Our lives may not interact with these categories every day, but recent scholarship shows that we are subtly (and not so subtly) formed by our collective notions of gender, race and species. What does it mean to create such categories? Are they as stable as they might seem? In this course we will be reading short stories, scholarly essays, music videos, and other forms of media to explore notions of passing, crossing, and undoing binaries (such as man/woman, white/nonwhite) in a variety of cultural contexts. The artists we’ll look at have varied understandings of how gender, race, and species fit into our conception of who we are as humans and we’ll be looking to map these views in a number of ways. We will pay close attention to the relationship between one’s social and cultural status and the impact of class, noting the ways in which these topics intersect with each other. What does it mean to talk about racial identity alongside animals? What do animals have to do with gender? How does it change our understanding of “normal” to take such questions into account? Over the course of the semester, we will explore unexpected, strange, and wonderful connections. Course material may include works by Franz Kafka, Nella Larsen, Zackary Drucker, Antony and the Johnsons, and Joy Williams.