Fall 2011 Courses

011. Sleeping with the Enemy: Representing Violence against Women
Samaa Abdurraqib M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Violence against women is ubiquitous (sexual violence, physical violence, verbal abuse) and we see it in a variety of representational forms: film, music videos, and advertising, for example. Focuses on how different genres represent violence against women, primarily in novels, poetry, memoirs, and film. Considers these texts in a broader cultural context, one in which objectification of women and violence against women occurs on a regular basis. Looks at the ways that these representations may be working to counter the cultural phenomenon of gendered violence and examines the risks of presenting fictional depictions of violence. Includes reading and watching explicit representations of violence and dealing with very difficult subject matter.
014. African American Writers and the Short Story
Guy Foster M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Examines the contributions that African American writers have made to the short story genre from the late nineteenth century to the present. Students will explore the narrative strategies authors have used in this idiosyncratic form to portray black women and men as subjects of modernity and and not merely its objects. Readings include early works by W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, as well as more recent works by ZZ Packer, Edward P. Jones, and Andrea Lee.
022. "Bad" Women Make Great History: Gender, Identity, and Society in Modern Europe, 1789-1945
Kimberly Herrlinger T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Focuses on the lives and works of path-breaking women who defied the norms of modern European society in order to assume extraordinary and often controversial identities in a range of fields - as writers, scientists, performers, athletes, soldiers, and social and political activists. What does each woman’s “deviance” reveal about cultural constructions of identity and the self in Modern Europe? About contemporary views on issues such as women’s work, gender relations, education, marriage, sexuality, motherhood, health, and the struggle for civil and political rights? And when studied together, what do these women’s experiences tell us about patterns of change and continuity with respect to definitions of masculinity vs. femininity, the public vs. private sphere, and the relationship of the individual to the modern state?
101. Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies
Samaa Abdurraqib M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
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 8:30 - 9:55, TH 8:30 - 9:55
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 6:30 - 9:25
Seminar. 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.
214. Psychology of Women
Desdamona Rios M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
A survey of feminist theories and empirical findings on the psychology of women, as well as controversy related to and current approaches for studying women. Considers how the social construction of gender, the gendered nature of social institutions, and the way that gender intersects with race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, and other social categories contribute to the psychology of women.
216. Sociology of Gender
Wendy Christensen M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Our ideas about gender--about women, men, masculinity, femininity--organize our social life in important ways that we often do not even notice. Critically examines the ways gender informs the social world in which we live and how beliefs about gender create and enforce a system of gender difference and inequality. Examines how gender is involved in and related to differences and inequalities in social roles, gender identity, sexual orientation, and social constructions of knowledge. Particular attention paid to exposing the gendered workings of institutions such as family and the workplace, the link between gender and sexuality, and how race and class inform our ideas about gender.
218. Sex and Socialism: Gender and Political Ideologies of the Twentieth Century
Kristen Ghodsee M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
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
234. Romantic Sexualities
David Collings T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
Investigates constructions of sexuality in English romantic writing. Examines tales of seduction by supernatural or demonic figures; the sexualized world of the Gothic; the Byronic hero; the yearning for an eroticized muse or goddess; and same-sex desire in travel writing, orientalist fantasy, diary, and realist fiction. Discusses the place of such writing in the history of sexuality, repression, the unconscious, and the sublime. Authors may include Austen, Byron, Coleridge, Keats, Lister, Mary Shelley, Percy Shelley, and Wollstonecraft, alongside secondary, theoretical, and historical works.
280. Forty Years: The History of Women at Bowdoin
Jennifer Scanlon T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. The 2011-2012 academic year marks the fortieth anniversary of the matriculation of the first full class of women students at Bowdoin. Explores through archival work and oral history interviews this history as well as the larger social and cultural changes that ushered in coeducation at Bowdoin and elsewhere in this era. Topics include the history of higher education and feminism as well as critical debates and objectives in oral and archival research, including designing a research project; oral history as empowerment; interpreting memory; and the relationship between research and advocacy.
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
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.