We’re a group of students (and one instructor) participating in a Gender Studies course at Indiana University-Bloomington. The blog is a companion to the course, wherein we work out ideas, explore concepts, and link to points of dialogue and interest pertinent to our in-class conversations.

The course itself, taught by Hilary Malatino, seeks to help undergraduate students develop a working knowledge of the historical and contemporary debates regarding both how to understand the constitution of what it means to be male or female, masculine or feminine, queer or straight, trans or cis-gendered and why these differential understandings matter. Given that these debates have taken place within, between, and across medical, scientific, legal, political, and academic spaces, we draw on a diverse and interdisciplinary literature base in order to develop and deepen our understanding of sex and gender difference.

Here are some threads of inquiry that guide us in our explorations. Each of these has a corresponding keyword tag, to help sort through blog posts more systematically.

  • Troubling Bio-Logics looks specifically at medico-scientific and psychological models of understanding sex and gender difference, examining these models in terms of their investment in the socio-political regulation and maintenance of human populations;
  • Essentialism and Constructivism examines the development of and tensions between two of the most popular and widespread theoretical approaches to understanding sex and gender difference, paying attention the ways in which debates engendered by these often clashing understandings travel between philosophy, biological science medical practice, and queer and feminist theory and activism;
  • Medicalization and Pathology addresses the interactions of sexology, feminism, LGBT communities, and lived experiences of pathology;
  • Embodied Specificities utilizes the prior course thematics to focus in on issues pertaining specifically to trans and intersex experiences, communities, and political mobilizations;
  • Beyond Binaries looks at some promising current frameworks that offer alternative, complex, and subtle modes of understanding sex and gender difference that move us well beyond the binary models that so deeply structure conventional or ‘common-sense’ understandings of sex, gender, and sexuality.

Have a look around and let us know what you think!
the students and instructor of GNDR 335 Fall 2011