Spring 2011 Courses

101. Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies
Samaa Abdurraqib T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
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.
203. Race, Gender, and Diversity: Cases in Institutional Transformations
Debra Guckenheimer M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Examines three cases to address these questions: gender as an institution, institutionalized racism, and diversity efforts in higher education. How do social institutions, such as education and the economy, reproduce and challenge conventional values, beliefs, and hierarchies? Is it possible to create deep and meaningful change to institutions? How does institutional transformation take place and when are change efforts co-opted?
211. Muslim Women, Islam, and Feminism
Samaa Abdurraqib T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Interrogates commonly held beliefs about how Islam regards Muslim women. A broad range of Muslim women, some who identify as feminist, others who do not, consider Islam crucial to their gendered identity. There are also feminist women who were born Muslim, some of whom continue to practice Islam, others who do not, who consider Islam as oppressing their gendered identity. Whatever their positions, it is crucial that these women discuss their relationships, as women, to Islam. In this current historical and cultural moment, critics and proponents of Islam often speak on behalf of Muslim women, while Muslim women remain silent. In this class, we will read Muslim women writing, in their own words, about their religious practices, their feminist practices, and how these practices affect their lives and perspectives. We will read novels and poetry by Mohja Kahf, memoirs by Leila Ahmed and Fatima Mernissi, and a wide variety of other articles and texts written by Muslim women.
213. Ending Sexual Violence
Debra Guckenheimer T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Compares and contrasts feminist theories of sexual violence. Examines a multitude of forms of sexual violence and their causes from a sociological perspective. Considers how sexual violence is perceived as a global problem and feminist movements against it are described in universal terms. Identifies local instances across the globe to sexual violence as well as local organized resistance. Gives attention to the question of why rape occurs and approaches to reducing its prevalence.
221. Dostoevsky and the Novel
Raymond Miller T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Examines Fyodor Dostoevsky’s later novels. Studies the author’s unique brand of realism (“fantastic realism,” “realism of a higher order”), which explores the depths of human psychology and spirituality. Emphasis on the anti-Western, anti-materialist bias of Dostoevsky’s quest for meaning in a world growing increasingly unstable, violent, and cynical. Special attention is given to the author’s treatment of urban poverty and the place of women in Russian society.
222. "The Wire": Race, Class, Gender and the Urban Crisis
Brian Purnell T 6:30 - 9:25
Postwar U.S. cities were considered social, economic, political, and cultural zones of “crisis.” African Americans—their families, gender relations; their relationship to urban political economy, politics and culture—were at the center of this discourse. Using David Simon’s epic series, The Wire, as a critical source on post-industrial urban life, politics, conflict, and economics, covers the origins of the “urban crisis,” the rise of an “underclass” theory of urban class relations, the evolution of the urban “underground economy,” and the ways the “urban crisis” shaped depictions of African Americans in American popular culture.
229. Sociology of the Family
Wendy Christensen M 9:30 - 10:25, W 9:30 - 10:25, F 9:30 - 10:25
Examines contemporary American families, paying particular attention to how ideas about family are changing, and the impact of gender, class, and race inequalities on families. Explores common assumptions about the “traditional family,” and compares this image with a brief overview of the history of American family life. Analyzes recent transformations in contemporary American family life: the large-scale entrance of mothers into paid labor, changes to United States family and welfare policies, the distribution of household labor and care work, the increasing number of gay and lesbian families, and the rise in single-parent and unmarried households and childless adults.
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
Films, music, short stories, folklore, and art are 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 conflicts 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-first century. Arrival of “outsiders”: from early traders and 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 (Islam, shamanism). Questions how film 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. Note: May be counted towards a minor in film studies.
251. Women in American History, 1600-1900
Sarah McMahon T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
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.
255. Gender and Politics
Wendy Christensen M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the interaction of gender relations and United States politics from a sociological perspective. Explores the effects of politics on women's and men's economic situations, on gender relationships, and on social conflict. Investigates the ways that gender organizes participation in collective decision-making, contributes to the formation and mobilization of specific identities and interests, and infuses our understandings of and participation in political processes. Looks at how politics reflects gender identities and interests, and how the state activities maintain and change gender relations. Employs comparative cases from other countries, and explores the gendered standing of the United States in international relations.
269. Film Noir
Ann Kibbie T 1:00 - 2:25, TH 1:00 - 2:25
A survey of film noir, from the hard-boiled detective films of the 1940s to later films that attempt to re-imagine the genre. Focuses on issues of gender and sexuality, the representation of women in film, and gender roles in the 1940s and 1950s. Films may include The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, Strangers on a Train, In a Lonely Place, and Chinatown. Readings will include film criticism and theory, as well as some of the novels that were adapted for the screen. Attendance at weekly screenings is required.
270. Spirit Come Down: Black Women and Religion
Judith Casselberry M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Primarily focused on Christian denominations: Methodist, Baptist, and Pentecostal. Examines the religious lives of black women in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America. Explores issues of self-representation, memory, material culture, embodiment, and civic and political engagement through autobiographical, historical, literary, anthropological, cinematic, and musical texts.
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, Amerindian, 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.
277. Applied Research Practicum: Chinese Rural to Urban Migration
Rachel Connelly W 1:00 - 3:55
Highlights applied research methods in microeconomics. Students work throughout the semester in research teams to analyze data from Chinese rural women on their migration and/or the migration of their husbands. While topics of Chinese economic life and economic models of migration are studied, primarily focuses on methods: how applied researchers work with data to analyze a set of questions. Elementary statistics is a prerequisite. Statistical techniques beyond the elementary level are taught.
304. Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods
Desdamona Rios T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Although much of human experience and culture is manifested through narratives, most quantitative research methods in the social sciences are not sensitive to the nuances, ambiguities, and layers of meaning narratives convey. Qualitative research methods provide practical, systematic, and verifiable means to tap the psychological meaning of narratives, yet they are much less often employed by psychologists, and often poorly understood. Introduces a range of qualitative methods used in the social sciences, particularly psychology. Covers the philosophical underpinnings of qualitative methods, reflexivity and ethics in qualitative research, the conditions and questions for which a qualitative study is most appropriate, evaluation of qualitative research, combining qualitative and quantitative methods, and approaches to writing qualitative reports. Hands-on activities introduce students to qualitative research design, data collection, coding, and analysis. Focuses on the role of narrative in social and personal identity. Many readings will feature the work of feminist scholars, whose pioneering work using qualitative methods has advanced our understanding of methodology and epistemology, while illuminating the significance of gender in the lives of women and men.