Women, Gender, Sexuality Studies
Spring 2014 Smith College WGSS Courses

Afro-American Studies 102 Wright Hall 585-3572

AAS 212 – Family Matters: Representations, Policy and the Black Family
Tuesday, Thursday 1:10-2:30 p.m.
Richie J. Barnes

In this course we will examine contemporary African-American families from both a sociocultural and socioeconomic perspective. We will explore the issues facing African-American families as a consequence of the intersecting of race, class, and gender categories of America. The aim of this course is to broaden the student’s knowledge of the internal dynamics and diversity of African-American family life and to foster a greater understanding of the internal strengths as well as the vulnerabilities of the many varieties of African-American families.

AAS 366 – Public History and the Diaspora: Race, Gender and the Memory
Wednesday   7:00-9:00 p.m.
Paula Giddings

The course, which is co-taught by Paula Giddings (Smith) and Bayo Holsey (Duke) via real-time video-conferencing, will investigate the relationship between memory weighted by race and gender and the construction of public history in the U.S. and the Diaspora. The course will include texts and guest lectures by authors from the Meridians, feminism, race and transnationalism journal. Public history will include memorialization, texts, and popular culture.

American Studies 225 Wright Hall 585-3582

AMS 202 – Methods in American Studies
Monday, Wednesday, Friday  11:00-12:10 a.m.
Christen Mucher

What do Americans want? What do they fear? What is an "American"? How do we draw the line between those who belong and those who do not? How do we define citizenship, its rights and responsibilities? How do race, gender, class and other differences affect the drawing of these boundaries, and the contents of consciousness? This course introduces some of the exciting and innovative approaches to cultural analysis that have emerged over the last three decades. Students apply these methods to a variety of texts and practices (stories, movies, television shows, music, advertisements, clothes, buildings, laws, markets, bodies) in an effort to acquire the tools to become skillful readers of American culture, and to become more critical and aware as scholars and citizens.


Anthropology 15 Wright Hall 585-3500

ANT 241 – Anthropology and Development
Tuesday, Thursday  10:30-11:15 a.m.
Elliot Fratkin

The Anthropology of Development compares three explanatory models -- modernization theory, dependency theory, and indigenous or alternative development -- to understand social change today. Who sponsors development programs and why? How are power, ethnicity, and gender relations affected? How do anthropologists contribute to and critique programs of social and economic development? The course will discuss issues of gender, health care, population growth, and economic empowerment with readings from Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America.

ANT 271  – Globalization & Transnational in Africa
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 pm
Caroline M. Melly

This course considers the shifting place of Africa in a global context from various perspectives. Our goal will be to understand the global connections and exclusions that constitute the African continent in the new millennium. We will explore topics such as historical connections, gender, popular culture, global economy, development, commodities, health and medicine, global institutions, violence and the body, the postcolonial state, religion, science and knowledge, migration and diaspora, the Internet and communications, and modernity. Prerequisites: ANT 130 or permission of the instructor. Enrollment limited to 30.

ANT 274  – The Anthropology of Religion
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50  a.m.
Pinky Hota

What can anthropologists teach us about religion as a social phenomenon? This course traces significant anthropological approaches to the study of religion, asking what these approaches contribute to our understanding of religion in the contemporary world. Topics include: religious experience and rationality, myth, ritual, and magic, rites of passage, function and meaning, power and alienation, religion and politics. Readings are drawn from important texts in the history of anthropology and from contemporary ethnographies of religion.


Art History/Studio Art Hillyer Hall 585-3100

ARHT 257 – Gender, Sexuality and the Built Environment
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m.
Laura Kalba

This course investigates how gender and sexuality are constitutive of, and constituted by, the built environment. Approaching the topic from the perspective of nineteenth and twentieth-century European and American history, the course addresses a number of interrelated questions: How have women shaped the built environment? What role has gender played in shaping dominant understandings of private and public spheres? What role does architecture play in defining socially acceptable and unacceptable sexual relationships? Finally, how have the histories of LGBTQ communities marked the urban landscape, and what efforts have been made to preserve these sites?


Comparative Literature Pierce Hall 105 585-3302

CLT 232/EAL 232 – Modern Chinese Literature
Tuesday, Thursday  1:00-2:50 p.m.
Sabina Knight

Can literature inspire personal and social transformation? How have modern Chinese writers pursued freedom, fulfillment, memory, and social justice? From short stories and novels to drama and film, we’ll explore class, gender, and the diversity of the cultures of China, Taiwan, Tibet, and overseas Chinese communities. Readings are in English translation and no background in China or Chinese is required.

CLT 206 – Empathy, Rage and Outrage:  Female Genital Excision in Literature and Film
Tuesday, Thursday  10:30-11:50 a.m.
Katwiwa Mule

This colloquium will examine the representations of female genital cutting through literature and film of the African and the Diaspora. Using a variety of documents—literary, films, cartoons, posters, essays, manuals, and legal texts—we will focus especially on the politics and controversies surrounding this issue by posing and answering the following questions: what are the parameters of the discourse of female genital cutting? What is the appropriate way to name and combat the practice? Who is authorized to speak on behalf of African women? Why has Western feminist insurgency failed to register any meaningful success in promoting change? Is there any relationship between imperialism and the discourse of female genital excision?


East Asian Studies Seelye 210 585-3591

EAS 277 – Private Life and Domestic Space Later Imperial China
Monday, Wednesday  1:10-2:30 p.m.
Aurelia Campbell

This course investigates the culture of private life in Late Imperial China (ca. 1400-1900). Using the house as a lens through which to examine how people lived and thought, we will explore topics such as architecture, gardens, cultural consumption, gender roles, foot-binding, homosexuality, and the family. Readings will draw upon important secondary scholarship as well as primary literature, including fiction, art collecting manuals, and Confucian didactic texts. Students will also develop a deepened understanding of one facet of private life in China through a research paper on a well-conceived topic.

English Languages and Literature 101 Wright Hall 585-3302

ENG 310  – Enabling Fictions: Writing Women's Lives
Thursday 1:00-2:50 p.m.
Sharon C. Seelig

“Why hath this lady writ her own life?” asked Margaret Cavendish in 1656, a time when a woman needed a plausible, if sometimes fabricated, reason for doing so. We’ll consider a range of women writers from the early modern period to the present, as they construct the narratives of their own lives or those of their families, out of fact, fiction, romance, exaggeration, and equivocation; representing themselves sometimes as respectable, sometimes as heroic or roguish, using enabling fictions to shape their accounts. Beginning with Cavendish and her contemporaries (Anne Halkett, Lucy Hutchinson) we’ll move to texts, both fictional and autobiographical, from the 18th through the 21st centuries, concluding with writers such as Zora Neale Hurston, Maxine Hong Kingston and Marjane Satrapi.

Film Studies 107 Wright Hall 585-3729

FLS 250 – Queer Cinema/Queer Media
Monday, Wednesday 9:00-10:20  a.m.
Lokeilani L. Kaimana

From the queer avant-garde of Kenneth Anger and Su Friedrich, to The Kids are Alright and Glee, the queer in film and television is often conflated with gay and lesbian representation on screen. Instead of collapsing queer cinema into a representational politics of gay and lesbian film and television, we look at theories and practices that uphold what queerness means in a contemporary framework of America neoliberalism and transnational media. Screenings include the New Queer Cinema classics Paris Is Burning, It Wasn't Love, and Poison, and work by multimedia artists including Shu Lea Cheang, Issac Julien, Carmelita Tropicana, and PJ Raval. Readings by Alexander Doty, Thomas Elsaesser, Kobena Mercer, Jasbir Puar, B. Ruby Rich, Judith Halberstam, Jose E. Munoz's, Chris Straayer and Hayden White.

FLS 351 – Film Theory
Tuesday 1:00-2:50 p.m., Thursday  7:00-11:00 p.m.
Lokeilani Kaimana

This upper-level seminar explores central currents in film theory. Among the ideas, movements and concepts we will examine: formalist, realist, structuralist, psychoanalytic, feminist, and post structuralist theories, and auteur, genre, queer and cultural studies approaches to questions regarding the nature, function, and possibilities of cinema. We will also consider how new media and new media theories relate to our experience in film and film theory. We will understand film theory readings through the socio-cultural context in which they were and are developed. We will also be particularly attentive to the history of film theory: how theories exist in conversation with each other, as well as how other intellectual and cultural theories influence the development, nature and mission of theories of the moving image. We will emphasize written texts (Bazin, Eisenstein, Kracauer, Vertov, Metz, Mulvey, DeLauretis, Doty, Hall, Cahiers du Cinema, the Dogme Collective, Manovich, etc.), but will also look at instantiations of film theory that are themselves acts of cinema (Man with a Movie Camera, Rock Hudson’s Home Movies, The Meeting of Two Queens). The course is designed as an advanced introduction and assumes no prior exposure to film theory

French Studies 102 Wright Hall 585-3360

FRN 380  –Immigration and Sexuality
Mehammed Mack
Monday, Wednesday 2:40 - 4:00 p.m.

This course examines the place of sexuality in discussions and representations of immigration to France. Through readings, lectures, and film screenings, students discover the role played by sexuality in immigration debates from the 1920's to the present day. As France's media and political parties have debated whether postwar immigration from the former colonies has entailed the erosion of French identity, long-standing claims about religious or ethnic diversity have increasingly been accompanied by a sexualized rhetoric that accuses immigrants of advocating rigid gender norms and intolerance of sexual diversity. Authors studied include Frantz Fanon, Tahar Ben Jelloun, Fadela Amara,and Abdellah Taïa.



GOV 218 – Workplace Law in Capitalist America
Monday, Wednesday  9:00-10:20 a.m.
Harris Freeman

A critical introduction to government regulation of employment and to legal theories of freedom and justice in the workplace. Topics: 1) the development of laws granting workers the right to form labor unions and to collectively bargain, culminating with discussion of the current debate on the labor rights of public sector workers in Wisconsin and other states; 2) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws designed to protect women, persons of color, the disabled and GLBT individuals in the workplace as well as the rights of immigrant workers; and 3) privacy at work, including how law impacts the use of social media like Facebook and Twitter in the employment context.

History 227 Wright Hall 585-3702

HST 209  – Women and Gender in the Middle East
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 am
Nadya J. Sbaiti

Development of discourses on gender as well as lived experiences of women from the rise of Islam to the present. Topics include the politics of marriage, divorce, and reproduction; women’s political and economic participation; masculinity; sexuality; impact of Islamist movements. Provides introduction to main themes, and nuanced historical understanding of approaches to the study of gender in the region.

HST 253  – Women & Gender in Contemporary Europe
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:00 am – 12:10 p.m.
Darcy C. Buerkle

Women's experience and constructions of gender in the commonly recognized major events of the 20th century. Introduction to major thinkers of the period through primary sources, documents and novels, as well as to the most significant categories in the growing secondary literature in 20th-century European history of women and gender.

HST 265  – Race, Gender and United States Citizenship, 1776-1861
Monday, Wednesday 1:10 – 2:30 p.m.
Elizabeth S. Pryor

Analysis of the historical realities, social movements, cultural expression and political debates that shaped U.S. citizenship from the Declaration of Independence to the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment. From the hope of liberty and equality to the exclusion of marginalized groups that made whiteness, maleness and native birth synonymous with Americanness. How African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants and women harnessed the Declaration of Independence and its ideology to define themselves as also citizens of the United States.

HST 267 – The United States Since 1977
Tuesday, Thursday  9:00-10:20 a.m.
Robert Weir

Survey of the major economic, political and social changes of this period, primarily through the lens of race, class, and gender, to understand the role of ordinary people in shaping defining events, including industrial capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, mass immigration and migration, urbanization, the rise of mass culture, nationalism, war, feminism, labor radicalism, civil rights, and other liberatory movements for social justice.

HST 289 –Women and Higher Education: Smith College in Historical Context
Monday, Wednesday 2:40-4:00 p.m.
Jennifer L. Hall-Witt

What did college education mean to the first generations of Smithies? How did students' opportunities and experiences vary according to their race, religion, and class? How did college alter women's ideas about what it meant to be a woman (in terms of work, sports, dress, politics, sexuality, and social life)? This course addresses such questions by exploring the history of Smith College in a broader American and European context, with a focus on the period from Smith's founding in 1871 through the 1920's. Students work with materials in the College Archives and with a variety of other sources.

HST 361  – Public Health, Race and Nation in Latin America, 1850 - Present
Thursday, 3:00 – 4:50 p.m.
Ann L. Zulawski 

The relationship between scientific medicine and state formation in Latin America. Topics include Hispanic, Native American and African healing traditions and 19th-century politics; medicine and liberalism; gender, race and medicine; eugenics and Social Darwinism; the Rockefeller Foundation's mission in Latin America; medicine under populist and revolutionary governments.


Interdisciplinary Studies 207B Seelye Hall

IDP 208 – Women’s Medical Issues
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30  - 11:50 a.m.
Leslie R. Jaffe

A study of topics and issues relating to women's health, including menstrual cycle, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, abortion, menopause, depression, eating disorders, nutrition and cardiovascular disease. Social, ethical and political issues will be considered including violence, the media's representation of women, and gender bias in health care. An international perspective on women's health will also be considered.

Jewish Studies 207B Seelye Hall 585-3390

JUD 237  – Forbidden Love: Cinematics of Desire in Israel and Beyond
Monday, Wednesday 2:40-4:00 p.m.
Miriam Talmon-Bohm

How does film challenge social boundaries through narratives of forbidden love and intercultural relationships? By juxtaposing cultural and ideological worlds in conflict cinema has a long tradition of subverting the very rigid social restrictions it recreates on screen. Our course will focus on Israeli cinema to contemplate this universal phenomenon, with comparative segues into Hollywood’s re-visioning of racial and social divisions and its performance of the Jew on screen. We will explore various forms of taboo-breaking relationships, including interethnic love in the context of a multicultural immigrant society, transnational love in the context of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, homosexual love in the context of Middle Eastern traditional societies, and love that involves partners transcending religious boundaries. By studying how Israeli cinema crosses national, social, sexual, patriarchal, ethnic, and religious divisions we threaten to tear society apart. Open to students at all levels.

Psychology Bass 218 585-4399

PSY 263 –Psychology of the Black Experience
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30 – 11:50 a.m.
Beth Powell

Study of psychological factors particularly affecting the lives of African Americans. Course will include a historical perspective of African American adaptation to life in the United States. It will consider both Afrocentric and Eurocentric perspectives on African American psychology and cover topics include: race, racism, racial identity, Whiteness, intelligence, family structure, neighborhoods, religion, physical health, and mental health.

PSY 266 - Psychology of Women and Gender
Monday, Wednesday 9:00 – 10:20 a.m.
Lauren E. Duncan

An in-depth examination of controversial issues of concern to the study of the psychology of women and gender. In the first half of the course, we will discuss current research on these topics. In the second half of the course, students will have the opportunity design and execute original research in an area of their choice. Topics might include women in leadership, math and science, and media and self-objectification, but will be driven by student interest.


Religion Dewey Hall II 585-3662

REL 214  – Virgins, Vamps, and Viragos: Women in the Hebrew Bible
Monday, Wednesday 1:10 – 2:30 p.m.
Maria Meltzler

This course focuses on the lives of women in ancient Israelite society through close readings of the Hebrew Bible. We will look at detailed portraits of female characters as well as the role of many unnamed women in the text to consider the range and logic of biblical attitudes toward women, including reverence, disgust, and sympathy. We will also consider female deities in the ancient Near East, women in biblical law, sex in prophetic and Wisdom literature, and the female body as a source of metaphor.

REL 278 - Religion in the Himalayas: Coexistence, Conflict, and Change
Monday, Wednesday 9:00 -10:20 a.m.
Constance E. Kassor

This course examines the religious life of the Himalayan regions of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Tibet, and Bhutan, paying particular attention to issues surrounding the construction of religious identity. Through text, film, and art, we will explore practices in Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and local traditions, and investigate the ways in which these practices negotiate political change and modernization. Topics include gender (in)equality in religious institutions and practices, insider/outsider representations of communities, and the intersection of religion and politics.

REL 281 – Gender, Religion, and Popular Culture in South Asia
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 11:00 am – 12:10 p.m.
Constance E. Kassor

This course investigates the ways that religious practices influence the construction of gender identities in South Asia, and the ways that communities negotiate these influences. Through primary and secondary textual sources, as well as popular materials such as news articles, films, and comic books, we will explore the roles that women, men, and third gender people are expected to play in South Asian societies, as well as the roles that they actually play. We will consider the ways in which religious practices in South Asia can be said to enforce traditional gender roles as well as to challenge them. Topics to be considered include: contesting divine feminine energy (shakti) in contemporary Hinduism; Buddhist nuns’ struggle for full ordination in Sri Lankan and Tibetan communities; phallic imagery in domestic and religious ritual in Bhutan; and the appropriation of the Gai Jatra (Cow Festival) by LGBT communities in Nepal.

REL 320  –  Judiasm, Feminism, and Religious Politics
Tuesday, 1:00 – 2:50 p.m.
Lois C. Dubin

A critical examination of the impact of contemporary feminism upon Jews across the spectrum – traditional, modern, and radical. We will explore new approaches to the Jewish tradition evident in the study of Jewish women’s history and experience; the critique and reinterpretation of classical texts; changing conceptions of God, Torah, community, ritual, and sexuality; and new roles for women as religious leaders, scholars, and activists. We will discuss theoretical, interpretive, and polemical works, as well as novels, poetry, newspapers, and films, focusing on the tensions between continuity and innovation and between inclusion and transformation. Prerequisite: a course in Religion, Jewish Studies, Women’s Studies, or permission of the instructor.

Russian Department 102 Hatfield 585-3402

RUS 239 – Women’s Memoirs and Autobiographical Writings in Russia
Monday, Wednesday, Friday 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
Alexander Woronzoff-Dashkoff

A study of Russian culture, history and literature through outstanding examples of women’s autobiographical writings from the 18th to the 20th century. The course will focus on issues on gender, class, race, and disguise, among others. Authors to include Ekaterina Dashkova, Nadexhda Durova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Evgeniia Ginzburg, and Yelena Khanga.

Sociology 224 Wright Hall 585-3520

SOC 213  – Race & National Identity in US
Tuesday, Thursday 9:00 – 10:20 a.m.
Ginetta E. Candelario

The sociology of a multiracial and ethnically diverse society. Comparative examinations of several American groups and subcultures..

SOC 237 – Gender & Globalization
Monday, Wednesday 2:40 – 4:00 p.m.
Payal Banerjee

This course engages with the various dimensions of globalization through the lens of gender, race, and class relations. We will study how gender and race intersect in global manufacturing and supply chains as well as in the transnational politics of representation and access in global media, culture, consumption, fashion, food, water, war and dissenting voices.

SOC 244/LAS 244 – Latin American Women's and Latinas' Pursuit of Social Justice
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30 -11:50 a.m.
Ginetta E. Candelario

This course is designed to familiarize students with the history of Latin American and Latina (primarily Chicana) feminist thought and activism. A central goal of the course is to provide an understanding of the relationship between feminist thought, women’s movements and local/national contexts and conditions. The writings of Latin American and Latina feminists will comprise the majority of the texts; thus we are limited to the work of those who write and/or publish in English. (Students who are proficient in Spanish or Portuguese will have an opportunity to read feminist materials in those languages for their written projects.)

Program for the Study of Women and Gender Seelye Hall 207B 585-3393

SWG 270 –Documenting Lesbian Lives
Monday, Wednesday 1:10-2:30 p.m.
Kelly P. Anderson

Grounding our work in the current scholarship in lesbian history, this course will explore lesbian communities, cultures, and activism. While becoming familiar with the existing narratives about lesbian lives, students will be introduced to the method of oral history as a key documentation strategy in the production of lesbian history. Our texts will include secondary literature on late 20th century lesbian culture and politics, oral history theory and methodology, and primary sources from the Sophia Smith Collection (SSC). Students will conduct, transcribe, edit, and interpret their own interviews for their final project. The course objectives are: an understanding of modern lesbian movements and cultures from a historical perspective, basic skills in and knowledge of oral history methods, and the rich experience of being historians by creating new records of lesbian lives.


SWG 271 – Reproductive Justice
Tuesday, Thursday 10:30-11:50 a.m.
Carrie N. Baker

This course will explore reproductive justice in the U.S. and the influence of U.S. policy globally, addressing issues of law, policy, theory and activism. Topics include historic and contemporary state control over women's reproduction, social movements to expand women's control over their reproductive lives, access to reproductive care, reproductive technologies, reproductive coercion and violence, religious fundamentalism's increasing influence over reproduction, and the discourses around women's bodies and pregnancy. A central framework for analysis is how gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, disability and nationality shape women's ability to control their reproduction.

SWG 290 – Gender, Sexuality, and Popular Culture
Monday, Wednesday 2:40 – 4:00 p.m.
Anna E. Ward

How do popular culture texts reinforce and/or challenge social norms? How do they both reflect and construct our sexual and gendered identities, the communities we identify with, what and who we find pleasurable? This course provides an opportunity to think critically about the media around us and what makes popular culture such a tremendous source of both pleasure and displeasure. The course examines a range of popular culture texts, including television, music, and new media. We will focus in-depth on a set of case studies designed to introduce key concepts in feminist and queer media studies, critical media literacy, and cultural studies.

SWG 300 –The Gay 80s
Tuesday, 1:00 – 2:50 pm
Kevin E. Quashie

In this seminar, we will look at the gay cultural aspects of the 1980s. In this regard, we will consider four particular things: the AIDS epidemic in the US and the activism that engages this crisis; the explosion of underground and mainstream art (visual art, music, literature, film, theater) that showcases an interest in thinking about sexuality, gender and gender normativity, sex and eroticism, intersectionality; the decade’s culture of conservatism, especially in relationship to the legacy of the 60s and the 70s; and the emergence of queer studies scholarship. Permission of the instructor required.

SWG 302 – Intimacies
Thursday, 1:00 – 2:50 pm
Anna E. Ward

While scholarship on contemporary American society often emphasizes how distracted and disconnected we are, it can also be argued that we have developed new ways of connecting, generating intimacies that challenge, exceed, or swerve from traditional categorizations (e.g. sexual, familial). What are the queer and feminist resonances of these modes of intimacy? How has new media and technology helped to generate and proliferate new forms of intimacy? Topics include the use of social media, contemporary pornographies, intimacies across time, and the queering of the genre of the "buddy"/road movie.

SWG 360 – Cultural Work Memoir
Susan R. Van Dyne
Tuesday, Thursday 3:00 – 4:50 pm

This seminar takes the foundational premise of SWG that culture constructs subjects and asks how do queer or non-normative subjectivities come into existence? By studying a selection of literary memoirs by women and men in the last half century in the U.S., we will explore the relationships between queer subjectivities, politicized identities, communities, historical moments, and social movements. The course depends on a second more radical premise that we do not have a life until we narrate it. How does life-writing as an expressive act create livable lives? Students will produce analytical essays and a memoir portfolio. Through the process of reflecting, re-imagining, and revising, we explore multiple writing strategies to turn our lives into art. Prerequisites: SWG 150 and at least one other course in the major, with preference for courses in queer studies and literature. Permission of the instructor and writing sample required.