69583 - Gender Studies (1) (LM)

Course Unit Page

  • Teacher Elia AG Arfini

  • Credits 6

  • SSD M-FIL/05

  • Language English

  • Campus of Bologna

  • Degree Programme Second cycle degree programme (LM) in Semiotics (cod. 8886)

Academic Year 2018/2019

Learning outcomes

This course introduces students to the theoretical and methodological foundations of the interdisciplinary field of Gender Studies. The course maps the genealogy and main contemporary debates in feminist, LGBT and queer studies, with particular attention to the study of queer sexual cultures.

Course contents

This course aims to equip students with skills that will allow them to investigate the cultural and embodied construction of gender and sexuality, to critically examine the hegemonic dimension of heteronormativity, and the intersections between gender and race, class, disability.

A number of case studies will be discussed in class; indicative topics include: feminism and neoliberalism; transformation of intimacy; queer materialism and anti-austerity social movements; intersexuality\DSD; disability, gender and sexuality;

The course will be delivered in a seminar format and demands advance reading and a high level of student participation. After the first introductory module, two classes each week will be organized as discussions moderated by the instructor. Individual or group (max 3 students) presentations will be delivered in front of the class. Presentations will cover theoretical debates, case-studies, or methodological issues addressed in the papers from the readings list or in further bespoke reading suggestions.

Trigger warning:

Over the course, we will cover sensitive topics such as sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and we will critically discuss texts and visual materials that can be emotionally and intellectually challenging. I expect everyone to contribute making this classroom a space where we can engage thoughtfully with difficult content. However, if you think engaging with potentially disturbing content may hinder your class participation, I suggest you take a different course.

Names and pronouns:

If your preferred name and pronouns do not match those registered, please inform your instructor so that I can address everyone correctly.



Berlant, L & Warner, M (1998) “Sex in Public”, in Critical Inquiry, 24(2), pp 547-566.

Bersani, L (1995) “The Gay Daddy”, in Homos, Cambridge, Harvard University Press, pp. 77-112.

Butler, J. (1995) “Melancholy gender, refused identification”, in Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 5:2, 165-180.

McRuer, R. (2011) “Disabling Sex: Notes for a Crip Theory of Sexuality. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies” 17(1), 107-117.

Risman, B (2004) “Gender as Social Structure. Theory Wrestling Activism”, in Gender & Society, pp. 429-450

Rodríguez, JM (2008). “Gesture and Utterance. Fragments from a Butch‐Femme Archive”. In A Companion to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies (eds G. E. Haggerty and M. McGarry), pp. 282-291.

Rottenberg, C. (2014) “The Rise of Neoliberal Feminism”, in Cultural Studies, 28(3), pp. 418-437

Rubin, G. (1984) “Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality”, in The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, eds Abelove and Halperin (Routledge, 1993), pp. 3-44.

Scott, JW (1986) “Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis”, in American Historical Review 5(91), pp. 1053-75

Stryker, S (1994) “My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage”, in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies 1(3),pp. 237-254.

Van Anders, S (2015) “Beyond Sexual Orientation: Integrating Gender/Sex and Diverse Sexualities via Sexual Configurations Theory”, in Archives of Sexual Behavior, 44(5), pp 1177–1213.


The final reading list and program will be distributed in class at the beginning of the course.

Non-attending students should meet the instructor during office hours before the end of the course.

Teaching methods

Lectures and class discussions.

Assessment methods

Attendance policy.
Students with less than 75% class attendance will be considered non-attending students.

Assessment methods and grading policy.
The final grade will be based on the following activities (shown with their relative weights):

For attending students:
Participation in class discussion: 20%
Class presentations: 40%
Written examination : 40%

Non-attending students:
Written examination : 100%

Teaching tools

Lessons will be supported by slides and audiovisual materials.

Office hours

See the website of Elia AG Arfini