e.g., race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation) in framing individuals’ lived experiences. Conference.

Religion 334, Gender and Buddhism
Kristin Scheible

Full course for one semester. In this conference, we will consider the ways in which categories such as “woman,” “man,” “ubhatovyanjañaka” (“intersex”), “paṇḍaka,” “feminine,” “masculine,” “gender,” “nun,” and “monk” have been explained and imagined by Buddhist communities through various historical and cultural locations. We will begin with an examination of early Buddhist sources, including depictions of the Buddha as a sexualized “bull of a man,” and the stories surrounding the founding of the nun’s order and the songs of women saints (Pāli Therīgāthā). We will then explore gender(ed) imagery in Mahāyāna sources, with a focus on the gender transformation of the bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara in India to Guānyīn in China and Kannon in Japan, as well as the feminine principle envisioned by Tibetan Vajrayāna traditions. Key questions drive our inquiry: how do Buddhists, especially those who have taken vows, understand theoretical and practical tensions inherent in the Buddhist tradition? How do sacred images relate to social realities? Prerequisites: Religion 132 and 201, or consent of the instructor. Conference.

Sociology 326, Science and Social Difference
Kjersten Whittington

Full course for one semester. Is race biological?  Do men and women have different brains?  Categories such as race and gender are often presumed to be socially constructed classifications linked to difference.  At the same time, references to scientific claims that prioritize the biological underpinnings of behavior and outcomes are common.  This raises questions about the role of biology in determining differences between men and women, racial/ethnic groups, and regarding sexuality, and how these ideas relate to the design of science policy and practice.  Taking up a series of contemporary cases, students in this course will examine the reciprocal relationships between scientific inquiry, science politics, social identity, and belonging.  The course does not attempt to resolve these often contentious topics, but rather focuses on the processes by which ideas about difference are transmitted to students of science and the public; how social groups and identities are taken into account in science research, technological design, and clinical studies; who gets to “do science”; and the people and groups invested in the outcomes.  Prerequisite: Sociology 211 or consent of the instructor.

Sociology 320, Feminisms in Comparative Perspective
Alexandra Hrycak

This course examines feminisms, the diversity of feminist movememnts that have come into existence in the last four decades. We proceed through a review of classical and contemporary theories and case studies, placing particular emphasis on feminist critiques of violence and/or feminist attempts to raise issues of diversity (e.g., bell hooks, Catharine MacKinnons, Dorothy Smith, Barbara Hill Collins). We will examine how feminism emerged as a movement and how it has changed as it moves across borders and generations.

Theatre 280, Gender and Theatre
Kate Bredeson

This course examines the roles gender has played in shaping world theatre as well as the roles theatre has played in shaping various cultural conceptions of gender. We will focus particularly on twentieth-century performance, including cross-dressing, drag, "re-dressing" of canonical plays, the ascent of performance art, and questions of theatre and gender raised by performers from Japan to Cuba. We will interrogate the historical, cultural, and personal variability of the notion of gender itself, asking ourselves: What are theatre artists doing with the idea of gender?

Faculty who teach about Sex, Gender, and Sexuality

Kara Becker, Linguistics.
Kate Bredeson, Theatre.
miishen Carpentier, Anthropology.
Kris Cohen, Art History.
Jacqueline Dirks, History.
Denise Hare, Economics.
Alex Hyrcak, Sociology.
Laura Leibman, English.
Charlene Makely, Anthropology.
Tamara Metz, Political Science.
Kristin Scheible, Religion.
Kjersten Whittington, Sociology.

Teaching Resources

Charlene Makley’s Sexism and Racism in Advertising Website.