UMass Departmental Courses
Fall 2009

All departmental courses except 100-level automatically count towards the women's studies major. All departmental, including 100-level automatically count towards the women's studies minor. For additional courses covering applied areas of women's studies, consult the component section.

Afro-American Studies Economics Judaic
Anthropology Education Labor Studies
Classics English Philosophy
Commonwealth College German Public Health
Communications History Ctr. for Public Policy
Comparative Literature Journalism Sociology



AFROAM 491C – Cuba: Social History of Race, Class & Gender      
Karen Morrison
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45

This undergraduate seminar focuses on two central questions: What were the social conditions in which the Cuban Revolution emerged and how have these conditions been transformed since 1959? We will explore the tremendous variety within Cuban society and the historical situations that engendered it. The course highlights the ways in which Cubans have engaged with colonialism, slavery, global economic integration, nationalism, gender, and race. The class will also assist students in honing their historical-analysis and critical-thinking skills as they examine the major historiographic trends related to the above issues.


ANTHRO 497 – Global Bodies
Elizabeth Krause
Wednesday 12:20-3:20 p.m.

Majors only or instructor permission needed The human body has increasingly become a popular object for anthropological study. The body is rich as a site of meaning and materiality as well as for “normalization” and governance. This course will explore some of the most pertinent issues surrounding the body today. Topics such as personhood, natural vs. artificial bodies, identity and subjectivity (nationality, race, class, sex, gender), domination and marginalization, and policy will be discussed. We will focus on the body in three main stages: birth, life, and death, with relevant case studies in each stage (e.g., reproductive politics,organ transplant ethics, deviant bodies, etc.) This is a senior captsone course in the Department of Anthropology. As such, it fulfills criteria in the following areas: 1) holism; 2) engagement and activism; 3) practical skills; and 4) change. The course has a digital ethnography component as a final project option. Examples from final digital ethnographic stories can be found on the blog from a senior capstone offered fall 2008.



CLASSICS 335 – Women in Antiquity (Gen.Ed. HS)
Teresa Ramsby
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Lives, roles, contributions, and status of women in Greek and Roman societies, as reflected in classical literature and the archaeological record. 



HONORS 499C - Capstone Course, Section #6
Gender Politics of Representation
Patricia Gorman
Monday 2:30-6:00 p.m.

This Honors Capstone Course is a six-credit two-semester interdisciplinary course that fulfills the Commonwealth College 6-credit Capstone Experience Requirement. How does the myth of Eve impact the representation of women in commodity culture or in gender relations? What is the connection between western theology and gender politics? What is the relationship of sex and power? What is the message behind the portrayal of the female body and of female sexuality? We will look at the representation of women in secular and religious art, in myth, in literature as well as in theology and in contemporary society to gain an understanding of culturally constructed perceptions of gender, power and social significance. In the first semester we will focus together on thinkers, writers, artists, theologians and social theorists who will inform our ways of viewing these kinds of questions. We will be exploring new ways of seeing what we thought was familiar. In the second semester, students will pursue individual topics of interest and work collaboratively to create a conference to present their work and to publish the proceedings: the archival product. Both semesters emphasize critical thinking, facility with various forms of writing, integration of interdisciplinary research and incorporation of visual arts. The final product will be a highly polished collection of writing that reflects thorough research and refined thinking. Permission of instructor required. Please contact:



COMM  297X – Gender, Sex, and Representation
Sut Jhally
Monday, Wednesday 5:00-6:15 p.m.

This course will examine the relationship between commercialized systems of representation and the way that gender and sexuality are thought of and organized in the culture. In particular, we will look at how commercial imagery impacts upon gender identity and the process of gender socialization. Central to this discussion will be the related issues of sexuality and sexual representation (and the key role played by advertising).

COMM 397UU – Women in Documentary Film
Thursday 4:00-7:00 p.m.

This course examines women in documentary film--as subjects and as storytellers. How does gender influence filmmaking? How and why are particular stories told? Why are women drawn to non-fiction filmmaking?  How does documentary film provide a voice for marginalized topics? With these questions in mind, we explore the history of women in non-fiction film, methods and approaches to documentary filmmaking, and how social, political and cultural movements have shaped and been shaped by women’s storytelling.  Among the issues and themes addressed by the films screened in this course are: health and environment, beauty and body image, sexuality, popular culture, coming of age, mothers and daughters, war and human rights. Film selections range from Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympiad to Kate Davis’s Southern Comfort to Barbara Kopple’s Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing.


COMPLIT 387H – Myths of the Feminine
Elizabeth Petroff
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:15-12:05 p.m.
Discussion Wednesday 12:20-1:10 p.m.

A survey of the ancient and medieval stories of women and men and their goddesses. We’ll begin in the ancient Near East, with the stories of Inanna and Ishtar and their devotees, and then turn to the classical world of Greece and Rome, with the Homeric Hymns and the tale of Cupid and Psyche.  We’ll then survey the images of women in the three ‘religions of the book’--Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as Taoism and Buddhism.  The medieval world inherited all these traditions, and we’ll read stories from The Arabian Nights, The Canterbury Tales, and the Decameron that illustrate these themes.  We’ll learn about the complexity of images of the feminine, including women as goddesses and priestesses, as leaders of their people, as the embodiment of sexuality and fertility, as pious housewives and cunning deceivers.  This is a 4 credit Honors course.  Readings:  Baring and Cashford, The Myth of the Goddess; Young, An Anthology of Sacred Texts by and about Women; Kinsley, The Goddesses’ Mirror; Wolkstein and Kramer,  Inanna; Rayor, Sappho’s Lyre; selections from the Arabian Nights, Canterbury Tales, and Decameron. Requirements:  Journal every two weeks, three five-page papers, class participation.


ECON 348 – Political Economy of Women
Valerie Voorheis
Monday, Wednesday 12:20-1:10 p.m.
Discs Fri. 10:10 & 11:15 p.m.

A critical review of neoclassical, Marxist, and feminist economic theories pertaining to inequality between men and women in both the family and the firm.

ECON 397S – Gender & Economic Development
Melissa Gonzalez-Brenes
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:25-2:15 p.m.

This course explores the relationship between gender and economic development in less developed countries of Africa, Asia and Latin America.  We use economic tools to examine the role that gender plays in a range of development issues including poverty, inequality, credit, law and labor markets.  We also discuss the implications for public policy and analyze policy interventions designed to address these issues.  Prerequsites: Economics 103 or Resource Economics 102, Economics 203 recommended.


EDUC 392E – Sexism (1 credit)          
Barbara Love
Mandatory first Night Orientation 9/15/09 6:00-10:00 p.m.
Weekend tba

Workshop addresses the dynamics of sexism on personal and institutional levels.

EDUC 392L – Heterosexiam
Barbara Love
Mandatory first meeting 9/15/09 6:00-10:00 p.m.
Weekend tba

Workshop addresses the dynamics of heterosexism on personal and institutional levels.

EDUC 704 – Issues of Gender in Science & Science Education
Kathleen Davis
Wednesday 4:00-6:00 p.m.

This course is designed to address issues of gender as they relate to the full and legitimate participation of all individuals in science activity--education, careers, and daily practice.  Participants in this course will examine the influence of societal beliefs and practices on the historical and on-going roles and activity of females in science and science education.  Participants will critically examine current literature and research that describes the structures, policies, and practices in science and science education that support, limit, and prohibit females' legitimate participation.  Included in course readings, activities, and discussions will be an exploration and examination of the kinds of instructional approaches, curriculum materials, school structures, and educational practices that are effective, equitable, inclusive, and participatory for all students and those that are not. This course will use a "multi-centered" perspective--one that recognizes the intersection and relationships between gender, race, ethnicity, and class.


ENGLISH DEPARTMENT 170 Bartlett Hall 545-2332

ENG 132 – Gender, Sexuality, Literature and Culture (Gen.Ed. AL, G)
Rachel Mordecai
Monday, Wednesday 4:40-5:30 p.m.
Discussions Thursday

Literature treating the relationship between man and woman. Topics may include: the nature of love, the image of the hero and heroine, and definitions, past and present, of the masculine and feminine. 

ENG 491H – The Irish Female Imagination
Margaret O’Brien
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.

The purpose of this course will be to read the work of a number of contemporary, women poets from Ireland . The syllabus will include not just the established voices of Eavan Boland, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain, Medbh McGuckian and Nuala NiDhomhnaill but also of the less well known Rita Ann Higgins, Paula Meehan, Mary O'Malley, Kerry Hardie and Moya Cannon. We will also consider the work of newcomers Catriona O'Reilly and Sinead Morrissey, and the posthumously published poems of Dorothy Molloy. Our first and abiding aim will be to read the work of each poet closely. We will pay detailed attention to language, noting the choices these writers make with regard to diction and form in order to accommodate unique, often subversive visions. While each one of these voices is distinctive, they all share certain cultural concerns and inherit a history. The second part of our job, therefore, will be to establish that context. Regular, selected reading will be required from the recently published and ground-breaking Field Day Anthology of Irish Women's Writing and Traditions , a work in two volumes which will be on reserve in the library.


GERMAN 363 – Witches:  Myth & Reality
Susan Cocalis
Tuesday, Thursday  4:00-5:15 p.m.

This course focuses on various aspects of witches/witchcraft in order to examine the historical construction of the witch in the context of the social realities of women (and men) labeled as witches. The main areas covered are: European pagan religions and the spread of Christianity; the "Burning Times" in early modern Europe, with an emphasis on the German situation; 17th-century New England and the Salem witch trials; the images of witches in folk lore and fairy tales in the context of the historical persecutions; and contemporary Wiccan/witch practices in their historical context. The goal of the course is to deconstruct the stereotypes that many of us have about witches/witchcraft, especially concerning sexuality, gender, age, physical appearance, occult powers, and Satanism. Readings are drawn from documentary records of the witch persecutions and witch trials, literary representations, scholarly analyses of witch-related phenomena, and essays examining witches, witchcraft, and the witch persecutions from a contemporary feminist or neo-pagan perspective. The lectures will be supplemented by related material taken from current events in addition to visual material (videos, slides) drawn from art history, early modern witch literature, popular culture, and documentary sources. Conducted in English.


HISTORY 388 – U.S. Women’s History to 1890 (H SU)         
Joyce Berkman
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-1:50 p.m.
Plus discussion Monday 9:05, 10:10 or 12:20 p.m.

This course broadly outlines the major political, social, economic and cultural patterns of change and continuity that characterize the lives of American women from the colonial era to 1890.  Topics covered include: European, African, and Native American women’s experiences; religious conformity and dissent; the witchcraft scare; impact of the American Revolution; developments in women’s education, impact of ruling scientific and medical ideas on women’s bodies and sexuality; women’s movements for social reform, women’s rights, redefining citizenship and an end to slavery; shifting family structures and gender roles; the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction.  Course Requirements: a variety of readings, debates and panel discussions, reflection papers and one position paper. Extra credit and Honors credit are options.

HISTORY 397W – Reproductive Rights         
Joyce Berkman
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-3:45 p.m.

This course offers students an opportunity to understand the historical development of ideas, people's behavior, and various controversies and debates regarding reproductive rights. We will investigate relevant social and political movements and their leaders, major laws and court decisions, as well as the impact of media and arts. Tracing the evolution of reproductive attitudes, practices and regulations since the colonial era, class lectures and discussions will explore individuals' attitudes and practices arising from differences in race, ethnicity, and socio-economic class, political and religious affiliations.  Reading will span the gamut of historical and scholarly studies, biographies, autobiographies, oral histories, internet sites and plays.  Requirements: 1) Term paper or project, ca 15-20 pages, 2) One position paper, ca. 5 pages, 3) Individual and/or group presentations in class, including short reports, debates, panel participation, play reading 4) Regular attendance and informed participation in class discussion.

HISTORY 697I – Topics in U.S. Women’s History
Laura Lovett
Wednesday 6:15-8:45 p.m.

This graduate topics course spans women and gender history from the colonial era to the present. It prepares students for a research seminar and graduate exams in the field of women and gender history. The study of historiography on key questions in the field features recent scholarship combined with pathbreaking earlier writings.  Although the role of gender and gender relations is critical to understanding both female and male experience, the emphasis of this course is on the way gender intersects with other major societal and cultural influence in shaping women’s lives. This, of course, includes gender relations in the context of how men are gendered.   The aims of the course, then, are to deepen understanding of the array of and interconnections among time and place-specific influences that shape women’s consciousness and behavior; to compare and contrast women’s experience across the axes of social class, race, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality; to explore what we know with how we know it through our attention to a variety of kinds of historical sources and scholarly modes of presentation; and to grapple with some of the central debates within the field of women and gender history.  Course requirements include informed participation in discussion, three papers (each 7-10 pages), and one in-class oral presentation.


JOURNALISM DEPARTMENT 108 Bartlett Hall 545-1376

JOURNAL 497H – Journalism, Gender and Cultural Context
Connie Griffin
Wednesday 4:00-7:00 p.m.

Women typically fill two-thirds of the slots in American journalism schools, but men still hold two-thirds of the jobs in most newsrooms. Less than one-fourth of news stories have women as their subjects, yet in advertising more than half of the images are of scantily-clad women, while one-fourth of the images of men represent them in a similar manner. What does this tell us about gender, journalism, the media, and cultural context? Let's view it, read it, observe and discuss this phenomenon. In Gender, Journalism, and Cultural Context we will examine video clips, news stories, advertising, sports journalism, and other media from the perspective of journalists, citizens, and consumers. Students will participate in collaborative projects using journalistic and media texts and images, keep a media log, write essays and a research paper.


JUDAIC 191J (1 credit) – Women in the Bible Text and Art
Ariella Ruderman
Wednesday 6:00-8:00 p.m.

See department for description.

JUDAIC 192C (1 credit) – Food, Speech, Sex and Judaism
Saul Perlmutter

See department for description.


LABOR 201 – Issues of Women and Work (SBU)
Dale Melcher
Tuesday 1:00-2:15 p.m.
Discussion Thursday 1:00-2:15 p.m.

The role of women at a variety of workplaces from historical, economic, sociological, and political points of view. Among areas considered: discrimination, health care, women in the labor movement and in management, and civil rights legislation.


PHILOSOPHY DEPARTMENT 352 Bartlett Hall 545-2330

PHILOS 381H – Philosophy of Women (SB, U)
Louise Antony
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.

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.

PUBLIC HEALTH 408 Arnold House 545-4603

PUBHLTH 213 – Peer Health Educ. I
April McNally, Amanda Vann
Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:30 p.m.

Training course.  Students participate in campus outreach projects while learning specific information on the primary health issues for college students: alcohol and other drug use, sexual decision-making, contraception, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, eating disorders and stress management techniques.  Class involves personal health assessment such as personal alcohol and drug survey, small group discussions, guest lectures, role playing, team building and public speaking exercises.  Class size limited to 20.  Students must complete an application and process for admission to the Peer Health Education Program.  This course is the first course in a year long academic course.

PUBHLTH 214 – Peer Health Educ. II
Amanda Vann, April McNally
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.

Utilizing the skills and information from EDUC/PUBHLTH 213, students are prepared to conduct educational programs in the residence halls and Greek areas.  Significant group facilitation, workshop presentation and health education program planning training.  Campus outreach projects include World AIDS Day, Safe Spring Break, Designated Driver, and Safe Sex Campaigns.  Advanced peers serve as mentors to the first semester peer health educators, and may elect to continue in the program through independent study credits.  Consent of instructor required.  Prerequisite: EDUC/PUBHLTH 213.

PUBHLTH 582 – Family Planning/Women’s Health
Aline Gubrium
Tuesday 2:30-5:00 p.m.

The interface of social and clinical issues, health policy, research, and community health education in the area of women's health across the lifespan. Also open to seniors from the Five Colleges.



PUBP&ADM 697G – Public Policy, Gender & Care
Nancy Folbre
Thursday 1:00-3:30 p.m.         

This course will explore public policy issues relevant to the care sector of the economy--the provision of paid and unpaid services to dependents. Drawing from the emerging feminist discourse of care work, we will develop an interdisciplinary analysis of the common features--and common problems--of health care, elder care, child care with particular attention to the impact of inequalities based on gender, race/ethnicity, and class. Comparative analysis of international, national, and state-level policies will be included, with particular attention to current policy debates within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

SOCIOLOGY DEPARTMENT  710 Thompson Hall 545-0577

SOCIOL 106 – Race, Gender, Class and Ethnicity  (SBU)
Dan Clawson
Monday, Wednesday 2:30-3:20 p.m.
Discussions: Friday 9:05, 10:10, 11:15, 12:20, 1:25 p.m.

Introduction to sociology. Analysis of how the intersections of race/ethnicity, gender, and social class affect people's lives in relation to political power, social status, economic mobility, interactions with various subgroups in American society, etc. Emphasis on the role of social institutions and structural-level dynamics in maintaining these identities and areas of inequality.

SOCIOL 222 – The Family  (SBU)
Naomi Gerstel
Lecture: Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:05 p.m.
Discussions Friday

Using lectures and discussion groups, we will explore how we define family, the ways we construct families, and the relationship between our families and larger social forces. Beginning with an examination of the history of families, we will look at changes in seemingly impersonal forces that are associated with changes in personal relations--between partners and spouses, between parents and children, among extended kin. Then we will turn to contemporary families across the life course, looking at the choice of a partner and experiences in marriage, parenting and childhood, and marital dissolution. Throughout, we will discuss differences--by gender, by race, and by class. Throughout we will attend to the social forces that shape these personal experiences.

SOCIOL 383 – Gender and Society
Joya Misra
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:10-11:00 p.m.                                   

Sociological analyses of women’s and men's gendered experiences, through examination of: 1) historical and cross-cultural variations in gender systems; 2) contemporary interactional and institutional creation and internalization of gender and maintenance of gender differences; 3) how gender experiences vary by race/ethnicity, social class and other differences. Biological, psychological, sociological and feminist theories are examined.

SOCIOL 387 – Sexuality & Society (SB, U)
Amy Schalet
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:10-11:00 a.m.

The many ways in which social factors shape sexuality. Focus on cultural diversity, including such factors as race/ethnicity, gender, and sexual identity in organizing sexuality in both individuals and social groups. Also includes adolescent sexuality; the invention of heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality; the medicalization of sexuality; and social theories about how people become sexual.  Prerequisite:  100-level Sociology course.

SOCIOL 388 – Gender & Globalization
Millie Thayer
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Examines how globalization impacts gender relations, as well as how beliefs about  femininity and masculinity influence globalization. Focuses on particularly important contexts, including: global production, international debt, migration, sex, tourism and war.

SOCIOL 722 – The Family
Naomi Gerstel
Tuesday 2:30-5:00 p.m.

See department for description.