CLIP Courses

2023 - 2024 CLIP Courses

Winter 2024

Dream/Work (Chan)

We’ll track the ubiquitous figure of the creator–be it the artist, author, activist, or casual social media user–as a worker who is transformed by technology, creativity, and social struggle. What does dream work (the formal and informal aesthetic labor of transposing dreams into reality) reveal about our desires, aspirations, agency and the material conditions of contemporary capitalism? What are the politics and perils of rendering the psychic content of our dreams and nightmares into textual or multisensory content? And how do we re-imagine our own life’s work (broadly defined) so that it aligns with the worlds of which we dream?

The Crafting of Elsewhere: Black Speculative Fiction Through Black Feminist and Queer Theories (Frantece)

We will engage Black feminist methods of world and community building— as methods of finding authentic life, love, kinship, and care. We will also engage queer theories’ experiments with reality, relationality, and time. How can a critical study of speculative fiction and art lead us to the ecstatic engagement of material conditions existing elsewhere? We will engage works by  Alexis Pauline Gumbs, NK Jemisin, Cauleen Smith and others. Assignments will be weekly in-class discussions, 2 short public-facing papers (around 500 words each), and a final multimodal project meant for public audience.

Spring 2024

CHID 205/AFRAM 350/ENGL 358: Black Speculative Fiction through Black Feminist and Queer theories: The Crafting of Elsewhere (Frantece)

In this course, we consider how Black speculative fiction allows us to be meditative of alternative ways of existing so that we can experience a reality that may not be like any pre-existing one. We will work with Black feminist methods of world and community building, as methods of finding life, love, kinship, and care and with queer theory’s experimenting and playing with reality, relationality, and time. Both fields articulate the persistence of anti-Blackness and heteronormativity but also articulate that there is a need to develop new modes of knowledge production, transforming the way we think about time, relationality, space/place, and imagination. How can a critical study of speculative fiction lead us to the ecstatic engagement of material conditions existing elsewhere? We will center our discussion around short texts: the poetry of Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Audre Lorde, and June Jordan; the art work of Cauleen Smith and Wangechi Mutu; and short stories by Octavia Butler and NK Jemisin. The writers, artists, and filmmakers we interrogate distort, disrupt, and destroy our material realities to bring us to another place that comes off as obscure, irrational, impossible, and nonsensical. Throughout the course, students will workshop multimodal projects in response to the readings.

CHID 480: The Unconscious, Online: Dreaming with(out) Algorithms (Chan)
Therapy chatbots, uncannily targeted advertising, and the algorithmic extraction of our most subliminal data: this course asks how psychoanalytic logics of the unconscious mind cryptically haunt our devices, platforms, and network technologies–and how these animate our nightmares and dystopian visions of the future. Perhaps more importantly: we’ll also use these discussions to identify opportunities for justice, subversion, and free play through technology. We’ll approach texts from cultural studies, critical design, STS, and Black feminist, postcolonial, and queer critiques–alongside histories of psychoanalytic thought and its deployments in contexts across time and space. We’ll observe how artists, hackers, critics, and everyday users across intersectional axes speak back to algorithmic apparatuses as a challenge to automated discrimination, hegemonic arrangements, Big Tech’s logics of extraction, and the encroaching and unequal digital surveillance and manipulation of our bodies, affects, and desires. We’ll ground our discussions by workshopping our own quarter-long media projects and (auto)ethnographically observing the places our dreams and nightmares interface with algorithms, databases, and the world writ large.

2022 - 2023 CLIP Courses

Winter 2023

Histories of Climate Disaster: Indian Ocean Perspectives (Chaterji)

This course surveys the history of the Indian Ocean world with focus on the intertwined relationship between human societies and the waters that connect us. Examining the impact of colonialism on the livelihoods of local communities and their landscapes, this course considers how alterations to the environment – namely agricultural development and resource extraction – continue to produce economic and health disparities in postcolonial imaginations of the nation and regional identity. Together, we will engage with novels and films to explore ideas of power, race, and violence within environmental crises discourse across the Indian Ocean world.

Disease, Environment, and Colonialism in Southeast Asia (Romadhon)

This seminar will examine medicine and environment in Southeast Asia as colonial contact zones where knowledge, representation, culture, and technology meet and collide. Exploring issues from the promotion of colonial medicine and modern biosecurity to the negotiation of cultural knowledge on forest, animals, and biodiversity to cultural changes resulted from massive palm plantation projects, students will be invited to look at the past and current politics related to health, environment, and conservation from scholarly and literary perspectives and to engage in creative projects to disseminate their research. Workshops on Southeast Asian history and on creative academic works (comic, film, photo) will also be provided.

Spring 2023

The Art of Resistance: Southeast Asian Responses to Climate Change (Chaterji)

In this course, we examine the range of possibilities generated by performing artists in Southeast Asia in response to the increasing threats of climate change. Drawing from traditional, Islamic, and modern performance traditions, we consider how the arts function as a tool for activism and change as well as a means through which grief may be expressed and possible reconciliation imagined.

HOME 101 – Nature, Culture, and Belonging (Romadhon)

What’s behind our claim to earth (and universe) as our home? This course concerns everyday relations between humans, animals, nature, and landscape that shape the current age of the Anthropocene. This course is structured into two parts: lectures and workshops. Students will be introduced to photovoice method and required to participate in a photovoice exhibition project.

2021 - 2022 CLIP Courses


Writing the World, the Digital & Otherwise (Rivera)
How does the digital produce the world? This class situates digitality in racial capitalism and settler colonialism for the purpose of understanding how the digital mediates how and what we know about the world. This course draws from the critique of racial capitalism and settler colonialism for the purpose of understanding the politics of knowledge production that circulate throughout digital platforms. In doing so, this course illustrates the stakes and material impacts of digital and visual representations of Indigenous peoples’ lands and bodies.

Indigenous Storytelling and World-Making in the Global Pacific (Bourgette)
The historiography of Pacific history has changed markedly in the last few decades. Whereas historians of the maritime Pacific world once focused primarily on male heroes and villains who sailed the seas, technological innovations in seafaring, and European voyages of “discovery,” this course will highlight the vibrant interconnections between story and place told across the Oceanic world. Blending oral histories with written discourse of the peoples Indigenous to our “Sea of Islands” we know today as the Pacific, this course will provide another lens into transnational approaches popular in world histories. More than antiquated stories confined to the archival record, Indigenous storytelling provides living communities today with avenues to communicate directly with ancestors to co-create futures beyond empires and exploitation of life beyond humans.


Abolition Geographies (Rivera)
This course engages what Ruth Wilson Gilmore calls “freedom as a place.” This course foregrounds abolition geographies as a place-based practice aimed at spatializing the presence of collective-social life. By exploring a range of place specific struggles for abolition, including from the Black Radical Tradition and the American Indian Movement, this class introduces students to the life-affirming practice of abolition. From prison abolition to environmental justice efforts, this course provides a space for unlearning the language of punishment, and for building life affirming institutions instead.

Environmental Histories and Futures of Black and Indigenous Abundance (Bourgette)
Native Hawaiian ways of knowing, in common with worldviews cultivated by Black and
Indigenous populations across the world, highlight abundance as a life-affirming frame by which communities enact abolition futures in their own time. Expressed through genealogical relationships to lands, waters, and communities, Black and Native populations cultivate abundance through providing care and mutual aid to each other and their environments. The course provides a framework for observing abundance created with Black and Indigenous communities both in historical and ongoing contexts through engaged readings of critical texts and embodied practices of storytelling through art. By rejecting models of scarcity and loss of knowledge and power projected by five centuries of colonial violence, students will build a practical toolkit for creating abundance in everyday life.


Abolition & Abundance as Method (Combined)
This class situates abolition and abundance in geographical and historical context. Drawing from the American Indian Movement’s (AIM) internationalist origins, this course foregrounds Indigenous nations’ political orders as the starting point of resistance. This course will train students to think critically about the proliferation of borders, including its vectors that exist as infrastructures of empire, such as military bases, forts, railroads, and prisons. Further, the course will posit worldviews of cultivating abundance through balanced relations with beyond-human communities, rejecting scarcity-driven, humancentric models promoted by racial capitalism. With a particular focus on Turtle Island (North America) and Moana (the Pacific), this class will train students to counter-map, and methodologically understand the contours and parallels of abolitionary struggle and Indigenous peoples’ efforts of self-determination. By engaging with texts and invited guest speakers from the American Indian Movement and Pacific Islander communities, this course aims to enroll students as active participants in pursuit of relational and reciprocal engagements for planetary liberation and freedom.

2020 - 2021 CLIP Courses


CHID 250: “Monsters” on/off Screen: Horror Genre and Beyond (Chang)

This course examines the development of the horror genre across contemporary cinematic landscapes—narrative film, serial, documentary, and art cinema. As Robin Wood notes, “Central to the effect and fascination of horror films is their fulfilment of our nightmare wish to smash the norms that oppress us and which our moral conditioning teaches us to revere” (Jancovich 2002: 28), our mapping of the horror genre will focus specifically on its connections to shifts in social-cultural phenomenon associated with the complex interactions and negotiations between different waves of human occupation and their environment. In addition to exploring how horror films and their monsters reflect and traverse the different social-cultural and geopolitical boundaries with their charm that has long sparked popular imagination and fascination, we will trace the spectacle embodied by these monsters particularly with a feminist approach as a way of considering the cinematic representations of the monsters in terms of social hierarchy, aesthetic form, and ideology. Students will be encouraged to participate in opportunities with the Northwest Film Forum, SAM’s annual film noir series, and MoPOP’s horror cinema screenings, “Scared to Death: The Thrill of Horror Film.”

CHID 480: Ethnographies of Fear & Terror: Monsters, Urban Legends, and Contemporary Myths in
the Pacific Northwest (Salazar-Zeledón

Bigfoot = I believe. Monsters could be related to terror, identity, or jokes. Urban legends could be part of a policy of fear, but also of a sense of belonging and understanding of cultural codes. Contemporary Myths can be silly or naïve, but they also explain our societal interactions. A careful study of this body of “anecdotes” is particularly illuminating considering how the narratives surrounding them are more than often shaped, if not oppressed or repressed, by the dominant historiography’s attempt to gloss over the economic and socio-cultural changes of a society. With a particular focus on the Pacific Northwest, this course will study the development and transformation of the concept of fear and terror in contemporary society, using elements of monstrosity, urban legends, and contemporary myths. Through the practice of historically reconstructing moments of fear and terror in the 20th and 21st centuries in the forms of theatre, television, literature, radio-dramas, and podcasts, students will engage with how contemporary societies create an “ethos of the scary.” Students will be encouraged to participate in opportunities with the MoPOP exhibitions and events such as “Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic,” Annex Theatre, Valtesse, and other alternative performances.


CHID 250: Processes of Everyday Resilience: Decoding and Recoding Cultural Languages in Foods and Eating-related Events (Salazar-Zeledón)

What messages and meanings does food create and acquire with culture? What are the feelings, emotions, and meanings that foods and other eating-related events embody? This course will develop an understanding of our foods and the dynamic messages that we as a society interchange in the events and performances related to culinary traditions through the lens of cultural studies and ethnography. Taking the City of Seattle and its inhabitants as fields of research, we will develop a practical analysis of cultural events such as Thanksgiving, Ramadan, Dia de los Muertos, and Christmas, as well as performances of belonging related to ethnic food, food and diaspora, American nostalgia (dinners and 1950’s cafés), and the food trucks phenomena in relation to the Street Culture. These inquiries, with an emphasis on the diverse practices and forms of “fusion” associated with the marketing of food and the (re)shaping of identities and communities, will enable us to unpack the interlocking structures of power intertwined with these processes and to further consider how foods reproduce social relations and perform resilience in everyday practices.

CHID 480: Diasporic (Re-)envisioning of Social Movements: Multisensory Encounter and Multimodal Research (Chang)

This course provides a critical overview of how the idea of diaspora has been (re)shaped through different understandings of the notions of roots, routes, and returns, with an emphasis on how such mobility
(re)shapes the ways we participate in and (re-)envision, from a distance and often through the mode of virtual encounter, social movements that explore personal and collective identities, rebel against social injustices, and ignite social and political transformation. This course also introduces students to the emerging scholarly form of multimodal research to further engage the course projects in unpacking and participating in the interlocking webs of mobility, connectivity, and communication at moments of encounter. With an emphasis on the positionalities emerged particularly from the UW campus, the City of Seattle, and the Pacific Northwest, students will build a theoretical toolkit for critically engaging creative forms of both cultural and scholarly production and for communicating about the debates surrounding the notion of diaspora and the diasporic mode of participation in social movements using diverse media and presentational strategies.


CHID 250 Embodied Modes of Research: From Cityscape to Cityscaping (Co-taught by Salazar-Zeledón & Chang)

This seminar understands City as a living entity with the cityscape as embodied modes of habitation and encounter in which ongoing processes of acting in and with the city take place and through which feelings and desires emerge. We will examine issues concerning the publics and counterpublics through the methodologies of auto-ethnography, psycho-geography, performance analysis, and critical perspectives, as ways to develop a system to analyze City as a whole. The City of Seattle becomes a laboratory where the seminar participants explore themes such as racial and religious geographies, new frontiers on the public sphere in the 21st century, City as the contemporary commons, and city landmarks and emotional links. By focusing on processes of encounter and mediation, we also seek to redefine City with a specific approach.

2019 - 2020 CLIP Courses


CHID 250: Indigenous Re-Visions of Cultural Production (Lydia Heberling)

This course introduces students to Indigenous-centered theories of literary studies and to a small
sampling of innovative literary works by Indigenous writers from across the Americas and Oceania.
The course provides a critical overview of the field of contemporary Indigenous literary studies, with
an emphasis on the ways Indigenous texts teach attentive readers how to enter into these dynamic
stories of people on the move. The course also interrogates the limits of settler geographies and
temporalities as narrative frames, as well as literary genre distinctions, and considers the ways in which the “literary” nature of storytelling extends into oral, visual, and performative mediums. By
encountering texts that center themes of migration, dislocations, and relocations, such as Chumash
and Esselen writer Deborah Miranda’s 2013 mixed-media, mixed-genre book, Bad Indians: A Tribal
Memoir and Chamorro poet Craig Santos Perez’s 2017 film-poem, Praise Song for Oceania , students
will build a theoretical toolkit for engaging Indigenous creative forms of cultural production.

CHID 480: Contemporary Violence in Latin America: Neoliberalism, Dispossession, Migration, and Indigenous Peoples (Sebastián López Vergara)

The wave of conservative military dictatorships and authoritarian governments between 1960-1990 in
Latin America radically reshaped the function of the state, the character of economies and the
composition of societies in the region. Accounts of these processes underscore the extreme structural
violence employed in this transition to neoliberalism. This class focuses on this juncture in relation to
the long history of struggle of Indigenous peoples in Latin America in order to contend with
dominant rubrics of nation and class. Students will learn about the contemporary predatory effects of
neoliberal violence against Indigenous peoples in Bolivia, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico and Peru as
entrenchments of colonial violence and social marginalization. Emphasis will be placed on
racialization, different forms of state violence, environmental destruction through extraction, and
migration. We also will always heed the many alternative political projects and social movements that
propose “post-neoliberal” societies. Students will engage with documentaries, cultural texts, and
theoretical writings.


CHID 250: Anticolonial Theories and Practices in the Americas (Sebastián López Vergara)

This course introduces students to theories of anticolonialism through the works of Indigenous, Black,
Asian, and mestizo thinkers across the Americas and Pacific. It approaches traditions of anticolonial
thought, from 16th century to the contemporary political moment, as diverse political and intellectual
projects that emphasize the related character of oppressions under colonialism, capitalism, and
modernity in the Americas. Offering a long historical perspective, this course takes Quechua
chronicler Felipe Waman Poma’s work (c. 1615) and his concept of “good government” to examine
differential processes of violence, dispossession, enslavement, and subjection as well as to underscore
traditions of struggle and liberation. Students will engage through a hemispheric and trans-Oceanic
approach with the works of Frantz Fanon, Fausto Reinaga, Angela Davis, Leslie Marmon Silko, Irma Otzoy, J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, among others, in order to establish relations between seemingly
unrelated oppressions while studying their particularities.

CHID 480: Spanish and US Imperialism in California and the Pacific (Lydia Heberling)

This course examines the intersection of the Spanish and US imperial projects, whose expansionist
trajectories intersected in California with devastating effects on its Indigenous populations, before
continuing on into the Pacific. A collapsing Spanish empire seized lands and established missions
across the Pacific Coast in 1769. Less than a century later, the United States claimed California for
itself, fulfilling its vision of Manifest Destiny and extended its policy of (violently) displacing
Indigenous communities. Within a single lifetime, Indigenous peoples in California became the target,
and collateral, of two imperial projects whose tactics of colonial domination and subjugation had been
refined over the span of centuries and the expanse of continents. With a specific focus on Indigenous
texts from California and the Pacific, we will develop a critical understanding of these imperial
histories and the resulting migrations and diasporas, as well as the subversive and resistant
future-oriented imaginations of the Indigenous populations most affected by these colonialisms.


CHID 250: Methods to Decolonize Inquiry: Indigenous Studies Theory Workshop (Lydia Heberling & Sebastián López Vergara)

This co-taught course asks students to engage with Linda Tuhiwai Smith’s intervention to decolonize
knowledge and research methods. The class will expose students to approaches to knowledge
production in Indigenous Studies that emphasize relations with land, peoples, human and
other-than-human beings, as well as among different modes and sites of inquiry and action. Designed
as a “theory workshop”, students will constantly be writing and working on group assignments and
engaging with scholarly and activist works. These approaches will allow students to carefully consider
how knowledge production is related to social processes outside of the university. Students will revise
the UW Library Archives; engage with the Burke Museum collection; collaborate with local
Indigenous organizations; and volunteer with the UW Human Rights Center on issues related to
immigration rights in Washington State.

2018 - 2019 Courses


CHID 250: Representations of Incarceration in Film (AM Weatherford)

This course examines the relationship between the medium of film and representations of incarceration in feature, short film, serial, and documentary styles. It asks how the cinematic apparatus participates in and disrupts carceral violence. Focusing on race, gender, sex(uality), class, and indigeneity, the course introduces students to Apparatus Theory in addition to Marxist and Feminist approaches to cinema. Selected films represent a range of political geographies, and include Orange Is the New Black (2013-present), Darabont’s The Green Mile (1999), Babenco’s The Kiss of the Spiderwoman (1985), and local Seattleite and queer documentary filmmaker Elliat Graney-Sauke’s Boys on the Inside (2017). Students will be encouraged to participate in opportunities with the Social Justice Film Festival and Northwest Film Forum.

CHID 480: From Slavery to Incarceration: Race and the Afterlife of Slavery (Caleb Knapp)

Americans usually agree that slavery ended with the Thirteenth Amendment. This course
engages work in history and cultural studies to refuse this dominant narrative in lieu of a theory of the “afterlife of slavery,” exploring how slavery’s racial logics and carceral practices continue into the present. The course examines how cultural texts, theoretical writing, and activist movements connect black enslavement and contemporary forms of incarceration. Readings include Saidiya Hartman’s Lose Your Mother (2007), Angela Davis’s prison writings (1970s-80s), and the recent documentary by Ava DuVernay, 13th (2016). Tracing historical continuities, students will develop an account of the long durée of racialized carceral practices and resistance to them across periods and objects.


CHID 250: Race, Sexuality, and Criminalization: Biopower & Biopolitics (Caleb Knapp)

This course introduces students to theories of criminalization and modern state power via work on biopower and biopolitics. It frames criminalization as a form of biopower to examine how discourses of criminality pathologize racial and sexual difference, marking some as deviant and subjecting them to premature death. The course traces a genealogy of the concept of biopower beginning with History of Sexuality, and explores how thinkers have reworked Foucault’s theories to account for the plantation, the colony, the concentration camp, the prison industrial complex, and the security state. Students will deepen biopolitical theories by analyzing instances of state violence such as Stonewall, the Holocaust, Apartheid, and the proposed US/Mexico “border wall.” Emphasis will be placed on developing theories in relation to particular historical moments across a range of periods and political geographies.

CHID 480: Colonial Carceral Logics in the Americas (AM Weatherford)

This course analyzes the emergence of the carceral state through a comparative framework. It links carceral logics to colonial processes across the English, French and Spanish Americas from the fifteenth century to the present. Taking up Foucauldian theories of expulsion and confinement, students will read primary texts by Cristobal Colón, Hernán Cortés, Jacques Cartier, and Samuel de Champlain to examine how colonial maps and legislation mediate emergent carceral ways of thinking that develop into the modern carceral state. Students will identify the limits of nationalist rubrics and generate comparative frames for thinking variations and continuities in carceral histories and practices.


CHID 250: Anti-Incarceration Activisim in the PNW (Caleb Knapp & AM Weatherford)

Taking up the call by This Bridge Called My Back to produce “theory in the flesh,” this course examines how anti-incarceration activists and organizers in the Pacific Northwest theorize resistance to the carceral state through lived experience and practice. While it treats recent scholarship on state violence, the course emphasizes reading the cultural productions and practices of local abolitionist communities as theories in themselves. We will discuss the Women of Color Speak Out Collective, the No New Youth Jail movement, the #BlockTheBunker campaign, the Tacoma Detention Center hunger strike, the Black Prisoners Caucus at Monroe, the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound and University Beyond Bars. The course will invite speakers from these communities to guest lecture, including those behind bars via Skype. Along with traditional academic assignments, the course includes a final project in which students will collaborate to produce a mixed-media showcase for display in the UW Libraries on the meaning and possibilities of critical justice education.

2017 - 2018 Courses


CHID 250: Queering the Race to Reproduction (Jey Saung)

This course aims to question and “queer” reproduction, typically thought of as a heterosexual, biogenetic, and “natural” process. We will learn about the many different ways in which reproduction is taken up through various queer family-building strategies. These could include utilizing sperm/egg donors, surrogacy, and adoption. Particularly, we will be examining how questions of gender, race and class are taken up in the deployment of strategies. The race and class disparities often seen in who can afford to take up these family-building strategies as well as who is providing the labor (e.g. surrogates hired in the Global South) complicate the queering of these strategies. Furthermore, we will explore the implications of future technologies spectacularized in the popular science news, such as merging two eggs to form a blastocyst and uterine transplants. How are we imagining queer reproductive futures?


CHID 480: Racialized Reproduction and Biopolitics of the State (Jey Saung)

Historically, the U.S. has been deeply implicated in strategies of racialized population control tactics. This course will trace these biopolitical histories by examining power as emergent in Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, Vol. 1. Through this understanding of biopower, we will then analyze how it operates in various moments. These include the development of the field of gynecology, the development of the birth control pill, and national histories of forced sterilizations. This course will also analyze state policing of sexuality through legislation such as age of consent laws, abstinence-only sex education policies, and currently proposed anti-abortion bills throughout the nation. Through these moments of overt state interventions into reproduction, we can begin to understand the role (and identities) of the (un)desirable citizen.


CHID 250: Race, Reproduction, and Sexuality (Logan O'Laughlin & Jey Saung)

This co-taught course contextualizes fertility discourses, reproductive technologies, and nuclear family tropes with the historical and ongoing violence against women of color. We read selections from foundational texts such as Angela Davis’ Women, Race, and Class, Dorothy Robert’s Killing the Black Body, Moraga and Anzaldúa’s This Bridge Called My Back anthology, and Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality through the lens of biological reproduction in order to broaden analyses of the biopolitics of reproduction. In addition to grounding the coursework in theory, we attend to the following case studies: the development of birth control in the U.S., the Tuskegee Syphilis Project, the deployment of Agent Orange as a tool of colonialism, and the forced sterilization of transgender people prior to gender affirming surgery.  

2016 - 2017 Courses


CHID 480: Grappling with Environmental Destruction: A Writing Course (Logan O'Laughlin)

This course turns to environmental studies, feminist studies, and critical animal studies in order to grapple with the realities of environmental destruction. We will look at multiple sites of unsustainable practices including pollution, toxic waste dumping, resource extraction, and animal agriculture. In analyzing patterns of environmental destruction as well as environmental protection discourses, we will strategically apply an intersectional framework to assess how both value certain lives and disregard others. More specifically, we will analyze how racism, colonialism, sexism, transphobia and speciesism shape our environment and our discussions of protecting it. Course materials will include scholarly texts, activist works, and popular media.

Because this course has an emphasis on writing, we will also be thinking about how writing can be a useful medium to resist environmental destruction. In order to hone their writing skills, students will be regularly writing and reviewing each other’s work in class (primarily on Wednesdays) as well as reviewing each other’s collaborative writing projects. Additionally, I will meet with each of you twice over the quarter to discuss your writing in detail, once in groups and once individually. Because students inevitably have different strengths and weaknesses, I will offer optional readings about writing to help bolster your writing skills throughout the quarter. Moreover, this course includes an optional service-learning component for students who are interested in more extensive reflection through working with a local environmental protection organization.


CHID 250: Environmental Feminisms and Queer Ecologies (Logan O'Laughlin)

This course incorporates lenses of environmental studies, feminist studies, and queer theory. We will trace the genealogy of ecofeminisms, feminist environmentalisms, and queer ecologies, and will analyze academic ecofeminist texts and popular representations of environmental protection to understand how racism, colonialism, sexism, and transphobia shape our environments and our discussions of protecting it. This course surveys several key environmental topics such as the effects of toxic chemicals on humans and wildlife and the environmental repercussions of animal agriculture.

CHID 480: Food for Thought (Nancy White)

Food for Thought examines the topic of food through a variety of lenses—food as sustenance in times of hardship, food as a way to bring family together, food as a source of childhood and childlike amazement, food as an economically and politically charged entity, food as a form of memoir, and food as a career (amongst others). The topic for the course—food—has been chosen because of its universality and significance. As humans, we must interact with food on a daily basis. Sometimes these interactions are commonplace and banal, but they can also be charged and difficult, satisfying and rewarding, or influential and life-changing. In this course, we will explore the decisions we make every day when we eat (as well as the decisions made for us) in order to think about where the food we eat comes from, how it gets to us, and who affects that journey.


CHID 250: Human and Nonhuman Animal Bodies in Literature and Film (Nancy White)

The interests of human and nonhuman animals are sometimes at odds with one another and with the planet. Some animals are viewed (by humans) as sympathetic, others as valuable, and still others are viewed as pests. From resource allocation to food production to public policy, decisions are made based on human preferences and carried out by those with power. While the sovereignty of humans is often exerted over nonhuman animals, this course will also question the boundaries of the human body and its place “at the top of the food chain.” Human and Nonhuman Animal Bodies will interrogate the role of bodies (human and nonhuman) in society by examining literary and filmic works in which they feature prominently. Some questions we will investigate are: Whose bodies are subjugated and whose are elevated? Why do we prefer certain bodies to others and what kinds of choices do we make based on those preferences? Where do our bodies end and where do others begin? Who exerts power over human and nonhuman bodies and to what end?

2015 - 2016 Courses


CHID 250: Exploring Human and Nonhuman Animal Bodies in Literature and Film (Nancy White & Katie Gillespie)

The interests of human and nonhuman animals are sometimes at odds with one another and with the planet. Some animals are viewed (by humans) as sympathetic, others as valuable, and still others are viewed as pests.  From resource allocation to food production to public policy, decisions are made based on human preferences and carried out by those with power. While the sovereignty of humans is often exerted over nonhuman animals, this course will also question the boundaries of the human body and its place “at the top of the food chain.” The course will interrogate the role of bodies (human and nonhuman) in society by examining literary and filmic works in which they feature prominently. Some questions we will investigate are: Whose bodies are subjugated and whose are elevated? Why do we prefer certain bodies to others and what kinds of choices do we make based on those preferences? Where do our bodies end and where do others begin? Who exerts power over human and nonhuman bodies and to what end?


CHID 480: Life in Excess: Waste, Want, and the Politics of Surplus (David Giles)

This course will examine the ways in which excess structures our lives, our social systems, and our environment. While, in capitalist societies, we are commonly taught that the most important principle in determining the value and distribution of things is scarcity, when we look carefully, we find that in many parts of our world the opposite is true. Surpluses, waste, discards, and detritus of all kinds are a profoundly important part of our world, and a closer look at them can help us rethink all of those assumptions we have held dear about economy, politics, society, and the environment.


CHID 250: Animals, Environment, Food and Justice (Katie Gillespie)

How do we understand the ethical and political dimensions of the food system for animals, humans and the environment? How does animal agriculture operate as a dominant institution fraught with complex interspecies social relations? What are the impacts of animal agriculture on humans, animals, and the environment and what movements for justice are working to mitigate these impacts?

This course explores issues of justice for humans, animals and the environment in animal agriculture primarily in the United States. Framed at the outset by George Orwell's 1984, the course asks students to explore how discourse operates powerfully across space and time to shape processes of production and consumption and policies related to the meat, dairy and egg industries. The second part of the course contextualizes how agricultural and food policies are shaped. Next, we consider literature on climate change and the environmental impacts of industrial 'livestock' production. This provides context for Part 4, which aims to understand the way these production practices affect human laborers and surrounding communities. The fifth part of the course is dedicated to taking seriously the lives and deaths of animals at the center of the meat, dairy, and egg industries. Finally, the course concludes with a class on how we might envision futures of multispecies justice. In this class, we will spend time synthesizing all we have learned to envision practical alternative pathways forward (for food production, consumption and policy) that take seriously the plights of humans, animals and the environment.

CHID 250: Eating in the City: Food, Ethics, and the Urban Environment (David Giles)

How does the act of eating make the city? How does the city remake the way we eat? This course investigates the ways in which food-webs and food-ways are cultivated through the everyday rhythms of urban life--from the commerce of supermarkets and farmers markets to the peregrinations of urban scavengers and guerilla gardeners--and the political and social formations of urban identity that animate the city--from the high-income gentrification of slick coffee shops to the migrant labor that populate ethnic enclaves, from the precarious labor that shops at the food bank to the world-class fine dining that gleams from the pages of in-flight magazines.

The course is inspired by a range of questions, both analytical and ethical. Some will concern our food ways--those cultural traditions and values that shape the way we eat. (What identities animate the city? What values does it cultivate? What peoples does it bring together? What peoples does it segregate? What traditions and practices are inscribed upon the built environment?) And some will concern our food chains--those webs of political and economic relationships that connect field with plate. (Who grows the city’s food? How does it get to our plates? Who profits? What sorts of scarcity and surplus are manifested in the city’s geography? What happens to our environment in the process?)

We investigate the implications of these food ways and food webs for both the social and material landscape of the city, engaging with questions of social justice, environmental justice, and the built environment through a range of interlocutors, including anthropology, geography, sociology, history, economics, ecology, critical race studies, women’s studies, and urban planning. This exploration will demand an investigation of patterns, past and present, of not only industrial and economic change, or geographic and social stratification, but also of the symbolic and cultural forces that shape the shared spaces of the city, of the municipal policies that cultivate them, of the patterns of labor, migration, and disenfranchisement that make it all possible, and of the changes in built environment and ecology that result.

CHID 490: Food for Thought (Nancy White)

This course investigates our relationship with food through several different lenses: food as sustenance in times of hardship, food as a way to bring family together, food as a source of childhood and childlike amazement, food as an economically and politically charged entity, food as a form of memoir, food as a new scientific frontier, and food as a career. Readings will range from memoirs and other nonfiction to novels, comics, and films. Throughout the quarter, students will be asked to explore their memories of, to scrutinize their relationships with, and to reexamine their views on food.