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Courses Spring 2013

WGST 07: Asian-American Women's Literature

In this course, we will study Asian American women's literary strategies and forms as expressions of their history, culture and gender roles. Special attention will be paid to the ways in which literature serves as a mode of resistance and a way of recuperating collective memory while asserting individual identity for Asian American women. Readings may include feminist treatises, creative nonfiction, fiction, poetry and drama and may include such authors as Hisaye Yamamoto, Wang Ping, Chitra Divakaruni, Le Thi Diem Thuy and Diana Son. Dist: LIT

Professor Chin
10A 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 Bronski and Professor Munafo (NEW Section Added 3.1.13)
2A Hour (Both Sections--16.1, 16.2)

WGST 34.4/SOCY 49.10 Sociology of Gender NEW

This course examines what it means to be a woman, man, boy, or girl in everyday life. We will explore how gendered beliefs affect the expectations, experiences, and opportunities of women and men. This course includes discussion of a number of different perspectives, including several feminist perspectives. Possible topics include: are there only two genders?, gendered language, masculinity during young adulthood, the wage gap, work-family balance, media images, and hooking up. Dist: SOC.

Professor McCabe
10A Hour

WGST 34.5/AAAS 90.5 The Black Male: Invented or Engineered?

This course explores the socio-historical and political development of the typology "Black Male" as a counter-articulation to the emergence of an aestheticism related to the "White Male" within Western patriarchy. Students will engage early medical, sociological, historical, anthropological and theological scholarship of the late 16th-20th centuries that was responsible for framing epistemologies that came to define the "Black Male" within a "New World" context, particularly the U.S. Students will engage the arts, literature, and film. It is the objective of the course to give critical attention to issues relating to the definitions (those self-imposed and those inflicted by others) of Black "maleness" in contemporary context as they are made manifest in selected readings and visual presentations. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Tillis
Tuesdays 3-6 PM

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

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 women 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 communities.

Professor Chenault
11 Hour


WGST 43.2/CLST 11.2/REL 31: Sex, Celibacy, and the Problem of Purity

This course examines a crucial period in the history of Christianity—Late Antiquity. Between the years 300 and 500, Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, established standards of doctrine and ecclesiastical organization, and developed the attitudes towards the body, sexuality and gender which informed Christian teaching for centuries to come. In this class we will ask: why did virginity become such an important aspect of Christian religiosity? What effect did Roman concepts of gender and sexuality have on Christian understanding of the relationship between men and women? What did martyrs, gladiators and monks have in common. Open to all students. Dist: TMV; WCult: W.

Professor MacEvitt
2A Hour

WGST 47.6/ENGL 72.11 Elizabeth Bishop NEW

About Elizabeth Bishop's poem, "Exchanging Hats," the younger gay poet James Merrill wrote: "here was a poet addressing herself with open good humor to the forbidden topic of transsexual impulses, simply by having invented a familiar, 'harmless' situation to dramatize them. I was enthralled." Some of Bishop's poetic traits are captured by this reminiscence: her humor; her exploration of twentieth century identities, spaces and boundaries; her willingness on try on the "headgear" of another gender or culture. Yet Bishop's exploratory playfulness is connected to her sense of personal displacement and danger. An orphan, a woman poet, a lesbian, a long-term expatriate in Brazil, Bishop is nowhere definitively at home. Partly for that reason, her work initially resisted feminist and other forms of political categorization. More refined variations on these perspectives have, however, made Bishop's work the focus of an exciting assortment of queer, feminist, and postcolonial criticism. We will read widely in this work and study all of Bishop's poems and some of her drafts and letters in this new critical context. The last part of the course will focus on Bishop's relationship with her own mentor, Marianne Moore, and on the male poets who learned from her: Robert Lowell, James Merrill, and Frank Bidart. Dist: LIT.

Professor Zeiger
11 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
2 Hour (Note Time Change; Previously at the 2A)

WGST 48.7/FRIT 34: Sex and Gender in the Italian Renaissance NEW

This interdisciplinary course explores conceptions of sex and gender in Italian Renaissance literature and visual art. We'll trace a social history of love and sex in Renaissance Italy, examine how sex and sexual bodies were represented in literature and in images, and look at how governments and the Church attempted to manage and punish sexual transgression. Themes we will investigate include representations of male and female bodies, gender roles for both men and women, sexual violence, same-sex desire, and cross-dressing.

Professor Quaintance
10A 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
10A Hour

WGST 52.3/AMES 41.1: Feminism, Islam, and Modernity in the Muslim World (NEW)

This course examines the relationship between feminism in relation to Islam and state modernizing projects in modern nation-states of the Middle East and North Africa. We will identify problems and promises in theoretical paradigms and methodologies of writing about MENA women in feminist scholarship. We will study how the condition of MENA women have been shaped by the gendered nature of nationalist, Islamic, and imperialist discourses and how women have responded and participated in national debates, pious movements, social struggles, global impacts, and with feminism to voice their rights, narrate their selfhood, and articulate their own desires. Topics include: the family, veil, ritual, dance, education, citizenship, law, marriage, women's work, and activism. Case studies are from a variety of different modern Arab or Muslim states with a strong focus on Egypt, including Algeria, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Sudan. DIST:INT or SOC; WCULT: NW.

Professor Yessayan
10 Hour


WGST 59.3/THEA 10/AMES 25: Unveiling the Harem Dancer

Images of subjugated veiled women and seductive harem dancers are arguably the pivotal figures of Western Orientalism. Stereotypes of Arab and Muslim women continue to proliferate today's media, U.S. film industry, and even the visual and performing arts. Studying the genealogy of such images becomes ever more crucial, especially as the Middle Eastern woman and representations of her body take center stage in contemporary debate and conflict between religions, cultures, and values. Therefore, this course will focus on unpacking the histories, cultures, politics, and ideologies performed through and around the Orient, the Oriental woman and her dancing body. Through mapping the larger political economy of Oriental dance, its appropriation and circulation from the east to the west and the reverse, we will pay particular attention on the histories of race, sexuality, identity, class, nation, and gender formations that the dance tells. We will also focus on the ways in which Islam and Arab Eastern cultures have fostered their own responses and stereotypes towards female performers with a take on their rationalizations of morality, gender roles and sexuality. Topics such as self-exoticism and self-Orientalism in relation to identity and nation building politics will be discussed. Lastly, we will be asking whether and how dance, arts, and the humanities can shape, alter, and deconstruct such perceptions. Through examining and analyzing a number of theoretical texts, travelers' accounts, and cultural productions—such as photography, theater, concert dance, and cinema—this course will explore how and why archetypal representations of the Orient have been created and continue to shape western understandings of the Middle East and its women. Dist: INT; WCult: NW.

Professor Yessayan
12 Hour

WGST 61.5: Gender and Global Health (NEW)

This course will examine the intersection of gender and health. Readings will be from medicine, history, journalism, and the social sciences. We will interrogate the relationship between biology, science, and culture, focusing our attention on the cultural construction of healing and embodied experience of illness. We will examine how cultural institutions, ideologies, and practices contribute to health disparities along lines of race, class, and gender, paying attention to medicine's role in gendering the body. Dist: INT or SOC: WCult: CI.

Professor Gulbas
11 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


WGST Associated Courses

ANTH 33/LATS 44: Crossing Over: Latino Roots and Transitions

Professor Gutiérrez-Najera
11 Hour

SOCY 61: Youth and Society

Professor McCabe
2A Hour

REL 40: Gods, Demons, and Monkeys: The Ramayana

Professor Ohnuma
10 Hour

RUSS 13: Slavic Folklore: Vampires, Witches, and Firebirds

Professor Somoff
10 Hour

Last Updated: 3/4/13