Seeing Rape

Course Description:

In this course we will examine rape as both an idea and an act. Specifically, we will consider rape and sexual violence as it is represented in law, media, film, theater, literature, performance art, and pop music. Western conceptualizations of knowledge and methods knowing as manifest in seeing and showing will guide our investigations as students will be challenged to confront, question, critique, and contest how cultures define rape. By examining how rape itself and its meanings are mobilized to create nation states, to subjugate women, men and children, to uphold and tear down “the patriarchy” and racism, we will see how rape is interpreted, understood, used and manipulated in the service of those who have or want to have power over those who do not. We will consider law in the U.S. and abroad as well as various societal (i.e., non-legal) responses to rape. Ultimately, students will employ their critical and creative skills to write and stage original plays on this theme at the end of the semester.

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