Winter 2013

JoAnne Ruvoli

Italian Migrations and Interethnic Encounters
Italian 42B
This course will provide an overview of Italian cultural and political developments from the mid-18th century to present through examining how elements of Italian society traveled and transformed through mass migration movements. Focusing on the interethnic encounters of migrants who navigate from honor-based societies both in Italy and in Italian American communities, we will examine how alliances and conflicts shape the movements of people, goods and ideologies and construct the transnational circuits of Italian American culture. Our inquiry will examine incidents of interethnic collaborations and conflicts for how the experiences of Italians and Italian Americans engage with the changing sociological contexts of Italy and the United States, and transform according to the ever-shifting attitudes toward race, class and gender in each location. Between the powerful folklore and violent reality, we will read historical and anthropological essays, novels, letters, memoirs, and films.

Anita Wheeler

“Special Topics in IR–Africa and China’s Contemporary Relations”
Political Science 139/Global Studies 160
This course explores the contemporary components of African countries’ diplomatic, economic, and cultural relations with China from the 1950s to the present. Students critically examine the foreign policies of African nations and China with a particular focus on how those policies impact local communities in Africa. The nature of this relationship raises questions about China’s ‘intentions’ in Africa—‘Is this a new scramble for Africa?’ Students employ a multidisciplinary analysis of Sino-African relations to unpack and then deliberate on the complexities of Africa and China’s relationship.

Alvin Wong

Transnational Queer Studies: Texts, Theory, and Cultural Politics
Comparative Literature 191/ LGBTS 187
This seminar focuses on the intersections between transnational studies and queer theory by exploring the following concepts and issues: genealogy, capitalism, colonial modernity, the archive, gay travels and tourism, representation, queer diasporas, and “queer Asia(s).” Theoretical studies by Butler, Derrida, Foucault, Eng, Munoz, and Rubin are placed alongside queer cultural productions in Asian/American, East Asian, Southeast Asian, and other non-Western contexts. By inquiring after the geopolitics of sexuality in films and novels such as Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt, Deepa Mehta’s  Fire, Stanley Kwan’s Lan Yu, and others, we can begin to trace the paralleled emergence of queer cultures in national markets and sites outside the West. At the same time, we also pay close attention to queer desires within specific local, translocal, and national contexts where colonial capitalism and neocolonialism both enable and circumscribe subject formations. The seminar invites participants to situate “queerness” as an ever-shifting formation that exists within older forms of modernity and contemporary forms of globalization.