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Electives from Outside Departments

NOTE: Please note that there is room for all GSFR students to take the GSFR Electives: 703, 705 & 706. Email Mariana Costa at mcosta@mcmaster.ca to request a seat.

Electives in outside departments are granted on availability after their students have registered. Should there be availability, please follow the instructions for each department as they differ.

Approved Electives from Outside Departments

Courses below are the approved list by the GSFR Director. If you see a course that is not on this list you would like to take, please inquire with Dr. Susan Fast at fastfs@mcmaster.ca

The link to each department is below, it is the responsibility of the students to check the individual department sites on a regular basis to view/request course syllabus and to check scheduling changes.

English and Cultural Studies


Instructions: Mariana Costa can request a seat on your behalf, please make requests through email. Seats are given based on availability.

ENG/CSCT 750*: Gothic, Sensation and Victorian Discourses of the Body: This three-unit course will explore the diversity in sensational and gothic treatments of bodies, bodies both literal and metaphoric, individual and collective, normative and “diseased.”  In particular,  Gothic  and  Sensation  writing  compulsively  explores  (figures  of)  physicality  as  a means to interrogate the legitimate or desired composition of family and nation.

ENG/CSCT 762*: Queer Historicisms and British Cultural Memory: A critical examination of British queer film and fiction since the 1980s. Diverse approaches to representing the historical will be explored in light of queer theory and diaspora/postcolonial theory.

CSCT 790* : MJ Postmortem: New Critical Reflections: This course considers Michael Jackson’s complex performances of race, gender/sexuality, embodiment and kinship as a vehicle through which to consider the idea of posthumanist assemblage. The over-arching thematic in Jackson’s art and life was his “transgression” of normative boundaries–of race, gender, generation, body morphology, divisions among species, artistic genres and technologies. Jackson moved so fluidly among performance traditions and subjectivities that he might productively be (re)thought through the lens of critical posthumanism and its connections to feminist, queer and critical race studies.

ENG/CSCT 724*: Reproduction, Citizenship, and the Nation/State: Through readings of anglophone cultural and theoretical texts from a variety of contexts, this course offers a critical study of reproduction and its place in discourses of citizenship and national identity.

ENG 760*: White Civility: The Literary Project of English Canada: This course studies early Canadian literary and social texts in order to understand how dominant categories such as whiteness and Britishness were created and naturalized as normative in Canadian culture.

ENG/CSCT 789*: Studies in Asian North American Literature, Culture,and Identity: This course examines selected topics (e.g. national versus transnational/diasporic subjectivities, gender formation) in Asian American and/or Asian Canadian literature and culture, with a focus on issues of identity. The specific topics will vary from year to year.



Instructions: Mariana Costa can request a seat on your behalf, please make requests through email. Seats are given based on availability.

752 United States Women’s and Gender History



Instructions: Mariana Costa can request a seat on your behalf, please make requests through email. Seats are given based on availability.

759 Selected Topics in Applied Ethics – Instructor: Dr. E. Gedge – Term 2 – 10:30 – 1:30 pm

Social Work

Department policy is that students shall wait until the first week of the term to ask the Instructor permission, by then the instructors will get a clearer picture of the enrolment.

Term 1:

701 Social Policy: Critical Frameworks

Thurs 9:30-12:30

Instructor: Stephanie Baker Collins

Email: sbcollins@mcmaster.ca

Term 2:

721 Community, Citizenship & Social Justice

Thurs 1:30-4:30

Instructor: Bill Lee

Email: laoi@sympatico.ca

722 Special Topic:  Anti-Op. Decolonization & Alliances with Indigenous

Fri 9:30-12:30

Instructor: Bonnie Freeman

Email: freemanb@mcmaster.ca

726 Changing Social Service Organizations: Tensions in Practice

Wed 1:30-4:30

Instructor: Jane Aronson

Email: aronsonj@mcmaster.ca

Religious Studies

Students must email the instructor individually for permission via email.

RS *789 Topics in Gender and Feminist Theory and Religious Studies Instructor: Celia Rothenberg



Instructions for request a seat:

  • Enrollment is limited with priority given to students in the Department of Sociology
  • Permission of the Instructor is required for all non-Sociology graduate students.  Non-Sociology students should attend the first day of class (permissions are not granted prior to this date; exception *740 which requires a diagnostic examination).  If academic background and space permits, a waiver will be granted by the instructor.

713 Social Inequality

Instructor:       Tina Fetner
Day & Time:   Tuesday 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Term:   I September 10 – November 26
Location:         KTH-712

The study of inequality has been at the core of sociology since its inception—in fact, we trace this scholarship back before sociology was a discipline. Stratification, which indicates that society is divided into unequal groups, has received much attention, as has the concept, social inequality, which suggests that there is more than one axis upon which society is divided. Sociologists are concerned not only with describing these social divisions, but with explaining the mechanisms through which inequalities are produced, maintained and reproduced. Scholars in this field use a diverse range of methodologies and theories.

Although this topic is far too broad to cover comprehensively in one semester, this course will provide its participants with an overview of the theoretical and empirical developments in this body of scholarly work. We will focus first on theories that seek to explain inequality and debates about how to conceptualize and measure inequality. We will then turn to a handful of social processes and institutions that have been shown to produce inequality. As most of the work in this field has limited its focus to inequality within a society or nation-state, the bulk of the course presents material from this point of view. However, we end the course with a discussion of global inequality, which has brought a new set of questions to this discussion.

758 Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

Instructor:       Jeff Denis
Day & Time:   Friday 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Term:   II  January 10 – April 4

This course will investigate some of the central theoretical and methodological debates in the sociology of race and ethnic relations. First, we will examine how racial, ethnic, and national identities are constructed and enacted, from both micro-interactional and historical-comparative perspectives. Then, we will consider various approaches to conceptualizing, measuring and understanding racism, including the classical prejudice paradigm, group position theory, implicit prejudice, political economy, intersectionality, critical race theory, and (post?)colonial studies. Finally, we will assess the theory and practice of antiracism and decolonization, with an emphasis on issues of relevance to contemporary Canadian public discourse, including the future of multiculturalism and Indigenous-settler relations.

759 Sociology of Gender

Instructor:       Melanie Heath
Day & Time:   Tuesday 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Term:   II  January 7 – April 1
Location:         KTH-712

This course provides an interdisciplinary overview of the sociology of gender at the graduate level. In the first few weeks, we will tackle the fluid, hard-to-pin-down, contested meanings of the terms sex and gender that reflect a range of theories from essentialist/biological to social constructionist to poststructuralist. After establishing our bearings in the theories and methods of gender studies, this seminar will engage with provocative and contemporary empirical research that analyzes gender as a central axis of inequality, along with class, race, ethnicity, nationality, and sexuality. We will pay particular attention to the relationship between gender, sexuality and power. In thinking about the confounding domains of gender, sex, and sexuality, we will read texts in the emergent field of transgender studies that raise broad questions about the theoretical and empirical underpinnings of gender, feminist, and sexuality studies. Thematic topics include feminist theory; feminist methods; transgressive sexual identities; masculinities; militarism; work and family relationships in the global economy; immigration; and states and social movements.