Location: Bowdoin / Gender and Women's Studies / Courses / Spring 2012

Gender and Women's Studies

Spring 2012

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.

101. Introduction to Gender and Women's Studies
Desdamona Rios M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
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 M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
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.

111. Introduction to LGBTQ Fiction
Guy Foster M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Using an intersectional reading approach, students closely analyze both classic and more contemporary lesbigay, trans, and queer fictional texts of the last one hundred years. Students consider the historically and culturally changing ways that sexuality has been understood within popular, medical, as well as religious discourses. And because gender conflict and the tendency to analogize the struggles of sexual and racial minorities are key features of this literary tradition, students are expected to engage this subject matter sensitively and critically. Possible texts include: The Well of Loneliness, Giovanni’s Room, Rubyfruit Jungle, A Single Man, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and The Limits of Pleasure.

208. Race and Sexuality in Modern America
Tristan Cabello T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Surveys the history of race and sexuality as important intersecting categories that organize life and politics in the United States since the early twentieth century. The focus will be on the development of racial and sexual classifications, and on the ways Americans embraced, resisted, and transformed the normative dimensions of those categories. Readings and discussions will address the shifting relationship between social norms and marginal or deviant people and communities. Course materials include sociological, historical and cultural analyses, media articles, visual texts, and fiction. Topics explored include: the politics of respectability in communities of color; definitions of sexual freedom; marital norms; interracial marriage; sexual coercion; HIV/AIDS; sex and race in American cinema, race and gay communities and the sexual politics of social movements both left and right.

209. Medieval Women's Writing
Megan Cook T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Introduces students to writing by, for, and about women in late medieval England. Our goal will be to trace the way these texts reflect and shape the social, religious, and domestic lives of women living in the period. We will focus on texts composed by women, such as the Book of Margery Kempe and The Showings of Julian of Norwich, but we will also read works by men written for women's edification and entertainment and texts about women written by and for men. Readings may include manuals for religious women, lives of female saints, and books of instruction for young wives, as well as medical and scientific texts. Attention will also be given to the literary history of these works, and to contemporary critical approaches to issues of sexuality and gender in historical context. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors

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. Readings include 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 about their religious practices, their feminist practices, and how these practices affect their lives and perspectives.

222. "The Wire": Race, Class, Gender, and the Urban Crisis
Brian Purnell W 2:30 - 3:55, F 2:30 - 3:55
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 postindustrial 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.

230. Science, Sex, and Politics
David Hecht M 11:30 - 12:55, W 11:30 - 12:55
Examines the intersection of science, sex, and politics in twentieth-century United States history. Issues of sex and sexuality have been contested terrain over the past hundred years, as varying conceptions of gender, morality, and “proper” sexual behavior have become politically and socially controversial. Explores the way that science has impacted these debates—often as a tool by which activists of varying political and intellectual persuasions have attempted to use notions of scientific objectivity and authority to advance their agendas. Explores debates over issues such as birth control, eugenics, abortion, and the “gay gene.”

239. Women and the Eighteenth-Century Novel
Ann Kibbie T 10:00 - 11:25, TH 10:00 - 11:25
Explores how women are represented in eighteenth-century fiction, and the impact of women readers and women writers on the development of the novel. Authors will include Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Frances Burney, and Jane Austen. Note: This course fulfills the pre-1800 literature requirement for English majors.

241. Victorian Race and Empire
Aviva Briefel T 11:30 - 12:55, TH 11:30 - 12:55
Examines Victorian constructions of racial difference and imperial relationships in literary texts ranging from the 1830s to the fin de siècle. Of central concern will be issues of representation and racialized identity; fantasies about nationhood and colonialism; narratives of “adventure” at home and abroad; and images of gender and sexuality. Literary criticism central to discussions. Authors may include C. Brontë, Conrad, Doyle, Du Maurier, Haggard, Kipling, Marsh, and F. A. Steel.

258. Labor, Gender, and Immigration in the United States-Mexico Borderlands
Lori Flores M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
Seminar. Explores the history of the United States-Mexico borderlands through the prisms of work, gender, and movements of people. What is the definition of a “borderland” and who or what creates one, physical or imagined? What historical moments and patterns make the United States-Mexico borderlands a unique space, and how has this space shifted and changed over time? Through readings students will analyze how labor and class, articulations and notions of gender, and immigration policies and migrant flows have impacted processes of identity formation, inclusion, and exclusion for this region’s racially and ethnically diverse communities. A critical understanding of place, relations of power, historical memory, and the meanings of transnationalism are major objectives.

259. Sex and the Politics of the Body in Modern India
Rachel Sturman M 2:30 - 3:55, W 2:30 - 3:55
Seminar. Explores changing conceptions of the body, sexuality, and gender in South Asia, with a focus on modern formations since the late eighteenth century. Topics include practices of female seclusion; ideas of purity, pollution, and the care of the self; religious renunciation and asceticism; the erotics of religious devotion; theories of desire; modern conjugality; and the emergence of a contemporary lesbian/gay/queer movement.

270. Spirit Come Down: Black Women and Religion
Judith Casselberry T 2:30 - 3:55, TH 2:30 - 3:55
Explores issues of self-representation, memory, material culture, embodiment, and civic and political engagement through autobiographical, historical, literary, anthropological, cinematic, and musical texts. Primarily focused on Christian denominations: Methodist, Baptist, and Pentecostal. Examines the religious lives of black women in nineteenth- and twentieth-century America.

275. Gender and Sexuality in Contemporary Eastern Europe
Kristen Ghodsee M 1:00 - 2:25, W 1:00 - 2:25
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.

301. Doing Gender Studies: Ethnographies of Gender
Kristen Ghodsee M 10:00 - 11:25, W 10:00 - 11:25

322. Race, Gender, and Ethnicity in British and European Society
Susan Tananbaum W 1:00 - 3:55
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.