Women and Gender Studies
English Department
History Departmen
Law, Jurisprudence & Social Thought
Political Science Department

14 Grosvenor
1 Johnson Chapel
111 Chapin Hall
206 Appleton Hall
103 Clark House


Sex, Gender and the Family
Wednesday 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Margaret Hunt

Focuses on the history of sexuality in the West from approximately 1600 to the present. Alternates between close readings of key theoretical tests (e.g., Jewish and Christian scripture, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud, Gayle Rubin, theorists from the contemporary Christian Right) and case studies of debates around sexuality within specific historical contexts. The latter will include Renaissance European conceptions of homosexuality; late nineteenth-century British debates about prostitution and sexually transmitted diseases; controversies about abortion, birth control and women's rights in Weimar and Nazi Germany; and modern Conservatives' much- contested efforts to roll back the so-called "sexual revolution."

EUR 23
Age of Chivalry
Monday, Wednesday 2:00 p.m.
Howell Chickering
Frederic Cheyette

Although "chivalry" is now considered a quaint term describing male conduct in love and war, the concept was originally shaped in part by women, not only as the objects of male desire but also as patrons of poets and musicians. Focuses on the literature and music produced for the courts of two twelfth-century rulers: Ermengard of Narbonne, patron of the troubadours and Marie de Champagne, patron of the romance writer Chretien de Troyes. To explore the power structures and ideologies of chivalric culture, we will also read chronicles, charters, and other documents; analyze the iconography of manuscript images; and sing troubadour songs (no prior knowledge of music is expected). All texts will be read in translation, and in dual-language editions where possible.

WAGS 30 Autobiographies of Women
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 a.m.
Susan Snively
Rose Olver

How does the writing of autobiography help a woman affirm, construct, or reconstruct an authentic self? How does she resolve the conflict between telling the truth and distorting it in making her life into art? Is the making of art, indeed, her chief preoccupation; or is her goal to record her life in the context of her times, her religion, or her relationship to others? Reading autobiographies of women writers helps us raise, if not resolve, these questions. We shall also consider how women write about experiences particular to women as shown in their struggles to survive adversity; their sense of themselves as authorities or challengers of authority, as well as their sense of what simply gives them pain or joy. Readings from recent work in the psychology of woman will provide models for describing women's development, as writing of women in turn will show how these models emerge from real lives. The syllabus will include traditional autobiography, historical memoir, poetry, journals and personal narratives, psychological studies, criticism and theory: Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior, Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, poetry and prose by Elizabeth Bishop, Shirley Abbot's Womenfolks, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John, Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice, Mary Field-Belenky, et al., Women's Ways of Knowing, and recent work by Janet Surrey, as well as selections from works by Paule Marshall, Virginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Lorene Cary, and, of course, Anonymous. Writing Requirements will include several short papers and an autobiographical essay.

WAGS 32 Sex, Self, and Fear
Monday 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Stephanie Sandler

Freud located identity formation in the emotion of fear-a boy's fear of castration, a girl's terror at lack. Later theories have agreed that worries about exposure, ridicule, and confession shape the sexual self. Our course will explore the gendered origins and effects of fear, asking how fear of the other sex, and fear about the self, ground identity. We will try to differentiate among forms of fear, comparing anxiety, obsession, trauma, and phobia. Course material will be studied for the ways in which it condenses and substitutes various forms of dread. The course material will include fiction (Pat Barker, Regeneration; Lydia Chukovskaya, Sofia Petrovna; Toni Morrison, Jazz; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein), poetry (by Ana Akhmatova, Rita Dove, Thom Gunn, Elizabeth Macklin); theory (Freud, Torok and Abraham); quasi-autobiography (Kenzaburo Oe, A Quiet Life; Nathalie Sarraute, Childhood), and film (Carrie, M, Perfect World, Psycho, Vertigo). We will ask what cultural and psychological work fear performs: what fears are required for liberation from social taboos? How do adults contain (and repeat) the fears that ruled childhood? Why do we like to be frightened?

REL 56
Islamic Construction of Gender
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 a.m.
Jamal Elias

The focus of this course is on the lives on contemporary Muslim women, the factors informing constructions of gender in the Islamic world, and the role played by questions of women's status in modern Islamic religion and society. Begins by briefly examining the status and images of women in classical Islamic thought, including themes relating to scripture, tradition, law, theology, philosophy and literature. Also focuses on contemporary Muslim women in a number of different cultural contexts from Morocco to Bangladesh and the United States in order to highlight a variety of issues significant for contemporary Muslim women; veiling and seclusion, kinship structures, violence, health feminist activism, literary expression, etc. Deals with an exploration of Muslim feminist thought, which we will attempt to place in dialog with western feminism with the hope of arriving at a better understanding of issues related to gender, ethics and cultural relativism. Weekly readings will include original religious texts in translation, secondary interpretations, ethnographic descriptions and literary works by Muslim women authors. These will be supplemented by feature films and documentaries to provide a visual complement to the textual materials.

Women's History: 1865-1997
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 p.m.
Martha Saxton

This course begins with an examination of the experience of women from different racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds during Reconstruction. It will look at changes in family life as a result of increasing industrialization and the westward movement of settler families, and will also look at the settlers' impact on Native American women and families. Topics will include the work and familial experiences of immigrant women (including Irish, German, and Italian), women's reform movements (particularly suffrage, temperance and anti-lynching), the expansion of educational opportunities, and the origins and programs of the Progressives. The course will examine the agitation for suffrage and the subsequent split among feminists, women's experience in the labor force, and participation in the world wars. Finally, we will look at the origins of the Second Wave and its struggles to transcend its while middle-class origins.

States of Poverty
Tuesday 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Kristin Bumiller

Examines the role of the modern welfare state in people's everyday lives. Studies the historical growth and retrenchment of the modern welfare state in the United States and other Western democracies. Critically examines the ideologies of "dependency" and the role of the state as an agent of social control. In particular, we will study the ways in which state action has implications for gender identities. Analyzes the construction of social problems linked to states of poverty, including hunger, homelessness, health care, disability, discrimination, and violence. Asks how these conditions disproportionately affect the lives of women and children. Takes a broad view of the interventions of the welfare state by considering not only the impact of public assistance and social service programs, but the role of the police, family courts, therapeutic professionals, and schools in creating and responding to the conditions of impoverishment. Work of the seminar will culminate in the production of a research paper and students will be given the option of incorporating field work into the independent project.

Church/Family in the 19th Century
Tuesday, Thursday 11:30 a.m.
Martha Saxton

This course will look at women's experience through the lenses of religion, family and literary culture from the beginning of the nineteenth century through the Gilded Age. Using a mix of primary and secondary sources, students will trace the changing moral values guiding female education as well as the varieties of Christianity that gave shape to different forms of activism. It will also track changing family ideologies, the responsibilities of mothers and constructions of childhood. The course will include women's texts reflecting on their experiences as daughters, mothers, reformers, slaves, Christians and professionals. It will look at the development of various strands of feminist thought and the production of a class of educated middle-class women interested in blunting the brutalities of capitalism.

ENGL 75 #1/
Creating a Self: Black Women's Testimonies, Memoirs and Autobiographies Andrea Rushing

Pioneering feminist critic Barbara Smith says, "All the men are Black, all the women are White, but some of us are brave." This cross-cultural course focuses on "brave" women from Africa and its New World Diaspora who dare to tell their own stories and, in doing so, invent themselves. Begins with a discussion of the problematics of writing and reading autobiographical works by those usually defined as "other," and proceed to a careful study of such varied voices as escaped slave Linda Brent/Harriet Jacobs, political activists Ida B. Wells, and feminist, lesbian poet Audre Lorde - all from the U.S.; Lucille Clifton, the Sistren Collective (Jamaica), Caroline Maria deJesus (Brazil); Buchi Emecheta (Nigeria), and Nafissatou Diallo (Senegal).

ENGL 75 #2
Issues of Gender in African Literature Rhonda Cobhan-Sanders

Explores the ways in which issues of gender are presented by African writers and perceived by readers and critics of African writing. Examines the insights and limitations of selected feminist, post-structural and post-colonial theories when they are applied to African texts. Also looks at the difference over time in the ways that female and male African writers have manipulated socially acceptable ideas about gender in their work. Texts will be selected from the oeuvres of established writers like Soyinka, Acheve, Ngugi and Head, as well as from more recent works by writers like Farah, Aidoo, and Dangaremba. Preference will be given to students who have completed a previous course on African literature, history, or society.

HIST 20 Seminar on Gender and Fascism Kenneth Holston

What were the gendered components of fascist ideology? Through an examination of a series of related themes - the cult of masculinity, women and the vote, the cult of motherhood, racial hygiene, women as victims and perpetrators, and women in the fascist state and society - this seminar seeks to illuminate the crucial role of gender in the ideological formations and political structures of both Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy.

Re-Imagining Law: Feminist Interpretations Kristin Bumiller

Feminist theory raises questions about the compatibility of the legal order with women's experience and understandings and calls for a reevaluation of the role of law in promoting social change. It invites us to inquire about the possibilities of a "feminist jurisprudence" and the adequacy of other critical theories which promise to make forms of legal authority more responsive. Considers women as victims and users of legal power. Asks how particular practices constitute genders 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.

Program Courses
Women of Color
Graduate Level
Winter 1999
Hampshire College
Mount Holyoke
Smith College