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New Capstone Course in Gender, Politics and Power (Fall 2011)

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POLSC 304.12/WGS 300.43
Professor R. Petchesky

This course is a capstone research seminar, open ONLY to declared majors in either Political Science or Women & Gender Studies.  For WGS majors, it is equivalent to the Research Seminar in Feminist Theory and Methodology.  Students must have taken at least 9 credits in their major and be a second-semester junior or higher to be admitted to the course.  Our objectives will be (1) to develop a common conceptual and methodological framework by reading together a number of key texts in contemporary political and feminist theory and methods; (2) to produce, through our reading, a list of research topics that smaller groups of students in the class will select as their focus for a semester-long research project; and (3) to give intellectual and moral support to each other as we pursue our individual research projects through the semester. Common readings in the course will be focused to a large extent on a critical rethinking of rights and human rights, but paper topics may venture beyond this frame.  Requirements for the course will include regular participation in discussions and in-class presentations on readings and projects; a mid-term take-home exam; and the completion of a final 20-page research/analysis paper.  The course counts as an honors seminar for honors students (along with 1 credit of Honors Independent Study– POLSC 492.01, for Political Science majors), and final papers may be submitted for graduation with honors in either Political Science or Women & Gender Studies.