Transnational Feminism(s) and Performance
General Catalog Course Title:
Introduction to Dramatic Literature
Terms Offered:
Fall 2011

In this course, we will consider the intersection of three key terms: “transnational,” “feminist,” and “performance.” We will examine key texts, performances, popular culture events/artifacts and films that confront the overlapping themes of these areas of inquiry. Recognizing that these terms have very specific genealogies, how does a contestation of their intersectionalities provide a context for the formation of the (transnational) feminist critic in an era of globalization and mass migration? We will investigate how bodies travel, perform and are understood in national, diasporic, and global media contexts through lenses of gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, religion and (dis)ability. How can we push against easy assumptions of feminism as a “universal” concept, and rather seek to understand the multiple investments of gendered bodies and causes, especially when deployed in transnational space and/or claimed for “feminism” among other political designations? Working outwards from our perspective as residents/citizens of the United States, the texts, performances, and films chosen for this class will be unable to represent the breadth of feminist or woman-centered performance globally. Therefore, this class will examine material that emanated within or had a huge impact within the U.S. We will engage with these areas of discourse through an examination of scholarly writing and style that develops our practice as writers and critics. Work in this class will range from traditional writing assignments based on style, crafting a thesis, formulating a research question, proper citation practice, etc. to creative writing and performance-based exercises. You will be expected to produce weekly writing assignments as well as full-length papers. Topics/texts covered will include: the representation of Islamic/Middle-Eastern women in the U.S. and abroad post 9/11 (Heather Raffo’s Nine Parts of Desire); debates around the voices of women of color in feminist criticism (This Bridge Called My Back, edited by Cherrié Moraga and Gloria Anzaldúa); the transnational reception and success of films such as Bend it Like Beckham, Fire and Persepolis; The Vagina Monologues and framing “women’s issues”-centered activism in an international context; as well as gender, race and agency in transnational media cultures (Gwen Stefani, the Harajuku Girls, and their fashion/creative industry).
    Prerequisite: UC Entry Level Writing Requirement or UC Analytical Writing Placement Exam.

For more detailed information about classes, please visit the UC Berkeley Online Schedule of Classes.