Location: Bowdoin / Gender and Women's Studies / Courses / Spring 2014

Gender and Women's Studies

Spring 2014

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GWS 1101. Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies.
Jennifer Scanlon.

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.

GWS 2202. Victorian Urban Narratives.
Aviva Briefel.

Seminar. An exploration of London as space and character in Victorian literary narratives. Considers such topics as the intersections between identity and urban setting; the relationship between genre and literary space; and the overlaps in mappings of cities and narrative. Consideration of literary and cultural theory and criticism is central. Authors may include Conrad, Dickens, Dixon, Doyle, Gissing, Marsh, and Wilde.

GWS 2229. Global Pentecostalism: The Roots and Routes of Twentieth Century Christianity.
Judith Casselberry.

Seminar. Pentecostalism is a form of Christianity centered on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Pentecostals speak in tongues, heal, prophesize, see visions, and exorcise demons. By many accounts, Pentecostalism is the fastest-growing religion in the world. While the Pentecostal population is difficult to count, current estimates place the world’s total number of adherents at close to 600 million, of whom 75% are women. With particular attention to its intersections with gender, ethnicity, and class, explores the religion’s appeal; its impact on devotees’ lives; and resultant local, regional, and global implications. Case studies include the Americas, the Caribbean, and Africa.

GWS 2234. Romantic Sexualities.
David Collings.

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; lyrical depictions of incest; the yearning for an eroticized muse or goddess; and same-sex desire in travel writing, diaries, and realist fiction. Discusses the place of such writing in the history of sexual identities, repression, the unconscious, and the sublime. Authors may include Burke, Lewis, Mary Shelley, Byron, Wollstonecraft, Lister, Austen, Coleridge, Keats, and Percy Shelley, with further readings in queer theory and the history of sexuality.

GWS 2236. The Fantastic and Demonic in Japanese Literature.
Vyjayanthi Selinger.

From possessing spirits and serpentine creatures to hungry ghosts and spectral visions, Japanese literary history is alive with supernatural beings. The focus of study ranges from the earliest times to modernity, examining these motifs in both historical and theoretical contexts. Readings pose the following broad questions: How do representations of the supernatural function in both creation myths of the ancient past and the rational narratives of the modern nation? What is the relationship between liminal beings and a society’s notion of purity? How may we understand the uncanny return of dead spirits in medieval Japanese drama? How does the construction of demonic female sexuality vary between medieval and modern Japan? Draws on various genres of representation, from legends and novels to drama, paintings, and cinema. Students develop an appreciation of the hold that creatures from the “other” side maintain over our cultural and social imagination.

GWS 2251. Women in American History, 1600-1900.
Sarah McMahon.

A social history of American women from the colonial period through the nineteenth century. Examines women’s changing roles in both public and private spheres; the circumstances of women’s lives as these were shaped by class, ethnic, and racial differences; the recurring conflict between the ideals of womanhood and the realities of women’s experience; and focuses on family responsibilities, paid and unpaid work, religion, education, reform, women’s rights, and feminism.

GWS 2252. American Intimacies: Sex and Love in Nineteenth-Century Literature.
Peter Coviello.

Homosexuality and its conceptual twin, heterosexuality, are surprisingly late coinages. So what was sex like before such concepts organized the sphere of intimate life in America? Was it a set of bodily practices? An aspect of a person’s identity? Was sexuality something an individual could be said to possess? What forms of contact, invest attachment, or imagination could even be counted as sex, and why? Authors may include Whitman, Thoreau, Jewett, Melville, Hawthorne, James, Douglas, Dickinson, and Joseph Smith. Note: This course fulfills the literature of the Americas requirement for English majors.

GWS 2600. Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Eastern Europe.
Kristen Ghodsee.

Seminar. Examines the current scholarship on gender and sexuality in modern Eastern Europe: the countries of the former Soviet Union, the successor states of Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary, Romania, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, and Albania. Focusing on research produced by academics based in the region, examines the dialogue and interchange of ideas between East and West, and how knowledge about the region is dialectically produced by both Western feminists and East European gender studies scholars. Topics include the women question before 1989; nationalism, fertility, and population decline; patterns and expectations for family formation; the politics of EU gender mainstreaming; visual representations in television and film; social movements; work; romance and intimacy; spirituality; and the status of academic gender studies in the region.

GWS 2605. The Literature of Adolescent Sexuality.
Sarah Braunstein.

Seminar. Fiction shows us the rules of life: how these rules confine us, free us, shape us, threaten us, and make us who we are. Within the rules of life there’s one set for children, another for adults, that much is clear. But what about adolescents? Whose rules do they play by? And what do these rules have to say about the experience and expression of sexuality? Adolescents may be too young and vulnerable to withstand life under adult rules, but too smart and full of emotion to stand the old rules of childhood. The result can be chaos, passion, drama, and great discovery. (Throw into the mix that the rules themselves change generation by generation with the larger patterns of history, and the chaos and passion grow even wilder.) In this seminar we will examine artistic representations of adolescent sexual life during and after the great shift in sexual norms of the 1960s. Creative work—novels, short stories, narrative nonfiction, and films—will be our primary source material, with scholarly readings supporting our study. We will investigate such topics as subject/object dichotomies, LGBTQ identities, violence, virginity, pleasure, health education, narrative ownership, and the politics of empowerment. Students will write both analytic papers and creative prose.

GWS 3103. Gender, Sexuality, and Popular Music.
Tracy McMullen.

Employs gender as a theoretical tool to investigate the production, consumption, and representation of popular music in the United States and around the world. Examines how gender and racial codes have been used historically, for example to describe music as “authentic” (rap, rock) or “commercial” (pop, new wave), and at how these codes may have traveled, changed, or re-appeared in new guises over the decades. Considers how gender and sexuality are inscribed at every level of popular music as well as how music-makers and consumers have manipulated these representations to transgress normative codes and open up new spaces in popular culture for a range of sexual and gender expressions. Juniors and seniors only; sophomores admitted with consent of the instructor during the add/drop period.

GWS 3211. Bringing the Female Maroon to Memory: Female Marronage and Douboutism in French Caribbean Literature.
Hanetha Vete-Congolo.

History has retained the names of great male Caribbean heroes and freedom fighters during slavery such as the Haitians, Mackandal or Toussaint Louverture, the Jamaican, Cudjoe or the Cuban Coba. Enslaved Africans who rebelled against oppression and fled from the plantation system are called maroons and their act, marronage. Except for Queen Nanny of the Jamaican Blue Mountains, only male names have been consecrated as maroons. Yet, enslaved women did fight against slavery and practice marronage. Caribbean writers have made a point of bringing to memory forgotten acts of marronage by women during slavery or shortly thereafter. This course proposes to examine the fictional treatment French-speaking Caribbean authors grant to African or Afro-descent women who historically rebelled against slavery and colonization. The literary works will be studied against the backdrop of “douboutism”, a conceptual framework derived from the common perception about women in the French Caribbean as expressed in the Creole say “fanm doubout” which means “strong woman”. Authors studied may include Suzanne Dracius (Martinique), Fabienne Kanor (Martinique), André Schwart-Bart (Guadeloupe), Maryse Condé (Guadeloupe), Evelyn Trouillot (Haiti). Conducted in French.

GWS 3301. Doing Gender Studies: Ethnographies of Gender.
Kristen Ghodsee.

Explores how research and scholarship on gender can be an engine for social change. Students learn how to use the different “tools” of the scholar: interviews, surveys, oral history, archival research, participant observation, and discourse analysis. Through a semester-long research project, each student has a hands-on experience of designing and implementing an in-depth study on the gender issue of the student’s choice. Open to gender and women’s studies majors and minors, or with permission of the instructor.

GWS 3304. Writing Women.
Susan Faludi.

Women have historically exerted their voice and power through writing, although the writing trades—journalism and publishing—have often been unwelcoming to their presence. Examines reporting and writing by and about women, and engages students in the practice of writing about modern women’s concerns and lives. This is a hands-on workshop class, a laboratory where students will produce their own investigative, magazine-style project related to women or gender, as we study the works of major writers who have confronted women’s conditions and explored women’s lives.

GWS 3326. A Body "of One's Own": Latina and Caribbean Women Writers.
Nadia Celis.

What kind of stories do bodies tell or conceal? How are those stories affected by living in a gendered body/subject? How do embodied stories relate to history and social realities? These are some of the questions addressed in this study of contemporary writing by women from the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States Latina/Chicana communities. Films and popular culture dialogue with literary works and feminist theory to enhance the course examination of the relation of bodies and sexuality to social power, and the role of this relation in the shaping of both personal and national identities Authors include Julia Álvarez, Fanny Buitrago, Magali García Ramis, Judith Ortiz Cofer, and Mayra Santos-Febres, among others.Taught in Spanish with readings in Spanish and English.

GWS 3350. Modernism and the Nude.
Pamela Fletcher.

An examination of the central role that images of the female nude played in the development of modernist art between 1860 and the 1920s. Topics include the tradition of the female nude in art; the gendered dynamics of modernism; and the social, cultural, and artistic meaning of nudity. Artists considered include Manet, Degas, Cézanne, Picasso, and Valadon.