Fall 2009 Courses

025. Writing the Racial Mountain in the Age of Jim Crow
Keona Ervin T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 Mass-Faculty Room
What did it mean to be black in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? What sources did prominent African American leaders in this period draw upon to understand meanings of the racialized self? Explores arguments about and controversies over "the strange meaning of being black" from the post-Reconstruction period to the Great Depression. Focuses on intersections of race, gender, sexuality, and class.
101. Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies
Kristen Ghodsee M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Banister-106
An interdisciplinary introduction to the issues, perspectives, and findings of the new scholarship that examines the role of gender in the construction of knowledge. Explores what happens when women become the subjects of study; what is learned about women; what is learned about gender; and how disciplinary knowledge itself is changed.
201. Feminist Theory
Jennifer Scanlon T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25 HL-311 (third floor)
The history of women’s studies and its transformation into gender studies and feminist theory has always included a tension between creating “woman,” and political and theoretical challenges to that unity. Examines that tension in two dimensions: the development of critical perspectives on gender and power relations both within existing fields of knowledge, and within the continuous evolution of feminist discourse itself.
207. Black Women, Politics, Music, and the Divine
Judith Casselberry T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25 Adams-114
Examines the convergence of politics and spirituality in the musical work of contemporary Black women singer-songwriters in the United States. Analyzes material that interrogates and articulates the intersections of gender, race, class, and sexuality, generated across a range of religious and spiritual terrains with African diasporic/Black Atlantic spiritual moorings, including Christianity, Islam, and Yoruba. Focuses on material that reveals a womanist (Black feminist) perspective by considering the ways resistant identities shape and are shaped by artistic production. Employs an interdisciplinary approach by incorporating ethnomusicology, anthropology, literature, history, and performance and social theory. Explores the work of Shirley Caesar, The Clark Sisters, Me'shell Ndegeocello, Abby Lincoln, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Dianne Reeves, among others.
218. Sex and Socialism: Gender and Political Ideologies of the Twentieth Century
Kristen Ghodsee M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Banister-106
Focuses on gender issues in nations whose social, cultural, political, and economic histories have been shaped and/or influenced by Marxist-Leninism. Begins with a thorough examination of socialist ideas about the role of men and women in society and how these ideas evolved over time in the different countries and regions. The practical ramifications of these ideologies are studied through a survey of policies, programs, and projects that were implemented by socialist governments around the world. Addresses how socialist ideologies of gender influenced everything from the rise of the second wave feminists in the United States to the political ascendance of the Taliban in Afghanistan. Considers the political and economic changes that have occurred after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Specifically deals with issues of race, class, religion, ethnicity, sexuality, and gerontocracy, as they directly relate to the (re)construction of identity taking place throughout the former and/or transitioning socialist countries.
220. Soviet Worker Bees, Revolution, and Red Love in Russian Film
Jane Knox-Voina T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55 Sills-107
Explores twentieth-century Russian society through critical analysis of film, art, architecture, music, and literature. Topics include scientific utopias, eternal revolution, individual freedom versus collectivism, conflict between the intelligentsia and the common man, the “new Soviet woman,” nationalism, the thaw and double think, stagnation of the 1970’s, post-glastnost sexual liberation and black hole art. Works of Eisenstein, Tarkovsky, Kandinsky, Chagall, Mayakovsky, Bulgakov, Pasternak, Brodsky, Akhmatova, Solzhenitsyn, Petrushevskaya and Tolstaya. Weekly film viewings. Russian majors are required to do some reading in Russian.
225. Family Affairs: Changing Patterns in Europe
Susan Tananbaum M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25 CT-16 Whiteside Room
Seminar. Explores topics and debates in European family history from the early modern period to the present. Considers the impact of social, political, religious, and economic forces on family structures and functions. Students have an opportunity to complete individual research projects.
230. Science, Sex, and Politics
David Hecht T 6:30 - 9:25 Mass-Faculty Room
Seminar. Examines the intersection of science, sex, and politics in twentieth-century United States history. Issues of sex and sexuality have been contested terrain over the past hundred years, as varying conceptions of gender, morality, and “proper” sexual behavior have become politically and socially controversial. Explores the way that science has impacted these debates—often as a tool by which activists of varying political and intellectual persuasions have attempted to use notions of scientific objectivity and authority to advance their agendas. Explores debates over issues such as birth control, sex education, same-sex marriage, and abortion.
240. Radical Sensibility
David Collings M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55 Sills-109
Examines the rise of and reactions to the literature of radical sensibility in the wake of the French Revolution. Focuses upon such topics as apocalyptic lyricism, anarchism, non-violent revolution, and the critique of marriage, family, male privilege, and patriarchal religious belief, as well as the defense of tradition, attacks on radical thinking, and the depiction of revolution as monstrosity. Discusses poetic experimentation, innovations in the English novel, and the intersections between political writing and the Gothic. Authors may include Burke, Paine, Blake, Wollstonecraft, Godwin, Opie, Percy Shelley, and Mary Shelley.
248. Family and Community in American History, 1600–1900
Sarah McMahon M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Sills-109
Examines the social, economic, and cultural history of American families from 1600 to 1900, and the changing relationship between families and their kinship networks, communities, and the larger society. Topics include gender relationships; racial, ethnic, cultural, and class variations in family and community ideals, structures, and functions; the purpose and expectations of marriage; philosophies of child-rearing; organization of work and leisure time; and the effects of industrialization, urbanization, immigration, and social and geographic mobility on patterns of family life and community organization.
256. Gender, Body, and Religion
Elizabeth Pritchard T 6:30 - 9:25 Adams-202
A significant portion of religious texts and practices is devoted to the disciplining and gendering of bodies. Examines these disciplines including ascetic practices, dietary restrictions, sexual and purity regulations, and boundary maintenance between human and divine, public and private, and clergy and lay. Topics include desire and hunger, abortion, women-led religious movements, the power of submission, and the related intersections of race and class. Materials are drawn from Christianity, Judaism, Neopaganism, Voudou, and Buddhism.
261. Gender, Film, and Consumer Culture
Jennifer Scanlon T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 Banister-106
How do we spend money, and why? Examines the relationship between gender and consumer culture over the course of the twentieth century. Explores women’s and men’s relationships to consumer culture in a variety of contexts: the heterosexual household, the bachelor pad, the gay-friendly urban cafeteria, the advertising agency, and the department store. Also explores the ways in which Hollywood films, from the 1930s to the present, have both furthered and complicated gendered notions about the consumption of goods.
262. Drama and Performance in the Twentieth Century and Beyond
Marilyn Reizbaum M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55 Boody-Johnson House Seminar Room
Examines dramatic trends of the century, ranging from the social realism of Ibsen to the performance art of Laurie Anderson. Traverses national and literary traditions and demonstrates that work in translation like that of Ibsen or Brecht has a place in the body of dramatic literature in English. Discusses such topics as dramatic translation (Liz Lochhead’s translation of Molière’s "Tartuffe"); epic theater and its millennial counterpart (Bertold Brecht, Tony Kushner, Caryl Churchill); political drama (Frank McGuinness, Athool Fugard); the “nihilism” of absurdist drama (Samuel Beckett); the “low” form of the musical (as presented, for example, by Woody Allen); and the relationship of dance to theater (Henrik Ibsen, Ntozake Shange, "Stomp," Enda Walsh). Readings staged. Formerly English 262.
289. Construction of the Goddess and Deification of Women in Hindu Religious Tradition
Sree Holt T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55 38 College-Conference Room
Focuses include (1) an examination of the manner in which the power of the feminine has been expressed mythologically and theologically in Hinduism; (2) how various categories of goddesses can be seen or not as the forms of the “great goddess”; and (3) how Hindu women have been deified, a process that implicates the relationship between the goddess and women. Students read a range of works, primary sources such as Devi Mahatmya, biographies and myths of deified women, and recent scholarship on goddesses and deified women.
312. Resistance and Accommodation: Comparative Perspectives on Gender
Nancy Riley M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25 Adams-114
In societies across the world, many face discrimination and oppression because of gender stratification and because of inequalities that arise from both local norms and expectations and from societal-level and even global-level forces. In response to the inequities they face, people have found ways to live in, accommodate, challenge, and change those inequalities. Examines gender inequalities and the ways that those in different communities and societies have reacted to them. Each student conducts a major research project on an issue of gender.