Smith College Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies courses, Fall 2012

At press time (3/30/12) Smith College’s courses were not available. Updates since that date are in red.  

Program for the Study of Women and Gender Seelye Hall 207B 585-3393

SWG 205 – LGBT History and Politics
Gary Lehring
Tuesday, Thursday  1:10–2:30 p.m.

This course will provide an overview of the birth and growth of the 20th century movement for GLBT visibility, community and equality in the United States through and including the contemporary 21st-century status of LGBT rights. Topics to be addressed include public opinion; state ballot initiatives; GLBT candidates, elections and interest groups; federal and state legislation; and state and federal court decisions affecting GLBT citizens. Public policy areas to be included are Defense of Marriage Act, Federal Marriage Amendment, Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Employment Non-Discrimination Act, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," and US Federal AIDS policy.

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

This course explores the legal status of women in the United States historically and today, focusing in the areas of employment, education, sexuality, reproduction, the family and violence. We will study constitutional and statutory law as well as public policy. Some of the topics we will cover are sexual harassment, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, as well as pregnancy discrimination. We will study feminist activism to reform the law and will examine how inequalities based on gender, race, class and sexuality shape the law. We will also discuss and debate contemporary policy and future directions.

SWG 230 – Feminisms and the Fate of the Planet
Elisabeth Armstrong
Monday, Wednesday, Friday  11 a.m.–12:10 p.m.

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 as 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 271 - Reproductive Justice
Carrie Baker
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 p.m.

This course will explore reproductive justice in the U.S. and the influence of U.S. policy globally, addressing issues of law, policy, theory and activism. Topics include historic and contemporary state control over women’s reproduction, social movements to expand women’s control over their reproductive lives, access to reproductive care, reproductive technologies, reproductive coercion and violence, religious fundamentalism’s increasing influence over reproduction, and the discourses around women’s bodies and pregnancy. A central framework for analysis is how gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, disability and nationality shape women’s ability to control their reproduction.

Afro-American Studies 102 Wright Hall 585-3572

AAS 243 – Black Activist Autobiography                          
Riche Barnes
Tuesday, Thursday  1:00-2:20 p.m.

From the publication of “slave narratives” in the 18th century to the present, African Americans have used first-person narratives to tell their personal story and to testify about the structures of social, political, and economic inequality faced by black people.  These autobiographical accounts provide rich portraits of individual experience at a specific time and place as well as insights into the larger socio-historical context in which the authors lived.  This course will focus on the autobiographies of activist women.  In addition to analyzing texts and their contexts, we will reflect on and document how our own life history is shaped by race.  Writers and subjects will include: Sojourner Truth, Zora Neale Hurston, Angela Davis, Harriet Jacobs, and Audre Lorde among others. 

AAS 249/ENG 248 – Black Women Writers               
Daphne Lamothe
Wednesday, Friday  1:10-2:30 p.m.

How does gender matter in a black context?  That is the question we will ask and attempt to answer through an examination of works by such authors as Harriet Jacobs, Frances Harper, Nella Larsen, Zora Hurston, Toni Morrison, Ntozake Shange and Alice Walker.

AAS 289 – Women, Race and Resistance 
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 360 – Toni Morrison
Kevin Quashie

This seminar will focus on Toni Morrison’s literary production.  In reading her novels, essays, lectures, and interviews, we will pay particular attention to three things: her interest in the epic anxieties of American identities; her interest in form, language, and theory; and her study of love. 


English Languages and Literature 101 Wright Hall 585-3302

ENG 276 – Contemporary British Women Writers       
Robert Hosmer
Monday, Wednesday  1:10-2:30 p.m.

Consideration of a number of contemporary women writers, mostly British, some well-established, some not, who represent a variety of concerns and techniques. Emphasis on the pleasures of the text and significant ideas¿political, spiritual, human, and esthetic. Efforts directed at appreciation of individuality and diversity as well as contributions to the development of fiction. Authors likely to include Anita Brookner, Angela Carter, Isabel Colegate, Eva Figes, Penelope Fitzgerald, Molly Keane, Penelope Lively, Edna O'Brien, Barbara Pym, Jean Rhys, Muriel Spark, and Jeanette Winterson; some supplementary critical reading.


Government 226 Wright Hall 585-3702

GOV 205 – Strange Bedfellows:  State Power and Regulation of the Family
Alice Hearst
Monday, Wednesday  1:10-2:30 p.m.

Explores the status of the family in American political life, and its role as a mediating structure between the individual and the state. Emphasis will be placed on the role of the courts in articulating the rights of the family and its members.

GOV 232 – Women and Politics in Africa

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.

GOV 347 - North Africa in the International System
Greg White


History 227 Wright Hall 585-3702

HST 223 – Women in Japanese History from Ancient Times to the 19th Century
Marnie Anderson
Monday, Wednesday  9:00-10:20 a.m.

The dramatic transformation in gender relations is a key feature of Japan's premodern history. How Japanese women and men have constructed norms of behavior in different historical periods, how gender differences were institutionalized in social structures and practices, and how these norms and institutions changed over time. The gendered experiences of women and men from different classes from approximately the 7th through the 19th centuries. Consonant with current developments in gender history, exploration of variables such as class, religion, and political context which have affected women's and men's lives.

HST 252 – Women and Gender in Modern Europe, 1789-1918
Darcy Buerkle
Tuesday, Thursday  1:00-2:20 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 278 – Women in the United States since 1865
Jennifer Gugliemo
Wednesday, Friday  2:40-4:00 p.m.

Survey of women’s and gender history with focus on race, class, and sexuality. Informed by feminist methodologies to consider how the study of women’s lives changes our understanding of history, knowledge, culture, and the politics of resistance. Topics include emancipation from slavery, race and racism, labor, colonialism, imperialism, im/migration, nationalism, popular culture, citizenship, education, religion, war, consumerism, civil rights and the modern freedom movement, feminism, queer cultures, and globalizing capitalism.

HST 355 – Recent Historical Debates in Gender and Sexuality
Darcy Buerkle
Tuesday  3:00-4:50 p.m.

This course considers methodologies and debates in modern historical writing about gender and sexuality, with a primary focus on European history. Students will develop an understanding of the outlines of the field and grasp of significant historiographical trends and research topics in the history of women and gender.

HST 383 – Research in U.S. Women’s History: The Sophia Smith Collection: American Women in the 19th and 20th Centuries      Jennifer Gugliemo
Tuesday  3:00-4:50 p.m.

An advanced research and writing workshop in U.S. women's history. Students develop historical research methods as they work with archival materials from the Sophia Smith Collection (letters, diaries, oral histories, newspaper articles, government documents, photographs, etc.) as well as historical scholarship, to research, analyze and write a 25-30 page research paper on a topic of their own choosing.


Interdisciplinary Studies 207B Seelye Hall

IDP 320 – Women’s Health in India
Leslie Jaffe
Tuesday  7:00-9:00 p.m.

The purpose of this seminar is to study women’s health and cultural issues within India, with a focus on Tibetan refugees, and then apply the knowledge experientially. During J-term, the students will travel to India and deliver workshops on reproductive health topics to young Tibetan women living at the Central University of Tibetan Studies in Sarnath where they will be further educated in Tibetan medicine. The seminar will be by permission of the instructor with interested students required to write an essay explaining their interest and how the seminar furthers their educational goals. Enrollment limited to 5 students.


Presidential Seminars

PRS 319 – South Asians in Britain and America      
Ambreen Hai
Thursday  1:00-2:50 p.m.

This seminar will compare the cultural implications of two recent waves of migration of South Asian peoples: post-World War Two migrations of ¿skilled/unskilled¿ labor to Britain; and the still ongoing, post-1965 migrations to North America. We will focus on cultural production (literature, film, music) that records, reflects on, and seeks to intervene in the cultural processes of such profound shifts. Taking an interdisciplinary approach, we will investigate the causes and consequences of migration and diaspora in their historical, political and economic contexts, emphasizing questions of gender, globalization, community, identity, religious fundamentalism and assimilation. Writers include Rushdie, Naipaul, Kureishi, Jhumpa Lahiri, Monica Ali, among others. Open to students interested in the South Asia Concentration, literature, film, history, anthropology, AMS and SWG, and others.


Sociology 224 Wright Hall 585-3520

SOC 214 – Sociology of Hispanic Caribbean Communities in the United State
Ginetta Candelario
Wednesday, Friday  2:40-4:00 p.m., Thursday  7:30-9:50 p.m.

This service learning course surveys social science research, literary texts and film media on Cuban, Dominican, and Puerto Rican communities in the United States. Historic and contemporary causes and contexts of (im)migration, settlement patterns, labor market experiences, demographic profiles, identity formations, and cultural expressions will be considered. Special attention will be paid to both inter- and intra-group diversity, particularly along the lines of race, gender, sexuality and class. Students are required to dedicate four (4) hours per week to a local community based organization.

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 327 – Gender and Globalization
Michal Frankel
Tuesday, Thursday  1:00-2:50 p.m.

This course engages 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.

SOC 323 – Seminar: Gender and Social Change
Nancy Whittier
Tuesday  1:00-2:50 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.


Spanish and Portuguese Hatfield Hall 585-3450

SPN 230 – A Transatlantic Search for Identity                       
Estela Harretche
Tuesday, Thursday  10:30-11:50 a.m.

A quest for the self and it 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 (Jimenez, Cernuda, Cortazar, Neruda, Alberti), as well as the voluntary exile of the artist in search of a new aesthetic identity (Dario, Lorca, Vallejo). Special attention will be given to the problems of subjectivity, gender and sexuality in the works of four women poets: Agustini, Storni, Parra and Pizarnik. Students will have the option of composing an original poem to supplement their final grade.

SPN 250 – Sex and the Medieval City
Ibtissam Bouachrine
Tuesday, Thursday  1:00-2:30 p.m.

This course examines the medieval understanding of sex and the woman's body within an urban context. We will read medieval texts on love, medicine and women's sexuality by Iberian and North African scholars. We will investigate the ways in which medieval Iberian medical traditions have viewed women's bodies and defined their health and illness. We will also address women's role as practitioners of medicine, and how such a role was affected by the gradual emergence of "modern" medical institutions such as the hospital and the medical profession.

SPN 332 – The Middle Ages Today
Ibtissam Bouachrine


Theatre T204 Theatre Building 585-3229

THE 313 – Rehearsing the Impossible: Pearl Cleage and black women playwrights interrupting the Master Narrative
Andrea Hairston
Tuesday, Thursday  10:30-11:50 a.m.
Wednesday  7:00-9:30 p.m.

In their plays from 1990’s to the present, Pearl Cleage and other black women playwrights such as Lynn Nottage and Suzan Lori Parks declare themselves feminists and go about reinventing the narrative of America.  What does a black woman feminist artist face then and now?  How do these writers respond to the legacy of minstrel storytelling, the civil rights era, and the second wave of feminism?  Building on the legacy of Alice Childress, Lorraine Hansberry, Adrienne Kennedy, and Ntozake Shange, How do these playwrights negotiate overdetermined representations and conjure the story world they imagine?