Shahnaz Rouse

BA, Kinnaird College, Pakistan. MA, Punjab University, Pakistan. MS, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Special student, American University of Beirut, Lebanon. Academic specialization in historical sociology, with emphasis on the mass media, gender, and political economy. Author of Shifting Body Politics: Gender/Nation/State, 2004; co-editor, Situating Globalization: Views from Egypt, 2000; contributor to books and journals on South Asia and the Middle East. Visiting faculty, University of Hawaii at Manoa and American University in Cairo. Member, editorial advisory board, Contributions to Indian Sociology; past member, editorial committee, Middle East Research and Information Project. Past consultant to the Middle East and North Africa Program of the Social Science Research Council, as well as to the Population Council West Asia and North Africa Office (Cairo). Recipient of grants from Fulbright-Hays Foundation, Social Science Research Council, American Institute of Pakistan Studies, and Council on American Overseas Research Centers. SLC, 1987–

Course Information

Current undergraduate courses

First-Year Studies in Sociology: (Re)constructing the Social: Subject, Field, Text

How does the setting up of a textile factory in Malaysia connect with life in the United States? What was the relationship of mothers to children in upper-class, 17th-century French households? How do our contemporary notions of leisure and luxury resemble, or do they, notions of peoples in other times and places regarding wealth and poverty? What is the relation between the local and the global, the individual and society, the self and “other(s)”? How is the self constructed? How do we connect biography and history, fiction and fact, objectivity and subjectivity, the social and the personal? These are some of the questions sociology and sociologists attempt to think through. In this seminar, we will ask how sociologists analyze and simultaneously create reality, what questions we ask, and what ways we use to explore our questions and arrive at our findings and conclusions. Through a perusal of comparative and historical materials, we will look critically at things that we take for granted; for example, the family, poverty, identity, travel and tourism, progress, science, and subjectivity. The objective of the seminar is to enable students to critically read sociological texts and also to become practitioners in “doing” sociology (something we are always and already involved in, albeit often unself-consciously). This last endeavor is designed to train students in how to undertake research and intended as a key tool in interrogating the relationship between the researcher and the researched, the field studied, and the (sociological) text.

Faculty

Gender and Nationalism(s)

Year

Nationalism can be understood as a project simultaneously involving construction(s) of memory, history, and identity. In this seminar, we will identify the multiple and shifting dimensions of nationalism as a historical world phenomenon. Central to our focus will be the centrality and particular constructions of gender in different national projects. Attention will be paid to nationalism in its colonial and contemporary trajectories. Questions to be addressed include the following: What is the relationship between nationalism and identity? Which symbols/languages are called upon to produce a sense of self and collective identity? What are the various inclusions, exclusions, and silences that particular historically-constituted nationalisms involve? Is nationalism necessarily a positive force? If not, under what circumstances, in what ways, and for whom does it pose problems? What is the relationship of nationalism(s) to minorities and socially/politically marginalized groups? How is pluralism and difference constructed and treated? How do the same positions (e.g., issues of cultural authenticity and identity) take on a different meaning at diverse historical moments? How does the insider/outsider relationship alter in different periods and conceptualizations? Women have been interpellated and have participated within nationalist movements in a variety of ways. The dynamics and contradictions of such involvement will be analyzed closely. We will strive to explore the implications of these processes for women’s sense of self, citizenship, and belonging at specific periods and over time. In the spring semester, we will turn our attention more specifically to performances of nationalism through institutional and popular cultural arrangements. Under the former category, we will look at issues of migration, immigration, and exile; public policy and international relations; war and conflict. In the arena of popular culture, we will examine the production of nationalism(s) through the mass media, sports, film, museums and exhibitions, and tourism. Conference work can include an examination of a specific nationalist movement, theoretical issues pertaining to nationalism(s), memory, identity, performances of nationalism(s) in popular culture and the mass media, and the interplay between institutional and everyday constructions of nationalism in specific settings.

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Related Cross-Discipline Paths

The (In)Security State: A Long History?

Year

In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on the security state, heightened surveillance, the expansion of executive and coercive power, and the diminishment of individual freedoms and curtailment of human rights. In many instances, acts of violence by nonstate actors are provided as rationale and justification for these changes, and 9/11 is represented as the pivotal moment when “everything changed.” In this course, we will interrogate this claim. We will trace constructions of fear and the felt need for “security” and surveillance historically and examine the distinction between past concerns and practices and those in the present day. We will ask: How do race, class, and nationalism factor into past and present security concerns and attendant practices of surveillance? What institutional forms and practices have helped produce the security regime in particular periods and at the present moment? What is the relation between the public and private sector in producing or challenging and normalizing the (in)security state? How do domestic security concerns and fears link up with international security? What is the relationship between the security state and militarization, both within the United States and overseas? In this regard, how do militarization (abroad) and policing (at home) meet up? How do militarization and neo-liberalization intersect locally, nationally, and internationally? How is a culture of fear, security, and surveillance normalized? What are the implications of greater policing and militarization for the state-civil society nexus and for a politics of dissent? This course will enable students to think through and become astute analysts of statist practices and their imbrication with nonstate actors in the private domain, both as partners and as an alibi for greater policing. Bringing together local and global concerns, we will gain a deeper understanding of how the activities happening in the United States meet up with developments internationally.

Faculty
Related Cross-Discipline Paths

Current graduate courses

Gender and Nationalisms

Nationalism can be understood as a project simultaneously involving construction(s) of memory, history, and identity. In this seminar, we will identify the multiple and shifting dimensions of nationalism as a world historical phenomenon. Central to our focus will be the centrality and particular constructions of gender in different national projects. Attention will be paid to nationalism in its colonial and contemporary trajectories. Questions to be addressed include the following: What is the relationship between nationalism and identity? Which symbols/languages are called upon to produce a sense of self and collective identity? What are the various inclusions, exclusions, and silences that particular historically constituted nationalisms involve? Is nationalism necessarily a positive force? If not, under what circumstances, in what ways, for whom does it pose problems? What is the relationship of nationalism(s) to minorities and socially/politically marginalized groups? How is pluralism and difference constructed and treated? How do the same positions e.g. issues of cultural authenticity and identity, take on a different meaning at diverse historical moments? How does the insider/outsider relationship alter in different periods and conceptualizations? Women have been interpellated and have participated within nationalist movements in a variety of ways. The dynamics and contradictions of such involvement will be analyzed closely. We will strive to explore the implications of these processes for women's sense of self, citizenship and belonging at specific periods and over time. In the spring semester, we will turn our attention more specifically to performances of nationalism through institutional and popular cultural arrangements. Under the former category, we will look at issues of migration, immigration and exile; public policy and international relations; war and conflict. In the arena of popular culture, we will examine the production of nationalism(s) through the mass media, sports, film, museums and exhibitions, and tourism. Conference work can include an examination of a specific nationalist movement, theoretical issues pertaining to nationalism(s), memory, identity, performances of nationalism(s) in popular culture and the mass media, and the interplay between institutional and everyday constructions of nationalism in specific settings.

Faculty

Previous courses

Changing Places: Social/Spatial Dimensions of Urbanization

Fall

The concept of space will provide the thematic underpinning and serve as the point of departure for this course. Space can be viewed in relation to the (human) body, social relations and social structures, and the physical environment. In this seminar, we will examine the material (social, political, and economic) and metaphorical (symbolic and representational) dimensions of spatial configurations in urban settings. In our analysis, we will address the historical and shifting connotations of urban space and urban life. Moving beyond the historical aspects of urbanization and its transformations, we will turn our attention to the (re)theorization of the very notion of spatial relations itself. Here, emphasis will be placed on representational practices and processes, whereby social “space” is created, gendered, revisioned. “Space” will no longer be seen simply as physical space but also in terms of the construction of meanings that affect our use of and relation to both physical and social settings. While economic factors will continue to be implicated and invoked in our analysis, we will move beyond the economic to extra-economic categories and constructs, such as notions of power, culture, and sexuality. The focus will also shift, as the semester proceeds, from macro-analyses to include an examination of everyday life. Through our exploration of these issues, we will attempt to gauge the practices and processes whereby social space is gendered, privatized, and sexualized and distinctions are established between “inside” and “outside” domains and between public and private realms. Particular attention will be paid to attempts by scholars and activists to open up space both theoretically and concretely. Although the theoretical/conceptual questions examined lend themselves to an analysis of any city, our focus in the course will be largely, although not exclusively, on New York City. Students should feel free, however, to extend the analysis to other places that are of interest to them. This applies particularly to conference work.

Faculty

Gender and Nationalisms - Graduate

Year

Nationalism can be understood as a project simultaneously involving construction(s) of memory, history, and identity. In this seminar, we will identify the multiple and shifting dimensions of nationalism as a world historical phenomenon. Central to our focus will be the centrality and particular constructions of gender in different national projects. Attention will be paid to nationalism in its colonial and contemporary trajectories. Questions to be addressed include: What is the relationship between nationalism and identity? Which symbols/languages are called upon to produce a sense of self and collective identity? What are the various inclusions, exclusions, and silences that particular historically constituted nationalisms involve? Is nationalism necessarily a positive force? If not, under what circumstances, in what ways, and for whom does it pose problems? What is the relationship of nationalism(s) to minorities and socially/politically marginalized groups? How is pluralism and difference constructed and treated? How do the same positions (e.g., issues of cultural authenticity and identity) take on a different meaning at diverse historical moments? How does the insider/outsider relationship alter in different periods and conceptualizations? Women have been interpellated and have participated within nationalist movements in a variety of ways. The dynamics and contradictions of such involvement will be analyzed closely. We will strive to explore the implications of these processes for women’s sense of self, citizenship, and belonging at specific periods and over time. In the spring semester, we will turn our attention more specifically to performances of nationalism through institutional and popular cultural arrangements. Under the former category, we will look at issues of migration, immigration, and exile; public policy and international relations; war and conflict. In the arena of popular culture, we will examine the production of nationalism(s) through the mass media, sports, film, museums and exhibitions, and tourism. Conference work may include an examination of a specific nationalist movement, theoretical issues pertaining to nationalism(s), memory, identity, performances of nationalism(s) in popular culture and the mass media, and the interplay between institutional and everyday constructions of nationalism in specific settings. 

Faculty

Lineages of Utopia

Fall

Utopias have existed for centuries in human history. Guided by a critique of the world as constituted, they have been vehicles for both imagining and constructing a different sociospatial order. In this seminar, we will examine the materialization of utopias in physical space and the logic(s) that informed them. Rather than dealing simply with the abstract ideas behind utopian thinking, we will examine a diversity of sociospatial formations, both as a critique of the present state of existence and as a practice rooted in a radically divergent notion of the future. It is the contention of this course that utopias, rather than being solely imaginary, are deeply historical and informed by existing social conditions. With the objective of analyzing utopias as materialized practices, we will look at  different kinds of utopian communities, ranging from millenarian movements to socialist, anarchist and countercultural experiments, as well as the Occupy Wall Street movement. We will also examine architectural and aesthetic utopias that, like their more explicitly movement-based counterparts, attempt to visualize and rethink space—which remains an essential utopian preoccupation. Our foray into these various utopian designs will get us to think about the impulses undergirding these practices instead of an approach that dwells primarily on their sustainability over time. We will attempt to understand the traces that these various experiments have bequeathed us regarding activism, social transformation, and the potential for a more just world. Participants in this seminar will be encouraged to address our living relationship with utopia by asking how we might individually and collectively work to create, experience, or perform utopia without ascribing a totalizing vision to it. Student projects might take the form of a close examination of specific utopian practices, be based on creative projects, and/or examine fictional utopias frequently encountered in science fiction novels and film. While the course will not specifically address the vexed relationship between utopia and dystopia, an examination of the latter remains yet another possible line of inquiry for conference work. 

Faculty

Marx and Marxisms: Lineages and Contemporary Relevance

Year

Ideas of social movements and social change throughout the world in the 19th and 20th centuries were significantly informed by the ideas of one social thinker: Karl Marx. Even today, thinkers in the humanities and social sciences (including media and cultural studies), as well as social and political activists, continue to be engaged with Marx’s ghost. While many detractors would argue—following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War—that Marx’s thought is now irrelevant, others argue the opposite: that the current phase of globalization that we are presently in was, in fact, anticipated by Marx. In this seminar, through a close and in-depth study of Marx’s writings and those of others about him, we will examine the impact of Marx’s ideas on thinking about and practices of social change. The themes in Marx’s writings upon which we will focus include the following: his views on human nature, social structures and individual agency and subjectivity, alienation, religion and ideology, objectification and commodification, social class and power relations, and political economy, including globalization. Following our close scrutiny of Marx’s work in the fall, in the second semester we will study later thinkers whose work has been inspired by Marx and who carried his ideas further and/or addressed new questions in the light of developments since the historical period in which Marx was writing. Among the latter, we will include thinkers such as Gramsci, Barthes, and Williams who addressed questions of culture and hegemony; structuralists like Althusser who dealt with the state and ideology; socialist feminists interested in the relationship of class, gender, and sexuality; more recent thinkers interested in the relationship of space, class, and power, such as David Harvey and Dorren Massey; and current analysts of globalization. For conference, students may work on specific social thinkers in the Marxist tradition and/or examine political and social movements inspired by his analysis.

Faculty

The Political Economy of Pakistan

Spring

Pakistan is a country that, since the 1970s, has consistently been in the headlines. At that time, it gained notoriety as a conduit for drugs. Today, it is better known for its involvement in the “War on Terrorism.” The year 2014 is key in this regard, as the United States plans to pull out the bulk of its troops from Afghanistan during this year. What does this barrage of coverage actually tell us about the place, its people, and their ongoing struggles? In this course, we will examine Pakistan beyond the headlines and media coverage. Starting with its history of creation, we will look at questions of globalization (both economic and military), nationalism, class formation, and the relationship between the state and Pakistan’s various “publics,” including religious, gender, and ethnic minorities. Most particularly, our emphasis will be on the attempt to grasp the existence and potential for what some have called “Another Pakistan” through struggles for social justice and human rights and critical representational strategies. For our readings, we will draw upon a variety of materials from the humanities and social sciences, as well as films, blogs, and creative works. While the focus of this course is on a specific place—Pakistan—many of the questions raised are relevant to other contexts; e.g., the relationship between authoritarianism and the national security state, globalization and militarization, center-periphery relations both internally and externally, state and civil society relations, grassroots movements, and struggles for a more egalitarian society. Student projects may be specific to Pakistan, more theoretical than area-focused, and/or tackle some of the themes of this course in context(s) other than that of Pakistan.

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