Women and Art in Early Modern Europe
Examines the ways in which prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery, and how these images, in turn, influenced ideas concerning women from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. It will adopt a comparative perspective, both by identifying regional differences among European nations and tracing changes over time. In addition to considering patronage of art by women and works by women artists, we will look at the depiction of women heroes such as Judith; the portrayal of women rulers, including Elizabeth I and Marie de’ Medici; and the imagery of rape. Topics emerging from these categories of art include biological theories about women; humanist defenses of women; the relationship between the exercise of political power and sexuality; differing attitudes toward women in Catholic and Protestant art; and feminine ideals of beauty.
Cross-Cultural Construction of Gender Griffiths Rose Olver
Introduces students to the issues involved in the social and historical construction of gender and gender roles from a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective. Topics will include the uses and limits of biology in explaining human gender differences; male and female sexualities including homosexualities; women and social change; women’s participation in production and reproduction; the relationship among gender, race and class as intertwining oppressions; and the functions of visual and verbal representation in the creating, enforcing and contesting of gender norms.
Black Gay Fiction
This course will examine fictional and non-fictional texts of gay and lesbian black writers in the United States. We will pay close attention to identity politics and how they are articulated in these texts. In addition to examining these works, we will also read a number of theorists who offer “queer” readings of the “canonical” texts. The course readings may include works by Essex, Hemphill, Becky Birtha, April Sinclair, Audre Lorde, E. Lynn Harris, bell hooks, Larry Duplechan, Derek Scott, Bessie Smith, Marlon Riggs, Barbara Smith, James Baldwin, Cheryl Clark, Isaac Julien, and Kobena Mercer. Two class meetings per week. Not open to Freshmen.
WAGS 47/POLSCI 47
Asian Women: Myths of Deference: Arts of Resistance
Even the most sympathetic observers often assume that Asian women are so deeply oppressed that they demure in face of intolerable conditions. Such notions of women’s deference find echoes in popular conceptions of Asian American women. Part of the work of this course is to question assumptions of women’s quiescence by redefining agency and activism. But an equally important challenge is to avoid romanticizing resistance by recognizing victimization in the absence of agency, agency in the absence of activism, and activism in the absence of social change. Thus while appreciating the inventive ways in which Asian and Asian American women resist, we will explore why such resistance may perpetuate their subjugation.
Representing Domestic Violence
This course is concerned with literary, political and legal representations of domestic violence and the relationship between them. We question how domestic violence challenges the normative cultural definitions of home as safe or love as enabling. This course will consider how these representations of domestic violence the boundaries between privet and public, love and cruelty, victim and oppressor. In order to better understand the gaps and links between representations and experience, theory and praxis, students as part of this work will hold internships (three hours a week) at a variety of area agencies and organizations that respond to situations of domestic violence.
Feminist Moral Theory
Offers a brief overview of feminist moral critiques of society including readings from Mary Wollstonecraft, Cicely Hamilton, Margaret Sanger, and Betty Friedan, and examine a variety of ways recent feminists have tried to develop a moral theory. Students will read the debate over Carol Gilligan’s notion of “different moral (female) voice.” Other readings will include thinkers building on her work: Sarah Ruddick, Nel Noddlings, Virginia Held, and Marilyn Friedman. Finally, students will consider the ways that feminist thinking can be used in a legal context, touching on such questions as the debate over affirmative actiion.
Gender: An Anthropological Perspective
This seminar provides an analysis of male-female relationships from a cross- cultural perspective, focusing upon the ways in which cultural factors modify and exaggerate the biological differences between men and women. Consideration will be given the position of men and women in the evolution of society, and in the different contemporary social, political, and economic systems, including those of the industrialized nations. Five College Professor Trostle.
Evolutionary Biology of Human Behavior
A study of how recent extensions of the theory of natural selection explain the origin and evolution of human social behavior. After consideration of the relevant principles of genetics, evolution, population biology, and animal behavior, the social evolution of animals will be discussed. With this background, several aspects of human psychological and social evolution will be considered: the instinct to create and acquire language; aggression within and between the sexes; mating patterns; the origin of patriarchy; systems of kinship and inheritance; incest avoidance; reciprocity and exchange; warfare; moral behavior, and the evolution of laws and justice
Women Writers and the English Novel
Looks at a number of political battles women have fought over the last one hundred years, beginning with suffrage, and including protective legislation and benefits for mothers and children. It will look at women’s experiences in the Civil Rights and anti-war movements and the development of Second Wave Feminism as well as the many feminisms that emerged in its wake. Students will study the backgrounds of, and engage in debate about, a number of current battles including reproductive rights, pornography, and sexual harassment. Will make an effort to relate these controversies to earlier themes in twentieth-century women’s politics.