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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

GWSS 5190: Queering the Body, Queering Politics

GWSS 5190: "Queering the Body, Queering Politics" will be taught by Gundula Ludwig Fall 2011, on Wednesdays from 1:30-3:50 pm. Students will explore various aspects of the relationship between bodies and politics.

GWSS 5190: Queering the Body, Queering Politics
Fall 2011
Wed. 1:30-3:50 p.m.
Gundula Ludwig
Course Description:
How do we understand the relationship between bodies, power and the genealogy of modern societies and politics? How is the disciplined, dociled and governed body deployed as foundation of a specific social and political order in modern, "western" societies? What role do "race", "gender", "sex" and ""ability" play in these body- and biopolitics? How do these forms of body- and biopolitics undergo changes within current neoliberal discourses? And how can a perspective that draws on feminist theory, postcolonial theory, critical race studies, disability studies and queer studies about the body propose emancipatory ideas of politics, democracy, rights and citizenship?
In this course, we will explore various aspects of the relationship between bodies and politics. In a first step we will discuss selected essays by Norbert Elias, Michel Foucault and Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno about the body in modern societies. The aim here is to bring into light how a specific modern, androcentric and western imagination of the body as disciplined, civilized and a possession operates as "hidden" pendant for modern concepts of democracy, rights, citizenship and politics. In a second part, we will more specifically discuss how the concepts of a "gendered", "raced", "sexualized" and "abled" body shape the construction of a disciplined and "civilized" body in a hierarchal way: The normal, disciplined and civilized body - that becomes the ground for modern, hegemonic forms of politics - is constructed through imaginations about norms, normalizations and naturalizations based on gender, sexuality, ability and race. Inclusions and exclusions of what is seen as an intelligible political subject are constructed through racialized, gendered, sexualized and "abled" body politics. In the third part we will examine concepts of politics that do not require as its pendant a sovereign, rationale, normalized, civilized subject that gains its sovereignty through mastering and "civilizing" its body. Through referring to contributions on the body and politics from the fields of feminist, queer, postcolonial, critical "race" and disability studies we will interrogate how rights, citizenship/democracy, political ethics and politics/utopia could be conceptualized beyond heteronormative, "white", "healthy" and androcentric imaginations of the body and the subjects.