Smith College Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies courses, Fall 2011

AAS 212 – Feminism, Race and Resistance:  History of Black Women in America
Paula Giddings
Wednesday  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 – Family Matters:  Representations, Policy and the Black Family
Richie’ Barnes
Tuesday, Thursday  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.

AMS 340 – The United States as a Consumer Society
Daniel Horowitz
Wednesday  1:10-3:00 p.m.
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Among the issues we will consider are: in what ways is shopping a social, moral, or political experience? What does it mean to look at travel sites that offer a view of history (Historic Deerfield and Yankee Candle Company, for example) as part of a consumer’s experience? What is the relationship between consumer culture and public life or political participation (such as protests against the World Trade Organization or boycotts against goods produced under oppressive conditions?) How does the experience of shopping vary with one’s race, class, gender, or sexuality?

BIO 110 – Life Sciences for the 21st Century:  Women and Exercise, What is Really Going on in our Muscles
Stylianos Scordilis
Monday, Wednesday  10:30-11:50 a.m.

Muscle responds to environmental changes and stresses in ways we don’t even notice. It atrophies from disuse, hypertrophies from weight lifting, and changes in response to daily exercise. We will explore the effects of exercise on ourselves. We will examine different muscle cell types at the microscopic level. We will carry out biochemical analyses of metabolites such as glucose and lactate, and enzymes such as creatine, kinase and lactate dehydrogenase, to elucidate changes due to exercise. We will also explore some physiological and molecular alterations that help our bodies compensate for new exercise patterns.

ENG 118 – Colloquia in Writing:  Riding the Wave:  The Women’s Movement, 1968-79
J. Alves
Monday, Wednesday  2:40 – 4:00 p.m.

Reading and writing about the women’s movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, often called Second Wave Feminism. Readings will include primary documents, secondary sources, and statistical data. Writing will include scholarly essays, biography, and mixed genres.

ENG 222 – Medicine and Law in African Diasporic Literature in 19th Century
Andrea Stone
Tuesday, Thursday  1:00-2:20 p.m.
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During a time of rapid professionalization, medicine and law profoundly influenced New World ideas about personhood and rights regarding peoples of African descent. This course surveys nineteenth-century African diasporic authors and orators engagements with medical and legal theories on issues of slavery, emigration, crime, and revolution. Supplementing our readings of slave literature, emigration writings, poetry, and fiction, we will study contemporary and current theories of race and racial science, environmentalism, colonization, pain, disability, gender, sexuality, and legal personhood. Our literary travels will take us from colonial West Indies, Jamaica, and the antebellum U.S. to colonial Canada, Cuba, and the Bahamas.

ENG 278 – Asian American Women Writers
F. 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 Woman 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, Elizabeth Bishop, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, Sharon Olds, Cathy Song, Louise Glack, 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.

ENG 284 – Victorian Sexualities
C. Pearsall
Tuesday, Thursday  10:30-11:50 a.m.

The Victorians have long been viewed as sexually repressed, but close attention reveals a culture whose inventiveness regarding sexual identity, practice and discourse knew few bounds. This course explores a range of literary, visual and scientific representations of Victorian sexuality. We read novels, nonfiction prose, and poetry by authors such as Darwin, Dickens, H. Rider Haggard, Christina Rossetti and Oscar Wilde. Literary readings are informed by Victorian sexologists such as Freud, Krafft-Ebing, and Havelock Ellis, as well as contemporary historical and theoretical writings. We also make use of visual materials, including Pre-Raphaelite paintings, Aubrey Beardsley illustrations and photographs.

ENG 333-2 – Alice Munro
C. Reeves
Monday  7:30-9:30 p.m.

Alice Munro has won extraordinary and steadily growing recognition as one of the very finest and canniest writers of our time. The subtlety of her narrative skills and the subdued brilliance of her moral insights mark her as a major figure. And yet this has not translated into the kind of attention one might expect in college and university curricula. Certainly there are challenges for both student and teacher in tracing out the arc of her achievement, beginning with the early "Dance of the Happy Shades" to her most recent work. But this tracing provides an opportunity to follow Munro "writing her lives" in all their narrative sublimity.

ENG 334 – Servants in American Literature
Ambreen Hai
Thursday  3:00-4:50 p.m.
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Often invisible but crucial, servants in English literature have served as comic relief, go-betweens, storytellers, sexual targets, and sometimes as central protagonists. But what roles do they play in contemporary literature and film? What can we learn from them about modernity, class, power relations, sexuality, gender, marriage or family? What new responses do they evoke from us? This seminar will consider how writers from various cultures and times call upon the figure of the domestic servant for different purposes, and how a view from (or of) the margins can change how and what we see. Writers include Shakespeare, Richardson, Emily Bronte, Wilkie Collins, Kazuo Ishiguro, Kiran Desai, Khaled Hosseini, Deepa Mehta.

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.

FRN 320 – 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 Heloise, the lais and fables of Marie de France, the songs of the trobairitz and women trouvares, and the writings of Christine de Pizan.

GOV 232 – Women and Politics in Africa
M. Catharine Newbury
Tuesday, Thursday  1:00-2:50 p.m.

This course will explore the genesis and effects of political activism by women in Africa, which some believe represents a new African feminism, and its implications for state/civil society relations in contemporary Africa. Topics will include the historical effects of colonialism on the economic, social, and political roles of African women, the nature of urban/rural distinctions, and the diverse responses by women to the economic and political crises of postcolonial African polities. Case studies of specific African countries, with readings of novels and women's life histories as well as analyses by social scientists.

HST 252 – Women and Gender in Modern Europe, 1789-1918
Jennifer Hall-Witt
Monday, Wednesday  1:10-2:30 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 State Citizenship
Elizabeth Pryor
Monday, Wednesday  1:10-2:30 p.m.

Analysis of the historical realities, social movements, cultural expression and political debates that shaped U.S. citizenship from the Declaration of Independence to the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment. From the hope of liberty and equality to the exclusion of marginalized groups that made whiteness, maleness and native birth synonymous with Americanness. How African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants and women harnessed the Declaration of Independence and its ideology to define themselves as also citizens of the United States.

HST 371 – Problems in 19-Century United States History:  African American Women in Slavery and Freedom
Elizabeth Pryor
Tuesday  1:00-3:30 p.m.

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 enslavement and gender, protest strategies, speeches and writings including those of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Jacobs and Sarah Remond. How did race, gender and resistance affect African-American women?

ITAL 344 – Women in Italian Society:  Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
Giovanna Bellesia
Monday, Wednesday  1:10-2:30 p.m.

This course provides an in-depth look at the changing role of women in Italian society. Authors studied include Sibilla Aleramo, Natalia Ginzburg, Dacia Maraini and Elena Ferrante. A portion of the course is dedicated to the new multicultural and multiethnic Italian reality with a selection of texts written during the last ten to fifteen years by contemporary women immigrants. Limited enrollment, permission of the instructor required. Conducted in Italian.

PSY 266 – Psychology of Women and Gender
Lauren Duncan
Monday, Wednesday  9:00-10:20 a.m.

An exploration of the psychological effects of gender on females and males. We will examine the development of gender roles and stereotypes, and the impact of differences in power within the family, workplace, and politics on women's lives and mental health. This course will emphasize how psychologists have conceptualized and studied women and gender, paying attention to empirical examinations of current controversies (e.g., biological versus cultural bases of gender differences).

REL 238 – Mary:   Images and Cults
Vera Shevzov
Tuesday, Thursday  10:30-11:50 a.m.
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Whether revered as the Birth-Giver of God or remembered as a simple Jewish woman, Mary has both inspired and challenged generations of Christian women and men. This course focuses on key developments in the "history of Mary" since Christian times to the present. How has her image shaped Christianity? What does her image in any given age tell us about personal and collective Christian identity? Topics include Mary's "life"; rise of the Marian cult; differences among Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christians; apparitions (e.g., Guadalupe and Lourdes); miracle-working icons; Mary, liberation and feminism. Liturgical, devotional, and theological texts, art, and film.

SOC 229 – Sex and Gender in American Society
Nancy Whittier
Tuesday, Thursday  9:00-10:20 a.m.

An examination of the ways in which the social system creates, maintains, and reproduces gender dichotomies with specific attention to the significance of gender in interaction, culture, and a number of institutional contexts, including work, politics, families and sexuality.

SOC 237 – Gender and Globalization:  Culture, Power and Trade
Payal Banerjee
Monday, Wednesday  11:00-12:10 p.m.

This course will engage with the various dimensions of globalization through the lens of gender, race, and class relations. We will study how gender and race intersect in global manufacturing and supply chains as well as in the transnational politics of representation and access in global media, culture, consumption, fashion, food, water, war, and dissenting voices.

SWG 222 – Gender, Law and Society
Carrie Baker
Monday, Wednesday, Friday  9:00-10:20 a.m.

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of the legal status of women and men in the United States historically and today, particularly focusing in the areas of employment, education, reproduction, sexuality, the family, and violence. This course will examine U.S. constitutional and statutory laws affecting women's legal rights and gender equality. Through a close reading of judicial opinions, we will consider how the law historically has officiated gender relations; how the law has responded to women's gender-based claims for equality; and how inequalities based on class/race/sexuality inform (or not) feminist law reform. Readings and lectures will emphasize: 1) constitutional and statutory frameworks for equality; 2) fundamental rights and intimate life; and 3) legal remedies for inequality.

SWG 223 – Sexual Harassment in History, Law and Culture
Carrie Baker
Monday, Wednesday  1:10-2:30 p.m.

This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of sexual harassment in the United States. We will examine the history and incidence of sexual harassment, the social movement opposing sexual harassment, and the development of law and public policy on the issue. We will study sexual harassment in a variety of contexts, including the workplace, primary and secondary schools, higher education, the military and prisons, housing, and on the street. Finally, we will consider the significance of gender, race, and sexuality for sexual harassment. Readings include first person accounts, feminist theory, legal cases, social science research, and primary and secondary sources.

SWG 238 – Women, Money and Transnational Social Movements
Elisabeth Armstrong
Monday, Wednesday  11:00-12:10 p.m.

This course centers on the political linkages forged in those transnational social movements from the mid- twentieth to the present that address the politics of women and money. We will research social movements that address raced, classed and gendered inequities alongside the costs of maintaining order. We will assess the alternatives proposed by global labor movements, from micro-finance to worker-owned cooperatives, to shed light on the cultural fabric of the global finance industry. Assignments include community-based research on local and global political movements, short papers & written reflections.

SWG 312 – Queer Resistances:  Identities, Communities and Social Movements
Nancy Whittier
Tuesday  1:00-2:50 p.m.

How do we know what it means to identify as lesbian, gay, queer, bisexual, or transgender? Why do these terms mean different things to different people and in different contexts? How does claiming or refusing to claim a sexual identity affect community formation or social change? This seminar will explore constructions of queer collective identities, communities, and social protest. We will pay explicit attention to how queer identities, communities, and movements are racialized, shaped by class, gendered, and contextual. Drawing on historical, theoretical, narrative, and ethnographic sources, we will examine multiple sites of queer resistance including local communities, academic institutions, media, the state, social movement organizations, and the Internet. We will examine the consequences of various theories of gender, sexuality, and resistance for how we interpret the shapes that queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identity, community, and social movements take.