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Spring 2012 Course Descriptions

WGST 07 First Year Seminar: Womanhood and Democratic Citizenship

What is the proper role of women in a democracy? This course examines how the relationship between women and democratic politics has been theorized in several classic texts of philosophy, politics, and literature. Readings include Aristophanes's comedic play about Athenian women who hijack the public assembly (The Assemblywomen), Montesquieu's fictionalized travelogue of a Persian man who entrusts his seraglio to a cruel eunuch (Persian Letters), and John Stuart Mill's brilliant polemic against the subordination of women (On the Subjection of Women). Dist: TMV; WCult: W.

Professor Clarke
2 Hour

WGST 16 Contemporary Issues in Feminism

This course explores the theoretical underpinnings of some of the most highly contested issues in society today. We will look at a spectrum of positions on such issues as: questions of difference and equality; women’s health and reproductive rights; identity and identity politics; morality-pornography-violence; eco-feminism-environmentalism; children, family, and human rights; and the representation/performance of femininity/masculinity. Special emphasis will be placed on the connection between theory and practice. Open to all students. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Bahng
11 Hour

WGST 23.1/HIST 27 Gender and Power in American History: Colonial Period to the Civil War

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; WCult: W.

Professor Butler
11 Hour

WGST 30.1/GEOG 26 Women, Gender, and Development

This course will examine various aspects of gender and development. We will begin by defining development and identifying the places where economic and social development is orchestrated and experienced. This will lead to discussions and critical inquires into the spaces and scales of economic development including issues of mobility, migration, global labor, and markets. Gender, development, and conflict will also be addressed with regard to reconstruction and reconciliation in post-conflict spaces. Dist. SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Fluri
2A Hour

WGST 31.1/GOV 49.4/LACS 52 Gender Politics in Latin America

This course examines women’s movements in Latin America. Women in Latin America are perhaps the most highly mobilized population in the world. Throughout the region women have organized around myriad issues, including the right to vote, human rights, poverty, legal rights, anticommunism, the workplace, race, ethnicity and war. Women’s efforts to challenge fiercely repressive regimes, deeply entrenched norms of machismo and extreme poverty defy conventional stereotypes about women and provide us with inspiring examples of how to sustain hope during difficult times. The seminar will introduce students to recent scholarship on women’s movements in Latin America in the 20th century and seek to understand the emergence, evolution and outcomes of women’s movements in particular countries and cross-nationally. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW.

Professor Baldez
2A Hour

WGST 33.7/SOCY 62 Love, Romance, Intimacy, and Dating NEW

Why do you connect with some people and not others? What exactly is love? And how do you make smart, romantic choices for yourself? In this course, we examine the social aspects of love, romance, intimacy and dating. Using sociological theories and methods, we will invistigate how cultural beliefs and structural arrangements affect our most intimate feelings and experiences, and how you can avoid that 50% divorce rate in your own life.

Professor Lively
12 Hour

WGST 38.2/HIST 06/AAAS 88.2 Women and Gender in the African Diaspora NEW

The intersection of race, gender, sexuality, and class has been particular significant for people of African descent—for both men and women. This course uses memoir to explore the social, political, cultural, and economic aspects of men's and women's lives across the Atlantic World in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course will focus on the lives of female diasporic subjects from New Orleans to Russia, Jamaica to Harlem, even rural New Hampshire, and as they engaged social, political, and cultural institutions, from prisons to churches, beauty salons to brothels, educational institutions to protest movements. We will give attention to the ways these women made sense of their lives and experiences as well as gendered arrangements of power, hierarchy, and meaning. In focusing on both wmen and gender, we will better understand the complex ways in which all persons of African descent defined their places in relation to one another and the broader society, imagining and enacting freedom dreams for themselves and transnational communitites. Dist: SOC; WCult: W. (NEW cross-list in process as of 1/25/12)

Professor Chenault
10 Hour

WGST 41.2/GEOG 49 Gender and Geopolitics of South Asia

In this course we will examine gender and the geopolitical in South Asia. This will include exploring national and transnational conceptions of gender, which are intersected by other social categories, and how gender relations are implicated and impacted by the geopolitical in this region. We will also analyze the ways in which various forms and functions of masculinity and femininity are constructed, controlled, and contested in different situational, social, economic, and political contexts. Open to all students. Dist: SOC; WCult: NW.

Professor Fluri
10A Hour

WGST 41.3 Feminism and Islam NEW

Through fiction, film, autobiography and new media, students will be exposed to the writings of women in Muslim communities from Iraq, Iran, and Egypt to Europe and the U.S. During the 19th century, the control of women became a battlefield for a major struggle between Muslim men and European colonialists over such issues as veiling and segregation. Muslim women spoke out but their voices were marginalized at the time. Recently they have dominated the headlines and become a focus of international concern. Students will consider several key questions: How do Muslim women’s voices contest the notion in Asian and African societies that feminism is a Western ideology? What role does Islam play in women’s emancipatory discourses? Are women’s demands for justice, freedom and equality a recent trend? How have global politics shaped the articulation of Muslim women’s rights? What is at stake for Muslims and non-Muslims in highlighting Muslim women’s roles and behavior? The course will address major debates surrounding the roles of women in war, marriage, and religion. Dist: Soc; WCult: NW.

Professor Cooke
Mondays 3-6 PM

WGST 44.6/REL 19.2 Muslim Networks from Hajj to Hip-Hop: How Muslims Connect Across Time, Space, Class, and Gender NEW

Muslim networks involve men and women, public and private pursuits, including travel in search of knowledge, pilgrimage on behalf of faith, and proselytizing networks to spread the faith. While gender advocacy has been projected through 21st century websites such as http://www.wluml.org and http://www.jannah.org/sisters, women's participation in earlier networks also demands, and will receive, intense scrutiny, as will other instances of trans-regional cultural exchanges and gender-based activism. WCult: NW. (NEW cross-list in process as of 1/18/12.)

Professors Lawrence and Cooke
10A Hour

 

WGST 47.1/ENGL 62.2 Immigrant Women Writing in America

In responding to the obstacles facing America's immigrants -- problems of dislocation, split identity, family disunity and claustrophobia, culture shock, language barriers, xenophobia, economic marginality, and racial and national oppression -- women often assume special burdens and find themselves having to invent new roles. They often bring powerful bicultural perspectives to their tasks of survival and opportunity seeking, however, and are increasingly active in struggles for cultural expression and social and economic justice. We will examine the different conditions for women in a variety of immigrant groups in America, reading in several histories, anthologies of feminist criticism, interdisciplinary surveys, and relevant texts in critical theory, but ultimately focusing on the words, in autobiography and fiction, of women writers. We will read such works as Akemi Kikimura's Through Harsh Winters: The Life of a Japanese Immigrant Woman; Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior; Bharati Mukerjee's Darkness; Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street; Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy; and Kim Chernin's In My Mother's House. Dist: LIT; WCult: W.

Professor Zeiger
2 Hour

WGST 47.3/ENGL 72.6 Modern American Women Poets

This course focuses on the emerging counter-tradition, within American modernism and within the larger tradition of poetry in English, of American women poets in the twentieth century. Taking our cue from Adrienne Rich, who ambiguously entitles one book of essays On Lies, Secrets and Silences (is she for or against?), we will follow debates about what makes it possible to break previous silences--and to what degree and in what ways it is useful or satisfying to do so. Topics within this discussion will include sexuality, race, illness, literary modes, female literary succession, and relations with the literary tradition. We will read in the work of eight or nine poets and recent critical and theoretical writings, with some attention in the first weeks to important female and male precursors. The syllabus will include such writers as Edna St.Vincent Millay, HD, Gertrude Stein, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Marilyn Hacker, Louise Gluck, Rita Dove. Dist: LIT; WCult: W.

Professor Zeiger
11 Hour

WGST 52.1/AAAS 67/COLT 67 Colonial and Postcolonial Masculinities

In this course, we will develop an understanding of masculinity as a construct which varies in time and space, and is constantly (re)shaped by such factors as race, class, and sexuality. The contexts of the colonial encounter and its postcolonial aftermath will set the stage for our examination of the ways in which social, political, economic, and cultural factors foster the production of specific masculinities. Texts include Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, Lafferiere’s How to Make Love to a Negro, and additional writings by Irish, Indian, and Australian authors. Our study will be organized around the questions of the production of hegemonic and subaltern masculinities, the representation of the colonial and postcolonial male body, the militarization of masculinity, and the relation between masculinity and nationalism. Theoretical material on masculinities will frame our readings. Dist: LIT.

Professor Coly
2A Hour

WGST 54.1/COLT 29 Tears, Love, Happiness: Feminine Territories, Feminist Readings

Tears, Love, Happiness: Feminine Territories/Feminist Readings is a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary rethinking of classical Hollywood melodrama and how it becomes a cultural imaginary for writers interested in understanding the role mass culture plays in the articulation of historical memory and political resistance. With the help of cultural theorists who have carefully examined the connections between consumerism and citizenry, we will examine the "cultural body" of classical Hollywood melodrama in its many contexts and study the ways in which this "body," in both its literal and symbolic sense, becomes a feminine or "feminized" one. We will approach melodrama as both an aesthetics of cultural hegemony and as a language of resistance to those cultural powers. Poststructuralist film studies were the first to reclaim the "highness" of melodramatic texts by reinscribing melodrama's defining features as modes of ironic distance or ideological critique. While a valid avenue of interpretation, this course will explore a different position and rethink the issues of "excess" and "affect" (melodrama's defining features) as new philosophical and cognitive avenues for reading the "reason of emotion." We will focus on the role that the Hollywood rendering of mass culture plays in different historical contexts (US, Latin America, and Europe), analyze the political importance of tears, and look at the ways specific literary texts use that universal locally. Topics include socio-political repression, the site of social agency, politics and "feeling," cultural, national, and gender identities, and historical memory. Dist: LIT; WCult: CI.

Professor Martín
10A Hour

WGST 61.4/ANTH 61 Women and Madness NEW

In this course, we will examine the multiple meanings of women’s mental illness. Course readings will draw on a broad range of writings on mental illness, incorporating perspectives from practitioners, social scientists, historians, journalists, and patients. We will seriously consider theories that posit mental illness as biological in origin, although the primary aim of this course is to complicate our understandings of mental health and illness using a constructivist approach. We will endeavor to unpack how women’s experiences of mental illness emerge within specific gendered social and historical contexts. Through this examination, we will grapple with crucial issues that feminists face in conceptualizing mental health and illness and the political nature of psychiatric knowledge. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Gulbas
12 Hour

WGST 66.5/MALS 364 Telling Stories for Social Change

Our social structure is full of unseen, unspoken, and unheard dynamics. These hidden and irresponsible social behaviors have always contributed to the building of visible and invisible social walls. Behind these walls, a growing invisible population has found a way into visibility into society through addiction, violence, and crime. This course offers students the unique opportunity to collaborate with a group of people from behind those social walls from two different perspectives: theoretical and practical. For one class each week, students will study the root cause of social isolations and invisibility mainly pertaining to incarceration and addiction, in an active learning classroom. For the other half, students will travel to Sullivan County House of Corrections, in Unity, NH, and participate in an interdisciplinary arts program there. Its goal is the creation and performance of an original production that will facilitate the inmates' voices. The final project for the course will combine research on themes related to incarceration, rehabilitation, transition, facilitation, and critical analysis and self-reflection on the effectiveness of community-based learning and performance in rehabilitation.  Dist: ART; WCult: CI.

Professors A'Ness and Hernandez
2A Hour

Last Updated: 2/23/12