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Thinking Through the Skin

Cultural Studies


GENG-7901-051 Topics in Genders, Sexualities, and Cultures: Thinking Through the Skin
Winter 2017
Tuesdays 6-9 PM
Professor A. Failler

The field of cultural studies has been shaped by encounters between several forms of inquiry including but not limited to feminist critique, class-conscious ethnic and critical race studies, psychoanalysis, anthropology, sociology, education, folklore studies, indigenous, postcolonial, and diasporic studies, as well as studies in communications and media, literature, visual arts, and the performing arts. This seminar style course highlights feminist engagements with the interdisciplinary field of cultural studies through a special focus on the significance of human and other skins. Observations are drawn from various theoretical perspectives including phenomenology, psychoanalysis and postcolonial theory alongside feminist gender studies to explore the skin’s capacity to bear multiple meanings as they materialize at the intersection of culture, embodiment, and psychic life. In addition to critical literature and examples from popular culture, creative texts including short fiction, film, and video art are used to animate class discussions. Topics for study may include racialization and the production of colonized and national skins, sexed and gendered skins, eroticized skins, aging skins, skin memories, body modification and cosmetic surgery, artificial skins, cyber-skins, traumatized/injured skins, self-harm, skin dis-ease, resistant skins, and “narrative skin repair.”