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Gender Studies

Spring 2011 Course Offerings


GW 101: Introduction to Gender Studies

M/W 10:10-12 :00
TU/TH 3:40-5:30
Prof. V. Rangil (Section 1)
Prof. L. Mechem (Section 2)
4 credits
An introduction to the origins, purpose, subject matters, and methods of gender studies. Through an interdisciplinary investigation of the evolving body of scholarship by and about women, this course presents a survey of women's social, psychological, historical, political, and cultural experiences. The goal of the course is to help students develop a critical framework for thinking about gender and sexuality, with special attention to issues of class, race, and ethnicity.


GW 201: Feminist Theories and Methodologies

M/W 12:20-1:40
Prof. A. Zuerner
3 credits
A critical exploration of the history, development, influence, and implications of feminist theories and methods. Beginning with seventeenth- and eighteenth-century proto-feminism, the course examines the first and second waves of the women’s movement in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as well as current trends in feminist, gender, and queer theories. Emphasis is placed on the cross-disciplinary nature of inquiry in gender studies and the ways in which particular methods arise from and relate to specific theoretical positions.


AM 363: Women in American Culture

W/F 10:10-11:30
Prof. M. Lynn
4 credits
An examination of the changing position of women in American culture and society from the seventeenth century to the present. Topics will include the developing familial, economic, sexual, educational, and political roles of women, as well as consideration of the suffragist and feminist movements. Issues of race, class, and ethnicity will be included, and resources from a variety of disciplines will be used, including material culture, history, literature, politics, sociology, and economics.


AM 376E: Disorderly Women

M 6:10pm-9:10pm
Prof. R. Krefting
3 Credits
An examination of women characterized by the larger society as unruly, disruptive, radical, militant, unfeminine, or just generally disorderly, and what this characterization reveals about American society. The course will consider types of women as well as the experience of individual, so-called disorderly, women in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century United States. Questions will include: What defines women as disorderly in specific times and places; how do women deviate from the roles and behavior expected of all women; what has motivated disorderly women, from their perspectives, to act as they have, and what has been the psychic cost? The central focus is on “disorderly women” as actors within and upon their society and on the responses of that larger society to their actions.


AN 251D: Gender in the Past

M/W 4:00-5:50
Prof. A. Runggaldier
4 Credits
Were gender roles in the past the same as they are today? Did the women of prehistory enjoy equal treatment as men? How do we know what life was like for women in the past, and how do we find out from archaeology? This course explores these and other power and equality relations from the perspective of archaeology -- the study of humans through the material remains of their past activities. In an examination of anthropological approaches to sex and gender through readings on theoretical, methodological, and interpretive issues, students will learn about gender studies in human evolution, division of labor, Mother Goddesses and their critiques, women in ancient states, and identity construction from feminist perspectives. Addressing both the role of women in the past and the tendency of traditional reconstructions of the past to ascribe to women a marginal role, either intentionally or by omission, will provide students with opportunities for critical reflection on contemporary human society.


EN 208: Language and Gender

TU/TH 9:40-11:00
Prof. J. Devine
3 Credits
Investigates the interaction of language and gender by raising questions about society and culture in relation to language use. Systematic examination of the following topics: the historical roots of both beliefs and practices related to gendered-language differences in speech and writing; differing structural and functional characteristics of the language used by women and men; the development of these differences in early childhood and their personal and social purposes; and the language behavior of men and women in cross-cultural contexts.


EN 229: Sex, Family, and the Nation in American Fiction

TU/TH 2:10-3:30
Prof. H. Jackson
3 credits
In contrast to the view of the United States as puritanically insistent on sexual represssion or conformity, this course suggests that the American novel is singularly fascinated with taboo private relations.  How and why do authors use perverse plots to theorize the relationship between the United States and Europe, between men and women, between racial groups, between the past and the future?  If marriage signifies a healthy social order, why is the marriage plot so seldom successful in the American novel?  What are the connections between the family, national identity, and narrative form?  In addition to nineteenth and twentieth-century American novels concerning divorce, interracialism, homosexuality and other departures from American familial norms, this course includes secondary readings from queer theory, literary criticism, sociology of the family, and the history of sexuality.


EN 229: Love in the Novel

M/W 6:30-7:50
Prof. P. Boshoff
3 Credits
Courting, dating, “seeing,” hooking up, breaking up, and marrying “till death do us part”: the love story exists in seemingly endless permutations. We will look at the various forms of love—romantic, erotic, and spiritual—and the ways in which these forms are portrayed and interconnected in selected works of American and British fiction. Juxtaposition of opposites will guide our investigation: we’ll explore love in terms of fidelity vs. philandery, Platonic ideal vs. fleshy temptation, selfless dedication vs. selfish indulgence; the love story in light of canonical masterwork vs. pulp “sinsation,” enduring romance vs. momentary titillation; and lovers in the drama of crushes vs. soul mates; sweethearts vs. perverts, and saints vs. sinners. Our readings depict straight love, gay and lesbian love, gender-bending love and lovers; they are works both exalted and scorned, the subject of both admiration and litigation. Novels include Jane Austen’s Emma, Elizabeth Bowen’s The Death of the Heart, E. M. Forster’s Maurice, D. H. Lawrence’s The Fox and Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, and Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit. We’ll view film versions of several of these novels. We’ll also be sampling lesbian pulp fiction from the 50s,Ann Bannon’s, I Am a Woman, comic books, and on-line sites devoted to love stories. There will be a class report, two papers (3-5 pp. each), and one longer paper (10pp.).


EN 229: Virginia Woolf and Her Friends

TU/TH 11 :10-12 :30
Prof. T. Lewis
3 credits
Enter Virginia Woolf’s world.  You’ll meet serious artists and thinkers, some of whom took pride in their sexual liberation; a difficult father; a beloved older brother; a competitive sister; two sexually predatory half-brothers; a half-sister locked in an attic; and an ernest husband.  We’ll enter Woolf’s world through six of her novels--Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse,  The Waves, and Between the Acts.  We’ll also pay considerable attention to her two feminist works, A Room of One’s Own and Three Guineas.  Students will have a chance to explore their interests within Woolf’s world, including but not limited to art, art history and criticism, essay writing, feminism, gender, biography, and modernism.


EN 229C: Multiethnic American Women

W/F 12:20-1:40
Prof. S. Edelstein
3 credits
“I am a Dominican, hyphen, American. As a fiction writer, I find that the most exciting things happen in the realm of that hyphen—the place where two worlds collide or blend together.” Students in this class will be dwelling in what Julia Alvarez describes here as the “realm of that hyphen,” as we read fiction by Native American, Chicana, Jewish American, Asian American, and African American women writers. How does literature participate in constructing ethnicity, and in particular, culturally specific models of womanhood? What aesthetic strategies or thematic concerns unite ethnic American literature, or does such a category elide the distinctness of individual traditions? Indeed, does writing from ethnically marked groups constitute a tradition distinct from what we usually mean by “American literature?”  Given our focus on woman writers, we will ask how these writers portray family, marriage, the home, sexuality and reproduction, the signal concerns of women's lives and women's writing. Students will be introduced to concepts, such as assimilation, self-making, hybridity, diaspora, “double-consciousness,” and to feminist literary criticism. We will also consider theories of whiteness in order to ask how the work of Anglo-American writers can be understood as ethnically marked. Authors may include Anzia Yezierska, Zitkala-Sa, Gloria Anzaldua, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Jessica Hagedorn.


EN 316:Nineteenth-Century British Novel

TU/TH 12:40-2:00
Prof. B. Black3 credits
A generic, thematic and cultural consideration of selected novels by Austen, the Brontes, Thackeray, Dickens, Eliot, Trollope, and others.


EN 360: Women Writers

M/W 4:00-5:20
Prof. S. Edelstein
3 credits
Advanced studies in selected women writers. Students will read a group of women writers in the context of recent literary criticism and feminist theory. Issues addressed may include the relations among gender and style, psychological constructs, genre, literary history, audience, and social context.

EN 375: The Brontes

TU/TH 11:10-12:30
Prof. C. Golden
4 credits
Love, passion, adultery, domestic abuse, insanity, and violence flood the media and titillate twenty-first-century audiences. The very issues that form the core of programs such as Separate Housewives are exquisitely rendered in the oevre of the Brontes, arguably the greatest English literary family of the nineteenth century. Journeying into the sisters’ lives and literature, we will examine the novels,poetry, and letters by Charlotte, Emily, Anne, and their brother, Branwell, and distinguish between Brontean myths and biography. From the outset, we will adopt a new historical approach to examine the Brontes works in the cultural context. We will also discuss how illustrators, directors, and actors have visually rendered the novels or recreated them for the big screen. Most importantly, students will select topics for, write, and revise a substantial research paper of 20 to 30 pages. Throughout the term, students will read intensively, work collaboratively, write frequently, and lead discussions as they work through multiple drafts of their research papers and experience the rigors and excitement of scholarship. Those intending to qualify for Honors must inform the instructor at the beginning of the term.


GO 251C: Politics of the American Family

TU/TH 9:40-11:00
Prof. N. Taylor
3 credits
Liberal democracies, such as the United States, are defined by their limited governments and the ostensibly strict separation between private and public life. Yet, political philosophers and statesman have always appreciated the importance of the family to the polity.  There is a tension between our desire to allow for freedom from government control on the one hand and our desire to foster a healthy political community on the other. On-going public policy debates often concern a group of social and economic issues commonly referred to as “family issues.”  This course will examine several of those issues. By considering a number of the so-called family issues, you should gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between the individual, the family, and the political community. As we weigh each of the public policy issues we will also consider the many competing principles, which influence political decision making.

HI 235: Perceptions of Medieval and Early Modern Women

TU/TH 3:40-5   
Prof E. Bastress-Dukehart
3 credits
A study of the perceptions of women in medieval and early modern Europe. How do we interpret the variety of ways in which philosophers, social theorists, historians, artists, and scientists have discussed and portrayed women? More importantly, how do we determine the real from the imaginary woman in history? Students will study the perceptions of Medieval and early modern European women that we find in historical documents, philosophy, science, literature, and art, in order to determine how the images of and discourse about women reflected (or contrasted) their reality.

HI 363: Gender and Family Life in China

TU/TH 12:40-2:00
Prof. K. Baldanza
3 credits
In this course, we will examine the private life in China, and interaction of the family and the state, from 1600 to the present.  In the first half of the course will explore how gender and private life were constructed through architecture, public morality campaigns, and the legal system, and how the same were contested, subverted and satirized.  In the second half of the course, we will examine how the end of the Qing dynasty, the rise of Communism and new economic opportunities restructured gender roles and family life.  Topics include falling in love, marriage practices, footbinding, homosexuality, alternative families, and the evolution of women's work.

ID 251C: Global Feminism

TU/TH 2:10-3:30
Prof. M. Stange
3 credits
“Global” and “transnational” feminist theories are on the cutting edge of women’s and gender studies. Recognizing that there is no universally applicable definition for the term “feminism,” and that the very question of what constitutes a feminist act or idea varies widely not only among but also within cultures, this course constitutes an inquiry into the specific questions a global perspective on women’s issues and activism brings into play in a variety of contexts.


RE 220: Goddess in India

TU/TH 3:40-5:00
Prof. J. Smith
3 credits
An introduction to the Hindu religious culture of India through a study of major Hindu goddesses. The vision (darsan) of and devotion (bhakti) to the feminine divine image will be explored. An interdisciplinary approach will explore the meaning of the goddess in literature, painting, poetry, religion, and sculpture.

RE 330: Goddesses and Amazons

TU/TH 9:10-11:00
Prof. M. Stange
4 credits
An investigation of culturally encoded ideas about female power—physical, intellectual, spiritual and moral—as they play out in myth and history. Our exploration will be far-ranging: from ancient Greece to contemporary goddess spirituality, from the warrior priestesses of the Siberian steppes to modern hunter-horsewomen in Kazakhstan, from the Virgin Mary to the seer/soldier Joan of Arc to the poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz to that “positively revolting hag” Mary Daly. The Western “dark goddess” Artemis will be played off against her Eastern counterpart, Kali. In every case, our focus will be on the interplay between the patriarchal drive to contain or control these manifestations of female self-assertion, and the liberating potential these mythical and historical figures hold for women, and men too, in contemporary society.


SO 251: Men, Women, and Sports

M/W/F 10:10-11:05
Prof. C. Berheide
3 credits
An exploration of the changing relationship of gender to sports in contemporary North America.  Using a feminist sociological perspective, this course examines how men and women socially construct gender through everyday interactions related to sports, through the structure of sports institutions, and through the images associated with American sports.  The course focuses on a few of the many gender issues related to sports that have dramatically shaped the opportunities for men and women in sport as well as the societal view of men and women engaged in sport, including race and class differences in men’s and women’s involvement in sports, and the role of sexuality.


SO 251: Sociology of Sexualities

M/W 4:00-5:20
Prof. D. Warnock
3 credits
An introduction to sexualities. Using a sociological lens, students examine the development and social construction of sexual identities and desire. Other topics include sexual subcultures, sexuality in the media, sexuality on campus, sexual violence, pornography, and sex work.


SO 331: Women in the Global Economy

M/W/F 11:15-12:10
Prof. C. Berheide
3 credits
A comparative analysis of women’s roles in the global economy. The course examines how global economic transformations affect women as well as how women affect those processes. Topics include the effect of economic development on women’s participation in various forms of economic activity, including agriculture, microenterprises, and manufacturing, as well as gender relations in families throughout the world, with particular emphasis on countries of the Southern Hemisphere. In addition, the course considers the environmental issues women face during the process of economic development, such as sustainable development, population policies, and women’s environmental activism.