Course Title: De-Centering: Aesthetics, Labor, and Performance
Course Description: Assimilative labor—such as gender performance, or code-switching—is required in every aspect of life for marginalized people to survive in physical and digital spaces. This aesthetic and performative labor is what women of color, and trans + nonbinary people of color, are forced to juggle while managing societal stereotypes and expectations with their own safety, autonomy, and self-determination in all spheres of life.
From engaging with online media, navigating one’s career, being afforded respect and value in relationships, and being treated with equity in the eyes of the law—intersectionally marginalized individuals are required to perform daily invisibilized, uncompensated labor. This labor has been commodified and made invisible through centuries of systemic kyriarchy. The result is the explicit and implicit oppressive codes of conduct imposed upon these individuals as they aim to lead their lives with agency, safety, and dignity.
This pilot explores aesthetic and performative labor through eight spheres of daily life: media, performance, movement, career, reproductive justice, physical health, mental health, and relationships. Through historical and current examples centering the experiences of intersectionally marginalized individuals, students will engage in critical discourse and analysis of intersectional labor and aesthetic oppression. Through structured discussions, written reflections, and an opportunity for a final project creating a literature review and/or artifact, students will gain an understanding of how evolving systems, norms, and policies create(d) and sustain(ed) rigid hierarchies and constructs requiring constant inequitable labor and performance from individuals from intersectionally marginalized identities.
Starting June 28th; applications are due by June 24. This pilot course is offered as a UROP for credit or volunteer only. Listeners are permitted but space is limited. Interested parties should apply here: bit.ly/3bV894w