WOMEN'S STUDIES PROGRAM CORE COURSES

Budget Cuts and Course Availability

As you are probably aware, the University is undergoing serious budget cutbacks. The Women's Studies Course Description Guide is compiled in April of 2002, and because the funding picture is uncertain, courses may be eliminated, changed, or restricted in enrollment. For up to date information contact the department or program offering the course to verify information. For more on the budget cuts, www.saveumass.org, www.umass.edu/actnow.


WOST 187 Introduction to Women's Studies (ID)
Monday, Wednesday 10:10-11:00 a.m. with Friday discussion
Alexandrina Deschamps

Lecture, discussion. Placing women's experiences at the center of interpretation, course introduces basic concepts and perspectives in Women's Studies. Focusing on women's lives with a particular emphasis on the ways in which gender interacts with race, class, sexual orientation and ethnicity. Central aim is to foster critical reading and thinking about women's lives, the ways in which the interlocking systems of colonialism, racism, sexism, ethnocentrism and heterosexism shape women's lives, and how women have resisted them.

WOST 187H Introduction to Women's Studies (ID)
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Alexandrina Deschamps

Honors course with community service project. Same general description as WOST 187.

WOST 201 Critical Perspectives in Women's Studies
Section #1 - Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.
Section #2 - Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:30 p.m.
Banu Subramaniam

Introduction to the fundamental questions and concepts of Women's Studies and to the basic intellectual tools of analysis integrating economic and cultural imperialism, gender, class, race, and sexual orientation. Also addresses the multifaceted dimensions of women's lived experiences within a global context.

WOST 291D
Schedule #574924
Women, Globalization and Cybernetics
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.
Sima Fahid

This course examines the way in which cyber media complex of transnational capital constructs centered, hierarchical and unequal power layers across the globe and how this affects women's lives throughout the world. It will demonstrate the way in which globalized cyber-media capitalist culture articulates racialized and sexualized bodies and creates new geographies of power across North/South divide which especially afflict women globally. Fulfills Women of Color requirement outside the U.S. for Women's Studies majors and minors.

WOST 295C Career and Life Choices (2 credits)
Monday 2:30-4:10 p.m.
Karen Lederer

Development of a systematic approach to career, educational, and life planning. Emphasis on prioritization of values and subsequent life choices. Elements of self exploration include: distinguishing between choosing a major and a career; identifying and expanding areas of career interest; identifying current skills and skills necessary for career of choice; relating knowledge, interests and skills to career goals; and current issues for women in the workforce. Career planning skills include budgeting, writing resumes and cover letters, interviewing, and use of various resources. Women's Studies students or seniors only. Mandatory Pass/Fail.

WOST 301 Theorizing Women's Issues
Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:30 p.m.
Kreimild Saunders

Theorizing Feminist Issues will begin with a discussion of the grand theories of second wave feminism on patriarchal domination, women's oppression and subordination in society in generally. The second part of the course will advance critiques of heterosexism, the exclusion and marginalization of women of color, the post-structuralist challenge to essential (knowing) subjects and privileged claims to knowledge. It will articulate queer theory's criticism of coherence of the sex/gender system and the critique of the colonizing impact of feminism on Third-World women by post-colonial scholars.

WOST 391D/ JUDAIC 391D Women, Gender, Judaism
Tuesday 2:30-5:15 p.m.
Susan Shapiro

This course examines the ways in which the categories "woman/man," "feminine/masculine" and "gender" differently construe the character of Judaism. "Judaism" is here understood in religious, cultural and social terms. This is not a course that focuses primarily on questioning contemporary forms of Jewish women's identities, nor on filling-in the blanks of the "missing women" of Jewish history and tradition, although some attention will be paid to these matters. Rather, our main focus will be on historical constructions of women's gender roles and identities in Judaism and their cultural and social consequences. Three types of literature, therefore, will be important in this course: (1) primary religious texts about women and gender in Judaism; (2) interpretations and historical accounts of different periods and aspects of women's (and men's) gender roles in Judaism and Jewish culture; (3) current critical, feminist theories of discourse, culture and politics through which to problematize our readings of both primary and interpretative texts.

WOST 391E/ ECON 348 Political Economy of Women
Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:30 p.m.
tba

This course uses a wide range of women's issues to teach varied economic principles and theories. Popular women's topics in past semesters include women's increasing labor force participation; gender differences in hiring, promotions, and earnings; the growing poverty rate for female headed households; trade policy effects on women in the U.S. and other countries; and race and class differences in the economic opportunities of women. Empirical assessment of women's work in the market and in the home in the U.S. and other countries. Reconsideration of traditional issues of political economy, comparative economic history, and labor economics.

WOST 391H US Women's Lives in Contexts: Reading and Creating Political Autobiography
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.
Arlene Avakian

A course in which students will read both women's autobiographies and oral histories as well as do some of their own autobiographical work. The class will explore the ways in which lives are embedded with their social, political and cultural contexts and the ways in which people construct their lives. We will have a particular focus on the ways in which gender, race, class, ethnicity and sexual orientation impact on lives and the ways these social forces interact with each other. Focusing on their own lives in their context, students will create autobiographical work which could take a variety of forms; e.g. written, oral, visual, or dramatic. Readings will focus on contemporary US women, public figures, and "ordinary" women.

WOST 391P/591P Bodies, Gender and Performance
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.
N. Pravaz

This course will explore the ways women have been represented, marked and produced as such, and women's own investments and/or contestations of these processes. Conceptualizing gender as performance, we will inspect corporeal practices stemming from one's social location, and temporary identification strategies on the part of the subject. We will study the representation of women's bodies in science, art and popular culture, and the ways our bodies have been inscribed and invested as "female" in different cultural contexts, defining both our biological outlook and our identities as "women." Turning toward an understanding of how the marking of the body becomes a fundamental piece in the constitution of women's own subjectivities, we will examine the performative ways in which women live in, through and against our bodies in practice.

WOST 391W Writing for Women's Studies Majors
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:10-11:00 a.m.
tba

Fulfills University's Junior Year Writing Requirement. Offered fall semester only. Course acquaints students with the many genres of writing within Women's Studies and is structured around a set of readings selected to represent a large variety of stylist approaches including scholarly writings in a number of fields, book and film reviews, journal writing, letters to the editor, zines, web pages, personal and self-reflexive prose, newsletter prose, and conference reports. The readings will be short, and each will be intended to serve as a model of it's kind to be analyzed, emulated, and/or critiqued. The course allows students to hone skills on modes of expository writing and argumentation useful for research and writing in a variety of fields.

WOST 392L Women of Color and Activism
Monday, Wednesday 3:35-4:50 p.m.
Alexandrina Deschamps

This course will focus on "women of color" as they deal with identity politics and political agency in their lives and in their communities. Themes of the course will be, (1)Defining Activism, (2)Grassroots to National Levels of Activism, (3)Organizing Strategies, (4)Diversity of Organizational Structure, (5)Methods of Analysis, (6)Feminist Activism/Women's Activism. The course will seek to establish groundwork for contemporary and future activism between all women in an effort to build bridges by exploring similarities in goals and missions and replace fragmentation with inclusiveness.

WOST 393J
Schedule #586796
Queer Theory: The Reconceptualization of Gender and Sexuality
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45
Kreimild Saunders

Queer theory challenges the second wave feminist presumption of a coherence between sex, gender and sexual desire. The course examines queer as a developing set of ideas around the relationship between sex, gender, sexual desire, subjectivity and identity. It further looks at the emergence of various sexual identities and practices (e.g. butch-femme, transgender/transsexual, bisexual, sado-masochistic among others) inviting students to think the possibilities and limitations of the application of queer theory in making sense of these practices. First year students not eligible.

WOST 393H/ PHIL 381H Philosophy of Gender & Sexuality
Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:30 p.m.
Ann Ferguson

A comparison of philosophical theories of gender and sexuality, including Natural Purpose theory (ancient Greek and Christian thought), biological determinism, Freudianism and Foucault. We will investigate the ways that women and their bodies have been viewed by feminist theorists on female embodiment such as Beauvoir, Rich, Wittig and Butler. Issues will include: the relation between sex, gender and sexuality, dichotomies between ideals of masculinity/femininity, reason/emotion, subject/object, connection between oppression by race, class, sexuality and gender, representations of women and theories of self, identity and subjectivity. Texts will include Conboy, Medina and Stanbury, eds. Writing on the Body: Female Embodiment and Feminist Theory, Freud Sexuality and the Psychology of Love; Foucault History of Sexuality, v. 1, Feinberg Stone Butch Blues and selected readings. Prerequisites include either a l00 level Philosophy class or WOST 201 or permission of the instructor. Course requirements include class participation, 2 short papers, a mid-term exam and an 8-10 page term paper. Since the class is an honors course, it requires additional class preparation and discussion, as well as extra written work, and receives 4 credits.

WOST 394A
Schedule #586740
Women in Islam
Thursday 2:30-5:15 p.m.
Sima Fahid

Schedule # available soon. The aim of this course is to analyze Muslim women's lives in the modern period within a post-colonial context and beyond an orientalist outlook. By exploring historical, economic, political and socio-cultural issues (including sexuality), the transformation in women's lives will be examined and women's resistance to these changes will be investigated. Fulfills Women of Color requirement outside the U.S. for Women's Studies majors and minors. First year students not eligible.

WOST 497A/ GERMAN 497A x Women in Cold War
Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:30 p.m. Tuesday 6:00-8:00 p.m.
U. Schmidt

Changes in the status of women were a major step in the transition from war to peace in all countries which had taken part in the Second World War. In post-war Germany, motherhood, marriage, family and equal rights were particularly hard-fought areas in developing two contrasting concepts of social order. In the competition between democratic West Germany and communist East Germany - on the front lines of the Cold War - gender became an explicitly political category. Thus, the social position which women had been allotted in the two states did not mark the transition from war to peace, but rather the transition from a hot to a Cold War order.

WOST 697G/ GERMAN 697G Gender in Socialism
Thursday 6:00-8:30 p.m. Tuesday 6:00-8:00 p.m.
U. Schmidt

See Department for description.

WOST 791B/ PHIL 791B Feminist Theory
Thursday 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Ann Ferguson

This seminar will concern various feminist philosophical approaches to the study of gender and male domination, including approaches which insist as well on the relevance of other social domination relations (race, class, sexuality, nationality). The first part of the seminar will be a review of various feminist frameworks, including liberal, radical, psychoanalytic, marxist and socialist-feminist (the modernist approaches), and the postmodernist approaches of post-structuralism, post-colonialism and intersectionalities. The rest of the seminar will be organized by topics, which will include: feminist epistemology, subjectivity (the agency/structure question), identity politics and queer politics, the ethics and politics of care, the equality/difference debate (gender theory vs. sexual difference theory), and global feminist visions. Readings will include Tuana and Tong, eds. Feminism and Philosophy and Alexander and Mohanty, eds. Feminist Genealogies, Colonial Legacies, Democratic Futures, a packet of readings, and books by Judith Butler (The Subject of Power), Joan Tronto (Moral Boundaries), and Angela Miles (Integrative Feminisms). Course requirements will include one or more class reports and a seminar paper.

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