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Summer 06

Please note: Starting in Summer 2006, the Women's and Gender Studies Program has renumbered its courses. While a few course numbers remain the same, many have changed.

WGST 10/Sex, Gender and Society

This course will investigate the roles of women and men in society from an interdisciplinary point of view. We will analyze both the theoretical and practical aspects of gender attribution — how it shapes social roles within diverse cultures, and defines women’s and men’s personal sense of identity. We will discuss the following questions: What are the actual differences between the sexes in the areas of biology, psychology, and moral development? What is the effect of gender on participation in the work force and politics, on language, and on artistic expression? We will also explore the changing patterns of relationships between the sexes and possibilities for the future. Open to all students. Dist: SOC. 

Professor Merino

WGST 19.2 Sexuality, Identity, and the Law

This course will examine sexual orientation, gender identity, and the law in the United States.  Topics to be discussed will include: The roles of sex, gender, and sexual orientation in the law and the law’s role in shaping these categories; the rights to privacy, equal protection, free speech, and association; workplace discrimination; family law and same-sex marriage Open to all students. Dist. SOC. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI.   

Professors Susan Brison and Beth Robinson  

WGST 23.1/HIST 27 Gender and Power in American History, 1607-1920

This course examines the history of men and women from the period of colonial settlement to the achievement of woman's suffrage. We will explore the construction of gender particularly as it relates to social, political, economic, and cultural power. Topics will include: the role of gender in political thought and practice, the intersection of gender with categories of class and race; gender in the debate over slavery and the Civil War; and the rise and evolution of the woman's rights movement. Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W.

Professor Butler

WGST 44.2/JWST 56/REL 19 Women in Islam and Judaism

This course will focus on how concepts of woman and gender have shaped meanings of religious and national lives and communities within Judaism and Islam in a variety of regions of the world and historical periods. It will survey variations in gender with attention to historical and cultural specificities.

We will read a variety of sources—anthropological/sociological/historical/theological statements by scholars, religious texts and commentaries, literary and political writings, books of advice, and films.  We will consider the different ways in which contemporary thinkers and activists ground themselves differently in this historical heritage to constitute contesting subject positions regarding gender and the politics of religious and national identity formation today.  We will explore the ways in which Muslim and Jewish women seek to exercise different forms of agency both in opposition to socio-religious prescriptions as well as from within and in dynamic interaction with normative religious, cultural, and political boundaries which themselves are constantly in flux.  Open to all students. Dist.

Professors Susannah Heschel and Maimuna Huq

WGST 51.2 Monsters and Women in Fiction and Film: From Frankenstein to the Attack of the Fifty-Foot Woman

We often think of monsters as the enemies by definition of all we know as “human.” Creatures such as the harpy, the blob, the witch, and the android threaten to destroy our sense of power and to usurp our human consciousness or intelligence. In this way, monster myths actually work to form a culture's “self-definition” against some “thing” else. The course takes a feminist approach to these problems and explores how cultures juxtapose not only the human and lesser beings but also the male and the female and their respective powers and abilities to act (their “agency”). Topics include representations of the “abnormal” bodies, the monstrosity of the female reproductive body, fear of female desire, and the association of the female and the “unknown.”  Open to all students. Dist: LIT. Jewell.     

Professor Jewell

WGST 53.5 Odi et Amo: Men, Women, and the Love Lyric in English    

What we call “love poetry” has generally been a way of expressing much more than the emotional and erotic fascination of one person with another. Often it seems to bypass the love-object altogether, and has on different occasions been: a careerist display for beginning poets, an allegory of the poet’s fusion with the spirit of poetry, a congratulation upon one’s own taste and discernment, a place to consolidate political power, a way of bonding with other men, a feminist response to existing power relations. Beginning with several Renaissance and contemporary sonnet sequences, and moving on to a variety of other forms, our course will place poems by men and women in the context of an ongoing poetic tradition and of recent feminist criticism and theory.  

Professor Zeiger  



Last Updated: 12/10/08