CSIS Course Descriptions

CSIS 200

CSIS 200: Critical Engagements in Sexuality Studies

Introduction to Sexuality studies with a focus on the issues, tensions, and concerns in the area of sexuality studies, paying attention to how sexuality intersects with race, gender, class, ability, and geography, and how sex is highly sensitive to socioeconomic power, historical change, and public politics. Drawing on theoretical, relational, literary, historical, and cultural orientations to thinking through sexuality, we will examine identity, representation, and the production of knowledge about sexuality. Some of the questions we will address include: What is sexuality, and how do we come to know about it? What is the fundamental role sexuality has played in nation building? What might it mean to think queerly about identity, communication, and community? What are some of the queer activist movements, and what issues do they address? How is sexuality organized in media and popular culture, and how do young people negotiate knowledge about sexuality?

Instructor: Dr. Janice Stewart

CSIS 300A: Introduction to Critical Studies in Sexuality

Through the theories of thinkers such as Berlant, Munoz, Sedgewick, and Spade, we will be considering how sexuality intersects and entwines with ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, health, identity, nationality, race, and religion. We will examine the ways that sex is written about, talked about, sung about, depicted, digitized, deployed, celebrated and castigated—and ultimately sold to us. We will be taking a respectful polyvalent and polyvocal approach to our multidisciplinary examinations of sexual desires and pleasures, acts and practices, identities and subjectivities, communities and cultures, movements and organising.

Instructor: Dr. Janice Stewart
CSIS 301

CSIS 301: Intro to Trans* Studies

In a field characterized by rich debate and productive intellectual work, scholars and activists have engaged in major interventions to prevailing assumptions, popular and academic understandings of gender identities and gender normativities. But their contributions have had a broader impact that bring an intersectional lens to bear on issues involving, but not restricted to gender alone. As such, in this course we will examine a wide range of diverse trans experiences, practices, meanings, beliefs, and situations in time and space; and we will look at how they articulate with other analytical categories, such as sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, age, art, labour, history, geopolitics, nationality and the media.

We will ask how, and under which circumstances, these trans* realities become visible and/or invisible, recognizable and/or incomprehensible, livable and/or not viable. We will investigate the ways in which an analytical trans* lens allows us to interrogate and challenge certain hegemonic norms while others remain re-inscribed.

Instructor: TBA

CSIS 450B: Topics in Critical Studies in Sexuality - Asian Diasporas, Scenes of Intimacies

Picture a New York one-bedroom where a trans Filipina woman co-habits with five other undocumented migrants. Imagine the chambers of Parliament in the early 1900s, where debates raged about whether the immediate families of male Asian migrants should be able to reunite with them in Canada. Visualize a karaoke bar in Vancouver where Japanese gay men perform ‘enka’, dramatic songs of despair that are traditionally sung by women. Envision the bubble tea shops where diverse Asian youth in Toronto congregate as part of the Asian Community AIDS Services’s youth programming.

These scenes depict some of the many forms and spaces of intimacies in and through which Asian diasporic lives are lived. This seminar will focus on how such scenes of intimacies illuminate the linkages between race, gender, sexuality, nation and diaspora. As a term, “intimacies” is useful because it signals how affinities – sexual, romantic, familial, ethno-racial, communitarian, etc. – are necessarily relational, emerging through specific arrangements of people, affects, objects, institutions and ideas. This seminar will examine how these arrangements of intimacies in Asian diasporas are produced through relations of power and in everyday life – through the machinations of state bureaucracies; through people’s bodies, desires and feelings; and through sedimented histories of white supremacy, migration, empire and cis-heteropatriarchy. Our focus on scenes of intimacies in Asian diasporas is also thus an entry point into a broader consideration of the scholarly and political work of queer of colour critique within and beyond gender, race and sexuality studies.

Instructor: Dr. John Paul (JP) Catungal