WOST 201:

FALL 2002
Banu Subramaniam

Section 1: Tu, Th 9:30 - 10.45 Bartlett 127
Section 2: Tu, Th 11.15-12.30 Bartlett 209

Office Hours: Tu, Th: 2-4 and by appointment, Bartlett 229
Phone: 577-3164; email: banu@wost.umass.edu

What do we mean by the category "woman"? Are there essential/innate characteristics that define all women? What of our many differences? How do we incorporate other social categories such as race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and nationality? How do we understand and live with our multiple identities and locations? How do these locations shape our economic, political, and cultural lives? This course will explore theories about women and gender through interdisciplinary analyses, as well as disciplinary lenses such as biology, history, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and literary studies. The course will explore the diversity of women transnationally by focusing on women's status and experiences in the U. S and across the globe. It will explore some of the important theorists, thinkers, writers and activists who have grappled with the inextricable interconnections of gender, race, class, sexuality, ethnicity and nationality. We will grapple with how to conceptualize the category "woman" to reflect all the similarities as well as the many substantive differences.

Introduction to Women's Studies: Gender in a Transnational World,
Inderpal Grewal and Caren Kaplan eds, 2002. McGraw Hill. (referred to as Text)
Course Pack/Reader of Additional Reading (referred to as Reader)

The Required books are for sale at: Food for Thought Books-106 N.Pleasant Street, Amherst
Course Reader is available at: Copycat Print Shop, 37 E. Pleasant Street, Amherst.
Books and Reader are On Reserve in the Library and the Women's Studies Office, (Bartlett 208).


This class is a reading intensive class. It is essential that you complete and reflect upon the reading assignments before coming to class, and be prepared to contribute to the discussion. Every class will focus on the readings assigned for that class as stated in the syllabus. Your attendance and participation are required for the entire session of each class meeting. The format of the class will be primarily a group discussion focussed on the themes of the class readings.

ATTENDANCE: Your attendance & participation is required for the entire session of each class. More than 3 unexcused absences will negatively affect your grade by at least one letter grade.

In- Class Writing: 30%
Analytic Paper # 1 15%
-Evaluation 10%
Analytic Paper # 2: 15%
Group Project-
-Class Presentation: 10%
-Written Report: 10%
Class Participation: 10%


Week One: Introduction

Thursday, September 5:

Week Two: Women's Bodies and Difference

Tuesday, September 10:

Thursday, September 12:
Week Three: Making of Race, Sex and Empire

Tuesday, September 17:

Thursday, September 19

Week Four: Medicine and Reproductive Rights

Tuesday, September 24:

Thursday, September 26:

Analytic Paper #1 due September 26: Reflect on the content of the class to this point. Choose 2-3 points that stand out for you to help focus your responses and/or critique and write a critical analysis - take risks, and incorporate your ideas about the subjects, but remember to include the content from the class readings. Discuss insights gained or limitations in the analysis. I want to know that you have read, understood, and analyzed the class material. (5 pages)

Week Five: Gender, Identity and the State

Tuesday, October 1:

Comments on paper, Due October 1: During the last class, you will exchanged your paper with another student. Critically analyze and evaluate the paper. Has s/he understood the material? If yes, why? If not, why not? How could the student have further developed the paper? What grade would you give the paper? (2 page evaluation)

Thursday, October 3:

Tuesday, October 8:

Thursday, October 10:

Week Seven: Social Positionality and Location

Tuesday, October 15:

Thursday, October 17:

Week Eight: Representation

Tuesday, October 22:

Social Location Paper Due, October 22: Write a 2-3 page paper outlining your social positionality? How would you locate yourself on the axes of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality? What has this meant for you and how has it shaped your experiences? - in the opportunities or challenges you have faced. This paper will not be graded, but is required.

Thursday, Oct 24:

Week Nine: The Beauty Culture

Tuesday, October 29:

Thursday, October 31:

Week Ten: Zines

Tuesday, November 5:

Thursday, November 7:

Week Eleven: Gender, Travel and Tourism

Tuesday, November 12:

Thursday, November 14:

Week Twelve: Gender and Globalization

Tuesday, November 19:

Thursday, November 21:

Week Thirteen: Utopias

Tuesday, November 26:

Thursday, Nov 28: Thanksgiving (Holiday)

Week Fourteen: Class presentations

Tuesday, December 3: Group Presentations

Thursday, December 5: Group Presentations

Week Fifteen: Presentations and summary

Tuesday, December 10: Group Presentations

Thursday, December 12: Conclusion and Summary