Mount Holyoke College Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies courses, Spring 2012

Classics (Greek) Ciruti 112 538-2885

CLASSICS 225/HIST 225 – Athenian Democracy and It’s Foes
Paula Debnar
Monday, Wednesday  2:40-3:55 p.m.
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Democracy first took root in Athens in the late sixth century BCE and flourished, with only brief interruptions, until the city came under the power of Macedon in the latter part of the fourth century BCE. This course will trace the development of Athenian democracy and examine such topics as citizenship; the role of women, the family, and non-citizens in Athens; the legal system; education; and public entertainment. It will also compare democratic Athens with its antithesis, Sparta. Sources will include Herodotus, Thucydides, Aristophanes Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes, and others.

Gender Studies 109 Shattuck 538-2257

GNDST 101 – Gender Studies
Monday, Wednesday  8:35-9:50 a.m. and 11:00-12:15 p.m.

This course is designed to introduce students to social, cultural, historical, and political perspectives on gender and its construction. Through discussion and writing, we will explore the intersections among gender, race, class, and sexuality in multiple settings and contexts. Taking an interdisciplinary approach to a variety of questions, we will consider the distinctions between sex and gender, women's economic status, the making of masculinity, sexual violence, queer movements, racism, and the challenges of feminist activism across nations, and possibilities for change. We will also examine the development of feminist theory, including its promises and challenges.

GNDST 201 – Methods/Practicum Feminist Scholarship
Angie Willey
Tuesday, Thursday  11:00-12:15 p.m.

How do scholars produce knowledge? What can we learn from differences and similarities in the research process of a novelist, a biologist, an historian, a sociologist, and a film critic? Who decides what counts as knowledge? We will examine a range of methods from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences, including visual analysis, archival exploration, interviewing, and ethnography, as we consider the specific advantages (and potential limitations) of diverse disciplinary approaches for feminist inquiry. We will take up numerous practical questions as well as larger methodological and ethical debates. This course provides a foundation for advanced work in the major.

GNDST 204-01/ENGL 270 – 19th Century American Women Writers
Lois Brown
Monday, Wednesday  1:15-2:30 p.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, Far, Fuller, Harper, Hopkins, Ruiz de Burton Wilson, and Winnemucca.

GNDST 204-02/ASIAN 220 – Women Writing in India
Indira Peterson
Tuesday, Thursday  1:15-2:30 p.m.

Critical study of women's writing in India, in genres ranging from classical and medieval poems, tales, and songs (e.g., Tiruppavai) to novels, plays, and personal narratives by modern women writers (e.g., Rokeya Hossain's Sultana's Dream, Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things), in translation from Indian languages and in the original English. We will focus on women's perspectives and voices, women's agency, and resistance to dominant discourses. Attention is paid to historical contexts, the socioreligious constructions of women and gender, and the role of ideologies such as colonialism and nationalism in the production and reception of women's writing.

GNDST 204-03/ASIAN 215 – Androgyny and Gender Negotiation in Contemporary Chinese Women's Theater
Ying Wang
Wednesday  1:15-4:05 p.m.

Yue Opera, an all-female art that flourished in Shanghai in 1923, resulted from China's social changes and the women's movement. Combining traditional with modern forms and Chinese with Western cultures, Yue Opera today attracts loyal and enthusiastic audiences despite pop arts crazes. We will focus on how audiences, particularly women, are fascinated by gender renegotiations as well as by the all-female cast. The class will read and watch classics of this theater, including Dream of the Red Chamber, Story of the Western Chamber, Peony Pavilion, and Butterfly Lovers. Students will also learn the basics of traditional Chinese opera.

GNDST 206-01/HIST 276 – U.S. Women and Gender History since 1880
Jane Gerhard
Tuesday, Thursday  11:00-12:15 p.m.

This course introduces students to the major themes of U.S. women's history from the 1880s to the present. We will look both at the experiences of a diverse group of women in the U.S. as well as the ideological meaning of gender as it evolved and changed over the twentieth century. We will chart the various meanings of womanhood (for example, motherhood, work, the domestic sphere, and sexuality) along racial, ethnic, and class lines and in different regions, and will trace the impact multiple identities have had on women's social and cultural activism.

GNDST 210-01/RELIG 218 – Women in American Religious History
Jane Crosthwaite
Tuesday, Thursday  11:00-12:15 p.m.

This course is a critical study of significant women (Anne Hutchinson, Mother Ann Lee, Mary Baker Eddy, Ellen Gould White, Aimee Semple McPherson, Dorothy Day, and others) and their roles in the pluralistic character of American religion. It raises central questions concerning leadership, marginality, deviant behavior, and criticism of women. Students are expected to contribute to the course by their participation and individual research.

GNDST 210-02/RELIG 207 – Women and Gender in Islam
Andy Steinfels
Monday, Wednesday  11:00-12:15 p.m.

This course will examine a range of ways in which Islam has constructed women--and women have constructed Islam. We will study concepts of gender as they are reflected in classical Islamic texts, as well as different aspects of the social, economic, political, and ritual lives of women in various Islamic societies.

GNDST 210-03/RELIG 241 – Women and Buddhism
L. Battaglia
Monday, Wednesday  2:40-3:55 p.m.

This course explores women and Buddhism during different historical periods and in different cultures. Through a variety of sources, this course will illuminate Buddhist concepts of gender and sexuality, views of women's spiritual capacities, the diversity of women's images, roles, experiences, concerns, and contributions in Buddhist societies, and scholarly approaches to women in Buddhism. Special attention will be given to how gender is constructed in each cultural and religious context encountered, with particular emphasis on Buddhist women in Southeast Asia. We will look into the reasons why texts on religion have not always included the voices of women, and we will investigate ways to uncover them through research techniques and alternative hermeneutical strategies.

GNDST 216/PHYED 261 – Women in Sport
Laurie Priest
Monday  1:15-4:05 p.m.

This course is designed to introduce students to the history of women in sport, the status of women in sport since the passage of Title IX in 1972, and current issues impacting women in sport such as race, gender, and sexual orientation. Students will explore the influence of sport on the lives of women and how selected women sport leaders have influenced the growth and development of sport.

GNDST 221/FLMST 290 – Feminist and Queer Theory Through Film
Christian Gundermann
Monday, Wednesday  11:00-12:15 p.m.

We will be reading a number of key feminist texts that theorize the construction of sexual difference, and challenge the oppression of women. We will then address queer theory, an offshoot and expansion of feminist theory, and study how it is both embedded in, and redefines, the feminist paradigms. This redefinition occurs roughly at the same time (1980s/90s) when race emerges as one of feminism's prominent blind spots. We will study these shifts through the analysis of a few moving pictures, or, to put it differently: all you always wanted to know about feminism, but didn't think to ask filmmakers such as Almodóvar, Hitchcock, Jarman, Pasolini, Varda, and others.

GNDST 223/THEAT 234 – Queer Theory, Performance and Public Practice
Jaclyn Pryor
Monday, Wednesday  1:15-2:30 p.m.

How are gender and sexuality constructed, rehearsed, and contested through performance? How can queer cultural production serve as a method of activist intervention in dominant culture? In this course, students are introduced to the central theories and debates in queer studies, with attention to the intersections among gender, sexuality, race, and class. Students also see, write about, and discuss performances that critically engage queer discourses. Additionally, this course asks students to put theory into practice: students stage scenes from selected plays, create original performances inspired by course readings, and experiment with other performative interventions in public culture.

GNDST 241/PHYSICS 211 – Women/Gender in Science
Katherine Aidala
Monday, Wednesday  2:40-3:55 p.m.

This course examines explanations for the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with an eye to identifying how to increase the participation of women in science. The course will address questions about gender differences in cognition and ability, the role of stereotyping, as well as the "leaky pipeline" issue, that is, the rate and timing of the departure of women from scientific fields. Course readings will explore the psychology of gender, as it relates to STEM. In addition, we will read research from physical scientists, reports from professional organizations such as the American Physical Society, and reports from congressional committees.

GNDST 250 – Women and Social Movements in Latin America
Cora Anderson
Tuesday, Thursday  2:40-3:55 p.m.

In the last 30 years, Latin America has seen the emergence of a large array of social movements that have shaped the political and economic processes in the region. From human rights to peasants' movements, from indigenous to unemployed movements, women have been increasingly involved in political activism. What has been the role of women in these movements? How have traditional women's roles been at the same time useful and an obstacle to their activism? How have women influenced the repertoires, frames, identities and strategies of these movements? We will answer these questions through the exploration of case studies in the region using academic readings, testimonies, and documentaries.

GNDST 270/POLIT 271 – Feminism and Capitalism
Lena Zuckerwise
Monday, Wednesday  1:15-2:30 p.m.

This course will explore the relationship between feminism and capitalism in a contemporary context, particularly ways in which they reinforce and contradict each other. Examining this question through Marxist, liberal, post-structuralist, and post-colonial feminist theory, as well as the recent history of feminist and anti-capitalist movements, we will consider the economic and political underpinnings of feminist thinking and practice. Do certain feminisms carry implicit anti-capitalist commitments? To what extent are particular feminisms, especially liberal feminism, reliant upon capitalist structures and processes? What stakes might feminists have in preserving or uprooting capitalism?

GNDST 333-01/THEAT 350 – Wasserstein and Her World
Erika Rundle
Thursday  1:15-4:05 p.m.

This course coincides with MHC's yearlong celebration of renowned American playwright Wendy Wasserstein '71. Readings include Wasserstein's complete works, Julie Salamon's new biography Wendy and the Lost Boys, and critical essays that place Wasserstein in the context of feminist theatre practice. Students will have the opportunity to conduct archival research using the Wasserstein Papers, and will participate in numerous campus events, including the Weissman Center's playwriting symposium and guest lectures by visiting scholars and artists. As dramaturgs for the department's production of Uncommon Women, the class will create a substantial program honoring Wasserstein and her legacy.

GNDST 333-02/HIST 301 – Bodily Desires
Jane Gerhard
Tuesday 1:15-4:05 p.m.

In this seminar, we will study the history of sexuality, desire, and bodies. The premise of this interdisciplinary seminar is that sexuality is both historically constructed (fluid and changing over time and culture) and embodied and lived (experienced for many as essential and unchanging). We will study experts who set out terms and frameworks for understanding modern sexuality; how in different ways and in different times communities of sexual minorities strategically used selected elements of expert discourse to forge their own narratives of self and desire. Students will examine sexual classifications--mainstream and "normal" or subcultural and "deviant"--as mutually constructed.

GNDST 333-03 – The Art of Fact:  Writing the Lives of Women
Martha Ackmann
Monday 1:15-4:05 p.m.

This course will examine narrative non-fiction biographies written by women biographers in order to determine the specific ways in which women tell the stories of other women's lives. We will investigate stylistic and theoretical approaches to writing biographies in which gender is a central focus. We will ask if "feminist biography" constitutes a literary genre. We will experience the challenges (and thrills) of conducting archival and primary research. The course will culminate in students writing chapter-length biographies.

GNDST 333-04/FREN 351 – Femme Fatale
Christopher Rivers
Wednesday  1:15-4:05 p.m.

(Taught in French) An examination of vivid literary incarnations of the femme fatale, female characters eerily and inextricably linked to untimely, unseemly, or tragic death. Characters fall roughly into two categories: women who directly or indirectly bring about someone else's death; or women who serve as scapegoats, whose symbolically sacrificial death, at the conclusion of the novel, allows the other characters to continue their own lives. We will discuss these works as expressions of misogyny and fear of female sexuality while also attempting to reach broader conclusions about the implications of both individual texts and the femme fatale novel as a sub-genre.

GNDST 333-05/SPAN 330/LATAM 387 – Latina Feminisms
Micaela Diaz-Sanchez
Tuesday, Thursday  11:00-12:15 p.m.

This course offers an interdisciplinary approach to the study of feminist ideologies among Latinas throughout the United States. Employing a range of sources from archival texts to artistic images and ethnographies, we will study the histories and representations of Latina feminist theories across academic and aesthetic approaches. Focusing on the multiplicity of lived experiences among Puertorriqueñas, Chicanas, Mexicanas, Centroamericanas, Dominicanas, Suramericanas and many other communities in the United States, we will interrogate how gender and sexuality have informed the development of Latina feminist movements and political histories.

GNDST 333-06/ENGL 373/ENVST – Nature and Gender
Leah Glasser
Wednesday 1:15-4:05 p.m.

This course will focus on portrayals of women in nineteenth- through mid-twentieth-century America, particularly in the context of nature and landscape. We will explore how women, often objectified in visual images of the period, appropriated established devices or developed new images and structures to represent womanhood in their own terms. Texts will include selected poetry, sketches, autobiographical essays or memoirs, short stories, novels, paintings, films, and photography.

GNDST 333-07/ANTHR 331-01 – Anthropology/Sexualitites
Lynne Morgan
Wednesday  1:15-4:05 p.m.

This seminar focuses on contemporary anthropological scholarship concerned with the varieties of sexual expression in diverse cultural settings. We will read ethnographic accounts of sexual ideologies and the politics and practices of sexuality in Brazil, Japan, Native North America, India, and elsewhere. We will examine anthropological theories of sexuality with an emphasis on contemporary issues, including performance theory, "third gender" theories, sexual identity formulation, and techniques used by various societies to discipline the body.

GNDST 333-08/BIOL 321- Selection/Conflict
Denise Pope
Monday, Wednesday  2:50-3:55 p.m.

Sexual selection theory explains how selection on traits that allow individuals to attract potential mates or defeat potential rivals can lead to the evolution of sexual dimorphism. Sexual conflict theory investigates how the conflicting interests of males and females in mating interactions can result in the co-evolution of traits for manipulation and resistance. Feminist critics point out how these theories reflect and in turn propagate stereotypes about human behavior. This course explores classic and current biological literature on sexual selection and sexual conflict alongside feminist critiques of the language use, the assumptions, and the interpretation of research in these fields.

Politics 118 Shattuck Hall 538-2132

POLIT 210-01 – Politics of Minority Rights
Cyril Ghosh
Tuesday, Thursday  11:00-12:15 p.m.
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This course examines the politics surrounding minority rights in the US since World War II, with special emphasis on the politics of race, class, gender, sexuality, and citizenship/immigration. Our aim will be to trace the accomplishments and limitations of the American state in offering full democratic inclusion to all members of the polity. Through readings, lectures, discussions, and film screenings, we will analyze several public debates related to contemporary minority inclusion. In doing so, we will critically evaluate such behemoths of minority politics as affirmative action, same-sex marriage, the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990), and so on.

Religion 205 Skinner Hall 538-2233

RELIG 244 – Women in the Bible
Harvey Hill
Monday, Wednesday  8:35-9:50 a.m.

This course will explore the representation of women in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. We will begin by discussing a spectrum of feminist approaches to the interpretation of the Bible, ranging from those who condemn the Bible as fundamentally and inevitably patriarchal to those who seek ways to understand the Bible in less patriarchal and more feminist terms. We will then survey the biblical, apocryphal, and select non-canonical writings that are most relevant for women, as well as interpretations by contemporary feminist scholars. This course should help students better articulate their own views on how the Bible represents women.

RELIG 323 – The Women Who Shaped the Mind of Frederick Douglass
John Grayson
Tuesday  7:00-9:50 p.m.

Eight women - Harriet Bailey, Betsey Bailey, Sophia Auld, Anna Murray, Julia Crofts-Griffiths, Annie Douglass, Ottilia Assing, and Helen Pitts - occupied crucial roles in the formation of Frederick Douglass's mind. In this seminar we will read closely Douglass's three autobiographies and related primary sources in order to discern the theological significance these women had for him. Students also will be introduced to contemporary readings in theological hermeneutics in order to consider its implications for reading and interpreting autobiography.

Spanish, Latina/o, Latin American Studies 105 Ciruti 538-2347

SPAN 240/THEAT 234/LATAM 287 – Performance in the Americas
Micaela Diaz-Sanchez
Tuesday, Thursday  2:40-3:55 p.m.
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This course offers Latina/o and Latin American transnational approaches to the theory and political practice of performance in the Americas with a focus on issues of race, sexuality, class, gender, indigenous and diasporic identities. Employing multiple modes of performance from theater, dance, performance art, ritual, visual art, and folkloric music, we will explore how these practices have functioned and continue to allow for politically subversive or resistant transformation.