As part of my recent move from Geography at the University of Toronto to Gender Studies at UCLA, I was able to change up my usual roster of courses to accommodate different disciplinarity, different foci, and different student body. One of the things I’m most excited about in my new position is precisely the new range of teaching possibilities like these at the intersection between Korean studies and gender studies. The syllabi for the following are still in flux, but here are the courses I have proposed to teach in the Winter and Spring quarters at UCLA. Looking forward, a little nervously!
Gender 185. Religion, and Social Movements in Korea (Winter 2018)
This course takes an interdisciplinary feminist and critical area studies approach to examine gender, religion, and social movements in Korea and the Korean diaspora. We will closely examine several contemporary political issues, focusing not only on the salient political theologies and oppositional social movements mobilized by religious groups, but also the wide range of ideas, institutions, and practices that are animated by a complex politics of gender, sexuality, and religion. Topics include Korean and transnational diasporic activism concerning war, imperialism, and militarism; anticommunism and xenophobia; pro-democracy movements and labor organizing; Catholic and Buddhist solidarity and sanctuary geographies; heteropatriarchy and urban megachurches; faith-based pacifism and conscientious objection to military conscription; disciplinary structures against dissent and heterodoxy/heresy; and emergent LGBTQ/sexual minority politics and the conservative Protestant backlash.
We will engage postcolonial, anti-racist, and intersectional feminist lens to discuss Korea and the Korean diaspora both as a site of inquiry and a field of knowledge. Basic competency in gender and area studies would be helpful, but previous familiarity with Korea or religion is not required. Comparative perspectives from other area and diaspora studies and activist experience are welcome.
Gender 102. POWER – Gender, Travel, and Mobilities (Spring 2018)
Travel is conventionally associated with power, agency, and mobility that together produce generally positive spaces of leisure, adventure, and self-discovery. But what about the full range of travel that includes all kinds of movements, crossings, and traversing across space and time? How are package tours for elderly and limited English-speaking immigrants both similar and different from treacherous itineraries of displaced families walking for days to reach a safe distance from their besieged home? What implicit power relations undergird concepts like being “out of place” or “knowing one’s place”? How can we critique and complicate mobilities with a critical feminist lens? We begin with the premise that there are no innocent or neutral itineraries unaffected by power and privilege. Since all travels take place in geographies of race, gender, sexuality, class, and nation—to name just a few registers of difference—spaces of travel are also always fraught with inequality and contradictions. This course examines spaces of travel produced through migration, tourism, and everyday mobilities across time and space. Topics include migrant detention and deportation, cross-border journeys and refugee itineraries, humanitarian cosmopolitanism and volunteer tourism, disability and the body, package tour buses and beach resorts, protest roadblocks and occupation, etc. (subject to change).
Gender 187. Geographic Narratives: Comics and Graphic Novels (Spring 2018)
What do cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels have in common? What historical geographies and artistic traditions help explain the similarities and differences among Korean manhwa, Japanese manga, U.S. underground comics, and Franco-Belgian comics? How do countercultural comics and subversive comics journalism challenge dominant narratives of war, violence, and trauma? How do long-form comics (graphic narratives) grapple with the fraught complexities of gender, racial, and religious difference in the contemporary world? How do heteropatriarchy and heteronormativity take place in comics? This seminar will approach comics as geographic narratives—illustrated stories that not only depict a world of power and difference but also animate a distinct sense of place. Engaging with conversations in cultural geography and transnational feminist studies, we will pay careful attention to the geographic narratives of mobility, inequality, and community. The tentative reading list includes Maus, Barefoot Gen, Dykes to Watch Out For, Fun Home, Persepolis, Love and Rockets, Palestine, Monstress, and The Best We Could Do.