WAGS (Women and Gender Studies)
Fine Arts
Political Science
14 Grosvenor
102 Fayerweather
103 Clark House
108 Chapin

WAGS 8/ FA 72
Bad Girls
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 p.m.
Natasha E. Staller

To Many Europeans in the 19th century, women were becoming threatening. With assertiveness and sometimes violence, they demanded suffrage and work outside the home (where they would compete with men for jobs); as newspapers reported, they carried deadly syphilis. This course will examine this set of converging events, contemporary evolutionary theory, debates over "la femme au foyer" and "la nouvelle femme," and arguments that linked women with putatively deviant sexuality and inferior races. We will study images of women as powerful harpies, whores, and femmes fatales, and images of women as powerless invalids and decadently self-destructing addicts. We will address how women claimed agency, as defiant outlaws or by the act of painting. We will analyze the ways in which such images recast as well as reinforced prevailing beliefs in France, England, and Spain, and consider how stereotypes changed over time. We will read texts by Jarry and Huysmans, and consider a range of artists from Renior, Degas, and Beardsley to Picasso, de Kooning and the Gorilla Girls.

Construction of Gender
Monday, Wednesday 12:30 p.m.
Michele Barale
Rose Olver

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 and 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.

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

This seminar will focus on the history of homosexuality in the West. Topics will include male homosexuality in Classical Antiquity, the rise of homosexual subcultures in Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, homosexuality and the international sex reform and psychoanalytic movements, the roots of lesbian gay activism in the U.S., gender, race, class within contemporary lesbian and gay liberation movements, and the new Evangelical Right's attack on homosexuality. Readings will include passages from Scripture, diaries and autobiographies, medical and religious treatises, and letters and political manifestos, along with theoretical and historical writing by Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Alan Bray, Carroll Smith-Rosenburg, John d' Emilio, Estelle Friedman, Gayle Rubin and others.

Fiction as History
Tuesday, Thursday 11:30 a.m.
Michele Barale
Martha Saxton

This course seeks to understand the shared and differing readings of gender that are offered by two disciplines: History and Literature. A series of American novels, surrounded by a grouping of critical commentaries from historians and literary critics, will be used to examine each discipline's construction--and possibly misconstruction--of gender's operation. Our reading will include works by the following works authors: Louisa May Alcott, Gwendolyn Brooks, Willa Cather, Sarah Orne Jewett, Catherine Maria Sedwick, and Harriet Wilson. Students will find it helpful to have taken one course in one of the two disciplines. There will be frequent writing assignments as well as two long papers.

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

How does the writing of autobiography of women affirm, construct and reconstruct and 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 to raise, if not resolve, the 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 writings 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, physchological studies, criticism and theory. Maxine Hong Kingston's The Women Warrior, Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, poetry and prose by Elizabeth and Bishop, Shirley Abbot's Womenfolks, Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, Jamaica Kincaid's Anne John, Carol Gilligan's In a Different Voice, Lorene Cary's Black Ice, Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina, Susanna Kaysen's Girl, Interrupted, and recent work by Janet Surrey. Writing requirements will include several short papers and an autobiographical essay.

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 Chuyovskaya, Sofia Petrovna; Toni Morrison, Jazz; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein), poetry (by Anna 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 or liberation from social taboos? How do adults contain (and repeat) the fears that ruled childhood? Why do we like to be frightened?

WAGS 39/ REL 39
Women in Judaism
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9:00 a.m.
Susan Niditch

A study of the portrayal of women in Jewish tradition. Readings will include biblical and apocryphal texts; Rabbinic legal (halakic) and non-legal (aggadic) material; selections from medieval commentaries; letters, diaries, and autobiographies written by Jewish women of various periods and settings; and work of fiction and non-fiction concerning the woman in modern Judaism. Employing an inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural approach, we will examine not only the actual roles played by women in particular historical periods and cultural contexts, but also the roles they assume in traditional literary patterns and religious symbol systems.

Women's Activism
Tuesday, Thursday 2:00 p.m.
Amrita Basu
Kristin Bumiller
Margaret R. Hunt

Globally as well as locally, women are claiming a new voice in civil society by spearheading both egalitarian movements for social change and reactionary movements which would restore them to putatively traditional roles. They are prominent in local level community based struggles but also in women's movements, perhaps the most international movements in the world today. This course will explore the varied expressions of women's activism at the grass roots, national and transnational levels. How is it influenced by the intervention of the state and international agencies? How is it affected by globalization? Among the issues and movements which we will address is the struggle to redefine women's rights as human rights, women's activism in religious nationalism, the international gay-lesbian movement, welfare rights activism, responses to state regulation, and campaigns around domestic violence. Our understanding of women's activism is informed by a richly comparative perspective and attention to cases from diverse regions of the world.

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

The focus of this course is on the lives of 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. We will begin by briefly examining the status of women in classical Islamic thought, including themes relating to scripture, tradition, law theology, philosophy and literature. The second section of the course will focus on contemporary Muslim women in a number of different cultural context 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. The final section of the course will deal 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.

States of Poverty
Monday 2:00-4:00
Kristin Bumiller

In this course the students will examine the role of the modern welfare state in people's everyday lives. We will study the historical growth and retrenchment of the modern welfare state in the United States and other Western democracies. The course will critically examine 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. In this course we will analyze the social construction of social problems linked to states of poverty, including hunger, homelessness, health care, disability, discrimination and violence. We will ask how these conditions disproportionately affect the lives of women and children. We will take a broad view of the interventions of the welfare state by considering not only the impact of public assistance and social services programs, but also the role of the police, family courts, therapeutic professionals, and schools in creating and responding to the conditions of impoverishment. The work of the seminar will culminate in the production of a research paper and students will be given the option of incorporating fieldwork into the independent project. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.

WOST Program
Women of Color
Graduate Level
Winter 2000
Hampshire College
Mount Holyoke
Smith College