AMHERST COLLEGE COURSES
WAGS 11sThe Cross-Cultural Construction of Gender
Michele Barale, Rose Olver
Monday and Wednesday 12:30 pm

This course introduces students to the issues involved in the social and historical construction of gender and gender roles from a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective. Topics will include the uses and limits of biology in explaining human gender differences; male and female sexualities including homosexualities; women and social change; women's participation in production and reproduction; the relationship among gender, race and class as intertwining oppressions; and the functions of visual and verbal representation in the creating, enforcing and contesting of gender norms.

WAGS 14Ingrate Books: Chartering & Unchartering Patriarchy
Frederick Griffiths
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 am

The European canon tells and retells the heroic tale of how males took charge of heaven and earth. We shall consider the formation of that ancient tradition from the perspective of modern works that revise, debunk, or reverse the parable. Classic texts will be paired with modern retellings or equivalents: Homer's Odyssey with Christine Bell, The Perez Family; The Homeric Hymn to Demeter with Jenny Joseph, Persephone; Aeschylus' Oresteia with Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights; Plato's Symposium with Henry James, The Bostonians; Virgil's Aeneid with Willa Cather, A Lost Lady and The Professor's House. We shall examine how the subordination of female to male supports other ranked categories: mind/body, rational/irrational, public/private, heaven/earth, order/disorder. How do these hierarchies justify violence (rape, intra-family murder, human sacrifice, silencing) in founding and maintaining the cultural order/ How does the emergence of (homo) sexualities, ancient and modern, undermine the authority of this orderly, androcentric "nature"?

WAGS 18Images of European Women, 1500-1800
Margaret Hunt
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 pm

This course examines the history and culture of European women in the early modern period through the art, music, literature, and philosophy of the period, as well as selected readings in women's history. Topics will range widely but will include women and court life, the great European witch-craze, gender and poverty, women and the world of urban trade, women and religion (including women and Judaism); women artists, musicians and intellectuals, early modern philosophical debates by and about women, and women in the Age of Democratic Revolutions.

WAGS 23s Topics in Feminist Theories I: Practices of Race and Gender Resistance
Kristin Bumiller
Tuesday, Thursday 11:30 am

Emphasizing differences related to race and privilege, this course will offer an introduction to the cultural, literary, and political theories of feminism. This course will explore how the recognition of the heterogeneity of women's experiences has challenged and transformed Western feminist theory. We will question how assertions and denials of difference within feminist theories have created struggles over the definition of "woman' and strategies to confront gender oppression.

WAGS 30In Their Own Words: Autobiographies of Women
Rose Olver, Susan Snively
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 am

This course will focus upon the constructions and intersections of gender, race, and sexuality by closely reading contemporary theory as well as literary texts. Theoretical texts will include works by Chapkis, de Lauretis, Freud, Lorde, Rich, Rubin, Sedgwick, Spivak, and Wittig. Among the fiction will be short stories by Chopin, Hurston, Jewett, O'Connor and novels by Baldwin, de Maurier, and Morrison. There will be frequent writing assignments as well as two long papers. It is advised that students have taken either WAGS 11 or WAGS 23 or equivalent courses.

WAGS 38/ HIST 38Topics in American Women's History:Feminism, Anti-Feminism, and the Mass Media
Susan Douglas
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 pm

This course will trace the rise of the second wave of feminism from WWII to the present, and examine the war that has raged between feminism and anti-feminism in the mass media over the past five decades. Major historical and political changes - women's increasing participation in the workforce, the rise of the civil rights and anti-war movements, the development of birth control technologies, the enactment of Title VII, the battle over the Equal Rights Amendment, and other events and trends - will be juxtaposed with the images of women that prevailed at that time. Special attention will be paid to the dialectical relationship between media imagery and social movements, and to an analysis of how the mainstream media advanced or thwarted the goals of both liberal and radical feminism. Strategies that feminists developed to counter mainstream imagery will also be discussed. We will also examine the political and media backlash against feminism in the 1980s and 1990s and its consequences for women of color and for poor women, as well as for white, middle-class women.

WAGS 43s/ PS 43s Women and Nationalism
Amrita Basu
Monday, Wednesday 2 pm

This course will analyze the critical place of women, both real and imagined, in nationalist discourse and nationalist movements. We will explore the gendered meanings of key nationalist concepts like sacrifice, valor, martyrdom, and citizenship. We will study the relationship between feminized images of the nation and the actual roles prescribed for women. We will compare nationalist movements that enjoin women's activism with others that fear it. We will ask about the sometimes unexpected appeals of nationalism for women .To appreciate its varied and ubiquitous character, we will explore expressions of nationalism in fascism, communism, religious fundamentalism, ethnic movements, and national liberation struggles. This course may be counted toward the UMass Women of Color Requirement for Women's Studies majors and minors.

WAGS 47s/ PS 47s Asian Women: Myths of Deference
Amrita Basu
Tuesday, Thursday 10 am

Some of the central tenets of Orientalist thought rest upon its depiction of Asian women as passive, traditional, and quiescent. Such conceptions encumber our understanding of the so-called Orient and, in particular, of Asian women. Rejecting dualistic images of Asian women as either traditional or modern, victims or agents, passive or active, we will explore the myriad forms that women's resistance assumes from spirit possession on the factory floor, to public humiliation of oppressive landlords, to participation in revolutionary movements. We will also study the impediments to women's resistance an the ways in which women's resistance can perpetuate their subjugation. We will compare myths of deference and arts of resistance among Asian and Asian-American women. This course may be counted toward the UMass Women of Color Requirement for Women's Studies majors and minors.

Black Studies 24sRepresentations of Black Women in Literature
Andrea Rushing
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 - 11:20 am

This cross-cultural course examines similarities and differences in portrayals of girls and women in Africa and its New World diaspora with special emphasis on the interaction of gender, race, class, and culture. Texts are drawn from Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. Topics include motherhood, work, and sexual politics. Authors vary from year to year and include: Toni Cade Bambara, Maryse Condé, Nuruddin Farah, Bessie Head, Merle Hodge, and Paule Marshall. This course may be counted toward the UMass Women of Color Requirement for Women's Studies majors and minors.

ENGL 4Representing Sexualities in Word and Image
Andrew Parker
Monday, Wednesday 2:00 - 3:20 pm
Component

A course in critical reading and interpretation which concentrates on a range of texts drawn from the culture at large - movies and TV as well as traditional and non-traditional literary texts - in order to discover interesting intersections between gender and sexuality. Particular attention will be paid to the representation of same sex sexualities. Frequent writing exercises.

ENGL 75sWriting Like a Lesbian (topic 3)
Michele Barale
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 - 3:20 pm

This course's title is intended to suggest the difficulties involved in understanding sexuality's role in literary production. Precisely who is a lesbian and exactly what it means to be named as such are definitions that not only change with history, but that also become even more problematic when we look to textuality to tell us something about sexuality. Works from pre- and post-Stonewall authors will be included as will critical texts.

Hist 7sThe Reformation Era, 1500-1660
Margaret Hunt
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 - 11:30 am
Component

The ideas of the great reformers (Luther, Calvin, Loyola) will not be neglected in this course but the primary emphasis will be on the relationship between religious ideas and social, political, and cultural change. Among the topics discussed are the connection between Protestantism and the printing press, the role of doctrinal conflict in the evolution of urban institutions, and developments in early modern Jewish history. The role of religious ideas in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century mass movements (notably the Peasants' Revolt and the English Revolution of 1640) are also surveyed. Readings include several classic interpretations of the Reformation but are more heavily weighted toward recent works in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century social history, urban history, women's history, and the history of popular culture.

Hist 38/ WAGS 38Topics in American Women's History: Feminism, Anti-Feminism, and the Mass Media
Susan Douglas
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 pm

See WAGS 38 for course description.

PolSci 39sRe-Imaging Law: Feminist Interpretations
Kristin Bumiller
Tuesday, Thursday 8:30 am

Feminist theory raises questions about the compatibility of the legal order with women's experience and understandings and calls for re-evaluation of the role of law in promoting social change. It invites us to inquire about the possibilities of "feminist jurisprudence" and the adequacy of other critical theories which promise to make forms of legal authority more responsive. This course will consider women as victims and users of legal power. We will ask how particular practices constitute gendered subjects in legal discourse. How can we imagine a legal system more reflective of women's realities? The nature of legal authority will be considered in the context of women's ordinary lives and reproductive roles, their active participation in political and professional change, their experiences with violence and pornography as well as the way they confront race, class and ethnic barriers. Open to Juniors and Seniors.

PolSci 43s/ WAGS 43s Women and Nationalism
Amrita Basu
Monday, Wednesday 2 pm

See WAGS 43s for course description. This course may be counted toward the UMass Women of Color Requirement for Women's Studies majors and minors.

PolSci 47s/ WAGS 47s Asian Women: Myths of Deference
Amrita Basu
Tuesday, Thursday 10 am

See WAGS 47s for course description. This course may be counted toward the UMass Women of Color Requirement for Women's Studies majors and minors.

PolSci 50Democracy, Economic Liberalization, and Sustainable Development in Latin America
Jeffrey Rubin
Monday, Wednesday 12:30 pm
component

This course will focus on three sets of theoretical literatures that have shaped discussion of politics and society in Latin America in the 1980s and 1990s. We will discuss mainstream approaches in these literatures, critiques of these mainstream approaches from within, and alternative analyses. We will also discuss whether and to what extent these theoretical categories indeed describe the dynamics of power in Latin America, and we will seek to develop new ways of conceptualizing recent politics. In addressing these issues, we will examine a variety of countries and regions, including Brazil, the Amazon, Chile, Argentina, Central America, Mexico, and the US-Mexican border. Gender issues are raised at several points, and one unit focuses on "Gender, Culture, and Democratization."

Rel 38Folklore and the Bible
Susan Niditch
Monday, Wednesday 8:30 - 9:50 am
component

This course explores the interdiscipline folklore with special attention to the traditional literature of ancient Israel. One important theme in the course deals with implicit attitudes towards and portrayals of women in the folk literature of ancient Near Eastern, 19th century, European, and modern American cultures.