Center for Asian American Studies
Center for Asian American Studies

Sharmila Rudrappa


Associate ProfessorPh.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison

Sharmila Rudrappa

Contact

Interests


Comparative Race and Ethnicity, Feminist Theory, Labor, Immigration, and Citizenship.

Biography


Sharmila Rudrappa, a South-Asian-American Studies Scholar, is also a sociologist who specializes in gender and immigration issues. Her book, Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and the Cultures of Citizenship (Rutgers University Press, 2004), is an ethnography of a shelter for battered South Asian American women, and a cultural organization in Chicago. The book contextualizes immigrant race politics within the larger cultural turn we see in the sphere of American politics in the late 20th century. A companion article, "Radical Caring In An Ethnic Shelter: South Asian American Women Workers At Apna Ghar, Chicago," was recently published in Gender and Society.

At present, Dr. Rudrappa is working on how globalization affects the social rights of citizenship. Her project is tentatively titled "Techno-Braceros, Indian Mothers and Other Such Phenomena: Conceiving Citizenship in 21st Century United States." She was in India during the summer 2003 conducting preliminary research for the project. She was a recipient of the Humanities Institute Fellowship for the fall 2003.

Courses Taught:

  • AAS 330/ SOC 321K/ WGS 340: Asian American Issues: Family Politics
  • AAS 330/ SOC 321K/ WGS 340: South Asian American Experience -W
  • AAS 330/ SOC 321K/ WGS 340: South Asians in the U.S.: Race/Work/Family
  • AAS 330/ SOC 321K/ WGS 322: Special Topic in Race: Nation/Citizen

Current Research Projects:

Dr. Rudrappa is currently working on two research projects: Indian information technology/immigrants in the U.S., and the cultural politics of assisted reproductive technologies in India.

NIH Biosketch

Courses


ANT 391 • Feminist Theory

31415 • Fall 2016
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM CLA 3.106
(also listed as ANS 390, SOC 395G, WGS 393)

While the words “race, Third World, or transnational” do not appear anywhere in this title, this introductory feminist theory undergraduate seminar is deeply comparative, tackling gender from a racialized, transnational perspective. The readings are organized into “theme” modules. For example, we will start the semester through reading about testimony. The issues surrounding testimony are vast, but our focus is on what testimony means, under what conditions testimony is possible, and how does testimony tie to the possibilities for full citizenship for women? Over the course of the semester we will examine SIX themes to introduce fundamental feminist concepts such as the body, choice, motherhood, sexual violence, citizenship, rights and work. As you will see, these are particular theoretical/ political perspectives on the issues, and not the only way to approach them. These readings are not meant to give you a comprehensive knowledge of feminism; instead, ours is only a partial investigation on gender with the aim of pushing you into thinking through the importance of feminist theory in research and social change on very specific issues; my hope is that you will extend these sorts of analyses into other realms of intellectual production, and everyday life.

AAS 330 • Reproductive Justice & Race

35125 • Spring 2016
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM CLA 0.122
(also listed as SOC 321K, WGS 340)

Description:

Since the Cairo Conference on Population and Development in 1994 state policies concerning women’s health around the world have taken a turn away from population control to reproductive health. Within this context, activists and scholars alike have turned their attention to reproductive justice that envisions the complete physical and mental well-being of women and girls, which can potentially be achieved when they have the economic, social, and political power and resources to make healthy decisions about their bodies, sexuality, and reproduction. In this class we ask: how do various social movements define reproductive justice? How is access to reproductive rights stratified by race and class? Through drawing students’ attention to specific case studies, this course illuminates on the specific challenges faced by women of color in the U.S., as well as women in developing countries across the world. Topics we will cover are forcible sterilization, access (or lack of access) to birth control, population control policies, prenatal and postnatal care, maternal and infant health outcomes in various parts of the world, sex selective abortions, new reproductive technologies, and stratified reproduction. As part of the final part of the course the students will think through the reproductive health issues facing women of color on campus, through conducting a survey. 

SOC 395G • Feminist Theory

44785 • Fall 2015
Meets W 3:00PM-6:00PM CLA 0.120
(also listed as ANS 390, ANT 391, WGS 393)

Description:

This course will provide an introduction to major theoretical texts and issues on gender and bodily labors for graduate students in sociology and other related fields. My hope is that we approach the readings with an Asian American/ ethnic studies perspective by interweaving theoretical texts and case studies from various parts of the world. Some of the key sociological concepts that we will examine are the gift, commodity, labor (including intimate labor and clinical labor), surplus value, traffic in women, and reproductive markets (this is not a comprehensive list). And key authors are Gayle Rubin, Marilyn Strathern, Melissa Wright, Aihwa Ong, Catherine Waldby, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Rhacel Parennas, and Viviana Zelizer.

ANS 390 • Feminist Theory

31155 • Spring 2015
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM CLA 0.120
(also listed as SOC 395G, WGS 393)

This course will provide an introduction to major theoretical texts and issues in feminist literary and cultural theory for graduate students in Comparative Literature and other fields who are familiar with more than one literary and/or cultural tradition. 

We will interweave close attention to theoretical texts with a consideration of literary texts from various critical perspectives, beginning with three twentieth-century narratives by women writers:  Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, Nella Larsen’s Quicksand, and Assia Djebar’s Fantasia:  An Algerian Cavalcade.  We will then turn to texts selected by members of the class.

AAS 330 • Sociology Of Race And Work

36527 • Spring 2014
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM CLA 1.106
(also listed as SOC 321K, WGS 322)

Description

Asian American scholar Lisa Lowe notes that contrary to liberal and Marxian notions, labor is never abstract. Instead, individuals’ racial and gender characteristics deeply shape how labor markets emerge, the ways by which workers get slotted into the world of work, and how skills are evaluated. This perspective shapes the backbone of this undergraduate seminar, which is a critical examination of work over the 20th and 21st centuries through a gendered, racial lens. Jobs are gender segregated; men and women’s work is evaluated differently; and, women’s work—often as important as that of men—is remunerated at lower levels. And in all of this, race matters.

Note: The purpose of this course is to sociologically examine concepts such as labor markets, globalization, care work, sex work, and gender/ racial segregation of the work place. This course is cross-listed with Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies.

Tentative list of books to be used:

Rene Almeling, 2011. Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm.

Evelyn Nakanon Glenn, 2010. Forced to Care: Coercion and Caregiving in America.

Pamela Stone, 2008. Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit and Head Home.

Excerpts from books (tentative):

Judith Shklar, American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion

David Roediger, Wages of Whiteness.

Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation.

Marx on alienated labor.

Lisa Lowe, Immigrant Acts. Mae Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.

Documentary films to be watched in class (preliminary list; more to be included):

Arthur Dong, 1982. Sewing Woman.

Zippy Frank, 2009. Google Baby.

Sonali Gulati, Nalini by Day Nancy by Night

 Case studies examined in class (through articles/ book excerpts/ documentary films/ popular articles):

The Garment Industry

Care Work

Assignments:

Take home exams (two) 50%

Group presentations 30%

Student groups work on case studies (one industry or job type—teaching, lawyers, gynecology, construction, etc.), conduct library research, and present their racialized/ gendered analyses of the industry to the rest of the class. There is no paper requirement.

Class discussion 10%

SOC 395G • Feminist Theory

46645 • Spring 2014
Meets TH 12:00PM-3:00PM CLA 4.106
(also listed as ANS 390, WGS 393)

Description:

This seminar, titled Feminist Theory, addresses feminist writings that we’d perhaps want as structuring influences on our academic work. The issues that we will raise in the seminar are not exhaustive, but instead, I want our readings to foster significant reconceptualizations of social theory and social research. The hope is this reconfiguration of doing research, or thinking through knowledge production will lead us into generating more thoughtful, politically relevant work on various fronts.

There are two purposes to this seminar—

a) rethinking social categories, such as performance, the state, citizenship, etc. from a feminist perspective; and

b) rethinking research from a feminist standpoint.

 Participants in this seminar will note that not all the readings listed below are by women; moreover, the readings are not organized along racial lines, or national lines. We will bring in Third World feminists in dialogue with white women academics.

Texts:

TBA

Course Requirements:

Class discussion- 25%

To facilitate discussion:

Write out a page of notes on the readings.

Think about questions that might foster discussion.

Have readings dialogue with each other (either in the same week, or from different weeks).

Paper outline with annotated bibliography- 10%

For your paper please think about pulling something together based on your own research, along with the readings that you do for this seminar (for those of you who don’t have a solid idea on dissertation research, use this paper to think through ideas).

 25 page research paper- 65%

 

AAS 330 • Feminist Theory

36045 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM BIO 301
(also listed as SOC 321K, WGS 350)

Course description

While the words “race, Third World, or transnational” do not appear anywhere in this title, this introductory feminist theory undergraduate seminar is deeply comparative, tackling gender from a racialized, transnational perspective.

The readings are organized into “theme” modules. For example, we will start the semester through reading about testimony. The issues surrounding testimony are vast, but our focus is on what testimony means, under what conditions testimony is possible, and how does testimony tie to the possibilities for full citizenship for women? Over the course of the semester we will examine SIX themes to introduce fundamental feminist concepts such as the body, choice, motherhood, sexual violence, citizenship, rights and work. As you will see, these are particular theoretical/ political perspectives on the issues, and not the only way to approach them.

These readings are not meant to give you a comprehensive knowledge of feminism; instead, ours is only a partial investigation on gender with the aim of pushing you into thinking through the importance of feminist theory in research and social change on very specific issues; my hope is that you will extend these sorts of analyses into other realms of intellectual production, and everyday life.

Readings

1. Books:

Saba Mahmood, 2005. Politics of Piety: Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject. Princeton University Press.

2. The reading package on Blackboard. Please bring print-outs to class for discussion purposes. This is a class REQUIREMENT.

 

 

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

45880 • Spring 2013
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM WAG 112

Contains a Writing Flag

Descripton

One of the first things I think young people, especially nowadays, should learn is how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself... this generation, especially of our people, has a burden, more so than any other time in history. The most important thing that we can learn to do today is think for ourselves (Malcolm X, cited by Patricia Hill Collins in Malcolm X: In Our Own Image. Edited by Joe Wood. 1992: 59; my emphasis).

Introduction

I begin this syllabus with a quote from Malcolm X.  Malcolm X spoke these words during a time when African Americans were changing the very definitions of what it meant to be Black. In this quote he urges Black youth to re-define themselves, re-infuse blackness with new meanings, and re-constitute themselves. His words are an exemplar of agency, propelling people into re-making themselves and their history.

But how does one go about re-making oneself?  Or speaking sociologically, what are the sources of individual agency? How do the structures of everyday life shape our experiences, our choices, and ultimately, our sense of self?

At a fundamental level Malcolm X is grappling with an issue that animates social theory— and that is, the constitution of the individual. How is human subjectivity formed? Does society fully structure us, or do we somehow autonomously generate our subjectivities? How do we conceive of ourselves— to paraphrase Malcolm X, “how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself”— given that we making meaning of the world around us based on inherited categories, and the concomitant meanings imposed on us?

The constitution of the individual in society, and the constitution of society are central concerns for sociology.  In this class we will take on the individual, who is at once autonomous and socially determined, as our primary subject of inquiry. We will begin with Descartes, and then move onto the classical social theorists, Durkheim, Marx, and Weber. Central to their theories is the conceptualization of the individual as social, as constituted only within society. Yet, there are fundamental differences in their conception of society, history, and individuality. Over the course of the semester we will examine the basic sociological questions of structure, agency, the basis for knowledge, human action, social change, and individual emancipation through looking at classical theorists mentioned above, as well as recent scholars such as Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault, Susan Bordo, and Judith Butler.

This course is designed to give you a broad overview, rather than an in-depth examination of any one theorist. We will read translations, or the original texts by the various theorists. In addition, we will watch videos and films to help grasp the concepts we come across in our readings.

Texts 

The SIX required books that I recommend you buy on Amazon, or Half Price Books. 

  1. Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Melts Into Air. Used copies from $ 6.33/- on Amazon.com
  2. W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls Of Black Folk. (Norton Critical Editions, edited by Henry Louis Gates). Available from $3.84/- onwards on Amazon.com.
  3. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of a Prison. Used books around $8/- and new ones around $10/- on Amazon.com
  4. Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. The cheapest version at Amazon ishttp://www.amazon.com/Presentation-Self-Everyday-Life/dp/0385094027/ref=pd_sim_b_7, published by DoubleDay).
  5. Arlie Hochschild, Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Feeling. (The original was published in 1983, but I don’t think many prints are available. The book was re-issued in 2003. I’d prefer you buy the older version, but the newer version works for our purposes).
  6. Max Weber (translated by Talcott Parsons) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.Used copies available for $3/- on Amazon.com

Reading package:  The reading package is available on Blackboard.

Grading and Requirements

Class attendance

Attendance to class is mandatory.  You may miss up to two classes, without affecting your grade.  Subsequently, for every class you miss your grade will fall by 1/2 a grade.  For example, if you miss four classes, you grade will change from an A to a B.

Participation: 10%

Participation in class makes huge a difference. I encourage you to ask questions, express doubts, answer your classmates’ questions, and engage intellectually. I urge you to complete all readings so that we can have active participation. Our collective success this semester hinges on your individual participation; participation is crucial for not just your own learning experience, but also your classmates’ learning in the classroom.

“Surprise” quizzes: 10%

Over the course of the semester, you will receive in class “surprise” quizzes over the readings. The quiz is open book, to be answered in class. As a result, it is absolutely necessary for you to bring your books to class.

Goffman exercise and presentation: 20%

This is a group assignment due towards the end of the semester; you will work in groups, and submit a 10 page double spaced group report. We will discuss this further at the time of the assignment. The entire group will receive a group grade, which is 20% of your overall grade. If you do not put in 100% effort, then your entire group’s grade will be negatively affected.  We will have class presentations based on this particular project.

Take home exams: 60%  (Mid-term: 30%,  Final: 30%)

I encourage you to work in groups to discuss your answers and prepare outlines; however, each one of you will write your exam individually. I will consider it as academic mis-conduct if two or more students turn in the exact same exam, or an exam with similarly structured sentences. Such exams will not be graded.

Missed exams/ late submissions: You have your syllabus with you, and you know when assignments are due. Late exams or assignments will NOT be accepted.

 

AAS 330 • Sociology Of Race And Work

36070 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM BUR 134
(also listed as SOC 321K)

 Description

This course is an exploration of how social characteristics of individuals—race, class, gender, sexuality, (dis)abilities —affect their capacities to enter specific labor markets. Over the course of the semester we will sociologically unpack what work means, the creation of labor markets, and finally, how race and employment are interrelated. Jobs are gender segregated; and in all of this, race matters. We will critically examine work over the 20th and 21st centuries through a gendered, racial lens to get at how race and gender work in the labor market. The purpose of this course is to sociologically examine concepts such as labor markets, globalization, care work, sex work, and gender/ racial segregation of the work place. This course is cross-listed with Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies.

The readings are organized around key questions/ issues, which form course modules. These course modules are the following:

1)    What is labor?

2)    What are labor markets?

3)    How are race, labor and citizenship tied?

4)    Gender and work

5)    Case study: Garment work

6)    Case study: Caring work

7)    Case study: Surrogacy

Readings

Course package

Grading and Requirement

Class attendance

Attendance to class is mandatory.  You may miss up to two classes, without affecting your grade.  Subsequently, for every class you miss your grade will fall by 1/2 a grade.  For example, if you miss four classes, you grade will change from an A to a B.

Participation: 20%

Four Short Papers: 80%

 

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

45680 • Fall 2012
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM BUR 231

Contains a Writing Flag

Descripton

One of the first things I think young people, especially nowadays, should learn is how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself... this generation, especially of our people, has a burden, more so than any other time in history. The most important thing that we can learn to do today is think for ourselves (Malcolm X, cited by Patricia Hill Collins in Malcolm X: In Our Own Image. Edited by Joe Wood. 1992: 59; my emphasis).

Introduction

I begin this syllabus with a quote from Malcolm X.  Malcolm X spoke these words during a time when African Americans were changing the very definitions of what it meant to be Black. In this quote he urges Black youth to re-define themselves, re-infuse blackness with new meanings, and re-constitute themselves. His words are an exemplar of agency, propelling people into re-making themselves and their history.

But how does one go about re-making oneself?  Or speaking sociologically, what are the sources of individual agency? How do the structures of everyday life shape our experiences, our choices, and ultimately, our sense of self?

At a fundamental level Malcolm X is grappling with an issue that animates social theory— and that is, the constitution of the individual. How is human subjectivity formed? Does society fully structure us, or do we somehow autonomously generate our subjectivities? How do we conceive of ourselves— to paraphrase Malcolm X, “how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself”— given that we making meaning of the world around us based on inherited categories, and the concomitant meanings imposed on us?

The constitution of the individual in society, and the constitution of society are central concerns for sociology.  In this class we will take on the individual, who is at once autonomous and socially determined, as our primary subject of inquiry. We will begin with Descartes, and then move onto the classical social theorists, Durkheim, Marx, and Weber. Central to their theories is the conceptualization of the individual as social, as constituted only within society. Yet, there are fundamental differences in their conception of society, history, and individuality. Over the course of the semester we will examine the basic sociological questions of structure, agency, the basis for knowledge, human action, social change, and individual emancipation through looking at classical theorists mentioned above, as well as recent scholars such as Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault, Susan Bordo, and Judith Butler.

This course is designed to give you a broad overview, rather than an in-depth examination of any one theorist. We will read translations, or the original texts by the various theorists. In addition, we will watch videos and films to help grasp the concepts we come across in our readings.

Texts 

The SIX required books that I recommend you buy on Amazon, or Half Price Books. 

  1. Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Melts Into Air. Used copies from $ 6.33/- on Amazon.com
  2. W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls Of Black Folk. (Norton Critical Editions, edited by Henry Louis Gates). Available from $3.84/- onwards on Amazon.com.
  3. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of a Prison. Used books around $8/- and new ones around $10/- on Amazon.com
  4. Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. The cheapest version at Amazon ishttp://www.amazon.com/Presentation-Self-Everyday-Life/dp/0385094027/ref=pd_sim_b_7, published by DoubleDay).
  5. Arlie Hochschild, Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Feeling. (The original was published in 1983, but I don’t think many prints are available. The book was re-issued in 2003. I’d prefer you buy the older version, but the newer version works for our purposes).
  6. Max Weber (translated by Talcott Parsons) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.Used copies available for $3/- on Amazon.com

Reading package:  The reading package is available on Blackboard.

Grading and Requirements

Class attendance

Attendance to class is mandatory.  You may miss up to two classes, without affecting your grade.  Subsequently, for every class you miss your grade will fall by 1/2 a grade.  For example, if you miss four classes, you grade will change from an A to a B.

Participation: 10%

Participation in class makes huge a difference. I encourage you to ask questions, express doubts, answer your classmates’ questions, and engage intellectually. I urge you to complete all readings so that we can have active participation. Our collective success this semester hinges on your individual participation; participation is crucial for not just your own learning experience, but also your classmates’ learning in the classroom.

“Surprise” quizzes: 10%

Over the course of the semester, you will receive in class “surprise” quizzes over the readings. The quiz is open book, to be answered in class. As a result, it is absolutely necessary for you to bring your books to class.

Goffman exercise and presentation: 20%

This is a group assignment due towards the end of the semester; you will work in groups, and submit a 10 page double spaced group report. We will discuss this further at the time of the assignment. The entire group will receive a group grade, which is 20% of your overall grade. If you do not put in 100% effort, then your entire group’s grade will be negatively affected.  We will have class presentations based on this particular project.

Take home exams: 60%  (Mid-term: 30%,  Final: 30%)

I encourage you to work in groups to discuss your answers and prepare outlines; however, each one of you will write your exam individually. I will consider it as academic mis-conduct if two or more students turn in the exact same exam, or an exam with similarly structured sentences. Such exams will not be graded.

Missed exams/ late submissions: You have your syllabus with you, and you know when assignments are due. Late exams or assignments will NOT be accepted.

 

AAS 330 • Feminist Theory

35880 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM PAR 306
(also listed as SOC 321K, WGS 322)

Course description

This undergraduate seminar in feminist theory is an introduction to the ways in which the body—that material reality of our lives— is conceptualized in the social sciences. We will read broadly, right from the deep suspicion of the body in Cartesian thought, which inaugurated the modern scientific method, to the re-birth of the body in social thought with Foucault. This course is not meant to be a comprehensive examination of the topic; instead, it is only a partial investigation with the aim of pushing you into thinking through the importance of feminist theory—so deeply engaged with the materiality of the body—to social theory. The bias in this course is that I am a sociologist, which informs my theoretical orientations.

 Tentative reading list :

1. Elizabeth Bernstein, Temporarily Yours

2. Patricia Hill Collins, Fighting Words

3. Arlie Hochschild, The Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Feeling

4. Michel Foucault, Discpline and Punish: Birth of the Modern Prison

5. Munoz, Cruising Utopia

6. Melissa Wright, Disposable Women and Other Myths of Global Capitalism

Course Expectations And Grading

Class attendance: Attendance to class is mandatory.  You may miss up to two classes, without affecting your grade.  Subsequently, for every class you miss your grade will fall by 1/2 a grade.  For example, if you miss four classes, you grade will change from an A to a B.

Participation: 30%

Participation in class makes huge a difference. I encourage you to ask questions, express doubts, answer your classmates’ questions, and engage intellectually. I urge you to complete all readings so that we can have active participation. Our collective success this semester hinges on your individual participation; participation is crucial for not just your own learning experience, but also your classmates’ learning in the classroom.

Book reports (three): 30%

Final Paper: 40% (10% for paper outline) Your final paper, due at the end of the semester, is based on a topic that interests you. The expectation is not that you do extensive readings outside of the course; instead, the hope is that you will use the readings from class, and supplement that with at least two other books, and a few articles from peer-reviewed journals. Web sources may be used, but only for empirical purposes. Internet resources are generally not accepted for citation purposes (though there are exceptions).

AAS 330 • Sociology Of Race And Work

35885 • Spring 2012
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 136
(also listed as SOC 321K, WGS 322)

Description

Asian American scholar Lisa Lowe notes that contrary to liberal and Marxian notions, labor is never abstract. Instead, individuals’ racial and gender characteristics deeply shape how labor markets emerge, the ways by which workers get slotted into the world of work, and how skills are evaluated. This perspective shapes the backbone of this undergraduate seminar, which is a critical examination of work over the 20th and 21st centuries through a gendered, racial lens. Jobs are gender segregated; men and women’s work is evaluated differently; and, women’s work—often as important as that of men—is remunerated at lower levels. And in all of this, race matters.

Note: The purpose of this course is to sociologically examine concepts such as labor markets, globalization, care work, sex work, and gender/ racial segregation of the work place. This course is cross-listed with Asian American Studies and Women’s Studies.

Tentative list of books to be used:

Rene Almeling, 2011. Sex Cells: The Medical Market for Eggs and Sperm.

Evelyn Nakanon Glenn, 2010. Forced to Care: Coercion and Caregiving in America.

Pamela Stone, 2008. Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit and Head Home.

Excerpts from books (tentative):

Judith Shklar, American Citizenship: The Quest for Inclusion

David Roediger, Wages of Whiteness.

Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation.

Marx on alienated labor.

Lisa Lowe, Immigrant Acts. Mae Ngai, Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America.

Documentary films to be watched in class (preliminary list; more to be included):

Arthur Dong, 1982. Sewing Woman.

Zippy Frank, 2009. Google Baby.

Sonali Gulati, Nalini by Day Nancy by Night

 Case studies examined in class (through articles/ book excerpts/ documentary films/ popular articles):

The Garment Industry

Care Work

Assignments:

Take home exams (two) 50%

Group presentations 30%

Student groups work on case studies (one industry or job type—teaching, lawyers, gynecology, construction, etc.), conduct library research, and present their racialized/ gendered analyses of the industry to the rest of the class. There is no paper requirement.

Class discussion 10%

ANT 391 • Feminist Theory

31170 • Fall 2011
Meets W 12:00PM-3:00PM BUR 231
(also listed as ANS 390, SOC 395G, WGS 393)

This seminar, broadly titled Feminist Theory, addresses feminist writings that we’d perhaps want as structuring influences on our academic work. There are two purposes to this seminar (1) Conceptualizing social categories, such as the state, citizenship, nationalism, globalization and so forth from a feminist perspective; and (2) Rethinking research from a feminist standpoint.

SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

46220 • Spring 2011
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM MAI 220A

Contains a Writing Flag

 

Dr. Sharmila Rudrappa                                                                   

Office Hours: Wed 10:00am - 12:00noon; Office: 574 Burdine                                                                 

Phone: 232-6310 (O); 452-4420 (H); Please do not email me.

 

 

Sociological Theory: Self And Society

SPRING 2011

 

One of the first things I think young people, especially nowadays, should learn is how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself... this generation, especially of our people, has a burden, more so than any other time in history. The most important thing that we can learn to do today is think for ourselves (Malcolm X, cited by Patricia Hill Collins in Malcolm X: In Our Own Image. Edited by Joe Wood. 1992: 59; my emphasis).

 

Introduction

 

I begin this syllabus with a quote from Malcolm X.  Malcolm X spoke these words during a time when African Americans were changing the very definitions of what it meant to be Black. In this quote he urges Black youth to re-define themselves, re-infuse blackness with new meanings, and re-constitute themselves. His words are an exemplar of agency, propelling people into re-making themselves and their history.

 

But how does one go about re-making oneself?  Or speaking sociologically, what are the sources of individual agency? How do the structures of everyday life shape our experiences, our choices, and ultimately, our sense of self?

 

At a fundamental level Malcolm X is grappling with an issue that animates social theory— and that is, the constitution of the individual. How is human subjectivity formed? Does society fully structure us, or do we somehow autonomously generate our subjectivities? How do we conceive of ourselves— to paraphrase Malcolm X, “how to see for yourself and listen for yourself and think for yourself”— given that we making meaning of the world around us based on inherited categories, and the concomitant meanings imposed on us?

 

The constitution of the individual in society, and the constitution of society are central concerns for sociology.  In this class we will take on the individual, who is at once autonomous and socially determined, as our primary subject of inquiry. We will begin with Descartes, and then move onto the classical social theorists, Durkheim, Marx, and Weber. Central to their theories is the conceptualization of the individual as social, as constituted only within society. Yet, there are fundamental differences in their conception of society, history, and individuality. Over the course of the semester we will examine the basic sociological questions of structure, agency, the basis for knowledge, human action, social change, and individual emancipation through looking at classical theorists mentioned above, as well as recent scholars such as Erving Goffman, Michel Foucault, Susan Bordo, and Judith Butler.

 

This course is designed to give you a broad overview, rather than an in-depth examination of any one theorist. We will read translations, or the original texts by the various theorists. In addition, we will watch videos and films to help grasp the concepts we come across in our readings.

Required Books and Reading Package:

 

The SIX required books that I recommend you buy on Amazon, or Half Price Books.

 

  1. Marshall Berman, All That is Solid Melts Into Air. Used copies from $ 6.33/- on Amazon.com
  2. W.E.B. Du Bois, Souls Of Black Folk. (Norton Critical Editions, edited by Henry Louis Gates). Available from $3.84/- onwards on Amazon.com.
  3. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of a Prison. Used books around $8/- and new ones around $10/- on Amazon.com
  4. Erving Goffman, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. The cheapest version at Amazon is http://www.amazon.com/Presentation-Self-Everyday-Life/dp/0385094027/ref=pd_sim_b_7, published by DoubleDay).
  5. Arlie Hochschild, Managed Heart: The Commercialization of Feeling. (The original was published in 1983, but I don’t think many prints are available. The book was re-issued in 2003. I’d prefer you buy the older version, but the newer version works for our purposes).
  6. Max Weber (translated by Talcott Parsons) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Used copies available for $3/- on Amazon.com

 

Reading package:  The reading package is available on Blackboard.

 

 

Course Expectations And Grading

 

Class attendance

Attendance to class is mandatory.  You may miss up to two classes, without affecting your grade.  Subsequently, for every class you miss your grade will fall by 1/2 a grade.  For example, if you miss four classes, you grade will change from an A to a B.

 

Participation: 10%

Participation in class makes huge a difference. I encourage you to ask questions, express doubts, answer your classmates’ questions, and engage intellectually. I urge you to complete all readings so that we can have active participation. Our collective success this semester hinges on your individual participation; participation is crucial for not just your own learning experience, but also your classmates’ learning in the classroom.

 

“Surprise” quizzes: 10%

Over the course of the semester, you will receive in class “surprise” quizzes over the readings. The quiz is open book, to be answered in class. As a result, it is absolutely necessary for you to bring your books to class.

 

Goffman exercise and presentation: 20%

This is a group assignment due towards the end of the semester; you will work in groups, and submit a 10 page double spaced group report. We will discuss this further at the time of the assignment. The entire group will receive a group grade, which is 20% of your overall grade. If you do not put in 100% effort, then your entire group’s grade will be negatively affected.  We will have class presentations based on this particular project.

 

Take home exams: 60%

I encourage you to work in groups to discuss your answers and prepare outlines; however, each one of you will write your exam individually. I will consider it as academic mis-conduct if two or more students turn in the exact same exam, or an exam with similarly structured sentences. Such exams will not be graded.

Mid-term: 30%

Final: 30%

 

Missed exams/ late submissions: You have your syllabus with you, and you know when assignments are due. Late exams or assignments will NOT be accepted.

 

 

 

WGS 322 • Feminist Theory

47615 • Spring 2011
Meets MW 2:00PM-3:30PM GAR 2.112

This seminar, broadly titled Feminist Theory, addresses feminist writings that we’d perhaps want as structuring influences on our academic work. There are two purposes to this seminar—
-    Conceptualizing social categories, such as the state, citizenship, nationalism, globalization and so forth from a feminist perspective; and
-    Rethinking research from a feminist standpoint.


SOC 379M • Sociological Theory

46490 • Spring 2010
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM BUR 214

See attached

ANS 390 • Feminist Theory

29817 • Spring 2006
Meets W 1:00PM-4:00PM BUR 231

Study of various Asian studies-related topics that do not focus on any single geographic region.  Specific offerings are listed in the Course Schedule.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing; additional prerequisites vary with the topic and are given in the Course Schedule.

ANS 384 • Citznshp In Multiracial Democs

28440 • Spring 2005
Meets T 4:00PM-7:00PM BUR 214

Study of various aspects and periods of South Asian culture and society.  Specific offerings are listed in the Course Schedule.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing; additional prerequisites vary with the topic and are given in the Course Schedule.

AAS 379 • Conf Crs In Asian Amer Studies

32430 • Fall 2003

Supervised individual study of selected problems in Asian American studies.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and consent of the director of the Center for Asian American Studies.

May be counted toward the independent inquiry flag requirement.

Restricted enrollment; contact the department for permission to register for this class. May be repeated for credit.

ANS 390 • Feminist Theory

27697 • Fall 2003
Meets F 12:00PM-3:00PM BUR 231

Study of various Asian studies-related topics that do not focus on any single geographic region.  Specific offerings are listed in the Course Schedule.  Prerequisite: Graduate standing; additional prerequisites vary with the topic and are given in the Course Schedule.

AAS W679HA • Honors Tutorial Course

84369 • Summer 2003

Supervised individual reading for one semester, followed by a semester of research and writing to produce a substantial paper on a specific topic in Asian American studies.

Prerequisite: For 679HA, upper-division standing and admission to the Asian American Studies Honors Program; for 679HB, Asian American Studies 679HA.

Restricted enrollment; contact the department for permission to register for this class.

AAS 379 • Conf Crs In Asian Amer Studies

31940 • Fall 2002

Supervised individual study of selected problems in Asian American studies.

Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and consent of the director of the Center for Asian American Studies.

May be counted toward the independent inquiry flag requirement.

Restricted enrollment; contact the department for permission to register for this class. May be repeated for credit.

Publications


Publications

Books

Forthcoming. Discounted Life: The Price of Global Surrogacy in India. New York University Press.

 Ethnic Routes to Becoming American: Indian Immigrants and the Cultures of Citizenship. Rutgers University Press. 2004

 

Articles

2016    “What to Expect When You’re Expecting: Consuming Parenthood Through Surrogacy in India,” special issue titled "Intimate Industries: Restructuring (Im)Material Labor in Asia," positions: asia critique 24 (1). Edited by Rhacel Parrenas, Rachel Silvey, and Hung Cam Thai. 

2014    “From Sweatshops to Intimate Labor: Employment Strategies Among Surrogate Mothers in Bangalore, India,” (translated to French) for a special issue on reproductive technologies in Les Cahiers du Genre. Biotechonologies et Travail reproducif. Une Perspective Transnationale. Vol. 56, 2014: 59-86). Edited by Ilana Lowy, Virginie Rozee, and Lawrence Tain.

2012    “Working India’s Reproductive Assembly Line: Surrogacy and Reproductive Rights?” Western Humanities Review. Vol. 66 (3): 77-101.

2012    “India’s Reproductive Assembly Line.” Contexts. Spring 2012; Vol. 11 (2): 22-27.

* Revised version translated into Kannada and re-printed in Prajavani, the largest circulating weekly in the southern Indian state of Karnataka. 2013.

* Translated to German and reprinted in Utne Reader, Fall 2014.

* Reprinted in Reproduction and Society: Interdisciplinary Readings. Edited by Carole Joffe and Jennifer Reich. Routledge: New York, 2015.

2010    “Outsourcing Labor: Transnational Surrogacy in India.” Research in the Sociology of Work, Volume title, “Gender and Sexuality in the Workplace.” Edited by Christine Williams and Kirsten Dellinger. Vol 20. 

* Reprinted in Outsourcing Life: Globalization and Transnational Surrogacy in India, co-edited by Shamita Das Dasgupta and Sayantani DasGupta, Lexington Books. 2014.