Speculative or "science" fiction has often been the domain of male-oriented, rocket-propelled, fantasy writers who have often relegated women into secondary roles of submission or exploitation. However, feminist writers of speculative fiction have created alternative worlds and explored radical feminist theory in order to challenge concepts of gender, genetics, and the intractability of patriarchal societies. In this class we will explore these worlds of resistance which confront our current conceptions of gender as we boldly go where no man has gone before. Some of our course readings include: Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Donna Harraway, Marge Piercy, and Joanna Russ. Dist: LIT.
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. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI.
This course will examine pre-twentieth century texts and historical events that set important precedents for the development of contemporary feminist theories and practices. We will survey some of the writings that consolidate legitimated patriarchal/misogynist ideologies in Western worlds (e.g. Plato, Aristotle, the fathers of the Church, the philosophers of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, Rousseau). We will analyze different ways in which women historically have articulated strategies of contestation and/or resistance to systems of power based on gender differentiation. Readings may include works by French medieval thinker Christine de Pizan; sixteenth-century Spanish cross-dresser Catalina de Erauso; seventeenth-century Mexican intellectual and nun Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz; Mary Wollstonecraft; Maria Stewart, the first African-American political woman writer; the nineteenth-century American suffragists; and anarchist leader Emma Goldman.
Open to all students. Dist: SOC. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI..
This course will trace the involvement of U.S. women in radical political movements from the mid-nineteenth century to the present including: Abolitionism; Anti-lynching; Socialist Trade Unionism; the Ku Klux Klan; the Communist Party; the National Welfare Rights Organization; the Civil Rights Movement; the New Left; the New Right; the direct-action wing of the anti-abortion movement; Earth First; and the neo-nazi American Front. It will also examine the relationship between feminist ideologies and non-gender-specific radical political ideologies centered on race, class, and other social identifiers.
Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Class of 2007 and earlier: Dist: PHR; WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.
This course examines aspects of economic development on the lives of men and women in “development zones”, through a geo-historical and feminist approach gender and development to critically analyze its “promises” and “opportunities”. Readings, class discussions, and critical inquires into the spaces and scales of gender and economic development will include issues of: mobility, migration, intra and inter-state conflicts, post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation. This will be juxtaposed with feminist responses, resistance and transnational activism.
Open to all students. Dist: SOC. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI.
This course will examine different aspects of the female experience in Africa. Beginning with a consideration of roles of women in precolonial African societies, with particular reference to descent, marriage and the family, ritual and religion, productive and reproductive systems, and political organization, the focus will then move through the colonial and contemporary periods to assess changes in female roles. Contrasting experiences for contemporary African women will be emphasized through exploration of their participation in national liberation and politics, of urban and rural lifestyles, Muslim, Christian, and animist religious traditions, educational background, and status differences arising out of social class. The focus for the course includes an analysis of formal political, social, and economic institutions, yet it assumes that African society has also been shaped by the ‘muted’ perceptions and models of society held by women themselves, and by social processes to which both females and males have contributed.
Open to all students. Dist: INT; WCult: NW.
In this course we will explore the emergence of Black feminism(s)/ womanism(s) in twentieth- and twenty-first-century U.S. popular culture. We will specifically address how the work of African-American women artists-scholars critiques sexism, racism, classicism, ethnocentrism and heterosexism within the U.S. context. In order to examine Black feminism(s) and womanism(s) in popular culture from myriad perspectives, the required readings for this course reflect a variety of disciplinary backgrounds, as well as a range of genres.
Open to all students. Dist: SOC. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI.
Throughout history, war has been constructed into a powerfully gendered binary. From The Iliad onward, battle is posed as a sacred domain for initiating young men into the masculine gender and the male bond, and the feminine as that which both instigates male-male conflict and that which wars are fought to protect. With a special concentration on U.S. culture of the past century, this course will examine the way our modern myths and narratives instantiate this cultural polarity through film, fiction, non fiction and various media material. Dist: LIT; Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W
This course will use both elite and popular Hindu religious texts in conjunction with contemporary sociological and anthropological accounts, scholarly analyses, visual art, and film to explore the diverse identities and roles of India’s many goddesses, both ancient and modern. Special emphasis will also be given to the relationship between goddesses and women.
Open to all students. Dist: PHR; WCult: NW. Class of 2008 and later: Dist: TMV; WCult: NW.
In this course we will focus on the writings of US Latina/o writers. We will analyze how writers (Anzaldua, Alvarez, Cisneros, Castillo and others) negotiate a path between the two cultures (the US and Latin America) and the two languages that inform their literary production and shape their identity. This in-between status translates into an experimentation with genres and a questioning of traditional gender divisions as well as the construction of transcultural icons and objects.
Open to all students. Dist: LIT or INT. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: W.
This class examines the ways American commercial television has historically “assumed” gendered positionings of its audience, as well as operates as one of the strongest cultural touchstones of gendered identity in patriarchal, consumer society. After tracing television’s place in the construction of gendered ideals through the history of the situation comedy, we examine “gender-specific” genres, such as sports, westerns, cop shows, and soap operas. Representative programs will be screened, and feminist essays on television history/theory are among assigned readings.
Open to all students. Dist: ART. Class of 2007 and earlier: WCult: NA. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI.
Women have played a small role in western science, and their gradual inclusion influences what we know and how we know it. We explore what science is, and how “what we know” has been affected by societal ideas, past and present. Evaluating scientific critiques ranging from Kuhn to feminists such as Fox Keller and Haraway, we ask: how many women are in science, what are the obstacles, and has feminist critique changed science?
Open to all students. Dist. SOC. Class of 2008 and later: WCult: CI.
Professor Cramer and Staff
Last Updated: 12/10/08