The following courses can count towards a Certificate in Women's and Gender Studies. However, not all courses may count towards completion of your graduate program. Please check with your Department Chair to discuss the specific requirements set by your department.

If you have taken a course or are interested in a course that you think might count towards the Certificate but it is not listed here, please email us at

Approved Spring 2020 Graduate Courses

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Through the Colloquium

Course Instructor Schedule Location Description
Women in South Asia: Religion, Gender, Culture, and Sexuality
Ayesha Irani, Harleen Singh 1/28/2020- 5/12/2020, 3:00-6:00pm MIT This course examines women in South Asian history through the intersections of women’s lives with religion, colonialism, and postcolonial culture. Using historical, literary, and anthropological lenses the course will consider how various institutions of authority—patriarchy, religion, and the state—have shaped and continue to reshape gender in South Asia, and how women, in turn, resisted, interpreted and negotiated their position in society. Women continue to be a sign of South Asia’s “backwardness,” but serve simultaneously as a symbolic upon which ideas of modernity are debated. Thus, how women are imagined is often at the core of how nationhood is defined and desired in South Asia. Adopting a chronological (ancient to modern South Asia) and theoretical approach built on examples from literature, film, religious scripture, theological commentaries, and colonial history, this course will explore the following themes: the representation of women in religious texts; the comparative constructions of women and their roles across South Asian cultural traditions; women and the caste system; the goddess traditions, and the question of political and social empowerment; gender segregation; devotion and desire; conceptions of male honor and female chastity, with reference to bride-burning and prostitution; rites of passage, e.g. those relating to puberty, marriage, and widowhood; reformism in the colonial period and its impact on women; and women, nationalism, and fundamentalism.
The Politics of Madness: Gender, Postcoloniality, and Psychiatry Through Film and Theory
Emily Fox-Kales, Emilie Diouf 1/30/2020-5/14/2020 1:00-4:00pm MIT This course will bring together conceptual tools from postcolonial African literature and theory, clinical psychology, and feminist film studies. We will ask how diagnostic categories become gendered, and how women's psychosexual development might be thought of in cross-and trans-cultural terms. Specifically, by putting into dialogue media representations and scholarly analyses from two culture zones, the US and Africa, we will investigate the clinical issues surrounding trauma, spirit possession, hysteria, and body image disturbances as well as colonialism and its impact on African psychiatric discourse. Key questions we will address include: How does the practice of psychiatry in two different cultures both perpetuate and destabilize patriarchal narratives of the woman's psyche? And how might such interrogations in turn enable intersectional approaches to social policy and clinical practice? Our aim is to enable an interdisciplinary conversation about psychopathology in relationship to gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, diaspora, and postcoloniality.

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