'Queer Times,' 'Feminism and the Politics of Anger' courses satisfy requirement for Barnard freshmen

All freshman must enroll in a course from a list including 'Queer Times,' 'Transnational Feminism,' 'Vote Counting Votes,' and 'Feminism and the Politics of Anger.'

Course topics will explore concepts like 'surveillance capitalism,' 'pregnant people,' 'the weaponization of disinformation,' and 'queerness.'

Barnard College, a women’s liberal arts college in New York City associated with Columbia University, has released its mandatory “First-Year Seminar” course descriptions for the fall 2023 semester, including various classes on race, sexuality, and feminism. 

Per the college’s website, “Every Barnard first-year student is required to take a First-Year Seminar during their first or second semester at Barnard. Transfer students are not required to take First-Year Seminars.” 

“Each one-semester seminar is designed to develop essential skills for college work, such as the ability to read critically and analytically, to speak clearly and effectively, and to write logically and persuasively,” according to Barnard’s curriculum. 

One such seminar that will be offered this fall is “Queer Times,” which will allow students to “explore how understandings of queerness have shifted across times and cultures, how queer subjects (now and in the past) have negotiated dominant discourses of sexuality and gender, and how narratives of queerness in our course texts intersect with other positionalities such as race, religion, class, citizenship, and disability.”

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Students enrolled in Queer Times will also consider questions like: “How has queerness been articulated and defined at various points in the past, especially outside of Western Europe and North America?,” “What are some of the key preoccupations of queer writers and activists in our present day and how might we participate in their conversations?,” and “How do we envision queer futures and utopias, and how can queer imaginings of the future allow us to think critically about our presents [sic] today?”

Another offered seminar is titled “The Ethics of Identity.” Focusing primarily on gender, race, and disability, students will examine concepts like whether “pregnant people [should] be categorized as a ‘vulnerable’ population in medical research, for instance, and how can race and/or disability status be factored into these discussions in ways that support rather than erase marginalized groups?” 

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Another course, “Tech & Society: Good, Bad & Other,” will focus on technology’s “negative impacts, such as the move to a surveillance society and surveillance capitalism; major disruptions in the workforce of the future as automation becomes more widespread; and social media contributing to depression in young people and the weaponization of disinformation.”

Other notable first-year seminar courses include: “Feminism and the Politics of Anger,” “Performing Publics & Political Activism,” “On Friendships Between Women,” “Freedom & Captivity,” “Transnational Feminism,” and “Vote Counting Counts.” 

Founded in 1889, Barnard College is “devoted to empowering young women to pursue their passions.”

Campus Reform has contacted Barnard and various professors of these courses for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.