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2010 Winter

WGST 7 First-Year Seminar: "I Will Survive": Women's Political Resistance Through Song

There is a large body of work on women's political resistance to oppressions based on gender, sex, class, race, and economic disparity. Much of this work focuses on women's literature (especially novels, poetry, and plays) and political organizing. This course will examine how women, through the medium of popular music, have articulated clear political commentary and analysis that has reached large audiences, and has become foundational, to American popular culture. Beginning with artists at the advent of the popularization of African-American blues in the early 20th century, and moving through the genres of regional folk (especially Appalachian traditions), jazz, torch singing, contemporary folk, early rock, girl groups, disco, and more contemporary song the course will cover the lives, careers, and political thought of a wide range of writers and performers such as Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey, Libby Holman, Ella Mae Morse, the Boswell Sisters, Billie Holiday, Marian Anderson, Peggy Lee, Mahalia Jackson, Rosalie Sorrels, Lotte Lenya, Joan Baez, Nina Simone, Tammy Wynette, Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro, Gloria Gaynor, Ani DiFranco, and Amy Winehouse. The course will be structured around the music as well as biographical, historical, cultural, and critical readings that will place each of these women in their artistic and political contexts.

Professor Bronski
2A Hour

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 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; WCult: CI.

Professor Kacandes
10 hour

WGST 15 Roots of Feminism

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; WCult: CI.

Professor Warren
10A hour

WGST 20/ENGL 62.4 Experimental Courses in Women's and Gender Studies: Queer Poetries

This course will explore the poetics and politics of queerness in the work of modern and contemporary American poets; we will consider not only explicit dissidence, but also the politics of forms and modes ordinarily seen as "only" aesthetic. Among the readings will be work by HD, Ginsberg, O'Hara, Ashbery, Bishop, Rich, Swenson, Rukeyser, Gunn, Lorde, Broumas, Doty, Hacker, Harjo, Hemphill, Koestenbaum, Mootoo, and Chin, as well as a selection of brief theoretical texts in queer theory. Open to all students. Dist. LIT. WCult: CI.

Professor Zeiger
11 hour

WGST 33.3/JWST 53 Gender and Judaism

Examining the intersections between gender, religious practice, cultural identity, and personal belief, this class will draw upon contemporary gender theory, religious texts, and contemporary interpretations of Jewish thought and culture to examine the construction of Jewish identity through a feminist lens. Authors will include Adler, Boyarin, Heschel, Gilman, Peskowitz, Levitt, and Biale. The class will also investigate questions of race, ethnicity, assimilation, and Jewish gender issues in popular culture, including films and the work of performers Cantor, Benny, Berg, Midler, and Sandler. Open to all students. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI.

Professor Bronski
10A hour

WGST 34.2/AAAS 40 Gender Identities and Politics in Africa

This interdisciplinary course explores the constructions of gender identities in different African socio-cultural contexts. The emphasis is on contemporary Africa, although we will discuss some of the historical framework of these identities. We will read historical accounts of gender in some pre-colonial African societies, investigate the impact of colonialism, and examine gender in some anti-colonial movements. We will also analyze gender in urban and rural contexts, and address such questions as homosexuality and gay rights. WCult: CI.

Professor Coly
2A hour

WGST 34.3 The Masculine Mystique

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 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.

Professor Travis
12 hour

WGST 43.4/REL 42 Goddesses of India

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 classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: NW.

Professor Ohnuma
2 hour

WGST 46.1/PHIL 22 Feminism and Philosophy

This course examines the relationship between feminism and philosophy. The focus is on such questions as: Is the Western philosophical canon inherently sexist? How should feminist philosophers read the canon? Are Western philosophical concepts such as objectivity, reason, and impartiality inherently masculinist concepts? The course may focus on either the ways in which feminists have interpreted great figures in the history of philosophy (e.g., Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche), or on the ways in which feminists have rethought basic concepts in core areas of philosophy (e.g., epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, political philosophy, philosophy of science), or both. Open to all students. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI.

Professor Brison
10A hour

Associated Courses

ARTH 82 Ideals of Physical Beauty: Gender and Body in Ancient Art
Professor Cohen
3A hour

LACS 80 Gender and Race in Latin America
Professor Baldez
2A hour

Last Updated: 10/8/09