Course Offerings

Winter 2018

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.

Reading Gender

ENGL 261 - Rajbanshi, Reema

A course on using gender as a tool of literary analysis. We study the ways ideas about masculinity and femininity inform and are informed by poetry, short stories, novels, plays, films, and/or pop culture productions. Also includes readings in feminist theory about literary interpretation and about the ways gender intersects with other social categories, including race, ethnicity, sexuality, and class. Historical focus will vary according to professor's areas of interest and expertise. We study novels, poems, stories, and films that engage with what might be considered some major modern myths of gender: popular fairy tales. We focus at length upon the Cinderella and Red Riding Hood stories but also consider versions of several additional tales, always with the goal of analyzing the particular ideas about women and men, girls and boys, femininity and masculinity that both underlie and are produced by specific iterations of these familiar stories. Winter 2018: Introduction to Fourth-World Feminisms. This course reads across contexts and genres to think through 19th-21st-century formulations of gender as imagined and enacted by indigenous and tribal women. In doing so, it necessarily addresses issues of settler and extractive colonialisms (United States, Guatemala, India), forms of resistance (hunger strike, un/armed protest), and subaltern poetics complicating received narratives of progress and art. A consistent concern is the relationship between this mode of feminist praxis/politics and other modes of feminist thought, such as second wave U.S. feminism, Black feminism, and women of color feminisms. Another recurring question is to address the nuances of categories, such as "indigenous", "tribal", and "race/caste", categories that have taken on heightened sensitivity in the current global moment. Reading materials span novels, films, and critical essays, and assignments center on oral presentations and regular writing. Rajbanshi.

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.

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.

Representations of Women, Gender and Sexuality in World Literature

LIT 310 - Radulescu, Domnica V.

This course examines a plethora of literary texts chosen from across historical periods from antiquity, through early modern times, to the modern and postmodern era and across several national traditions and cultural landscapes.  Its main intellectual objective is to sensitize students to the ways in which women and gender have been represented in literary texts of various genres and to help them develop specific analytic skills in order to discover and evaluate the interconnections between the treatment of women in society and their artistic reflections in works of literature.

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.

Gender, Sexuality, and Islam

REL 284 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

How have issues of gender and sexuality in Medieval and Modern Islamic societies been debated across the Middle East, South Asia, and the West? Students examine scholarly and public discussions of gender and Islam, and they build a vocabulary in which to talk about women. queer, and intersex history as they concern Muslim societies and their foundational sources in their regional and historical contexts. No prior knowledge of Islam is necessary.

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

WGSS 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.

21st-Century Feminism: Where Are We Now?

WGSS 220 - Walle, Taylor F.

Where it used to be considered a liability, the word feminist is now proudly claimed by pop stars and emblazoned on t-shirts. What has changed, and what should we make of this popular feminism? Does it herald a new age of equal rights, or does it threaten to undermine the progress that 20th-century feminists worked so hard to secure? Looking exclusively at texts published after 2000, this course surveys a wide range of feminist issues, including intersectionality, body positivity, sexual assault, trans feminism, popular feminism, feminist merch, the 2016 election, and the future of feminism.

Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

WGSS 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

Representations of Women, Gender and Sexuality in World Literature

WGSS 310 - Radulescu, Domnica V.

This course examines a plethora of literary texts chosen from across historical periods from antiquity, through early modern times, to the modern and postmodern era and across several national traditions and cultural landscapes.  Its main intellectual objective is to sensitize students to the ways in which women and gender have been represented in literary texts of various genres and to help them develop specific analytic skills in order to discover and evaluate the interconnections between the treatment of women in society and their artistic reflections in works of literature.

Advanced Seminar in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

WGSS 396 - Bell, Melina C. (Melina)

This course provides an opportunity for advanced students to explore in detail some aspect of Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Specific topics may vary and may be determined, in part, by student interest. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2017

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 - 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.

Women in the Economy

ECON 251 - Shester, Katharine L.

Students explore 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. We also investigate the magnitude and causes of the gender wage gap. We 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 labor-market outcomes for women with and without children. Finally, we access the causes and consequences of teenage pregnancy and single motherhood.

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.

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.

Topics in Literature in English since 1900

ENGL 394A - Walle, Taylor F.

Enrollment limited. A seminar course on literature written in English since 1900 with special emphasis on research and discussion. Student suggestions for topics are welcome. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Fall 2017, ENGL 394A-01: Topics in Literature in English since 1900: Between the Acts: The Life and Writing of Virginia Woolf (3). Virginia Woolf is one of the most important writers of the 20th century. She is best remembered for contributions to the modern British novel, but she was also an astute (and prolific) literary critic, as well as an influential feminist thinker. This course considers Woolf in context, reading her work alongside key examples of modernist fiction. Born into a world of strict Victorian morals but coming of age among the vibrant avant-garde, Woolf's life mirrors the fast-paced changes of the early 20th century, and thus her biography and her literary coterie are focal points of our discussion. In addition to canonical works like Mrs. Dalloway (1925) and To the Lighthouse (1927), we also read Between the Acts (1941) and Orlando (1928), as well as selections of Woolf's feminist theory and literary criticism. (HL) Walle .

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.

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.

Spring 2017

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.

Caste at the Intersection of Economy, Religion, and Law

ECON 246 - Silwal, Shikha B. / Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

Social stratification touches every aspect of life, and South Asia's traditional caste structure is a special case: this highly complex, strictly-adhered-to system has been religiously legitimized and criticized over a 3,000-year history, and is nowadays seen as being at odds with the modern world. Yet it remains a crucial factor in social identity, economic roles, legal status, and religious practice. This course offers a 360-degree survey of caste both historically and in practice today in Nepal. The course addresses four themes, respectively providing for each a combination of historical background, social scientific analysis of the modern situation, and direct field experience for the students.

Mass Atrocity, Human Rights, and International Law

LEGL 345 - Drumbl, Mark A.

This course is designed to benefit students with an interest in law school and/or international relations and also those with no plans to pursue law school or international relations work but who are keen to catch a view of both of these areas. This interdisciplinary course reflects upon the place of law and justice in societies that have endured or inflicted systemic human-rights violations. Among the examples we study are Germany, the former Yugoslavia, Japan, Czech Republic, Poland, Rwanda, Sudan, Iraq, Uganda, Cambodia, Syria, South Africa, Congo, ISIS, Sierra Leone, and the United States. A related aim is to consider what sorts of legal responses are suitable to deal with perpetrators of mass atrocity. Individuals commit the acts that cumulatively lead to mass atrocity, but the connived nature of the violence implicates questions of collective responsibility. While our instinct may be to prosecute guilty individuals, are other responses more appropriate? What do victims and their families want?

Topics in Politics and Film

POL 292 - LeBlanc, Robin M.

This course examines how film and television present political issues and themes. May be repeated for degree credit if the topics are different.

Caste at the Intersection of Economy, Religion, and Law

REL 246 - Silwal, Shikha B. / Lubin, Timothy (Tim)

Social stratification touches every aspect of life, and South Asia's traditional caste structure is a special case: this highly complex, strictly-adhered-to system has been religiously legitimized and criticized over a 3,000-year history, and is nowadays seen as being at odds with the modern world. Yet it remains a crucial factor in social identity, economic roles, legal status, and religious practice. This course offers a 360-degree survey of caste both historically and in practice today in Nepal. The course addresses four themes, respectively providing for each a combination of historical background, social scientific analysis of the modern situation, and direct field experience for the students.