Current Classes

Hampshire College

The Battle Between Science and Religion in Sexual and Reproductive Health Policy

Taught by: Marlene Gerber Fried
This course explores past and current debates over the role of religion and science in public policy, specifically in the areas reproductive rights, health and justice. We look both at claims that science and religion are inevitably in conflict, as well as arguments for their compatibility. Topics may include: claims that abortion is linked to breast cancer and causes a form of post-traumatic stress disorder; the refusal of some public officials to issue marriage licenses to people who identify as LBGTQ; the debates over public funding for abstinence-only sexuality education, and coverage of abortion and contraception in the Affordable Care Act. We will look at these issues in the context of broader societal debates over the teaching of creationism and intelligent design in public schools and challenges to claims about the objectivity of science. Students are required to participate in class discussions, give an oral presentation, write short essays based on the readings and complete a final research paper or project.

Beyond the Population Bomb

Taught by: Anne Hendrixson
Population, or "overpopulation," has long been blamed as a primary reason for environmental problems, including climate change. In this class, we will critically examine the gendered and racialized ways that environmental thinkers have framed population in relation to resource scarcity, food insecurity, conflict and violence, environmental degradation and climate change. Starting from the 1948 bestsellers Our Plundered Planet and Road to Survival to the 2014 coffee table book, Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot, we will analyze environmental discourses that call for population reduction to address environmental issues. We will explore how these discourses influence environmental activism, impact sexual and reproductive health policy, and fuel anti-immigrant rhetoric, while obscuring the complex contributors to environmental problems. In the class, we will look to reproductive, environmental and climate justice movements to find frameworks that take action on environmental issues while fighting for social justice.

People Out of Place

Taught by: Flavio Risech-Ozeguera and Margaret Cerullo
Millions of people are living outside the borders of their home countries as expatriates, migrant workers or transnational managers of the global economic order, as refugees, displaced persons fleeing violence and persecution, and as people without papers. Bodies are thus a key part of the package of the multiple transborder flows of globalization, and they are produced, differentiated and understood through discourses of citizenship, national security, and universal human rights that are frequently at odds. The course will investigate critical questions about the relations of power at issue in technologies of citizenship, surveillance, exclusion and resistance in an effort to understand the condition of being out of place in a globalized yet still strongly territorial world of nation-states.

Global Justice

Taught by: George Fourlas
In this course we will focus on advanced topics in the global justice debate: war, human rights, and the demands of peace. We will begin with a survey of mainstream approaches to global justice, ranging from Kant's "Perpetual Peace," to Rawls's Law of Peoples, and various cosmopolitan approaches. We will then move to a discussion of the realities of war, colonialism, and human rights. Here, we will engage the geneva conventions and its additional protocols in relation to contemporary case studies and non-ideal philosophical approaches to issues of justice and war. The second half of the class will focus on contemporary issues in transitional justice, emphasizing the goals and practices of reconciliation, and clarifying what these activities imply for mainstream approaches to global politics.

Anthropology of Reproduction

Taught by: Pamela Stone
This course focuses on the biological and cultural components of reproduction from an evolutionary and cross-cultural perspective. Beginning with the evolution of the pelvis, this course examines the nutritional problems, growth and developmental problems, health problems, and the trauma that can affect successful childbirth. The birth process will be studied for women in the ancient world and we will examine historical trends in obstetrics, as well. Birthing customs and beliefs will be examined for indigenous women in a number of different cultures. Worldwide rates of maternal mortality will be used to reveal the larger constellation of risks for morbidity and mortality for biologically female bodies. In addition we will examine the recent dialogues surrounding the technocratic model of birth to understand the changing focus of birth as women centered to a medical condition, which needs to be controlled. Students will be required to present and discuss material and to work on a single large research project throughout the semester that relates to the course topic.

Amherst College

Medical Anthropology

Taught by: Christopher Dole
The aim of this course is to introduce the ways that medical anthropologists understand illness, suffering, and healing as taking shape amidst a complex interplay of biological, psychological, social, political-economic, and environmental processes. The course is designed to engage a broad range of medical anthropology topics, theoretical approaches, and research techniques by examining case studies concerned with such issues as chronic illness and social suffering, ritual and religious forms of healing, illness and inequality, medicalization, the global AIDS crisis, the social life of new medical technologies, and the politics of global health and humanitarian intervention. A basic premise of the course is that an understanding of illness, health, and the body requires an understanding of the contexts in which they are experienced, contexts contingently shaped by interwoven processes of local, national, and global significance. Particular emphasis will thus be placed on ethnographic approaches to the lived context in which illness and other forms of suffering are experienced, narrated, and addressed. Our focus will be comparative, treating illness, suffering, and healing in a range of societies and settings--from Haiti to China, from urban Brazil to rural Nepal, from the townships of South Africa to genetic labs in the United States.


Taught by: Kristin Bumiller
This seminar explores the role of rights in addressing inequality, discrimination, and violence. This course will trace the evolution of rights focused legal strategies aimed at addressing injustice coupled with race, gender, disability, and citizenship status. We will evaluate how rights-based activism often creates a gap between expectation and realization. This evaluation will consider when and how rights are most efficacious in producing social change and the possibility of unintended consequences.

Mount Holyoke College

Feminist Health Politics

Taught by: Jacquelyne Luce
Health is about bodies, selves and politics. We will explore a series of health topics from feminist perspectives. How do gender, sexuality, class, disability, and age influence the ways in which one perceives and experiences health and the access one has to health information and health care? Are heteronormativity, cissexism, or one's place of living related to one's health status or one's health risk? By paying close attention to the relationships between community-based narratives, activities of health networks and organizations and theory, we will develop a solid understanding of the historical, political and cultural specificities of health issues, practices, services and movements.

Feminist & Queer Theory

Taught by: Elias Vitulli
We will read a number of key feminist texts that theorize sexual difference, and challenge the oppression of women. We will then address queer theory, an offshoot and expansion of feminist theory, and study how it is both embedded in, and redefines, the feminist paradigms. This redefinition occurs roughly at the same time (1980s/90s) when race emerges as one of feminism's prominent blind spots. The postcolonial critique of feminism is a fourth vector we will examine, as well as anti-racist and postcolonial intersections with queerness. We will also study trans-theory and its challenge to the queer paradigm.

Reproductive and Genetic Tech

Taught by: Jacequelyne Luce
This seminar will focus on emerging innovations in the development, use and governance of reproductive and genetic technologies (RGTs). How do novel developments at the interface of fertility treatment and biomedical research raise both new and enduring questions about the'naturalness' of procreation, the politics of queer families, the im/possibilities of disabilities, and transnational citizenship? Who has a say in what can be done and for which purposes? We will engage with ethnographic texts, documentaries, policy statements, citizen science activist projects, and social media in order to closely explore the diversity of perspectives in this field.

Smith College

Colloquium: Rights/Children: Law, Policy

Taught by: Alice Hearst
Family dysfunction affects children in all aspects of their lives. This course examines how children fare in abuse and neglect proceedings, particularly when they are removed from their biological families and placed in foster care. It also explores children in the juvenile justice system, linking back to questions about how to deal with fragile families, and explores whether rights-based approaches to child well-being would provide better outcomes for children than current approaches. The course compares child welfare programs in other countries and assesses their advantages or disadvantages in the context of domestic politics and policies.

Gender and Globalization

Taught by: Payal Banerjee
This course engages with the various dimensions of globalization through the lens of gender, race and class relations. We study how gender and race intersect in global manufacturing and supply chains as well as in the transnational politics of representation and access in global media, culture, consumption, fashion, food, water, war and dissenting voices.

Race, Feminism, Resistance

Taught by: James Roane
This interdisciplinary colloquial course explores the historical and theoretical perspectives of African American women from the time of slavery to the post-civil rights era. A central concern of the course is the examination of how black women shaped and were shaped by the intersectionality of race, gender and sexuality in American culture.

Seminar on Global Learning and Women's Health

Taught by: Leslie Jaffe
This seminar examines women's health and cultural issues within India, with a focus on Tibetan refugees, and then applies the knowledge experientially. During interterm, the students travel to India, visit NGOs involved with Indian women's health, and deliver workshops on reproductive health topics to students living at the Central University of Tibetan Studies in Sarnath.

Women of Color Cultural Reproduction

Taught by: Laura Fugikawa
This course examines personal narrative, literature, visual art and performance created by women of color in North America to understand ideas of identity, belonging and difference. We study the formation of women of color feminism from the 1970's to the present through an interpretation of cultural forms, looking specifically at categories of race, indigeneity, gender, sexuality and class. We analyze how women of color authors and artists articulate frameworks of intersectionality, hybridity, coalition and liberation. Students write both a personal narrative essay and an analytical essay and have the option of completing a creative project.

UMass Amherst

Gender & Society

Taught by: Ghazah Abbasi
Analysis of: 1) historical and cross-cultural variation in positions and relationships of women and men; 2) contemporary creation and internalization of gender and maintenance of gender differences in adult life; 3) recent social movements to transform or maintain "traditional" positions of women and men.

Global Bodies

Taught by: Elizabeth Krause
The human body has increasingly become an object of anthropological study. The body is rich as a site of meaning and materiality. Similarly, culture inscribes itself on the body in terms of ?normalization? and governance. This course will explore pertinent issues surrounding the body today. Topics such as personhood, natural vs. artificial bodies, identity and subjectivity (nationality, race, class, sex, gender), domination and marginalization, and policy will be discussed. We will focus on the body in three main stages: birth, life, and death, with relevant case studies in each stage (e.g., embryos, reproduction, breastfeeding, organs, immigrant bodies, etc.)

Race & Society

Taught by: Skylar Davidson
A social-historical approach to race relations in the U.S. Analysis of contemporary race relations links to major social issues in American society.

Sexuality & Society

Taught by: Brandi Perry
The many ways in which social factors shape sexuality. Focus on cultural diversity, including such factors as race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity in organizing sexuality in both individuals and social groups.

US LGBT & Queer History

Taught by: Julio Capo
This honors general education course explores how queer individuals and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities have influenced the social, cultural, economic, and political landscape in United States history. Topics include sodomy, cross-dressing, industrialization, feminism, the construction of the homo/heterosexual binary, the "pansy" craze, the homophile, gay liberation, and gay rights movements, HIV/AIDS, immigration, and same-sex marriage.