Course Offerings

Spring 2016

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

The Second Sex: Beauvoir on the Power of Gender

PHIL 235 - Verhage, Florentien

Sixty years after its initial publication, The Second Sex is as eye-opening and relevant as ever. Simone de Beauvoir's masterpiece weaves together history, philosophy, economics, biology, and a host of other disciplines to analyze the Western notion of "woman" and to explore the making and the power of gender and sexuality. The Second Sex is an important philosophical and political document about inequality and enforced "otherness." Referring to the history of philosophy, new developments in existential thought, and drawing on extensive interviews with women, Beauvoir synthesizes research about women's bodies and psyches as well as their historic and economic roles.

The Second Sex: Beauvoir on the Power of Gender

WGS 235 - Verhage, Florentien

Sixty years after its initial publication, The Second Sex is as eye-opening and relevant as ever. Simone de Beauvoir's masterpiece weaves together history, philosophy, economics, biology, and a host of other disciplines to analyze the Western notion of "woman" and to explore the making and the power of gender and sexuality. The Second Sex is an important philosophical and political document about inequality and enforced "otherness." Referring to the history of philosophy, new developments in existential thought, and drawing on extensive interviews with women, Beauvoir synthesizes research about women's bodies and psyches as well as their historic and economic roles.

Winter 2016

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Contemporary Modern Dance History

DANC 240 - Wiesner, Susan L. / Davies, Jenefer M.

This course is a study of the manifestations of American modern dance from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Students explore the relationship between dance and developments in U.S. culture and study the innovators of the art form and their techniques, writings, and art works through readings, video and lectures.

Gender, Love, and Marriage in the Middle Ages

ENGL 312 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

A study of the complex nexus of gender, love, and marriage in medieval legal, theological, political, and cultural discourses. Reading an eclectic range of texts--such as romance, hagiography, fabliau, (auto)biography, conduct literature, and drama--we consider questions of desire, masculinity, femininity, and agency, as well as the production and maintenance of gender roles and of emotional bonds within medieval conjugality. Authors include Chaucer, Chretien de Troyes, Heldris of Cornwall, Andreas Capellanus, Margery Kempe, and Christine de Pisan. Readings in Middle English or in translation. No prior knowledge of medieval languages necessary.

Literature by Women of Color

ENGL 359 - Miranda, Deborah A.

This course focuses on the intersection of race and gender as they meet in the lives and identities of contemporary women of color via literature: African-Americans, Native Americans, Chicanas, Asian-Americans, and mixed bloods, or 'mestizas.' Our readings, discussions and writings focus on the work that "coming to voice" does for women of color, and for our larger society and world. Students read a variety of poetry, fiction, and autobiography in order to explore some of the issues most important to and about women of color: identity, histories, diversity, resistance and celebration. Literary analyses-i.e., close readings, explications and interpretations-are key strategies for understanding these readings.

Advanced Seminar

ENGL 380 - Alexander, Kaelin B.

A seminar course on a topic, genre, figure, or school (e.g. African-American women's literature, epic film, Leslie Marmon Silko, feminist literary theory) with special emphasis on research and discussion. The topic will be limited in scope to permit study in depth. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Winter 2016, ENGL 380-02: Advanced Seminar: Feeling Victorian (3). Top hats, trains, and triple-decker novels: the Victorian era is often envisioned as overcrowded with objects. And yet, 19th-century England's rapid industrialization brought about not only a revolution in the circulation of commodities, but also in the social life of emotion. As an introduction to Victorian literature and culture, this course charts the complicated relationship between feelings and things. In each unit we explore how a specific emotion helped to organize and transform a key aspect of Victorian society, from economy and empire to home life and education. Through our encounters with Victorian writing, painting, fashion, architecture, and ephemera, we track how the Victorian rhetoric of feeling continues to shape our ideas about gender, race, class, and sexuality. (HL) Alexander .

Seminar: The Age of the Witch Hunts

HIST 219 - Brock, Michelle D. (Mikki)

This course introduces students to one of the most fascinating and disturbing events in the history of the Western world: the witch hunts in early-modern Europe and North America. Between 1450 and 1750, more than 100,000 individuals, from Russia to Salem, were prosecuted for the crime of witchcraft. Most were women and more than half were executed. In this course, we examine the political, religious, social, and legal reasons behind the trials, asking why they occurred in Europe when they did and why they finally ended. We also explore, in brief, global witch hunts that still occur today in places like Africa and India, asking how they resemble yet differ from those of the early-modern world.

Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

PHIL 242 - Bell, Melina C. (Melina)

An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society.

Feminist Social and Political Philosophy

PHIL 244 - Bell, Melina C. (Melina)

This course critically examines the gender norms that pervade our identities, govern our everyday behavior, and organize our social life. Questions addressed may include: What is gender? In what ways does it affect the quality of women's and men's lives? Is gender difference natural? Is it valuable? Can it contribute to, or interfere with, human flourishing? Can a gendered society be just? What can any of us do to promote good relations among women and men?

Gender and Politics

POL 255 - Le Blanc, Robin M.

This course investigates the gendered terms under which women and men participate in political life. Attention is given to the causes of men's and women's different patterns of participation in politics, to processes that are likely to decrease the inequalities between men's and women's political power, and the processes by which society's gender expectations shape electoral and institutional politics. The different effects of gender on the practice of politics in different nations are compared, with a special emphasis placed on advanced industrial democracies.

Gender and Sexuality

SOAN 280 - Novack, David R.

An anthropological and sociological investigation of sex roles in preliterate and modern societies. Special consideration is given to the role of innate sexual differences, cultural variation, technology, and power in determining patterns of male dominance. Emphasis is placed on real and mythical female and male power in the context of changing relationships between men and women in American society.

Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies and Feminist Theory

WGS 120 - Verhage, Florentien

This course introduces students to the fields of feminist theory and women's and gender studies by focusing on key theoretical concepts and surveying a range of topics that have been central to the academic study of women and gender. Such topics are likely to include the family as a social institution, gender in the workplace, beauty norms, violence against women, the history of feminist activism, and/or women's achievements in traditionally male-dominated fields such as sports, art, science, or literature. Students learn to approach such topics using gender as an analytical tool that intersects in complex ways with other categories of social power, such as race, class, and sexuality. The course is interdisciplinary in approach and presents a plurality of feminist perspectives in order to offer a rich understanding of the development of feminist thought over the past several decades. Course assignments encourage students to use such thought to analyze their other academic pursuits, as well as the non-academic environments in which they live, including thinking critically about their own experiences as women and men in contemporary society.

Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies and Feminist Theory

WGS 120 - Verhage, Florentien

This course introduces students to the fields of feminist theory and women's and gender studies by focusing on key theoretical concepts and surveying a range of topics that have been central to the academic study of women and gender. Such topics are likely to include the family as a social institution, gender in the workplace, beauty norms, violence against women, the history of feminist activism, and/or women's achievements in traditionally male-dominated fields such as sports, art, science, or literature. Students learn to approach such topics using gender as an analytical tool that intersects in complex ways with other categories of social power, such as race, class, and sexuality. The course is interdisciplinary in approach and presents a plurality of feminist perspectives in order to offer a rich understanding of the development of feminist thought over the past several decades. Course assignments encourage students to use such thought to analyze their other academic pursuits, as well as the non-academic environments in which they live, including thinking critically about their own experiences as women and men in contemporary society.

Fall 2015

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Reproductive Physiology

BIOL 255 - Gibber, Judith R. (Judy)

An examination of sex as a biological phenomenon with consideration of the genetic (chromosomal), embryological, endocrine, and neurological bases of sexual development, differentiation, and identity.

Special Topics in Economics

ECON 295 - Shester, Katharine L.

Course emphasis and prerequisites change from term to term and are announced prior to preregistration. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different. A maximum of nine credits chosen from all special topics in economics courses may be used, with permission of the department head, toward requirements for the economics major.

Fall 2015, ECON 295A-01: Women in the Economy (3) . This course explores how economic theory and analysis can be applied to examine the multiple roles that women play in our society. In particular, we examine linkages and changes in women's human capital, marriage, fertility, family structure, and occupation and labor supply decisions in the post-World War II era, and investigate the magnitude and causes of the gender wage gap. Students assess how much of the gender wage gap can be explained by education and occupational choice, and how much appears to be due to discrimination. We also learn about (and try to explain) the differences in the gender wage gap for women with and without children, and explore how the legalization of the birth control pill has influenced the marriage, fertility, family structure, educational, and occupational decisions of women. Shester . Fall 2015

Seminar for Prospective Majors

ENGL 299 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

A study of a topic in literature issuing in a research process and sustained critical writing. Some recent topics have been Detective Fiction; American Indian Literatures; Revenge; and David Thoreau and American Transcendentalism.

Fall 2015, ENGL 299-02: Seminar for Prospective Majors: The (M.) Butterfly Effect (3) . Marco Polo, in his Travels , boasts of no fewer than 20,000 courtesans ready to serve foreign emissaries and merchants visiting the imperial court of the Great Khan. The East, simultaneously there and here, is always already exoticized and eroticized. This course examines the parallel constructions and representations of Eastern spaces, bodies, genders, and sexualities that continue to haunt the Western imaginary. Central to the discursive history of Orientalism is the figure of Madame Butterfly--geisha, lover, mother, and wife. Alongside and against Cho-Cho San, however, are the Dragon Lady, Mulan the female warrior, and men who intentionally or unwittingly assume the role of the Butterfly. Between fantasy and reality, is the East an effect of cross-cultural encounters? Or does it effect its own figurations in a complex network of negotiations? Cultural artifacts include Pierre Loti's Madame Chrysanthème ; John Luther Long's original short story and later novella Madame Butterfly , as well as David Belasco's play, Giacomo Puccini's opera, David Henry Hwang's play M. Butterfly, and Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil's musical Miss Saigon ; Arthur Golden's Memoirs of a Geisha ; the legends of Mulan and Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior ; Graham Greene's The Quiet American ; and Marguerite Duras' The Lover . We also look at various cinematic adaptations and visual traditions of the Butterfly, including Kenji Mizoguchi's 1956 Sisters of the Gion , Jerry Lewis' 1958 The Geisha Boy, the films of Anna May Wong, and the works of Margaret Cho. Emphases are on the practice of close reading, introduction to literary theory, and critical research skills. A series of short papers culminate in a long research paper. (HL) Kao .

Shakespearean Genres

ENGL 320 - Pickett, Holly C.

In a given term, this course focuses on one or two of the major genres explored by Shakespeare (e.g., histories, tragedies, comedies, tragicomedies/romances, lyric and narrative poetry), in light of Renaissance literary conventions and recent theoretical approaches. Students consider the ways in which Shakespeare's generic experiments are variably inflected by gender, by political considerations, by habitat, and by history.

Women in Russian History

HIST 228 - Bidlack, Richard H. (Rich)

Students read many accounts by and about Russian women to gain an understanding of how Russian women have been affected by wars, revolutions, and other major events and, simultaneously, how they have been agents of change from the beginnings Russian history up to the present.

History of Women in America, 1609-1870

HIST 257 - Senechal, Roberta H.

An examination of women's social, political, cultural and economic positions in America through the immediate post-Civil War. Changes in women's education, legal status, position in the family, and participation in the work force with emphasis on the diversity of women's experience, especially the manner in which class and race influenced women's lives. The growth of organized women's rights.

Queering Colonialism

HIST 379 - Tallie, Tyrone H., Jr. (T.J.)

This course seeks to examine the many intersectional and overlapping threads in the histories of colonialism, gender, and sexuality. As authors like Achmat and Cohen have argued, colonialism has simultaneously supported and been supported by heteronormative, patriarchal, and white-supremacist regimes. This course looks at three avenues in which the 'normal' has been both created and contested in colonial histories: the body, belonging, and becoming. We read from a variety of disciplines, eras, and locations in order to understand how bodies can be made normal or 'queer.' We also examine how imperial structures of rule impact the daily lived experiences of people as they attempt to find spaces of belonging and potential for becoming part of a larger group. movement. or idea.

Gender-Role Development

PSYC 262 - Fulcher, Megan

This course provides the student with an overview of gender-role development: How do children learn to be boys and girls? What role do biological factors play in different behaviors of boys and girls? Does society push boys and girls in different directions? We discuss children's evolving ideas about gender, and what can be done to change these ideas (or whether they need to be changed at all). Through the examination of these questions and issues, the course introduces students to the major theories of gender-role development, the research methods used to measure children's gender-role behaviors and attitudes, and the current research in the field.

Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination

PSYC 269 - Woodzicka, Julie A.

This course examines cognitive and affective processes involved in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Causes and social implications of prejudice involving various stigmatized groups (e.g., African-Americans, women, homosexuals, people of low socioeconomic status, overweight individuals) are examined. Participants focus on attitudes and behaviors of both perpetrators and targets of prejudice that likely contribute to and result from social inequality.

FS: First-year Seminar

WGS 180 - Bell, Melina C. (Melina)

First-year seminar. Topics vary with term and instructor.

Fall 2015 topic:

WGS 180: FS: Gender and Sport (3). First-Year Seminar. Prerequisite: First-year class standing. This course introduces students to the fields of feminist theory and women's and gender studies by acquainting students with key theoretical concepts of the discipline, while exploring how the social practices and representations of sport are influenced by the gendered social framework within which they occur. Through an interdisciplinary approach, students learn to use gender as an analytical tool that intersects in complex ways with other categories of social power, such as race, class, and sexuality, focusing on the domain of sport. A central aim of the course is to encourage students to think critically about the relationship between their identities and their participation in sports, academics, and other pursuits, and their experiences as women and men in contemporary society. (HU) M. Bell. Fall 2015