Spring 2010 Courses

021. Bad Girls of the 1950s
Jennifer Scanlon M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
Boody-Johnson House Seminar Room
Explores the representation and life experiences of women who did not fi t the cultural norm of suburban motherhood in 1950s America. Focuses on issues of class, race, sexuality, and gender in a decade shaped by fears about nuclear war and communism, and by social and political conformity. Topics include teenage pregnancy, women’s grassroots political leadership, single womanhood, civil rights, emergent feminism, and, fi nally, the enduring cultural resonance of the apron-clad 1950s mom. Engages a variety of primary and secondary sources.
029. Historians, Comediennes, Storytellers: Women Filmmakers in the German-Speaking Countries
Birgit Tautz T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the work of women filmmakers in the German-speaking countries since the 1960s. By analyzing a range of films and cinematic genres—to include narrative cinema, biography, documentary, and comedy—explores key interests of these directors: the telling of stories and (German, European, global) histories, the exploration of gender identity, sexuality, and various waves of feminism, the portrayal of women, the participation in the cinematic conventions of Hollywood as well as independent and avant-garde film, spectatorship. Also introduces students to film criticism; includes weekly film screenings. No knowledge of German required.
101. Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies
Jennifer Scanlon M  8:00 - 9:25
W  8:00 - 9:25
An interdisciplinary introduction to the issues, perspectives, and fi ndings 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.
212. Third World Feminism
Karen Lindo T  1:00 - 2:25
TH 1:00 - 2:25
The Third World Woman is characterized as poor, uneducated, tradition-bound, sexually constrained and eternally powerless. This course examines the discursive practices that have produced this monolithic woman and moves beyond the objectification of her person to unfold the multiple faces and places in which Third World Feminism is actually at work. Who is the Third World Woman? What are her problems and needs? Is there room in the economy of her person for desires? Course readings will situate her geographically, socio-historically and politically both within the US and in the developing/developed nations that hinge on the periphery of First World ideologies. Sources will include Le Deuxihme Sexe by Simone de Beauvoir, Feminism Without Borders by Chandra Talpade Mohanty, scholarly articles, fictional works (Gishle Pineau, Buchi Emecheta, Zoi Valdis, Nawal El Saadawi, Edwidge Danticat), visual media and active engagement with a key organization in which Third World Feminism is a First World subject. Taught in English. Students of French are encouraged to read and write assignments in French.
217. Dostoevsky or Tolstoy
Raymond Miller T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
Explores and compares two giants of Russian literature, Lev Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky. Their works are read for their signifi cance, both to Russian cultural history and to European thought; special attention is paid to the portrayal of women and women’s issues by both authors. Part I studies Dostoevsky’s quest for guiding principles of freedom and love in a world of growing violence, cynicism, and chaos. “The Woman Question” emerges as a constant subject: Dostoevsky particularly concerned himself with the suffering of poor and humiliated women. A close reading of several short works and the novel Brothers Karamazov set in their historical and intellectual framework. Emphasis on the novelist’s struggle between Western materialistic individualism and Eastern voluntary self-renunciation. Examines Dostoevsky’s “fantastic realism” as a polyphony of voices, archetypes, and religious symbols. Part II studies Tolstoy’s development both as a novelist and a moral philosopher. Examines several works, the most important being the novel Anna Karenina, with special emphasis on the tension between Tolstoy-the-artist and Tolstoy-the-moralist. Discussion of the writer’s role as “the conscience of Russia” in the last thirty years of his life, as well as his infl uence on such fi gures as Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
233. Gender and Secularisms: Comparative Cultures of Church-State Relations
Kristen Ghodsee M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Hubbard-Conference Room West
Examines the gendered implications of different ideologies informing the post- Enlightenment separation of Church and State. Students will be expected to engage with recent critical scholarship on secularism, post-secularism, and the process of secularization. Asks how different confi gurations of religion and politics shape collective defi nitions of the public and private sphere and how these particular conceptions then affect gender relations between men and women. Examines competing histories of secularization as well as engages with recent controversies such as the headscarf bans in Turkey and France and the issue of abstinence-only sex education in school in the United States. In particular, explores the paradox of trying to simultaneously uphold gender equality and protect religious freedoms when these two goals are seemingly at odds.
239. Victorian Genders
Aviva Briefel T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
Investigates the literary and cultural construction of gender in Victorian England. Of central concern are fantasies of “ideal” femininity and masculinity, representations of unconventional gender roles and sexualities, and the dynamic relationship between literary genres and gender ideologies of the period. Authors may include Charlotte Bronte, Freud, Gissing, Hardy, Rider Haggard, Christina Rossetti, Ruskin, Schreiner, Tennyson, and Wilde.
242. History of Black Sexual Politics
Keona Ervin M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
Chase Barn Chamber
Explores how gender and sexuality function within African American communities in the United States using historical and contemporary case studies. Examines connections between constructions of Black femininity and masculinity, racial identity formation and social inequality against the backdrop of slavery and emancipation, segregation, the Great Depression and World War II, the black freedom struggle, and what many have called the post-civil rights era. Materials include interdisciplinary scholarly texts and articles, films, novels, and music.
243. Russia’s “Others”: Siberia and Central Asia through Film and Literature
Jane Knox-Voina T  10:00 - 11:25
TH 10:00 - 11:25
Sills-Smith Auditorium
Films, music, short stories, folklore, art analyzed for the construction of national identity of Asian peoples from the Caucasus to the Siberian Bering Straits—Russia and the Former Central Asia (the “stans” and Mongolia). Themes: Multicultural confl icts along the Silk Road, the transit zone linking West to East. Changing roles of Asian women as cornerstone for nations. Survival and role of indigenous peoples in solving cultural, economic, and geopolitical issues facing the twenty-fi rst century. Arrival of “outsiders”: from early traders to Siberian settlers to exiled convicts; from early conquerors to despotic Bolshevik rulers, from Genghis Khan to Stalin. Impact of Soviet collectivization, industrialization, and modernism on traditional beliefs, the environment, subsistence indigenous cultures, and Eastern spiritualities (Muslimism, shamanism). Questions how fi lm and literature both tell and shape the story of “nations.” Films include S. Bodrov’s Prisoner of the Mountains (Caucasus) and Mongol; V. Pudovskin’s Storm Over Asia, A. Kurosawa’s Dersu Uzala, N. Mikhalkov’s Close to Eden, A. Konchalovsky’s Siberiade, G. Omarova’s Schizo.
249. History of Women's Voices in America
Sarah McMahon M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
CT-16 Harrison McCann
Seminar. Examines women’s voices in America from 1650 to the twentieth century, as these emerged in private letters, journals, and autobiographies; poetry, short stories, and novels; essays, addresses, and prescriptive literature. Readings from the secondary literature provide a historical framework for examining women’s writings. Research projects focus on the form and content of women’s literature and the ways that it illuminates women’s understandings, reactions, and responses to their historical situation.
252. American Intimacies: Sex and Love in Nineteenth-Century Literature
Peter Coviello T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
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.
253. Constructions of the Body
Susan Bell M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Explores the body as a refl ection and construction of language, a source of metaphor, and a political and social “space.” Considers historical and cross-cultural studies about men’s and women’s bodies, sexuality, gender, and power. Throughout, draws from and compares theories of the body in sociology, women’s studies, and gay and lesbian studies.
254. Gender and Sexuality in Latin America
Marie Gaytan T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
How have economic, political, and cultural influences contributed to the creation and maintenance of gender and sexual identities in Latin America? How are these circumstances challenged by Latin Americans? Examines the relational nature of gender and sexuality, considers questions about the material and discursive dimensions of power, and analyzes how both gender and sexuality articulate with other social categories including class, race, ethnicity, religion, and generation.
259. Sex and the Politics of the Body in India
Rachel Sturman M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. Examines the politics of sexuality as well as other forms of ascribed bodily difference (e.g. caste, gender, religion) in shaping social and political life in modern India from the nineteenth century to the present day. Topics include: modern conjugality; histories of prostitution; love and intimate life; the emergence of a contemporary lesbian/gay/queer movement; the sexual forms of caste and religious violence.
273. Black Women and Slavery in Diasporic Perspective
Jessica Johnson M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Examines the history of women of African descent during the second period of slavery and slave trading between Africa, the Caribbean, and mainland North America (roughly 1650 to 1888). Focuses on the everyday experiences of women's labor, reproduction, and kinship-building on the plantations and in the cities, of these slaveholding societies and on women's roles in the (re)creation of Afro-Atlantic religious and political culture. Investigates the participation of women in abolition and emancipation movements of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. A range of issues addressed: How did women of African descent experience life under slavery in contrast to men or women of European, Amerinidan, and East Indian descent? How did the lives of enslaved women differ from free women of color in different slave holding societies of the Atlantic world? How did the experience of migration, forced and voluntary, impact the lives of black women and the growth of black societies across the Atlantic African diaspora? Assignments include work by contemporary historians and literary figures, primary source analysis, and student projects on the representation and presentation of women and slavery.
301. Doing Gender Studies: Ethnographies of Gender
Kristen Ghodsee M  2:30 - 3:55
W  2:30 - 3:55
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.
322. Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in British and European Society
Susan Tananbaum W  1:00 - 3:55 Sills-Peucinian Room
An analysis of cultural traditions in Britain and Europe. Explores the impact of immigration on Britain and the Continent, notions of cultural pluralism, and the changing definitions and implications of gender in Britain and Europe from the late eighteenth century to the present. Students undertake a major research project utilizing primary sources.
326. A Body "of One's Own": Latina and Caribbean Women Writers
Nadia Celis T  2:30 - 3:55
TH 2:30 - 3:55
What do bodies tell or conceal? What does it mean to live in a female body? How does a body become a Self? These are some of the questions addressed in this study of contemporary literature by women writers from the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States Latina community. Films, popular music, soap operas, and advertising dialogue with literary works to explore the relationship between corporeality, power, and the development of female subjectivity, as well as the representation of female bodies in the construction of Caribbean and Latina identities. Authors include Julia Álvarez, Fanny Buitrago, Magali García Ramis, Judith Ortiz Cofer and Mayra Santos-Febres, among others.