Fall 2013 Courses

  • Please note that for the 2013-14 academic year, official course numbers are now four digits. This page only shows the older three-digit course numbers. If you need to see both the old and the new numbers, consult the College Catalogue.
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026. Homebodies: Geography as Identity in Fiction
Sarah Braunstein T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Where are you from? How does the place you’re born and raised inform your consciousness? Novels answer these questions more fully and deeply than any other kind of writing. This course investigates psychological, spiritual, cultural, historical, and political meanings of home. Students read novels, stories, and essays in which place is itself a character. We’ll ask: How do writers create vivid, palpable places? How does a book’s setting illuminate the (often secret) lives of its characters? A special focus will be on the coastline, on water, and on shape-shifting landscapes that draw attention to shifting identities. Through critical and creative assignments, students analyze creative prose and write their own. By experimenting with various stylistic techniques, and by visiting sites along the Maine coast, we seek to document our past homes in a new way—and to experience a new place as home. Readings may include Virginia Woolf, Denton Welsh, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Annie Dillard, Marilynn Robinson, Jamaica Kincaid, Bonnie Nadzam, Eowyn Ivy, and others.
030. Mothers, Sisters and Facebook Friends: Is Feminism a Dysfunctional Family?
Susan Faludi T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Recently, women have begun to claim power formerly held by men. Yet in politics, work and the family, women are so often unable to pass down power from one woman to the next—with the effect that the search for women’s equality seems to begin anew with every generation. How to explain this inability to create a “mother-daughter” succession? And why does “sisterhood” so often turn poisonous? Explores feminism's generational breakdown from a variety of perspectives—political, cultural, psychological—and traces its roots in history, from Republican Motherhood to radical feminism to Facebook’s “Lean In” circles.
101. Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies
Kristen Ghodsee M 8:00 - 9:25, W 8:00 - 9:25
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.
102. Cultural Choreographies: An Introduction to Dance
Nyama McCarthy-Brown T 9:30 - 11:25, TH 9:30 - 11:25
Dancing is a fundamental human activity, a mode of communication, and a basic force in social life. Investigates dance and movement in the studio and classroom as aesthetic and cultural phenomena. Explores how dance and movement activities reveal information about cultural norms and values and affect perspectives in our own and other societies. Using ethnographic methods, focuses on how dancing maintains and creates conceptions of one’s own body, gender relationships, and personal and community identities. Experiments with dance and movement forms from different cultures and epochs—for example, the hula, New England contradance, classical Indian dance, Balkan kolos, ballet, contact improvisation, and African American dance forms from swing to hip-hop—through readings, performances, workshops in the studio, and field work.
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.
224. Introduction to Human Population
Nancy Riley T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
An introduction to the major issues in the study of population. Focuses on the social aspects of the demographic processes of fertility, mortality, and migration. Also examines population change in Western Europe historically, recent demographic changes in Third World countries, population policy, and the social and environmental causes and implications of changes in births, deaths, and migration.
240. Radical Politics, Radical Families
Kristen Ghodsee M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Seminar. Women's emancipation and sexual freedom were common themes among utopian socialists, anarchists, and other radical left communities in the United States and Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Sexual equality was also a bedrock principle of “scientific socialist” and communist societies throughout the twentieth century. Explores how a variety of communalist ideologies re-imagined the shape of the family and the gender relations between men and women. Examines the theoretical foundations and practical implications of sexual equality through a detailed history of a wide variety of ideological movements, including Owenism, anarchism, utopian socialism, scientific socialism, and “really-existing” socialism in the twentieth century. Special attention paid to the ongoing tensions between theory and practice.
246. Activist Voices in India
Sara Dickey T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Examines contemporary social and political activism in India. Focuses on film, essays, and fiction to investigate the ways that political messages are constructed through different media and for specific audiences. Case studies include activism concerning religious conflict, gender inequalities, gay and lesbian identities, and environmental issues.
247. Modernism/Modernity
Marilyn Reizbaum M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Examines the cruxes of the “modern,” and the term’s shift into a conceptual category rather than a temporal designation. Although not confined to a particular national or generic rubric, takes British works as a focus. Organized by movements or critical formations of the modern, i.e., modernisms, psychoanalysis, postmodernism, cultural critique. Readings of critical literature in conjunction with primary texts. Authors/directors/works may include T. S. Eliot, Joyce’s Dubliners, Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers, Sontag’s On Photography, W. G. Sebald’s The Natural History of Destruction, Ian McEwen’s Enduring Love, Stevie Smith, Kureishi’s My Son the Fanatic, and Coetzee’s Disgrace.
302. The Economics of the Family
Rachel Connelly M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Seminar. Microeconomic analysis of the family—gender roles and related institutions. Topics include marriage, fertility, married women’s labor supply, divorce, and the family as an economic organization.
313. Global Sexualities/Local Desires
Krista Van Vleet M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25
Explores the variety of practices, performances, and ideologies of sexuality through a cross-cultural perspective. Focusing on contemporary anthropological scholarship on sexuality and gender, asks how Western conceptions of “sexuality,” “sex,” and “gender” help (or hinder) our understanding of the lives and desires of people in other social and cultural contexts. Topics may include “third gendered” individuals; intersexuality and the naturalization of sex; language and the performance of sexuality; drag; global media and the construction of identity; lesbian and gay families; sex work; AIDS and HIV and health policy; migration, asylum and human rights issues; ethical issues and activism. Ethnographic examples are drawn from United States, Latin America (Brazil, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Argentina, Cuba); Asia (India, Japan, Indonesia) and Oceania (Papua New Guinea); and Africa (Nigeria, S. Africa). Presents issues of contemporary significance along with key theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches used by anthropologists. Integrates perspectives on globalization and the intersection of multiple social differences (including class, race, and ethnicity) with discussion of sexuality and gender. Not open to students who have credit for Anthropology 2110 {210} (same as Gay and Lesbian Studies 2110 {210}, Gender and Women’s Studies 2210 {210}.)
316. Dressing and Undressing in Early Modern Spain
Margaret Boyle T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Focuses on the literal and metaphorical practices of “dressing” and “undressing” as depicted in the literature of Early Modern Spain. Considers how these practices relate to the (de)construction of Gender and Empire throughout the period. What does dress have to do with identity and power? What might nakedness reveal about ideal and defective bodies? These questions will be enriched through exploration of a series of images in collaboration with the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. Authors considered during the semester include Fernando de Rojas, Miguel de Cervantes, María de Zayas, Teresa de Jesús, Tirso de Molina, and Ana Caro.
370. Jane Austen and Company
Ann Kibbie M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25
Examines Austen’s major works, from "Northanger Abbey" to "Persuasion," by pairing each novel either with a work by one of her major literary influences (such as Frances Burney’s "Evelina" and Ann Radcliffe’s "The Romance of the Forest"), or with a later work (such as Charlotte Bronte’s "Jane Eyre") that responds to and challenges Austen’s own novelistic practice. Will also examine major currents in Austen criticism.