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
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 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.
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.
This course examines how gender and law in the United States are used to confer rights, create obligations, and define identities. We explore the theoretical, historical, and empirical basis for gender in law, and pay particular attention to how and when gender-based laws have changed over time. Specific topics covered include, for example, federal legislation on educational and workplace equity, constitutional doctrines of equality and privacy, and state policies on family law, criminal responsibility, and domestic violence. We analyze the relationship between gender politics, legal theory, legal doctrine, and social policy. We also ask whether the gender of legal actors (litigants, lawyers, judges) makes a difference in their reasoning or decision-making. Prerequisite: Government 3 or a law course strongly recommended. Dist: SOC; W Cult: W.
This course will explore the nature, extent, and consequences of gender inequality in society. Changing gender roles will be examined in relation to class and race, the socialization process, the experience of women in the family, and the experience of women as paid and unpaid workers under both capitalism and socialism. Finally, we shall analyze work and family conflict, looking at gender inequality, consequences for families and employers, policy, and implications for social structural change. Open to second-year students and above. Prerequisite: WGST 10, SOCY 1 (any one of these courses). Dist: SOC; WCult: W.
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. Dist: SOC.
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. Dist: INT or SOC; WCult: CI.
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.
This course will focus on how concepts of woman and gender have shaped meanings of religious and national lives and communities for Jews and Muslims in a variety of regions of the world and historical periods. We will survey variations in gender with attention to historical and cultural specificities and examine both religious traditions in tandem. We will study a variety of sources to gain a sense of the many ways each religion expresses itself: anthropological, historical, theological, scholarly analyses, religious texts and commentaries, literary and political writings, 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. This course does not presuppose any background in Judaism, Islam, or feminist theory. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI.
Professors Heschel and Amirpur
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 titles 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.
The femme fatale is a figure that produces fear: it is Pandora in Greek myth, who unleashes evil onto humanity; the woman of Romantic fantasies who snares men and saps their strength; the women in American film noir who entrap upstanding men and then ruin them. This course examines the figure of the femme fatale, its origins, development, and meanings in different cultures and geographical contexts. We will begin in the ancient world, with women of myth and Biblical traditions, before making the transition to the fascination with dangerous and evil women in the Romantic period, through the end of the 19th century, and into the contemporary period with dangerous women of film. Dist: ART; WCult: W (Pending Faculty Approval)
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.
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.
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 Valley Vista, an alcohol and chemical dependency treatment center in Bradford, Vermont, and participate in an interdisciplinary arts program there. Its goal is the creation and performance of an original production that will facilitate the patients' voices. The final project for the course will combine research on themes related to addiction, rehabilitation, transition, facilitation, and critical analysis and self-reflection on the effectiveness of community-based learning and performance in rehabilitation. Dist: ART; WCult: CI.
This course is WGST's curricular connection with the Gender Research Institute's annual spring research seminar. Each offering of WGST 96 will center on texts written or created by GRID's guest speakers and complemented with other relevant theoretical, critical, or artistic material. Students matriculated in WGST 96 will automatically be considered GRID Fellows and will have the opportunity of meeting and directly engaging in conversation with the authors and artists studied in the course. In addition to regular class sessions, students will also attend the GRID seminar meetings and public lectures. Students will be expected to produce a publishable paper on a topic of their choice as it relates to the theme of the seminar. Final projects may be co-authored with any GRID Fellow. Prerequisites: Major and Minors in WGST; or Permission by Instructor
Spring 2014: Times of Crisis
This course will engage in an interdisciplinary study of the topic of "crisis" in its many manifestations: from the erosion of justice, social inequities, and their effects on individuals, families, and communities to the exhilarating moment of transformation all moments of crisis offer. We will debate and ground systemic analysis and change in the insights offered by critical social and gender-based theory, activism, and the arts. Students matriculated in WGST 96 will automatically be considered GRID Fellows and will have the opportunity of meeting and directly engaging in conversation with the authors and artists studied in the course. Texts by: Denis Goldberg, John Berger, Noam Chomsky, James Nachtwey, Nancy Fraser, Amy Goodman, and Angela Davis.
Monday 3-6 PM
Last Updated: 2/27/14