Maki Motapanyane, PhD

FOR THE LOVE OF LIBERATORY EDUCATION

Courses

♦ Feminist Theory (Graduate) 

This course is focused on critical interdisciplinary engagement with contemporary feminist theory. The purpose of this exercise is to facilitate depth of understanding in the social, political and economic dynamics framing gender as a category of analysis. We will explore foundational feminist theories centred on issues of power, representation and socio-political and economic parity, as well as more current theoretical approaches that deconstruct the category ‘woman’, question its universal applicability, and expose the need for difficult collective discussions around the nurturing of localized and global feminist ethics for coalition and solidarity work.  

♦ Processes of Colonization and Decolonization (3000)

This course uses gender-based analysis and a mixture of feminist, postcolonial, Marxist and psychoanalytic theory to examine 19th and 20th century colonialism and decolonization efforts. Both settler and indirect forms of colonization will be covered, using a comparative approach that spans at least four continents (Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America). The course highlights the mutually reinforced relationship between “race”, gender (including sexuality) and class in colonial projects, and investigates the centrality of this intersectional dynamic in anti-colonial movements. Among the key themes explored in the course are the gendered characteristics of imperial conquest, racial fetishism, technologies of violence, gender and nationalism and the critical set of debates surrounding processes of colonization and their shaping of modernity and postmodernity in socio-cultural, political and economic terms. Colonization and decolonization are studied in the context of land, politics, economics, culture, body and psyche. 

♦ Race, Representation, and Femininity: Through Hip-Hop Culture (3000)

This course uses feminist analysis to examine a variety of social, economic and political issues that shape the manifestation and representation of “race”, gender and class in 20th and 21st century U.S. and Canada. We conduct our analysis primarily through Hip-Hop culture, relying on a body of theory coming out of Women’s Studies, Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Sociology and Anti-racist practice. As such, though our focus is on a particular genre of popular culture, this inter-disciplinary course will provide students with a broad theoretical grounding in and familiarity with key concepts in the critical analysis of “race”, racism, sexism, class-based stratification, identity politics and cultural production. We adopt a holistic approach to our study, examining women’s experiences as “women” in the context of their membership in communities that include children and men. The gender-based analysis we use in this course helps us to study women’s lives and cultures of femininity in relationship to the lives of children and men, and in relationship to cultures of masculinity and early childhood socialization. This way, we take an approach that views broader connection and inter-relatedness in the hardships and successes framing women’s lives, and in the context of our discussions of “race”, femininity, (class) and representation. 

♦ Global and Transnational Feminism (3000)

This course offers an advanced survey of the field of theory and political activism referred to as transnational feminism. Students are introduced to the history of feminist work in international political and economic forums (e.g. the UN and World Bank), as well as to on-going feminist efforts in the context of current social movements around the globe. The course examines the difference between global sisterhood and transnational feminist solidarity, and familiarizes students with leading discussions on power relations, Western imperialism, human rights conventions, development policy, globalization and cross-border/cross-cultural activist collaboration as these pertain to transnational feminism.  

♦ Feminist Theory: Gender Justice (3000)

This course is centred on critical engagement with contemporary feminist approaches to the issue of gender justice. We will explore feminist perspectives on power and inequality, political representation and participation, economic parity, ‘race’ and racism, reproductive health, sexuality, migration and global citizenship as these pertain primarily, but not exclusively, to the North American context. Our readings include selections in feminist philosophy and political theory, as well as more applied and empirical studies of the aforementioned course themes as these are reflected in current citizenship norms, constitutional law, legislative practices and immigration reforms. The larger theoretical discussions sustained by this course are placed in relation to current institutional practices, the aim of which is to provide students with a nuanced intellectual trajectory of North American struggles for gender justice.  

♦ Gender and/in Environmental Justice (2000)

This course applies gender-based analysis to leading debates on environmental sustainability, environmental justice and international development. Feminist theory forms the theoretical basis framing the central themes of this course. The content of the course is based on an inter-textual approach to learning, utilizing academic research, documentary films, and case-study examples to explore feminist and liberation ecologies. The course investigates the political dynamics that frame our relationships to the environment, and examines sustainability practices and activism from a local and global perspective. 

♦ Global Gender Issues (2000)

This course uses gender-based analysis to examine a variety of social, economic and political issues shaping women’s lives globally. We study the range of issues affecting women’s lives around the world from a holistic point of view. This means we examine women’s lives and experiences as members of a larger whole; as members of communities that include children and men. The gender-based analysis we use helps us to study women’s lives and cultures of femininity in relationship to the lives of children and men, as well as in relationship to cultures of masculinity and early childhood socialization. This way, we take an approach that views broader connection and inter-relatedness in the hardships and successes framing women’s lives around the world. This course is as much about us (here in Canada) as it is about others around the globe. The course situates us in the world - always keeping an eye to how we are connected culturally, politically and economically to what we study in other parts of the world.