Course Catalog

YHU2269 Ethics and Politics of Sex
This course considers the moral and political dimensions of sex by focusing on sex understood as individual and social practice: in what ways do our sexual preferences, fantasies, behaviors, industries, and institutions impede or advance the struggle for social justice? (Prof Robin Zheng)

YHU2280 Oppression and Injustice
This course examines philosophies developed by oppressed groups on the subject of overcoming injustice, focusing on Black feminist and postcolonial Latin American thought. (Prof Robin Zheng)

YSS4206B: Relationship science in an age of technology

In this course, we explore how modern day dating apps can be informed by psychology findings on relationship formation. (Prof Jean Liu)

YSS3237: Gender Perspectives in Anthropology
This course introduces students to some of the major anthropological contributions to the cross-cultural study of gender and sexuality. (Prof Gabriele Koch)

YSS4215: Sexual Economies
This advanced seminar explores the role that sex plays in the exchanges and circulations that make up human social life. The course features substantial content on gender. MST as well as one core Anthropology course (Introduction to Anthropology, The Anthropological Imagination, or Ethnography) are prerequisites. (Prof Gabriele Koch)

SS3268: Anthropology of China
The rise of China is creating unprecedented global challenges and opportunities. This course helps students achieve a nuanced cultural understanding of this potential superpower by critically examining the concepts of “China” and “Chineseness” from an anthropological perspective. Topics include ethnic relations, imperialism, and the civilized-barbarian distinction; gender, patriarchy, and the family; popular religion, popular culture, and rebellion; bureaucracy, corruption, and social connections (guanxi); and overseas Chinese and the Chinese diasporas. In addition to reading classic and contemporary works of China anthropology, students will watch some highly selected films and documentaries on China. No knowledge of the Chinese language is required. (Prof Zachary M Howlett)

YHU4238 The Female Image in Japanese Art and Literature
This course will examine the production, reception, and interpretation of the female imagery and representation of gender roles for the Japanese woman through visual images and literary texts from the eleventh to the twentieth century, with an emphasis towards the modern period. The role of gender and female imagery in Japanese art and literature will be discussed from various sources such as the 11th century world’s first novel, The Tale of Genji, by the female author Murasaki Shikibu, and its numerous pictorial representation as well as literary reference that continues on to the 20th century. Since the 17th century, images of beautiful women, known as bijin-ga, have been a staple genre in pictorial representation in Japanese art, which depicted contemporary lifestyle and women that showcased fashion, hairstyles, and modes of behavior of the time. During Japan’s modern era, emerging social types such as the ‘new women’ (atarashii onna) or ‘modern girl’ (modan gaaru) became both the object of discourse and the subject of visual and literary representation, creating a primary locus around which new debates of Westernization, modernity, and contemporary lifestyle and culture took place. (Prof Nozomi Naoi)

YHU3247: The Afropolitans: Contemporary African Literature and Film
While there won’t be a specific sub-section on gender in this course, gender is one of the frames that will recur throughout the semester. The so-called Afropolitan (African Cosmopolitan) wave of young, bi-cultural African authors capturing the literary market have been almost universally female: is this just a coincidence, or is there something about the Afropolitan figure that genders her as female? One of our texts, the semi-autobiographical novel Freshwater by Akwaeki Emezi, questions the nature and reality of a fixed gender identity, and the other three novels also lend themselves well to gender-centered readings. Note that the course will feature texts that contain scenes of sexual violence, self-harm, and other forms of violence. More specific trigger warnings by request. (Prof Nienke Boer)

YHU4228: Oceanic Frameworks: Shifting Currents in Literature Studies
One of the questions recurring in this course is why the ocean has traditionally been considered a masculine space. Historically, of course, sailors have generally been male, and travel, mobility, and exploration have been associated with men, while women are associated with stasis and the home. Some of our class time will be spent exploring and pushing back against these assumptions though, starting with Scylla and Charybdis, the Sirens, and other mythical female inhabitants of the waves, while also touching upon naturalist Sy Montgomery and scientist Rachel Carson’s ecocritical ocean writing. Assignments throughout the semester will lend themselves to an optional gender-centered approach. (Prof Nienke Boer)

HU3295 Nasty Girls: Gender, Sexuality & Race in Early America
This course studies a diverse group of free, freed, and enslaved women whose lives were profoundly altered by European imperial expansion in the Americas between 1500 and 1800. It explores the ways in which colonialism and Atlantic slavery disrupted the customary gender roles, marital relations, and sexual practices of Amerindian, African, and European peoples. Throughout the semester, we will study the interplay between ideological beliefs about gender difference and women’s lived practices. (Prof Christine M. Walker)

YHU3253 Imperial Outlaws: Social Deviants in the Age of Empires 
This course situates people who are traditionally treated as marginal to the history of the British Empire—pirates, prostitutes, religious radicals, resistant slaves, and criminals—at its centre. A significant portion of the course investigates how beliefs about gender relations and sexual behaviour changed during the early modern period, resulting in new constructions of gender difference and sexual deviance by the nineteenth century. (Prof Christine M. Walker)

YHU3318 Sexuality in Europe and Its Empires
This course looks at the historical moulding of sexuality in modern Europe with reference to developments within Europe itself and to the continent’s colonial interactions with real and imagined sexual Others elsewhere. (Prof. Wannes Dupont)

YHU3299 Weimar Berlin: Urbanity and Sexology before the Nazis
1920s and early 1930s Berlin was, in many ways, the sexual and sexological capital of the Western world. This Historical Immersion seminar explores Weimar Germany’s countless connections between sexual politics, science, culture and the erotic underground. (Prof. Wannes Dupont)

YHU4246 Human Lives: From Biopolitics to Geopolitics
This course traces the growing entanglement of biopolitics with geopolitics since the 19th century. It asks how the administration of human lives through the regulation of sexuality has moved into the global sphere. YHU3318 is a prerequisite. (Prof. Wannes Dupont)