Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies
Fall 2014 Component Courses

To earn Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies credit for component courses, WGSS students must focus their paper or project on gender or sexuality.  See an advisor for more information.  100-level courses only count towards the minor. 

Afro-American Studies 329 New Africa House  545-2751

AFROAM 197A – Taste of Honey: Black Films Since the 1950’s, Part 1
Thursday 6:00 – 8:30 pm
John Bracey

This course will take you on an historical journey exploring the roles of African American men and women highlighting their contributions and struggles in the American movie industry.  Students will learn about the ground breaking movies, roles and actors who helped pave the way for future generation while breaking down racial barriers to tell the story of the African American experience.  In this course you will enjoy a great selection of movies that explore a variety of topics in multiple genres such as, race, gender and stereotypes while reflecting on how these characteristics are portrayed in drama, comedy, musicals, crime, biographies and action movies.

AFROAM 296D – Native Representation in Film and Visual Media
Joyce Vincent

See department for description.


Anthropology Department 215 Machmer Hall 545-2221

ANTHRO 270 ­– North American Indians
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30 – 3:45 pm
Jean Forward

This course will examine the indigenous cultures and peoples of North America: pre-, during and beyond the contact with non-Native Americans. Our purpose is to understand the diversity of their cultures (hundreds of languages and lifestyles), their relationships with each other, their connections to their Homelands and their persistence into the 21st century.

ANTHRO 494BI – Global Bodies
Thursday 2:30 – 5:15 pm   
Elizabeth Krause

The human body has increasingly become an object of anthropological study. The body is rich as a site of meaning and materiality. Similarly, culture inscribes itself on the body in terms of “normalization” and governance. This course will explore 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., embryos, reproduction, breastfeeding, organs, immigrant bodies, etc.) The course has a digital ethnography component as a final project option. Satisfies the Integrative Experience requirement for BA-Anth majors.


Asian Languages and Literature 440 Herter Hall   545-2087

CHINESE 597M – The Ming- Qing Novel
Tuesday, Thursday 11:30 – 12:45 pm
Suet-Ying Chiu

This course introduces the major works of traditional Chinese fiction, including Journey to the West, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Water Margin, and Dream of the Red Chamber. We will engage in close readings of these great novels, while paying attention to issues such as the representation of history, gender relations, changes in conceptions of desire, religious and philosophical beliefs, and the characterization of heroes and anti-heroes, among others.


Commonwealth College Goodell 545-2483

HONORS 397C – Law in Action: Litigating for Social and Legal Change
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30 – 3:45 pm
Emily Redman

In this course we will examine how lawyers, social activists, and everyday people have used litigation to change the social and legal landscape in the post-war United States.  Through reading numerous in-depth case studies of seminal civil and criminal cases, we will explore such questions as:  How and why have social movements used “the law” to advance their causes?  What are the pros and cons of using litigation to achieve social change (or right a wrong), versus other tools such as direct action, lobbying, and community organizing?  How have lawyers constrained or expanded the vision of social justice movements?  What dilemmas do lawyers—who are ethically bound to zealously advocate for the interests of individual clients—face when they are additionally interested in advancing “a cause”?  How effective is litigation in actually achieving the goals originally envisioned by lawyers, activists, and litigants?  Course texts include:  Brown v. Board of Education:  A Civil Rights Milestone & its Troubled Legacy; Brutal Need:  Lawyers and the Welfare Rights Movement, 1960-1973; Gideon’s Trumpet (right to counsel in criminal cases); A Civil Action(environmental case); Class Action (sexual harassment case); Storming the Court (immigration/refugee case); and articles about recent Supreme Court cases such as Windsor and Perry (gay marriage cases) and Holly Lobby (religious freedom vs. right to birth control).Non-Honors students may enroll in this course with permission of the instructor.  If you’re not an Honors students and would like to take this course, please email me (jlnye@history.umass.edu).

Communications ILC Building      545-1311

COMM 494AI – Media and the Family
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30 – 3:45 pm
Michael Morgan

Over the years, the family has gradually given up many of its functions and much of its authority to outside institutions. Schools, religious institutions, peer groups, and various community organizations now perform basic tasks of socialization, education, work, and recreation that were previously the domain of the family. Unlike most other external institutions, however, media come inside the home, bringing with them the most pervasive, common, and widely-shared images, perspectives, and values of our society (including those of the family itself), as they give shape and structure to family interaction patterns. At the same time, conceptions of what counts as "a family" are changing as never before, and new media technologies continually offer new ways for family members to communicate, both inside and outside of the home, shifting what "family communication" means in the process. This seminar explores existing theory and research in order to assess what we know about these transformations and to explore how we might be able to understand them better. What are the "normative" images of families presented in the media and what do they contribute to our beliefs and "values" about families? How do media influence family interaction? How do families mediate the effects of media? What about social networking, video games, cell phones, and other new technologies? With a major focus on assessing the quality and validity of existing empirical research, students will draw upon various approaches to research and constructions of family encountered in their GenEd courses, along with personal experiences with media in the family context. Requirements include written commentaries and oral presentations based on the readings, self-reflection papers, and a final (group) research project. Satisfies the Integrative Experience requirement for BA-Comm majors.


Economics 1006 Thompson Hall      545-2590

ECON 330 – Labor in the American Economy
Monday, Wednesday 1:25 – 2:15 pm
Valerie Voorheis

Introduction to labor economics; emphasis on public policy issues such as unemployment, age and sex discrimination, collective bargaining, labor law reform, occupational safety and health.


School of Education  125 Furcolo Hall      545-6984

EDUC 210 – 01 Social Diversity in Education
Tuesday, Thursday 11:30 – 12:45 pm
Maurianne Adams

Focus on issues of social identity, social and cultural diversity, and societal manifestations of oppression.  Draws on interdisciplinary perspectives of social identity development, social learning theory, and sociological analyses of power and privilege within broad social contexts.  (Gen.Ed. I, U)

EDUC 258 – Educating for Social Justice & Diversity through Peer Theater
Thursday 4:00 – 6:30 pm   
Maurianne Adams

Students in this class develop dramatic scenarios to engage their peers with issues of diversity and social justice.  This class explores social justice issues on personal, institutional and societal levels, as experienced in schools, families, neighborhoods and on this campus. (Gen.Ed. U)

EDUC 291E – Theatre for Social Change
Tuesday 7:00 – 9:30 pm
Maurianne Adams  

"Shaha:  The Storytellers", a diversity peer education troupe is a theatre-based program that is educational, entertaining, and thought-provoking.  Shaha members perform short scenarios touching on issues of social justice and oppression that many of us are faced with in our day-to-day lives.

EDUC 377 – Intro to Multicultural Education
Monday 12:20 – 2:50 pm
Laura Valdiviezo     

Introduction to the socio-historical, philosophical, and pedagogical foundations of cultural pluralism and multicultural education.  Topics include experiences of racial minorities, white ethnic groups and women; intergroup relations in American society, sociocultural influences and biases in schools; and philosophies of cultural pluralism.  (Gen Ed. U)


History Department 612 Herter Hall      545-1330

HISTORY 154 – Social Change in the 1960’s
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 – 11:00 am
Brian Comfort

Few questions in American history remain as contentious as the meaning of the 1960s. Observers agree that it was a very important time, but they are deeply divided as to whether it ushered in a needed series of social changes, or whether the Sixties were a period marked mainly by excess, chaos, and self-indulgence. There is not even agreement about when the Sixties began and ended. This course will build on the concept of the Long Sixties, a period stretching from roughly 1954 to 1975. It will focus on topics that relate to struggles for social change: the civil rights movement, the peace movement, gender and sexuality, alternative lifestyles, identity politics, the counterculture, cultural production, and debates over multiculturalism. It will involve attending lectures, critically viewing media, learning to analyze primary sources, and participating in class discussions. Attendance is mandatory and there are also several out-of-class expectations. As a four-credit course the overall reading, writing, and assignment loads are heavier than that of three-credit courses.  (Gen.Ed. HS, U)

HISTORY 393 – History of Medicine
Tuesday, Thursday 2:30 – 3:45 pm
Emily Redman

This seminar explores the history of medicine and medical practice. Using a variety of sources aimed at diverse audiences students will investigate topics such as the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, mental health diagnoses and treatment, sanitation and other issues in public health, epidemiology, and changing conceptions of the body. Course themes will include race, gender, science, technology, politics, and ethics.


Journalism Department ILC Building     545-1376

JOURNAL 497B – Diaries, Memoirs & Journals
Tuesday 8:30 – 11:30 am
Madeline Blais

The class covers a variety of memoirs; students will write a personal history that combines rigorous emotional honesty with high literary standards. Readings may include the works of Mary McCarthy, Tobias and Geoffrey Wolff, Russell Baker, George Orwell, John Wideman, Mary Karr, Vladimir Nabokov, Harry Crewes, Reeve Morrow Lindbergh, Mary Gordon, David Eggers, Ernest Hemingway, Alice Sebold, Wendy Mnookin and others.


Legal Studies Thompson Hall     545-0021

LEGAL 397AF – Law & Society in Africa
Monday 4:40 – 7:10 pm
Sindiso Mnisi Weeks

The course explores legal issues in Sub-Saharan Africa in relation to the prevailing cultures, the historical and ongoing tensions between imported norms and standards, and home-grown normative systems and values.  We will look at contemporary socio-legal issues including informal justice systems; democratic governance; economic development, production and regulation; as well as legal development in the face of cultural practices relating to initiation, marriage and inheritance that are perceived to be harmful or in violation of human rights (especially women’s rights).


Political Science 218 Thompson Hall      545-2438

POLISCI 392SH – Sports, Policy, and Politics- Honors
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 – 11:15 am
Elizabeth Sharrow

Where are politics in the spaces we go for leisure and play?  Sports and politics have become increasingly intertwined over the past 40 years.  Local, state, and federal governments, as well as non-governmental bodies like the NCAA, regulate who can participate in sports, and what standards players must meet to do so.  But sports have also become the battleground for major political discussions around sex equity, racial inclusion, sexuality, physical ability, and drug testing.  Why and how has this happened, and how can studying sports teach us about the politics of inclusion, political identity, and public policy? We will focus on the linkages between policy, politics, and sports in historical and contemporary contexts, primarily in the U.S.


Public Health & Health Sciences 101 Arnold House      545-4630

PUBHLTH 160 – My Body, My Health
Monday, Wednesday 2:30 – 3:20 pm
Daniel Gerber, Laura Fries

Principles of health promotion and personal wellness with emphasis on stress management, nutrition, physical fitness, substance abuse prevention, prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases, and human sexuality.  (Gen.Ed. SI)

PUBHLTH 507 - Violence as a Public Health Issue

Social Thought and Political Economy (STPEC) E27A Machmer   545-0043

STPEC 190A – Introduction to Radical Social Theory in Historical Context
Thursday  4:00-6:00
Graciela Monteagudo

This is an introductory course to radical social theory. Our focus is the history of social thought in the West, and the postcolonial critiques of some of these ideas. In this course, students will learn that "radical" means "at the root," and radical social theory is theory that explains the roots of social inequalities and proposes ways of transforming society to achieve justice. As a General Education course, our goal is for students to have the opportunity to discuss key societal issues through a variety of disciplines, including philosophy, anthropology, history, economy, African-American, Native American and gender and sexuality studies. Through analysis of readings and films, we will explore the connection between cultural processes and power in the West and the implications for non-Western people on a global scale and on different times and places.  Open to STPEC students only.

STPEC 391H – Core Seminar I
Tuesday, Thursday  2:30-3:45 p.m.
Graciela Monteagudo

This seminar is the first in the yearlong STPEC Core Seminar Sequence. STPEC Core Seminar I focuses on major theoretical currents in political theory and the historical circumstances that gave rise to those theories-in particular Liberalism, Marxism and Anarchism. STPEC Core Seminar II will analyze contemporary social movements in the context of these (and other theoretical apparatuses). As this is an interdisciplinary class, we will be bringing in analytic tools from various disciplines- including economics and political theory-but always paying attention to the historical construction and reception of ideas.  Open to STPEC students only.

STPEC 392H – Core Seminar II
Tuesday, Thursday  2:30-3:45 p.m.
Graciela Monteagudo

The second half of the STPEC Core Seminar sequence, STPEC Core Seminar II focuses on a series of interrelated political, social and theoretical movements of the 20th Century. In STPEC Core Seminar we studied some of the driving forces behind the production of modernity as way to organize and understand the world. STPEC Seminar II will pay particular attention to the way in which the political practices and philosophies of the 20th Century relate to the successes and catastrophic failures of modernism in complex and contradictory ways. Some of the topics addressed include the Russian Revolution, totalitarianism, anti/post-colonialism, the role of identity in political theory/practice and postmodernism. A major research paper of the student's choosing will be produced over the course of the semester allowing her/him to both (1) more deeply engage with a topic, including one that may not be discussed in the seminar, and (2) practice applying the critical methodological and theoretical tools developed in the STPEC curriculum.  Open to STPEC students only.

STPEC 393A – Writing for Critical Consciousness
Wednesday  4:00-6:30 p.m.
Ethan Myers

The STPEC Junior Writing Seminar focuses on individual development of voice. We will weave this theme through standard essay assignments, weekly response papers, cover letters and resumes, and a student-driven class project of your choosing. Since you and your classmates with be struggling together to find your voices, we'll focus on peer-editing and tutoring techniques at the beginning of the semester. As we discuss peer-editing, we may consider issues of language and dialect, Black English, Standard Written English and feminism. The second half of the semester will focus on political, environmental, educational, cultural, and philosophical texts. Throughout all assignments I expect to see cultivation of your voice and communication of your own creative ideas. I encourage integration of ideas from your other courses and experiences. Be prepared to think critically and examine texts carefully. We will be sharing our writing with each other – be ready to give and receive constructive feedback.  Open to STPEC students only.


Sociology 710 Thompson Hall      545-0577

SOCIOL 222 – The Family
Tuesday, Thursday 11:30 – 12:20 pm
Naomi Gerstel

First part: historical transformations in family life (relationships between husbands and wives, position and treatment of children, importance of kinship ties); second part: the contemporary family through life course (choice of a mate, relations in marriage, parenthood, breakup of the family unit). (Gen.Ed. SB, U)

SOCIOL 224 – Social Class and Inequality
Tuesday, Thursday 4:00 – 5:15 pm

The nature of social classes in society from the viewpoint of differences in economic power, political power, and social status. Why stratification exists, its internal dynamics, and its effects on individuals, subgroups, and the society as a whole. Problems of poverty and the uses of power.  (Gen.Ed. SB, U)

SOCIOL 384 – Sociology of Love
Monday, Wednesday 1:25 – 2:15 pm
Barbara Tomaskovic-Devey

The Sociology of Love looks at a subject that we all take for granted, but none of us understand.  Love is both a physiological state and a socially constructed experience.  We will examine the major bio-chemical, psychological, and sociological theories that have attempted to explain the causes and nature of love and attraction.  We will also look at the social construction of love through Western history, as well as in other cultures, and at the complex relationships that exist between love, "courtship", marriage, and sexuality.  We will conclude with a look at contemporary social constructions of love, sex and relationships.

SOCIOL 397 – Youth and Social Inequality: Rebellion Risk Resistance
Tuesday, Thursday 8:30 – 9:45 am
Sarah Miller

This course will investigate the social construction and social control of adolescence. The teen years are often considered a distinct developmental period of physical, psychological, and social turmoil. Likewise, youth are frequently framed as either "at risk," or deviant and even dangerous. Yet young people are often negotiating restrictive institutions, including oppressive educational environments, media sexualization and exploitation, familial control, and increasing criminalization. Engaging with critical approaches to youth cultures, we will examine both the structural conditions that have shaped adolescence as the phase in the life course most associated with delinquency, deviance, and risk in today's society, as well as the diverse strategies young people have developed in resistance to the cultural constraints on their lives.