FALL 1997

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WS 101
Introduction to Women's Studies

This course offers an overview of women’s positionin society and culture by examining women’s lives from a variety of experiential and theoretical perspectives. The first section examines works by women that illuminate both the shared and the diverse social, psychological, political, and economic realities of their experience; the second section introduces analyses of sexism and oppression, with a focus on different frameworks for making and evaluating feminist arguments. The course concludes with visionary feminist views of women recreating their lives.

WS 200
African-American Women and U.S. History
Mary Renda
HIST 280f
Tuesday, Thursday 9:25 - 10:40 am

How is our understanding of U.S. history transformed when we place African American women at the center of the story? This course will examine the exclusion of African American women from dominant historical narratives and the challenge to those narratives presented by African American women's history through an investigation of selected topics in the field.

WS 221
Indian Women: Literary and Cultural Perspectives
Indira Peterson
Asian Studies 220
Tuesday, Thursday 10:50-12:05 pm

What are the implications of the cultural construction of gender for Indian women’s lives and self-perceptions? What is the role of literature in articulating and shaping images of female sexuality and “the feminine” in India? A variety of literary sources (classical myths, religious texts, women’s songs, modern fiction, and autobiography) are studied from the perspectives of women’s power and personhood in relation to institutions such as goddess-worship and widow burning; family, marriage, and the women’s sphere; and in the historical and political contexts of premodern and colonial society, nationalism, and modern women’s movements.

WS 233
Invitation to Feminist Theory
Joan Cocks
POL 233
Monday, Wednesday 2:35-3:50 pm

On the complex ties and tensions between sex, gender, and power. We explore the overlapping dualities of the feminine and the masculine, the private and the public, the home and the world. We examine different forms of power over the body; the ways gender and sexual identities reinforce or challenge the established order; and the historical forces behind the current upheavals in sexual relations. Finally, we probe the cultural determinants of “women’s emancipation."

WS 250
Global Feminism
Asoka Bandarage
Tuesday, Thursday 1:10-2:25 pm

This course offers an intensive study of the worldwide subordination of women, looking at women as producers and consumers, as survivors of male violence, as child rearers and food producers, and as creators of culture and life-support systems. It studies cultural, economic, and structural differences in women’s experience and includes presentations by faculty who are expert on women’s lives in different regions. The course aims at a critical perspective on existing systems of thought and the creation of s system of thought compatible with women’s experience and knowledge.

WS 333 (01)/REL 332
Seminar in American Religious History: Shakers
Jane Crosthwaite
Tuesday, Thursday 10:50-12:05 pm

This course will examine the historical and cultural creation of the Shaker society - the religious vision of an alternative society whose birth and development paralleled that of the new American nation. By contrast and by imitation, the separate Shaker route offers an intriguing critique of American society and its values, and an unusual laboratory for examing a religious community based on a dual-godhead.

WS 390
Asoka Bandarage
Wednesday 1:00-4:00 pm

PHIL 249
Women and Philosphy Julie Inness Tuesday, Thursday 10:50-12:05 pm

Are women depressed because they lack voices of their own? Should women embrace or reject anger? Why should women write? What does it mean for women to speak for themselves? As these questions reveal, this course focuses on philosophy that explores women’s understanding of reality. The first part of the course considers how women have been excluded from the social construction of reality; the second part explores whether emotions blind women or provide them with superior vision. The final section considers how women might create knowledge that would truly be their own.

Rel 207
Women and Gender in Islam
Marion Holmes Katz
Tuesday, Thursday 1:000-2:25 pm

This course will examine a range of ways in which Islam has constructed women- -and women have constructed Islam. We will study concepts of gender as they are reflected in classical Islamic texts, as well as different aspects of the social, economic, political, and ritual lives of women in various Islamic societies.

Anth 316
Indigenous Feminisms
Ken-Fong Pang
Wednesday 1:00-3:50 pm

This seminar compels us to rethink the definitions of the terms "feminisms" and "feminist" beyond the "western" and "third world" models. Are there indigenous forms of feminism which have evolved independently of these models which are more effective in their own social, cultural, and political contexts? Must feminisms be associated with "movements having explicitly stated goals? We will challenge widely-held notions of "feminism" by examining social practices in different parts of the world where women (and men) have made a difference in enhancing human dignity and towards realizing their fullest human potential as they see it. What sorts of local ideas and practices might be considered feminist? Seminar participants will be expected to write a research paper and participate actively in this three-hour weekly seminar.

Women's Words, Women's Deeds in Medieval France
Margaret Switten
Studies 200
Wednesday 1:20-3:50 pm

This course will explore connections between women's writings and women's actions and the society in which they lived. What did medieval French society expect of women? Did women accept or resist these expectations? What kinds of power and influence did women exercise? To permit examination of both change and continuity, two time periods will be emphasized: the 12th and 15th centuries. Early medieval women were thought to have possessed rights and assumed responsibilities that the later Middle Ages would refuse to them. But throughout the period, in life and in literature, spectacular personalities left their mark on the pages of history. Some attention will be given to women's education in the middle ages compared to the education of women at Mount Holyoke today, and a concluding evaluation will assess the implications of the medieval experience for the lives of women in the 21st century. Discussion will focus on the deeds of such seminal figures as Eleanor of Aquitaine and Joan of Arc; on the works of male authors as they portray women, such as Chretien de Troyes' romance Erec and Enide; on the Lais of Marie de France, on selected songs by 12th-century women poets, and on the Ditie of Joan of Arc and The Book of the Three Virtues by Christine de Pizan. Evidence from iconographical sources and from the viewing of a few films will be brought into the discussions. This course is taught in English and is open to all students.

French 351
Women and Writing: Pleasures, Pains and Principles
Elissa Gelfand
Wednesday 1:00-3:30 pm

The decision to “speak themselves” - to express their own knowledge and experience, and in their own ways - has been the subject of much women’s fiction, poetry, and autobiography. We will explore literary represntations of women’s coming to writing, a process at once satisfying and difficult, in various French-speaking cultures and at different historical moments. Works will be studied in relation to the social and political climate, the aesthetic tastes, and the psycho-sexual dynamics from which they arose. Authors studied may include: Marie de France; Christine de Pisan, Labe; atherine des Roches; Riccoboni; Stael; Desbordes-Valmore; Sand; Coletete; Beauvoir; Rochefort; Cixous; Cardinal; Roy; Gagnon; Brossard; Ega; Conde; Ba; Bugul; Chedid; Djebar; Safonoff. COURSE WILL BE TAUGHT IN FRENCH; FRENCH DEPT. COURSE PREREQUISITES MUST BE MET.