Women's Studies courses, Smith College, Fall 2009

Program for the Study of Women & Gender 24 Hatfield 585-3390
First Year Seminar   585-4910
Afro-American Studies 102 Wright Hall 585-3572
Anthropology 15 Wright Hall 585-3500
Art History/Studio Art Hillyer Hall 585-3100
East Asian Languages & Literature 105 Pierce Hall 585-3320
English 101 Wright Hall 585-3302
Exercise and Sport Studies Scott/Ainsworth Gym 585-3570
French 131 Wright Hall 585-3360
History 13 Wright Hall 585-3702
Sociology 12 Wright Hall 585-3520
Spanish and Portuguese Hatfield Hall 585-3450
Theatre T204 Theatre Building 585-3229

SWG 200 – Queer Theories/Queer Cultures
Daniel Rivers
Tuesday, Thursday 3:00-4:50 p.m.


This course will offer an introduction to the central historical and contemporary issues, concerns, and debates in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) studies.  Using the course readings, film screenings, and class discussions, we will challenge ourselves to complicate our understandings of seemingly natural ideas such as sex/gender, man/woman or homosexual/heterosexual, as we experience them in our own daily lives and perceive them in the world around us. Through an interdisciplinary approach, we will explore the history, critical theory, cultural production, and politics of queer life in the United States, as well as queer identities in a transnational diasporic context. We will pay particular attention to how ideas of gender and sexuality intersect with social understandings of race, class, and citizenship.

SWG 230 - Feminisms and the Fate of the Planet
Elisabeth Armstrong
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:00-12:10


We begin this course by sifting the earth between our fingers as part of a community learning partnership with area farms in Holyoke, Hadley, and other neighboring towns. Using women's movements and feminisms across the globe as our lens, this course develops an understanding of current trends in globalization. This lens also allows us to map the history of transnational connections between people, ideas and movements from the mid-twentieth century to the present. Through films, memoirs, fiction, ethnography, witty diatribes and graphic novels, this course explores women's activism on the land of laborers, and in their lives. Students will develop research projects in consultation with area farms, link their local research with global agricultural movements, write papers and give one oral presentation.

SWG 300 – Intimate Revolutions: Sexuality and the Family in the Postwar Era
Daniel Rivers
Thursday 1:00-2:50 p.m.


This seminar will look at the ways that categories of sexuality, class, race, and gender have intersected and operated in constructions of the family in the last half of the twentieth century.  The focus will be on both political and institutional attempts to regulate the family and the ways the family has acted as a site of resistance. We will interrogate the notion of the family as a static, conservative institution and explore how changes in reproduction and sexuality have been linked both to each other and to other social transformations.

SWG 316 - Seminar: Feminist Theories of Cross-Border Organizing
Elisabeth Armstrong
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m.


Border crossing forms the cornerstone of feminist solidarity, whether across the bounds of propriety, or the definitions of racialized identities, or the police checkpoints of the nation-state. This seminar centers on feminist theories that imagine how to recognize strangers, defer citizenship, nurture desire and remember the very histories that divide cohorts in struggle. We will also discuss emerging methods of organizing women that inspire these theories. Course assignments include frequent short papers and in-class presentations. A background in feminist theory is required.


FYS 159 - What's in a Recipe?
Nancy Saporta Sternbach
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00-10:20 a.m.


What stories do recipes tell? What cultural and familial information is embedded in a recipe? Who wrote the recipe? Why? How does it reflect her (or his) life and times? What do we learn about the geography, history and political economy of a location through recipes? Are recipes a way for an underrepresented group to tell its story? Does a recipe bolster or undermine national cooking? This seminar will look at recipes and cookbooks from the Spanish-speaking world (in English) and theories of recipes from a variety of different sources. Our reading will inform our writing as we try to establish such connections as the politics of chocolate, olive oil cooperatives, avocado farms, the traveling tomato, potatoes, and the cultural milieu from which each recipe emerged. Knowledge of Spanish is useful but not required. Writing intensive.

FYS 171 - Women Writing Resistance
Jennifer Guglielmo (History)
Wednesday,  Friday 2:40-4:00 p.m.


This course explores women's testimony as a tool for understanding U.S. history in the 19th and 20th-centuries. In particular, we will explore how women have used cultural work to unmask power relations in their confrontations with colonialism, racism, patriarchy, war, and capitalism, to envision and enact alternative ways of being. Our focus will be on women's writing, including speeches, journalism, letters, and memoir, in comparison with other forms of creative expression such as dance, folklore, and political action. Central to our studies will be to think critically about the production of knowledge, to rethink what constitutes history, and to consider how women's cultural work has changed over time.

FYS 172 - (Dis)Obedient Daughters
Thalia Pandiri
Tuesday, Thursday 3:00-4:50 p.m.


How does the powerful relationship between mothers and daughters influence how women define themselves and search for their own identity? What does it mean when a woman defines who she is in opposition to her mother while seeking her mother's love and approval? How is the problem compounded when the mother's culture is different from her first-generation-immigrant daughter's? Through fiction and film by women from different cultures, we will explore such topics as gender roles, race, ethnicity and class. Authors read will include Jamaica Kincaid, Ama Ata Aidoo, Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Maxine Hong Kingston, Nora Okja Keller, Jhumpa Lahiri, Laila Wadia, Igiaba Scego.

FYS 175 - Love Stories
Ambreen Hai
Tuesday, Thursday 9:00-10:20 a.m.


Could a Jane Austen heroine ever marry a servant? What notions about class or decorum dictate what seem to be choices of the heart? How are individual desires shaped or produced by social, historical and cultural forces, by dominant assumptions about race, class, gender, or sexuality? How do dominant love stories both reflect these assumptions, and actively create or legislate the boundaries of what may be desired? How may non-dominant (queer or interracial) love stories contest those boundaries, creating alternative narratives and possibilities? This course explores how notions of love, romance, marriage or sexual desire are structured by specific cultural and historical formations. We will closely analyze literature and film from a range of locations: British, American and postcolonial. We will also read some theoretical essays to provide conceptual tools for our analyses.

FYS 179 - Rebellious Women
Kelly Anderson
Wednesday, Friday 9:00–10:20 a.m.


This course will introduce students to the rebellious women who have changed the American social and political landscape through reform, mobilization, cultural interventions, and outright rebellion. We will chronicle the history of feminist ideas and movements, interweaving historical change with contemporary debate. This course will use Estelle Freedman's No Turning Back as the primary text and will rely heavily on primary sources from the Sophia Smith Collection. The intention of this seminar is to provide an overview of feminist ideas and action throughout American history, introduce students to primary documents and research methods, and encourage reflection and discussion on current women's issues.


AAS 202 - Topics in Black Studies: Introduction to Black Feminist Theory
Riché Barnes
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 p.m.


This course explores the ways in which race and gender intersect to inform Black women's articulations of self, identity, and community. We will examine Black women's contestation of controlling images, their theories of social change, and their perspectives. Scholarly texts will be accompanied by essays, film, forms of popular culture, presentations, and music.

AAS 209 – Feminism, Race and Resistance: History of Black Women in America
Paula Giddings
Monday 7:00-9:30 p.m.


This interdisciplinary course will explore the historical and theoretical perspectives of African American women from the time of slavery to the post-civil rights era. A central concern of the course will be the examination of how Black women shaped, and were shaped by the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality in American culture.

AAS 212 - Culture and Class in the Afro-American Family
Riché Barnes
Monday, Wednesday 10:30-11:50 a.m.


In this course we will examine contemporary African-American families from both a sociocultural and socioeconomic perspective. We will explore the issues facing African-American families as a consequence of the intersecting of race, class, and gender categories of America. The aim of this course is to broaden the student's knowledge of the internal dynamics and diversity of African-American family life and to foster a greater understanding of the internal strengths as well as the vulnerabilities of the many varieties of African-American families.

AAS 366 - Seminar: Contemporary Topics in Afro-American Studies: Black Feminist Theories
Riché Barnes
Tuesday 1:00-2:50 p.m.


This course will examine historical, critical and theoretical perspectives on the development of Black feminist theory/praxis. The course will draw from the 19th century to the present, but will focus on the contemporary Black feminist intellectual tradition that achieved notoriety in the 1970s and initiated a global debate on “western” and global feminisms. Central to our exploration will be the analysis of the intersectional relationship between theory and practice and between race, gender and class. We will conclude the course with the exploration of various expressions of contemporary Black feminist thought around the globe as a way of broadening our knowledge of feminist theory.


ANT 251 - Women and Modernity in East Asia
Suzanne Gottschang
Tuesday, Thursday 3:00–4:50 p.m.


This course explores the roles, representations and experiences of women in 20th-century China, Korea, Vietnam and Japan in the context of the modernization projects of these countries. Through ethnographic and historical readings, film and discussion this course examines how issues pertaining to women and gender relations have been highlighted in political, economic, and cultural institutions. The course compares the ways that Asian women have experienced these processes through three major topics: war and revolution, gendered aspects of work, and women in relation to the family.


ARH 240 - Art Historical Studies: The Role of Women in Islamic Visual Cultures
Saleema Waraich

Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m.

This reading-intensive course focuses on women – as patrons, subjects of representation, and artists – associated with Muslim communities across various time periods and regions. Weaving various documents, including religious texts, historical documents, and literary works, with architectural and artistic production, this couse will endeavor to analyze women's contributions to and presence within this corpus of visual material. This course will also explore debates surrounding the depiction of Muslim women in Orientalist painting and Western media. Permission of the instructor required.


EAL 238 - Literature from Taiwan
Sabina Knight
Monday, Wednesday 2:40-4:00 p.m.


How do works from Taiwan contend with legacies of political trauma and the social consequences of modernization and democratization? In the face of dislocation, marginality, and materialism, how does writing nurture memory, belonging, social repair or change? Close readings of stories and, some semesters, essays, poetry, novels or films will explore traditional aesthetics, the modernist, nativist and localist movements of the 1960s to 1980s, and the pluralism of the 1990s and since, with special attention to feminist and queer fiction. Class participation will include student-centered contemplative and collaborative exercises, including short written meditations and dramatizations. No background in Chinese required.


ENG 277 - Postcolonial Women Writers
Ambreen Hai
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:30 p.m.


A comparative study of primarily twentieth-century women writers in English from Africa, the Caribbean, South Asia and Australia. We will read novels, short stories, poetry, plays, and autobiography in their historical, cultural and political contexts as well as theoretical essays to address questions such as: how have women writers challenged both colonial and postcolonial assumptions about gender, identity or nationhood, diaspora? How do they call attention to or address issues often ignored by their male contemporaries or forebears, such as sexuality, desire, motherhood, childhood, sickness, poverty, relations among women? Writers may include Attia Hosain, Anita Desai, Kamala Das, Thrity Umrigar, Ama Ata Aidoo, Bessie Head, Nawal-el-Saadawi, Jamaica Kincaid, Michelle Cliff, Shani Mootoo, Zadie Smith, Sally Morgan.

ENG 278 - Writing Women: Asian American Women Writers
Floyd Cheung
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m.


The body of literature written by Asian American women over the past one hundred years has been recognized as forming a coherent tradition. What conditions enabled its emergence? How have the qualities and concerns of this tradition been defined? What makes a text central or marginal to the tradition? Writers to be studied include Maxine Hong Kingston, Sui Sin Far, Mitsuye Yamada, M. Eveline Galang, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Paisley Rekdal, Lynda Barry, Lois-Ann Yamanaka, Bharati Mukherjee, and Smith College alumna Frances Chung.

ENG 279 - American Women Poets
Susan Van Dyne
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 1:10-2:30 p.m.


A selection of poets from the last 50 years, including Sylvia Plath, Diane Gilliam Fisher, Elizabeth Bishop, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Sharon Olds, Cathy Song, Louise Glück, and Rita Dove. An exploration of each poet's chosen themes and distinctive voice, with attention to the intersection of gender and ethnicity in the poet's materials and in the creative process. Not open to first-year students. Prerequisite: at least one college course in literature.


ESS 340 - Women's Health: Current Topics
Barbara Brehm-Curtis
Tuesday 1:00-2:50 p.m.


A seminar focusing on current research papers in women's health. Recent topics have included reproductive health issues, eating disorders, heart disease, depression, autoimmune disorders and breast cancer. Prerequisites: 140 or a strong biological sciences background, and permission of the instructor. Open to juniors and seniors.


FRN 230 - Colloquia in French Studies: Women Writers of Africa and the Caribbean
Dawn Fulton
Tuesday, Thursday 9:00-10:20 a.m.


An introduction to works by contemporary women writers from francophone Africa and the Caribbean. Topics to be studied include colonialism, exile, motherhood, and intersections between class and gender. Our study of these works and of the French language will be informed by attention to the historical, political, and cultural circumstances of writing as a woman in a former French colony. Texts will include works by Mariama Bâ, Maryse Condé, Gisèle Pineau, and Myriam Warner-Vieyra. Course conducted in French.

FRN 320 - Topics in Medieval and Renaissance Literature: Women Writers of the Middle Ages
Eglal Doss-Quinby
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 p.m.

What genres did women practice in the Middle Ages and in what way did they transform those genres for their own purposes? What access did women have to education and to the works of other writers, male and female? To what extent did women writers question the traditional gender roles of their society? How did they represent female characters in their works and what do their statements about authorship reveal about their understanding of themselves as writing women? What do we make of anonymous works written in the feminine voice? Reading will include the love letters of Héloise, the lais and fables of Marie de France, the songs of the trobairitz and women trouvères, and the writings of Christine de Pizan.


HST 252 - Women and Gender in Modern Europe, 1789-1918
Jennifer Hall-Witt
Tuesday, Thursday 9:00-10:20 p.m.


A survey of European women's experiences and constructions of gender from the French Revolution through World War I, focusing on Western Europe. Gendered relationships to work, family, politics, society, religion, and the body, as well as shifting conceptions of femininity and masculinity, as revealed in novels, films, treatises, letters, paintings, plays, and various secondary sources.

HST 265 - Race, Gender and United States Citizenship, 1789-1861
Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 p.m.


This course will analyze the historical realities, the social movements, cultural expression, and political debates that shaped the American character from the ratification of the U.S. Constitution to the dawn of the Civil War. This course will also analyze the hope of liberty and equality and the exclusion of marginalized groups that made whiteness, maleness and native birth synonymous with Americanness. This course will look at how African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants and women harnessed the Declaration of Independence and its ideology to define themselves as citizens of the United States too.

HST 278 - Women in the United States since 1865
Jennifer Gugliemo
Tuesday, Thursday 1-2:20 p.m.


Survey of women's and gender history with focus on race, class, and sexuality. Draws on feminist methodologies to consider how study of women's lives changes our understanding of history, knowledge, culture, and the politics of resistance. Topics include labor, racial formation, empire, im/migration, popular culture, citizenship, education, religion, science, war, consumerism, feminism, queer cultures, and globalizing capitalism. How have women contested and contributed to systems of inequality? Emphasis on class discussion and analysis of original documents, with short lectures.

HST 371 - Problems in 19th-Century United States History: African-American Women in Slavery and Freedom
Elizabeth Stordeur Pryor
Tuesday 1:00-2:50 p.m.


How did race, gender and freedom affect African-American women? Despite the particular degradation, violence and despair of enslavement in the United States, African-American women built families, traditions and a legacy of resistance that nurtured freedom movements during enslavement and fostered a trajectory of activism in the Black community throughout the nineteenth century. Close reading of protest strategies, speeches and writings including those of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs, Sarah Remond, Francis Harper, Amanda Smith, Ida Wells, and Anna Julia Cooper.


SOC 323 - Seminar: Gender and Social Change
Nancy Whittier
Tuesday 3:00-4:50 p.m.


Theory and research on the construction of and change in gender categories in the United States, with particular attention to social movements that seek to change gender definitions and stratification, including both feminist and anti-feminist movements. Theoretical frameworks are drawn from feminist theory and social movement theory. Readings examine historical shifts in gender relations and norms, changing definitions of gender in contemporary everyday life, and politicized struggles over gender definitions. Themes throughout the course include the social construction of both femininity and masculinity, the intersection of race, class, and sexual orientation with gender, and the growth of a politics of identity. Case studies include feminist, lesbian and gay, right-wing, self help, anti-abortion, and pro-choice movements.


SPN 230 - Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Literature: Female Visions of Mexico
Patricia Gonzalez
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00-2:30 p.m.


In the strong male dominated environment, women have always worked, written and fought side-by-side with men in the construction of Mexican identity. Starting with the period of the Revolution of 1910, women participated actively in the transformation of their country. This course will recount history and literature through women's perspectives by studying influential women throughout the 20th century. Mexican artists include Carmen Mondragon (Nahui Olin), Remedios Varo, Frida Khalo and Leonora Carrington. Fiction writers such as Nellie Campobello, Rosario Castellanos, Elena Garro, Elena Poniatowska and more contemporary writers will encompass most of the readings for the class.

SPN 230 - Topics in Latin American and Peninsular Literature: A Transatlantic Search for Identity
María Estela Harretche
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m.


A quest for the self and its relation to otherness through a one-poem per class approach. Readings in Modern and Contemporary works by poets from both sides of the ocean, complemented by the study of related music and visual art. We will examine the consequences of political exile as a journey to the unknown (Jiménez, Cernuda, Cortázar, Neruda, Alberti), as well as the voluntary exile of the artist in search of a new aesthetic identity (Darío, Lorca, Vallejo). Special attention will be given to the problems of subjectivity, gender and sexuality, as poets searched within themselves: Agustini, Storni, Parra and Pizarnik, four women. Students will have the option of composing an original poem to supplement their final grade.

SPN 250 - Survey of Iberian Literature and Society: Sex and the Medieval City
María Estela Harretche
Tuesday, Thursday 1:00–2:50 p.m.


This course examines the medieval understanding of sex and the female body within an urban context. We will read medieval medical treatises on women's sexual health by physicians such as Ibu Sina. We will also address women's role as physicians in the medieval Iberian Peninsula. Texts include The Book of the Canon of Medicine by Ibn Sina, Milagros de Nuestra Señora by Gonzalo de Berceo, El Collar de la paloma by Ibn Hazm, Medical Aphorisms by Maimonides, and La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas.


THE 215 - Minstrel Shows from Daddy Rice to Big Mama's House
Andrea Hairston
Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m., Wednesday 7:00-9:30 p.m.

This course explores the intersection of race, theatre, film, and performance in America. We consider the history and legacy of minstrel shows from the 1820s to the present. Reading plays by Alice Childress, Loften Mitchell, Lorraine Hansberry, Douglas Turner Ward, Ntozake Shange, George Wolfe, Pearl Cleage, Carlyle Brown, and Suzan Lori Parks, we investigate the impact of the minstrel performance of blackness on the American imagination. What is the legacy of this most popular of forms in the current entertainment world? How have monumental works such as Uncle Tom's Cabin shaped American performance traditions and identity? How have historical and contemporary films incorporated minstrel images and performances? How have artists and audiences responded to the comedic power of minstrel images? Is a contemporary audience entertained in the same way by Martin Lawrence as they were by say Stepin Fetchit?