Women’s Studies Program
109 Dickinson House
201 Clapp Lab
206 Ciruti Center
Introduction to Women’s Studies
Tuesday, Thursday 1:10-2:25 p.m.
This course offers an overview of women’s position in society and culture by examining women’s lives from a variety of experiential and theoretical perspectives. The first section examines works by women that illuminate both the shared and the diverse social, psychological, political, and economic realities of their experience; the second section introduces analyses of sexism and oppression, with a focus on different frameworks for making and evaluating feminist arguments. The course concludes with visionary feminist views of women recreating their lives.
|WS 203|| Feminist
Approaches to Literature |
This course studies the works of women writers who represent a variety of cultural, national, linguistic, and historical backgrounds. It explores the connections in these writings between women’s lives and the author’s representations of female experience. Questions include the following: What does it mean to read and write as a woman? How does gender intersect with race, class, sexuality, and culture, and how do those intersections inform women’s stories? Is there evidence of consistency of theme, form, imagery, or voice in women’s fiction? How do specific literary forms and techniques reflect particular cultural contexts? Topics and readings vary depending on the interest of the instructor and the availability of translations.
and Gender in Twentieth Century American Women’s Writing |
Tuesday, Thursday 1:10-2:25
This course examines the work of a variety of twentieth-century women writers located in the United States, focusing on the genre of prose fiction and the period from 1900 to 1970. Particular attention will be paid to developments in African American women’s writing and to lesbian literary representation in this period. Writers may include Djuna Barnes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Willa Cather, Kate Chopin, Zora Neale Hurston, Nella Larsen, Carson McCullers, Toni Morrison, Tillie Olsen, Ann Petry, Gertrude Stein, Edith Wharton, and Hisaye Yamamoto.
|WS 250|| Global
Monday, Wednesday 1:00-2:25
This course is an examination of the political economy of Third World countries concentrating on the interlinked impact of colonialism, capitalism, and patriarchy on women’s lives; the organizational base of women’s political activity in those countries and the relationship of that activity to women in industrial capitalist countries. The course aims to examine the possibilities of global feminism as an international movement of political and economic transformation.
|WS 290|| Research
Methods in Women’s Studies |
Monday 7:00-10:00 p.m.
This course will teach the basic skills of research formation and design; the examination and assessment of evidence and its use in argument. The course will provide conceptual and working knowledge of bibliographic tools and information sources for accessing information on women and gender within both the national and international framework. Students will pursue some common projects (for example, a search for their family’s history, or written documentation supplementing oral family histories) and a project of their own design and imagination. Prerequisite: WS major or minor, or eight credits in the department.
333 (01) |
Theory and Film |
Wednesday 1:00-2:50 p.m.
This seminar investigates contemporary feminist theory-including but not limited to feminist film theory-in relation to film. It examines the influential formulations of the cinematic “male gaze” and “women’s film”; recent theorizations of race and sexuality in cinema and in culture; gender complexities in popular Hollywood genres; and critical issues emerging from films made by women. Students undertake extensive theoretical readings and attend mandatory weekly film screenings.
333 (02) PSYCH 319
and Domestic Labor |
Tuesdays 1:00-2:50 p.m.
Social, psychological, and sociological theories and research addressed to why women do more housework and childcare than men are examined. Special attention is paid to the situation of dual-earner families. Class and ethnic differences on the nature of this inequality are considered, and the barriers to full equality at home explored. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.
|WS 333 (03)|| Feminist
Tuesday, Thursday 10:50-12:05 p.m.
Mary Daly, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, Phyllis Trible, and Naomi Goldenberg, among others, have argued that traditional Jewish and Christian theological systems have overlooked the needs, concerns, histories, and contributions of women. Their challenges range from the historical modification of a presumably unbiased religious system to the outright rejection of a so-called patriarchal establishment. Whatever their approach, feminist theologies offer diverse and incisive tools for understanding how a theological system operates, how transitory cultural assumptions become embedded in ongoing doctrines, and how apparently minor adjustments can have significant ripple effects. Prerequisite: 8 credits in department or permission of instructor.
Views of Uncommon Women
Wednesday 1:00-4:00 p.m.
In this research seminar we explore the place of individuals in a culture using the collections of personal papers in the Mount Holyoke College Archives. How did women in late nineteenth century New England perceive themselves and their world? Were they products of their time, creators of their time, or both? How can we understand their aspirations and efforts towards social transformation? We will find tools for analyzing people’s thoughts and lives in the works of Bourdieu, Gramsci, Said, and others. Each student will produce a research paper using archival sources, and assist in the production of a web site. Prerequisite: Written permission of instructor.
|CLASSICS 228|| Women
in Antiquity |
Women in the ancient world experienced varying degrees of oppression and devaluation, or of freedom and higher status, depending on their social class, the prosperity of the community, and the predominant philosophical, religious, and scientific thought of a given period in antiquity. Paradoxically, they frequently managed to carve out meaningful and powerful lives within a system that appeared certain to deny them just this. In this course we will examine women’s lives in antiquity in the context of the interplay of these various factors.
|ENGL 252|| Women
Monday, Wednesday 9:25 a.m.
In this cross-cultural examination of nineteenth century American women writers, we will compare a number of works of fiction, prose, poetry, and autobiography. We will discuss how writers created sophisticated and insightful critiques of American culture, and imagined or re-presented new American identities and histories. We will also consider tensions between “sentimental” idealism and political pragmatism, restrictive domesticity and dangerous autonomy, and passionless femininity and expressed sexuality. Authors may include Alcott, Child, Fuller, Harper, Hopkins, Stowe, Taylor, and Wilson. Prerequisite: Sophomore, second-semester first year student with permission of instructor.
|ENGL 304|| Reading/Writing
Late Medieval and Early Modern Women |
Monday 2:30-5:00 (meeting at UMass)
This course explores a variety of literary forms produced by and for women during the culturally and politically transformative years of the late fourteenth to the early seventeenth centuries. Focusing on the writing of such figures as Julian of Norwich, Margery Kempe, Anne Askew, Mary Sidney, and Mary Wroth, the course will examine the contexts—literary and historical—in which their works were produced. Some of the questions this course will ask include how did rising rates of literacy and education, expanding audiences, and the advent of print shape women’s access to books? What social and ideological movements enabled or hindered their participation in public discourse? What kinds of continuities can we discern between “medieval” and “renaissance” women writers? What continental literary and religious traditions influenced English women writers? How are women writers to be positioned within the traditional definitions of literary periods, and of the English canon? Prerequisite: Jr, Sr, 8 credits in the department above the 100 level, including 241 or permission of instructor.
|ENGL 374|| Jane
Austin: Readings in Fiction and Film |
Monday 1:00-3:50 p.m.
A study of Austen’s six novels through the lenses of Regency culture and of twentieth century filmmakers. How do these modest volumes reflect and speak to England at the end of world war, on the troubled verge of Pax Britannica? What do the recent films say to and about Anglo-American culture at the millennium? What visions of women’s lives, romance, and English society are constructed through the prose and the cinema?
Women of Color