UMass Graduate Level Women, Gender, Sexuality Courses
Fall 2014 Courses

WOMENSST 592M – Sex and Science:  Power of Knowledge
Monday  11:15-1:45 p.m.
Kirsten Leng
Why and how has science assumed such a central role in defining the ‘truth’ of sex?  Why and how have scientific ‘facts’ become compelling resources for grounding and asserting a sense of sexual selfhood—and for expressing political demands?  In this seminar, we will explore the entangled histories of sexual science, sexual subjectivities, and sexual politics.  In particular, we will examine on how science has come to define biological sex and “sexual orientation” as binary and constitutive of individual identities.  Our course will take an historical perspective, with a focus on developments in Europe and the United States.  As we move from the past through to the present, we will consider how scientific knowledge is shaped by the perspective of the researcher and the relationship between the researcher and her subject; how expertise about sex is determined; how scientific knowledge about sex has changed over time; and what the personal and political implications of sexual scientific knowledge are.

WOMENSST 592AA – Asian American Feminisms
Thursday  2:30-5:00 p.m.
Miliann Kang
How have the figures of the Chinese bachelor, the geisha, the war bride, the hermaphrodite, the orphan, the tiger mother, the Asian nerd, the rice king, the rice queen, and the trafficked woman shaped understandings of Asian Americans, and how have these representations been critiqued by Asian American feminist scholars and writers?  Is there a body of work that constitutes “Asian American feminism(s)” and what are its distinctive contributions to the field of Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies?  How does this body of work illuminate historical and contemporary configurations of gender, sexuality, race, class, nation, citizenship, migration, empire, war, neoliberalism and globalization?  In exploring these questions, this course examines Asian American histories, bodies, identities, diasporic communities, representations, and politics through multi- and interdisciplinary approaches, including social science research, literature, popular representations, film, poetry and art. 

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

This is a graduate seminar in feminist theory, and constitutes a core course for students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate Program. The seminar will be organized around questions that emerge for feminism from contemporary discourses of transnationalism, economic development, and human rights. The course readings will draw from multiple fields, including history, anthropology, and legal studies, with an emphasis on interventions and developments in feminist theory that have emerged since 1985. It will also draw from numerously located feminist work, including much work that is being produced by feminists in India. Given that students will be approaching the work from multiple disciplines, and with a range of theoretical expertise, we will be emphasizing the methodological and historical contexts for each of the works we will be discussing in class.    

JAPANESE 391S/521S – Women Writers of Japan
Tuesday, Thursday  1:00-2:15 p.m.
Amanda Seaman

Although Japan was famous for its thriving female literary culture during the Heian era (794‐1185), the centuries  that followed were ones in which women authors appear to have played a minor role. It was not until the Meiji Restoration in 1868, with its emphasis upon new and “modern” cultural attitudes and norms, that women became a more significant presence on the Japaneseliterary scene. In this course, we will explore a number of works from this modern revival of Japanese women’s writing, identify themes that these women explore, the genres to which they contribute, and interrogate the notion of “women’s literature” itself to see how the term has been used (or abused) in the Japanese academy.

EDUC 621B – Race, Class and Gender in Higher Education
Wednesday  4:00-6:30 p.m.
Benita Barnes

The goal of this course is to explore the multiple sociocultural factors that influence the success of students and ask fundamental questions about the relationship between higher education and society. Why do some students learn more and "get further ahead" than others? Why do some students get more involved in co-curricular activities than others? What factors shape how institutions are run and organized, who attends four-year vs. two-year institutions, and what curricular materials are taught?

EDUC 704 – Issues of Gender in Science and Science Education
Thursday  4:00-6:30 p.m.
Kathleen Davis

Issues of gender relative to the participations of all individuals in science activity; historical and on-going structures, policies, and practices that influence legitimacy and participation; and the intersection and relationships between social groups.

HISTORY 594F – U.S. History of Immigrant Women
TBD
Laura Lovett

This writing seminar on immigrant women's experience in the United States has a dual focus-- grappling with modes of historical understanding and fostering the growth of student research and writing skills.  The seminar addresses women's immigrant experience (including refugees and temporary workers) from the mid-nineteenth century to the late twentieth century.  Readings will include oral history, autobiography, biography, and scholarly studies of specific groups of immigrant women.  Contact instructor to enroll.

POLSCI 795E – Collective Action/Political Change
Tuesday 5:30-8:00 p.m.
Sonia Alvarez

This course in designed to review and interrogate the multiple, often competing, ways in which social scientists have theorized the roles of various kinds of collective actors in politics.  We will consider a range of such actors, including interest groups, social movements (“old” and “new,” national and transnational), civil society associations, non-governmental organizations, those social actors recently grouped under the label the “Third Sector,” as well as current protest movements across the globe. From the vantage point of diverse theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches, we will ask: Who are the collective actors considered relevant to politics and why?   How do shifting concepts and discourses regarding diverse forms of collective action reflect changing theoretical and political agendas?  When and how are “social” actors/movements transformed into “political” ones?  When and how does collective action shift scales, from local, to national, to global?  What is the relationship between culture and politics in social movements/collective action?  How and why do various authors/approaches endorse, problematize, or reject the distinction between “the political” and “the social” (and, for that matter, “the cultural,” “the economic,” etc.)?  Select case studies, largely from Latin America, Europe, and the US, will help ground our theoretical exploration of these questions (and many more…).

SOCIOL 792B – Gender Seminar
Tuesday  4:00-6:30 p.m.
Joya Misra

The seminar explores current literature in feminist sociology.  Gender is one of the most central axes of inequality, along with class, race, ethnicity, nationality, and sexuality.  Over the past 35 years, feminist scholarship exploded and gendered analyses of almost every social phenomenon exist.  Gender always matters when we are thinking about the social world. Given the limits of a semester, this course will only highlight nine key areas: feminist theory; feminist methods; sexualities; identities and bodies; work and organizations; migration; families and relationships; crime, law, and punishment; and social movements and politics. In addition, these readings are meant to highlight intersectional approaches to gender.  This course focuses primarily on the United States, unlike my advanced course, gender & social policy.

PORTUG 597PW – Women Writers of Portugal
Tuesday  4:00-6:30 p.m.
Jose Ornelas

This course, open to both graduate and undergraduate students, focuses on female voices of contemporary Portugal as they explore through new discursive strategies issues related to gender construction and the ever-changing socio-historical space. The influence of women writers in shaping Portuguese literary canon. Readings by Agustina Bessa Luis, Fernanda Botelho, Lidia Jorge, Olga Goncalves, Teolinda Geraso, Clara Pinto Correia, Maria Velho da Costa, Maria Gabriels Llansol. Requirements: undergraudates, two papers (7-8 pages); graduates, two papers (10-12 pages). Prerequisites: A reading k nowledge of Portuguese or consent of instructor.