Critical Inquiry Labs

Critical Inquiry Labs are interdisciplinary courses at Barnard College designed to foster in-depth critical studies of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, nation, and citizenship, making connections across real and imagined boundaries of theory and practice, historical eras, and geographic borders. These labs are a project of the Consortium for Critical Interdisciplinary Studies (CCIS) at Barnard College, which includes Africana Studies, American Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies. CCIS was founded in 2010 to create a vibrant intellectual community across program and department boundaries, and offers students and faculty the intellectual space to develop transformative frameworks for teaching and research in both local and global contexts. Many CCIS programs including the Critical Inquiry Labs seek to catalyze intellectual, institutional, and social change at Barnard and beyond. The Critical Inquiry Labs are one of CCIS’s most successful interventions in innovative, interdisciplinary pedagogy and scholarship.

Each course page shares information on courses, syllabi, links to readings, videos, and other course materials produced by faculty and students. We encourage free use and distribution of these resources.


Nov 13, 2017

Theorizing Activisms

This course explores contemporary forms of activism that situate the politics of gender and sexuality in terms of broader economic and political currents addressed by social justice feminism. Readings, conversations, and student projects trace the connections between the reallocation of various forms of capital, state agendas of incarceration and social reform, the politics of immigration, labor, and housing, new forms of gender inequality, and emergent forms of sexual violence and regulation.

Read More
Mar 26, 2018

Theorizing Diasporic Visuality

This course trains students in essential skills in visual literacy and reading, and provide fluency in the theoretical vocabularies of Diaspora Studies and feminist film theory and analysis.

Read More
Jan 26, 2017

“Blackness” in French: From Harlem to Paris and Beyond

Using an internationalist approach and covering the 20th and 21st centuries, this course explores questions about "blackness," gender, national boundaries and international connections, among other themes, through a close consideration of the literature, arts, culture, history and politics emanating from or grappling with Black France.

Read More
Sep 25, 2013


This course interrogates what it means to be a scholar of the Caribbean in the face of the region’s fundamental multilingualism and, consequently, to what extent Caribbean studies are reliant on practices of literal and metaphorical translation. We approach this question studying the complex historical and often tense relations between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, two nations that share the island of Hispaniola.

Read More
Sep 26, 2013

African Women’s Rights and Resilience

Course Description Course Materials Student Reflections Videos Related Events Collective Bibliography Co-Sponsors Course Description African Women’s Rights and Resilience Tina Campt and Leymah Gbowee, Instructors As detailed in the syllabus included on this site, Part One of the course, ‘Theorizing Black and Brown Bodies’ focused on feminist theories of the body, with particular emphasis theorizing race, gender and sexuality as they […]

Read More
Jan 26, 2013

Gender, Empire, and Nationalism

This lab links two courses examining gender and sexuality as an important lens through which to understand questions of empire, colonialism, and anti-colonial nationalism with a focus on the both history of the British Empire and contemporary practices of U.S. empire.

Read More