Summer 2024 - GSWS 411 D100

Special Topics in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies (4)

Feminist Worldbuilding

Class Number: 3155

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units in GSWS.



A specific theme within the field of gender, sexuality, and women's studies, not otherwise covered in depth in regularly scheduled courses, will be dealt with as occasion and demand warrant.


Feminist theory develops lively images for thinking with: from cyborgs and genetically-modified mice to transatlantic slave ships and Indigenous interstellar travelers. Like video game characters, these figures draw attention to features of the worlds they inhabit while sparking new forms of feeling and action. With readings across the fields of feminist technoscience and affect studies, this course introduces students to playful methods for worldbuilding in writing and other compositional practices—including board and video game design.

The first third of the course sketches out the field of feminist technoscience, introduces key concepts, and explores methods for making figures to think with across feminist theory and Black studies. Students will learn how these “figurations” blur theory and practice, disrupt boundaries between human, animal, and machine, and help us to dream up alternative futures.

The middle weeks are dedicated to feminist theories of play and to critical game studies. We will learn how play offers possibilities for rethinking sex and gender, reimagining relationships across species, and approaching technology with increased care.

The final third of the course explores methods of “worlding” in affect studies and will include in-class creative writing exercises. We will make connections between theory, play, and sci-fi and fantasy. Alongside a final theory paper, students will have the opportunity to design a feminist worldbuilding video or board game.


For more detailed information please see the GSWS website:


  • Participation 20%
  • In-Class Activities 10%
  • Weekly Canvas Posts 20%
  • Writing Exercises 10%
  • Worldbuilding Game 20%
  • Final Theory Paper 20%


Feminist Worldbuilding: Figuration, Affect, Play  



All course readings will be available on Canvas or digitally through the SFU Library system.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.