Faculty  Majors   Minors   Courses  Honors
Gender Studies

Spring 2012 Course Offerings

GW 101

Introduction to Gender Studies

Leslie Mechem, Beck Krefting

GW 201

Feminist Theories and Methodologies

Mary Stange

AH 361E

Topics in Gender and Visual Culture

Saleema Waraich

AM 230

Born in America

Mary Lynn

CC 265

Women Readers, Women Writers in the Ancient Word

Jessica Westerhold

EN 208

Language and Gender

Jo Devine

EN 229

Virginia Wolff and her Friends

Tom Lewis

EN 316

Nineteenth Century British Novel

Catherine Golden

EN 338

Queer Fictions

Mason Stokes

EN 363


David Porter

GO 352

Women and Law

Pat Ferraioli

PH 275

Philosophy of Race and Gender

Catherine McKeen

RE 220

Goddesses of India

Joel Smith

RE 330

Feminist Theologies

Mary Stange

SB 315

Work, Family, and Organizations

Kate Berheide

SO 203

Femininities and Masculinities

Kim Tauches

SO 251

Sociology of Sexualities

Kim Tauches

SO 316

Women in Modern Society

Kate Berheide

SO 351

Transgender Lives, Identities, and Experiences

Kim Tauches

SO 351C

Family Violence

Jessica Singer

TH 334

Gay & Lesbian Voices: On Stage

Carolyn Anderson


GW 101 - Introduction to Gender Studies 

An introduction to the origins, purpose, subject matters, and methods of the interdisciplinary study of gender. Students are expected to expand their knowledge of the relative historical and present social conditions of women and men in different contexts and to develop analytical skills for the examination of socially significant variables—race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. Students will explore different and often opposing understandings of what constitutes feminism and feminist action.


GW 201 - Feminist Theories and Methodologies 

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.


AH361E - Topics in Gender and Visual Culture 

This course focuses on women in South and East Asia, and women of Asian descent in the West, as patrons, as subjects of representation, and as artists. We will analyze women’s contributions to and presence in a broad range of visual material, including the built environment, painting, photography, advertising, film, and fashion. Among the questions we will address are: What politics and histories are embedded in various ways of visually representing and seeing gender in Asian societies and communities?  How have imperialism, colonialism, nationalism, migration, and war shaped representations of Asian women and how are Asian women speaking to these modes of representation through artistic practices?


AM 230 - Born in America 

An exploration of the changing ways in which American women have experienced contraception, abortion, pregnancy, and childbirth, from 1587 to the present. We will examine developments in technology, law, medicine, the economy, and the role and position of women and the family in society as they have influenced the reproductive lives of American women, using sources from the history of medicine, social history, literature, legal and constitutional studies, government and sociology. Issues we will consider include social childbirth and the role of the midwife in the colonial period, the masculinization of obstetrics, introduction of anesthesia, and criminalization of abortion in the nineteenth century, the struggle for reproductive freedom and the introduction of hospital birth, as well as the legalization of abortion and introduction of alternative birthing patterns in the twentieth century. By analyzing these topics, we will work to gain a greater understanding of how social change occurs, and what studying reproduction can tell us about the evolution of American society.


CC 265 - Women Readers, Women Writers in the Ancient Word 

This course will explore the gender politics of consuming and producing literature in ancient Greece and Rome. We will think about what it meant to be literate in the ancient world and who may have had access to literacy. We will consider how gender informed the way ancient people experienced literature, both as listeners or readers and as writers.  How did male authors and artists represent women reading and writing?  How might ancient women have responded to male-authored depictions of women? What was at stake for a woman who did write poetry in the ancient world?  How did male authors respond to her writing? Our readings will include poetry written by ancient women, poetry written about ancient poetry by women in the modern era, poetry written about ancient women writers, and modern scholarship on the topic.  While we will concentrate on the female experience of gender and literacy, the class will always be thinking about masculinity. 


EN 208 - Language and Gender 

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 - Virginia Wolff and her Friends

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 earnest husband.  We’ll enter Woolf’s world through six of her novels—Jacob’s Room, Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, Orlando, 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 316 - Nineteenth Century British Novel 

A generic, thematic and cultural consideration of selected novels by Austen, the Brontes, Thackeray, Dickens, Eliot, Trollope, and others.


EN 338 - Queer Fictions 

A study of twentieth-century gay and lesbian literature, with a focus on British and American authors. Students will explore a literary tradition in which the invisible was made visible—in which historically marginalized sexualities took literary shape. Questions to be considered include: What strategies have lesbian and gay authors used to express taboo subject matter, and how have these strategies interacted with and challenged more traditional narrative techniques? How does the writing of queer sexuality recycle and revise notions of gender? What kind of threat does bisexuality pose to the telling of coherent stories? In what ways do class, race, and gender trouble easy assumptions about sexual community?


EN 363 - Cather 

Willa Cather is inextricably linked to that portion of Nebraska prairie called The Divide.  Cather spent her life on various divides: a “western” author who lived largely in New York City; private, almost ascetic in her quest for artistic perfection, but tireless, even fierce in promoting her books; an author who craved recognition, but who found more despair than joy when her One of Ours won the Pulitzer Prize; a staunch feminist who often read herself into male protagonists; a gay woman throughout her life, but one who remained in the closet and masked this sexual inclination in her writing; a Protestant who wrote two novels imbued with Catholicism. Such divides animate Cather’s novels and stories, whose limpid and eloquent language can easily mask their unblinking exploration of the contradictions and schisms inherent in the human condition—and in their author's life. Among works we will read are O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark, My Ántonia, A Lost Lady, The Professor’s House, Death Comes for the Archbishop, and Lucy Gayheart.


GO 352 - Women and Law 

The rights of women under constitutional and statute law in the United States. Examines changing patterns in the legal status of women, legal protection against public and private discrimination, and the effectiveness of law as an instrument of social change. Students will participate in a moot court.


PH 275 - Philosophy of Race, Class, and Gender 

Gender and race have been thought to be permanent and stable features of our identities as individuals. They also have been assumed to represent real, natural kinds. Are race and gender as stable and fixed as assumed? Theorists and activists have challenged, questioned and rendered problematic these categories. The phenomena of race “passing”, of mixed race, of race and gender intersection, of transgenderism and gender-blending have indicated much that is fluid, conflicted, inconsistent, and ambiguous about gender and racial identity. Some questions to consider include: Are race and gender real? Are race and gender socially constructed kinds? Should we eliminate references to gender? To race? What will it take for us to move towards a society that is truly inclusive and diverse?


RE 220 - Goddesses of India 

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 - Feminist Theologies 

A critical exploration of the various ways in which feminist theory is transforming discourse about religion.  Topics include the feminist critique of conventional theological methods and assumptions, womanist theology, liberation theologies, goddess-oriented “theology”, lesbian spirituality and ethics, ecofeminism, radical or “cosmic” feminism, and neopaganism.  This is not an introductory-level course; it presumes some prior acquaintance with the study of religion and/or gender studies.


SB 315 - Work, Family, and Organizations  

The analysis of various white-collar and blue-collar occupations and their relationship to work and family life. Topics include the changing nature of work; professionalization; working within organizations; and occupational socialization, careers, and mobility.


SO 203 - Femininities and Masculinities 

An analysis of gender in contemporary social life. By examining the intersections between race, ethnicity, class, sexuality and age, this course explores how differing types of femininities and masculinities are constructed, reinforced and maintained in U.S. culture and society. Dating and relationships, body image and appearance, and institutional inequities are among the topics examined.


SO 251 - Sociology of Sexualities 

What comprises a "sexuality?"  Using a sociological lens, students examine the development and social construction of sexual identities and desires. This course provides an overview of a variety of theories of sexuality, as well as an exploration of the ways that sexuality intersects with other social identities such as gender, race, and age. Other topics include sexual subcultures, sexuality in the media, sexuality on campus, sexual violence, pornography, and sex work.


SO 316 - Women in Modern Society  

An examination of the effects of the social construction of gender on women in modern societies. The course analyzes the intersection of race, class, and gender in women’s lives. The changing social status of women in the United States today is compared to that of women in other countries. Particular contemporary women’s issues emphasized each year may vary, but typically include economic issues, such as occupational segregation and unequal pay, family issues, such as power relations and violence, and political issues, such as women’s grassroots political activism and national policies.


SO 351 - Transgender Lives, Identities, and Experiences 

"Transgender" is increasingly used to describe a multiplicity of identities as well as a particular politic and a growing community. We will examine multiple theories that have been used to explore transgendered persons’ lives and experiences, including feminist theory, queer theory, and gender theory. A primary goal of the course is an understanding of the multiplicities of the masculine, feminine, and queer identities that have emerged under the category "transgender," particularly in terms of the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality.


SO 351C - Family Violence  

The purpose of this class is to clarify the concept of family violence, to review the applicable historical and theoretical background, to discuss different forms that family violence takes, and to examine its social consequences. Topics discussed will include physical, verbal, emotional and sexual abuse of intimate partners and children, responses from the criminal justice system, and relevant law and social policy.


TH 334 - Gay & Lesbian Voices: On Stage  

We will survey plays focusing on Gay and Lesbian characters and themes by heterosexual writers and Gay and Lesbian writers of the American Theater in the context of the events and culture of the time. Students will read and analyze plays, reviews, commentary, and theoretical writings from authors such as Edna St.Vincent Millay in the 1920s  to Lillian Hellman, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, and the more contemporary works of Cheerie Moraga, Paula Vogel, Terrence McNally, Tony Kushner, Joe Pintauro, Susan Miller, and the Five Lesbian Brothers.

* Course numbers, descriptions, and instructors refer to the information relevant to the catalog governing the academic semester, and are subject to change. Refer to the Skidmore Catalog for up to date information about academic courses.