HAMPSHIRE COLLEGE WOST COURSES
FALL 1997

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CCS 213
Transgression, Inversion, and the Grotesque: The Subeversion of Hierarchy in Comtemporary Film and Video Sherry Millner
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Tuesday 6:30-10:00 pm

Much contemporary film and video is concerned with redefining or challenging the customary social and cultural codes, examining the usual separations between the high and the low, between private life and the public sphere, between the human body and geographical space. In such films and videos, the rules of hierarchy and order are deliberately violated, transgressed, or inverted, often by focusing upon the extremes of the exalted and the base. We will examine ideas of the world turned upside down (hierarchy inversion), of masquerade, drag, the female grotesque, the boundaryless body, of festivity and carnival, demonstration and protest as they appear in and structure a variety of contemporary films and videotapes. Weekly screenings, readings, and discussion.


HA 127p
Reading with Gender in Mind
Jill Lewis
Tuesday, Thursday 12:30-1:50 pm

This course will look at some of the different ways gender is represented and gendered power is organized through discussion of novels which stage gender in thought provoking ways. We will examine how gender systems work in the texts; what the consequences are of the polarizations of masculine and feminine; how gender norms are challenged; how hierarchies of power and control, shaped by their historical and cultural contexts, affect conventions of gender. And we will discuss issues which arise from assumptions about gender and the social and cultural organization of sexuality--both heterosexual and queer--issues which have particular urgency in this era of HIV and AIDS. The course welcomes Division I students interested in beginning to explore why the politics of gender are so important, academically, personally and politically for both men and women in today's world.


HA 132p
Feminist Fiction
Lynne Hanley
Wednesday, Friday 1:00-2:20 pm

This course will explore works of fiction by pre-and post-women's liberation writers. Discussion will focus on the representation of gender, sexuality, race and culture, the use of language and structure, and the relation of the acts of writing and reading to feminist theory and practice. We will read and selected feminist critical essays, and students should expect to attend a series of films on Wednesday evenings. Students will write in a variety of forms: literary criticism, personal essay, short fiction, autobiography. Ellie Siegel, a faculty member in the writing program, will assist in teaching the course and will be available to help students with their writing.


HA 173
An Introduction to World Music
TBA
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Tuesday, Thursday 9:00-10:30 am

Music is universal but its meanings are not. Informed by the culture from which it emerges, music constantly negotiates and contests its place and meaning in local society and global humanity. Whether or not the music expressed is from a salsa band, a sacred Ashanti drum in Ghana, a flute made from a bamboo stalk along the Ganges River, or steel pans created from abandoned oil drums in Trinidad, the process is similar--human culture responds to its world in creatively meaningful ways, attempting to answer fundamental questions that plague the human condition. We will examine a few music cultures, considering issues such as race, ethnicity, identity, gender, and insider/outsider perspectives. This is a reading, listening, and viewing course, though we will perform Southern and West African songs, Navajo dances, and Indian and Latin American rhythms.


HA 195
Queer Lives
Susan Tracy
Monday, Wednesday 1:00-2:20 pm

This course is envisioned as an introduction to thinking about the lives and work of lesbians, gay men, transsexuals, and transgendered people (groups currently allied politically under the term, "queer") mainly through their autobiographies and their work as artists and political activists. The course will trace the social and cultural history of queer people from the end of the nineteenth century when sexologists coined the term "homosexual" to the queer liberation movement of the present day stressing issues of race and class as well as gender. Because this is a new field, we will be trying to discern where the holes are in our knowledge of the history and will try to generate research projects which address those absences. Students should be prepared to make oral presentations.


HA 221
Critical Issues in Photography, Film and Video: Representing the Family
Sandra Matthews
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Thursday 12:30 - 3:20 pm

The word "family" currently has a variety of social agendas attached to it, and photographic images play a role in this process. Photographic representations of families mediate between public and private life in important ways. This seminar will center on the history of family photography--including professional studio portraits, amateur snapshots, representations of traditional and non-traditional families, and cross- cultural visual materials. We will view and analyze films, video tapes and CD- ROMs which represent families. Exploration of the cultural rituals of making and using images of the family and their political dimensions. Readings will be drawn from theories of visual representation, family theory and more personal accounts. Requirements: several short papers, a visual collage, and a research project on a collection of photographs, films or tapes of their own choice.


HA 222
History of Women/Feminism
Susan Tracy
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00-3:20 pm

This course is designed to introduce students to U.S. women's history from the American Revolution to World War I. We will consider women's lives in their economic, social and political dimensions paying equal attention to the intersection of gender, race, and class and discuss the rise of feminism in organized women's organizations in this period and the ways in which feminism affected and was affected by the politics in each era. Students will be expected to produce either a major historiography paper or a major research paper based on primary sources.


HA 225
Before the Harlem Renaissance
Robert Coles
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Monday, Wednesday 1:00-2:20 pm

Contemporary students tend to know little about African American Literature between the period of the slave narratives (1760-1865) and the Harlem Renaissance, although this era is very rich in literary and historical significance. In this course, we will begin by tracing the history of the Harlem Renaissance through the writings of W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington. We will examine the poetry of Dunbar as a forerunner of twentieth-century black consciousness. We also will study the rise of the black woman's voice in such writers as Ida B. Wells and Pauline Hopkins.


HA/SS 235
Art and Revolution Sura Levine/Jim Wald
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Monday, Wednesday 1:00-2:20 pm

Surveying French art from the late Old Regime through the Revolution and its aftermath, this course will examine how art informs and is informed by political and social reality. We will attend to the shift in representational systems during this age in which history breaks out of its association with allegory and comes to be associated with "Truth" only to be re inscribed an allegory. Our topics will include art as political propaganda and art as "resistance;" the public sphere; the imaging of women; feminism as a revolutionary movement; caricatures; political allegories and the "hierarchy of subjects.


HA 249
Poems of Love and War
Robert Meagher
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 am

A comparative study of the relationship between eros and eris , eroticism and violence, in ancient Indian, Near Eastern, and Greek poetry. In the mythologies and literatures of a wide consortium of ancient cultures reaching from the Indus Valley to the East Mediterranean, the image of woman was progressively eroticized and maligned until she became both the object of erotic desire and the source of organized conflict. In the divine order, the goddess of love was made at the same time the goddess of war, while, in the human sphere, the most beautiful of women were made the cause of the deadliest wars. Eventually, from the Bronze Age, there emerged a series of epics in which a great war was fought over a woman. In these and other poems of love and war it is possible to explore an ancient Eurasian literary tradition which served to inform and to shape later understandings of women, sexuality and violence.


HA 257
Seventeenth Century Studies
L. Brown Kennedy
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Tuesday, Thursday 12:30-1:50 pm

An interdisciplinary, comparative study of Seventeenth Century England and New England, this seminar will use literary and historical sources to examine the shifting understandings of authority and power in the period-the form of political rule, the bases for religious and scientific belief, the structure of family and community. Readings of Milton's Paradise Lost, plays by Shakespeare, and poetry by John Donne, Anne Bradstreet and Edward Taylor will provide a context and focus for case studies of specific topics: Puritanism and the impact of the Puritan idea of history: the encounter of European, Black and Native American peoples; relations between men and women, the representation of nature as cultivated garden and as wilderness, witches and witchcraft anxiety.


HA 259
Unruling Britannia: Contemporary Cultural Production in Britain
Jill Lewis
Monday, Wednesday 2:30-3:50 pm

There are certain ways that British culture is romanticized from abroad-often in terms of its "high culture," its mainstream traditions and its heritage of "greatness". This course will explore a range of reassessments of British culture and its heritage which recent work in fiction, film, theatre and cultural criticism has focussed on. Work by E.M. Forester and Virginia Woolf will open up discussions of gender and colonialism. We will examine some of the configurations of contemporary British "identity"--looking at how traditions of the family, sexual identity and narratives of desire, post- colonial reassessments, black culture, nationalism, militarism and creative and critical forms themselves are placed in new perspectives by contemporary writers, artists and critics. The aim is to initiate familiarity with recent key British cultural interventions, with an emphasis on black, feminist and gay perspectives which are central to them. There will be some required evening viewing of films.


HA 270
African American Composers and Their Influence
Margo Edwards
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Monday, Wednesday 1:00-2:20 pm

This course will explore the written concert music of African American composers during the late 19th- and 20th-centuries. A few composers will be selected for concentration, especially African American women composers: Florence Price, Julia Perry, Margaret Bond, and Mary Lou Williams. The musical, extra-musical, and socio-economic issues that have influenced their work will be investigated. Analysis of musical scores, listening and reading assignments and research projects.


SS/HA 280
Dimensions of Contemporary Jewish Spirituality and the Mystical Tradition
Lawrence Fine
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Monday, Wednesday 10:30-11:50 am

Aspects of contemporary Jewish spirituality with a special focus on the renaissance of interest in mystical traditions. How did the classical traditions of Jewish mysticism--Kabbalah and Hasidism--nurture earlier modern thinkers such as Martin Buber, Rav Kook, A.D. Gordon, and Abraham Joshua Heschel? In what ways do these traditions continue to shape the contemporary religious imagination of American Jews, theologically and ritually? What role do issues having to do with gender, the body, and nature play in connection with contemporary spirituality? What do we mean by "spirituality" in the first place, and why has it become such an object of fascination?


HA 292

Nineteenth-Century Women Writers: Romanticism and the Gothic Tradition
Mary Russo
Wednesday, Friday 9:00-10:20 am

This course will explore the literary traditions of Romanticism and the Gothic in the works of nineteenth-century women writers. Works like Mary Shelley's Frankenstein have emerged in contemporary criticism as models of struggle and conflict over authority, gender relations, family structure, social reproduction and the creative act. Many other women writers throughout the century continued to draw upon Romantic imagery and aesthetic models for their fiction and the conventions of the Gothic continue to dominate popular fiction and film into the Twentieth Century. This course is also intended to introduce feminist literary theory and cultural criticism.


NS 240
Elementary School Science Workshop Merle Bruno
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Tuesday, Thursday 12:30-2:30 pm

Young children are full of questions about the natural world. They ask, watch, listen, and are open to new interpretations of what they see. They are, in fact, good little scientists. Why is it that most American children (and particularly girls and children from ethnic minority groups) lose interest in science as they reach upper elementary grades? What approaches to teaching science can maintain and build on children's natural curiosity and energy? In this workshop, we will use materials that have been designed to stimulate children's curiosity and to nurture scientific skills. You will try to understand some of the feelings that children experience in a science class designed to stimulate inquiry. You will be encouraged to follow up on your own questions and conduct your own studies about movements of the sun (or moon), crayfish behavior, mystery powders, batteries and bulbs, milkweed bugs, or pond water. For the last part of the semester, you will also be teachers and will introduce these same materials to children in elementary school classrooms.


SS 115p
Political Justice
Lester Mazor
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Monday, Wednesday 9:00-10:20 am

This seminar will examine the ways politics, law, and justice intersect in dramatic political trials. Our goals are to become familiar with the characteristics of a trial in a court of law, to examine the functions and limits of the trial process, and to explore theories of the relation of law to politics and of both to justice. The bulk of the course will consist of close study of notable political trials, such as the Sacco and Vanzetti case, the Alger Hiss case, the Angela Davis case, the Oliver North case, or the Eichmann case. What political ends were sought and obtained and whether justice was done will be persistent questions. Readings will include trial transcripts and news accounts; Kafka, The Trial; and Kirchheimer, Political Justice.


SS 116p
Revolution and Modernization in China
Kay Johnson
Tuesday, Thursday 9:00-10:20 am

This course will study the Chinese revolution, emphasizing the role of the peasantry and the impact of socialist development and modernization on peasant village life. The general theme of the course will attempt to evaluate the Chinese revolution by tracing the major lines of continuity and change in Chinese peasant society, considering the potential and limits which peasant life and aspirations create for revolutionary change, modernization, and democracy. A major focus throughout will be on the relationship between the traditional Confucian family and revolution, and the impact of national crisis, revolution and socialist economic development on peasant women's roles and status.


SS 119p
Third World, Second Sex: Does Economic Development Enrich or Impoverish Women's Lives?
Laurie Nisonoff
Tuesday, Thursday 9:00-10:20 am

In this seminar we look at debates about how some trends in worldwide capitalist development affect women's status, roles and access to resources, and locate the debates in historical context. In the "global assembly line" debate we ask whether women workers in textile and electronics factories gain valuable skills, power and resources through these jobs, or whether they are super-exploited by multinational corporations. In the population control debate, we ask whether population policies improve the health and living standards of women and their families or whether the main effect of these policies is to control women, reinforcing their subordinate positions in society. Other topics include the effects of economic change on family forms, the nature of women's work in the so-called "informal sector," and what's happening to women in the current worldwide economic crisis.


SS 128p
Central America: History and Political Economy of Crisis
Frederick Weaver
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Tuesday, Thursday 9:00 - 10:20 am

This seminar inquires into the historical roots of modern Central America, especially questioning the way in which divergent patterns of economic and political change in the five Central American nations have resulted in each nation's experiencing severe, and often repeated convulsions since World War II. Along the way, we grapple with some principles of economics, political economy, and international relations. Readings include books by Alicia Vargas de Melendez, Walter LaFeber, Manlio Argueta, Rigoberta Menchu, and Sergio Ramirez, among others.


SS 148
Societies and Cultures of the Middle East
Ali Mirsepassi
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Monday, Wednesday 10:30-11:50 am

This course is designed to introduce students to the historical, social, political, and cultural dynamics of contemporary Middle East. We will look at the historical and geographical contours of the region. We will explore the culture (languages and religions as well as aristic and literary forms), political systems and economic development, secularism and Islamic politics, issues such as ethnicity and gender, those defining characteristics that distinguish the Middle East from other parts of the world-and the region's internal diversity. The primary purpose of the course is to facilitate cross- cultural communication and understanding. Students will be asked to interrogate their own assumptions and to suggest fruitful ways of encountering the Middle East.


SS 214

United States Labor History
Laurie Nisonoff
Tuesday, Thursday 12:30-1:50 pm

This course will explore the history of the American working class from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. We will use traditional historical concepts such as industrialism and trade unions, immigration, and organization; integrate the insights of the "new social and labor history" to focus on unionization, strikes, and development of working-class communities, consciousness and culture; and work to understand a working class divided along race, ethnic, and gender lines. Strategies employed by industrialists and the state to mold and control the working class will be considered, along with responses and strategies employed by the working class to gain political and economic power. This class is an introduction to and essential component of concentrations in labor studies, political economy, American studies, and feminist studies.


SS 215
Politics of Abortion Rights
Marlene Fried
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 am

In the United States and worldwide abortion rights have been at the forefront of battles for women's rights and reproductive freedom. Challenges have taken many forms--legislation and judicial decisions and extralegal harassment and violence directed at abortion clinics and providers have all contributed to an erosion in access to abortion. This course examines the abortion issue, the political movements for and against legal abortion, and the competing ideologies within the abortion rights movement itself. We will also view the abortion battle in the context of the larger global struggles for reproductive freedom and human rights. Other issues to be examined include: coercive contraception, population control, sex education, and criminalization of pregnant women.


SS 248
Gendered Cities
Myrna Breitbart
Monday, Wednesday 1:00-2:20 pm

This course examines urban development from the viewpoint of gender. Integrating several disciplines, we consider how ideologies of gender become imbedded in the organization of urban (and suburban) space and (along with race and class differences) differentially affect men and women's urban experience; the historical emergence and contemporary consequences of the gendered organization of space; the urban struggles around such issues as housing and consider women's often simultaneous experience as prisoners, mediators and shapers of city life; and how feminist planners, architects and activists have creatively reconceptualized alternative patterns of city life and space.


SS 270
Race in the U.S.: Under Color of Law
Flavio Risech-Ozeguera
Mitziko Sawada
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Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 am

This course will examine values, behavior, and attitudes regarding race in the context of U.S. history and law, using major Supreme Court decisions as a vehicle for developing a critical perspective on race relations as well as on the politics of historical and juridical interpretation. We will focus on cases involving slavery, naturalization and citizenship rights, interracial sex and marriage, public education, fair employment, and other fundamental rights. Requirements: extensive readings, actively participation in class discussions, two short essays, and one comprehensive research paper. A prior course in U.S. history of legal studies is highly recommended.


SS 272
Critical Race Theory Michael Ford
Francis White
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Monday, Wednesday 5:20 pm

There has never been a shortage of theories about the nature and significance of racial differences. Many people have argued that there are essential qualities or experiences that distinguish racial groups. These presumed innate differences have been the basis of both systems of racial subordination and oppositional political movements aimed at undermining racially structured social hierarchies. "Identity" politics has almost always been the enemy of a segregated social order, but this form of collective action also emphasizes difference as a primary basis of affinity and political action. Recent examinations of race have focused on the complex and multi-faceted character of social identities. Critical race theory reflects the views of those scholars who are interested in explaining the many ways race is articulated through other identities and statuses. They ask how it is possible to both affirm and ranscend our racial identites; to recognize the power of cultural identities while challenging the proposition that they are fixed in time and place.


SS 274
The Revolutions that Were(n't): Transitions in Contemporary China & Cuba
Carollee Bengelsdorf
Kay Johnson
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Thursday 12:30-3:20 pm

Radical upheavals of societies and of the lives of those who compose those societies have punctuated and, in many senses, defined this century. The collapse, or isolation, of these revolutions as this century draws to a close, will surely reverberate into the next century. This course will examine the Chinese and Cuban revolutions. After a brief exploration of the origins and evolution of these revolutions within an historical and comparative framework, we will focus upon the current situation(s) in each of these countries in the wake of the 1980s-l990s upheaval in and collapse of the Soviet Union. Specifically, we will examine the economic reforms - often partial and contradictory - both governments have undertaken, and the (disparate) efforts of both, at the highest levels, to promulgate these reforms while maintaining their political control unchanged; the opening and closing of spaces for free discussion and debate among both intellectuals and the populus in general; and the effects of radical crises and change upon women in both societies.