Feminist Biopolitics and Cultural Practices

Course Level: 
Master’s
Doctoral
Campus: 
Vienna
Course Open to: 
Students on-site
Academic Year: 
2022-2023
Term: 
Winter
US Credits: 
4
ECTS Credits: 
8
Course Code: 
GENS5129
Course Description: 

What do the medical and political tropes of “immunity” tell us about our understanding of the self, other, and community? How do performances of dancers and other artists with disabilities challenge the normative perception of racialized and gendered desire/desirability? How does pharmaceutic capitalism refigure the politics of gendered embodiment and sexual practices? This course examines the nexus of power and life as they materialize through various forms of cultural practice at the intersections of gender, sexuality, race, species, and disability. For this purpose, the course enters the conversation between feminist and queer theories and canonical biopolitical theories, which concern the relevance of biological life and death to the realms of the political. In this, we will pay particular attention to entwinement among the biological, technological, and cultural as important constituents of biopolitics. From this perspective, the course explores a number of sites of cultural practice, including performance, eating (and starving), biometrics, prosthetics, reproductive technology, and graphic medicine as sites of feminist criticisms and creative interventions.

Learning Outcomes: 
  1. Students will familiarize themselves with the major concepts and arguments in biopolitical theories, and their connections to and implications for gender studies in particular and critical theories in general.
  2. Students will better understand and be able to analyze some of the important ways in which biopolitical power relations substantiate and operate through cultural practices in the contemporary world.
  3. Students will be able to experiment with transdisciplinary theories and methods in order to engage with various forms of cultural practice, such as dance, tactical arts, cloning, and drone wars.
  4. Students will improve their skills in analytical reading and writing, verbal discussion, and other forms of presentation.