Women's Studies Program Courses
Fall 2009

WOMENSST 187 – Introduction to Women’s Studies (#36354)
Banu Subramaniam
Monday, Wednesday 10:10-11:00

Placing women’s experiences at the center of interpretation, this class introduces basic concepts and key areas of women’s lives both historically and contemporaneously.  It is an inter-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and cross cultural study of women’s roles and relations but it is also an overview of theoretical perspectives on gender and its intersection with other social constructs of difference (race/ethnicity, class, sexuality, and age).  The central aim is to foster critical reading and thinking about these interlocking systems which have shaped and influenced the historical, cultural, social, political, and economical contexts of our lives.  Specific attention will be given to women’s resistance of those gendered inequalities, and the various ways they have worked to create new systems of change by engaging in national and global transformational politics.  Gen Ed I, U.

WOMENSST 187H – Introduction Women’s Studies – honors (#39223)
Alexandrina Deschamps
Tuesday, Thursday  9:30-10:45 a.m.

Honors course with collaborative/research/community project.  Same general description as WOMENSST 187.  Culture and Society: Webster RAP.  Taught in Orchard Hill.  Gen Ed IU

WOMENSST 201 – Critical Perspectives (#36391)
Allia Matta
Tuesday, Thursday  9:30-10:45 a.m.

Introduction to fundamental questions and concepts of feminist thought 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.

WOMENSST 201 – Critical Perspectives (#36372)
Miliann Kang
Tuesday, Thursday  11:15-12:30 p.m.

Introduction to fundamental questions and concepts of feminist thought 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.

WOMENSST 290A – Introduction to Biology of Difference (#36392)
Sarah Richardson
Tuesday, Thursday 9:30-10:45 a.m.

The course centrally examines our understanding of the “body”. While humans have many similarities and differences, we are organized around certain axes of “difference” that have profound consequences – sex, gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, nationality etc. These differences can shape not only group affiliation and identity, but also claims about intellectual and behavioral capacities. This course will explore popular claims, critiques and understandings of “difference” as well as academic research, its claims, debates and critiques. This is an interdisciplinary course that will draw from the biological and social sciences and the humanities. We will explore principles of human biology – anatomy, physiology, sex/gender/sexuality, reproductive biology, genetics, as well as the scientific method(s) and experimental designs. The course will give students the tools to analyze scientific studies, to understand the relationship of nature and culture, science and society, biology and politics.  Gen Ed U, SI

WOMENSST 297A – What’s Cooking? Women, Gender & Food Practices (#39332)
Arlene Avakian
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Who is cooking what, for whom, under what conditions, and does it matter? Are we what we eat? A daily activity all of us must do and have done since the day we were born, eating plays a role in constructing our identities and the worlds we live in. Food is now a “hot” academic topic. Over the last decade there has been a virtual explosion of interdisciplinary scholarship on the many aspects of food practices. Using some of this exciting new work, this course will examine the complex interplay of food and the construction of identities and social structures. Focusing on women and gender within the contexts of race, class, and sexuality, we will explore food practices historically both domestically and in and larger social structures including the global context. We will use historical and social analyses as well as memoir and fiction to explore these issues. Come with your appetites.

WOMENSST 301 – Theorizing Women’s Issues (#36350)
Dayo Gore
Tuesday, Thursday 11:15-12:30

This course provides a historical overview and critical analysis of controversies and current issues in feminist theory.  In particular the course will explore the ways intersections of race, gender, class, nation and sexuality, as well as the politics of difference and power, have shaped feminist thought.  In addition, the course will take into account the ways such theories address practical questions and debates regarding gender relations, women's lived experiences and strategies for social change.  Topics may include work and international economic development, violence against women, racism, class and poverty, heterosexism, the social construction of gender, race and sexuality, nationalism and the state, reproductive issues, pornography and media representations of women.

WOMENSST 391M – African American Women and the Civil Rights Movement (#36408)
Dayo Gore
Tuesday, Thursday  1:00-2:15 p.m.

This course examines black women’s participation in and influence on the U.S. Civil Rights/Black Power movements from the 1940s to the 1980s as well as the impact of these movements and struggles on black women’s daily lives, status and politics in the United States. Centering black women’s experiences as grassroots organizers, political leadership and civil rights activists this course explores significant events, organizations and political theories that helped to form and transform the black freedom struggle during the latter part of the Twentieth Century. In addition we will examine debates over leadership styles and political goals as well as the dynamics of class, sexuality, race, gender and region that shaped social activism and the cultural politics of the movements. From this vantage point we will begin the process of addressing a range of longstanding issues that have plagued activists and theorists alike including building solidarity, sustaining political commitments, creating viable organizations and developing strategies for long-term social change.  This course fulfills the Women of Color inside the US requirement for Women’s Studies majors and minors.

WOMENSST 391W – Writing and Queer Representation              
Mitch Boucher
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:15-12:05 p.m.

This writing course fulfills the university junior year writing requirement.  This year, the course will be organized around the theme of writing and queer representations.  Students will be asked to learn and engage in a writing process that will prepare them to write for a variety of personal, political, and scholarly purposes.  As students engage in their own writing projects, we will explore a variety of questions that arise at the intersections of queer and writing.  How does writing work as a means through which queer people can represent themselves and their communities?   How have queer people used writing to produce social, political, and historical representation?  What are the limitations that arise in the attempt to use writing as a form of representation?  What is the relationship between writing and the desire for recognition and representation?  As we grapple with such questions and explore writing as a form of representation, we will look at a variety of queer texts including fiction, poetry, academic writing, editorials, zines, broadsides, speeches, performance pieces, memoirs, journals, and political tracts.  Within this context and through our own writing projects, we will reflect upon how queering writing or writing queerly might open new representational and documentary possibilities for alternative genders and sexualities.

WOMENSST 692 – History of Feminist Theory
Ann Ferguson
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30-3:45

This course is designed for upper level undergraduates with some background in feminist theory and for graduate students who want a foundation in social theory on which contemporary US feminist theory is based.  We will read some basic selections from the key currents in social theory from which different paradigms in feminist theory in the 1960s emerged.  These will include Marxism, Existentialism, Freudian thought, Classical Liberal thought (Wollstonecraft), Poststructuralist thought (Foucault), Postcolonial thought (Said), and Racial Formation theory (Omi and Winant).  We will read feminists who extend each paradigm to try to answer feminist questions, including Jónasdóttir and Federici, Beauvoir and Mackinnon, Chodorow and Irigaray, Friedan and Steinem, Butler and Feder, Mohanty and hooks. Books will include Tong Feminist Thought, 2nd edition, Foucault History of Sexuality, vol. 1,  Butler The Psychic Life of Power;  hooks Feminist theory from margin to center, and a course packet of readings.  There will be a short paper due the middle of the semester, a term paper, short homework questions and a group presentation.

WOMENSST 791B – Feminist Theory (#36386)
Svati Shah
Tuesday 4:00-6:30 p.m.

Description forthcoming.