WOST 391P / 591 P:
BODIES, GENDER AND PERFORMANCE
Fall 2002 Syllabus
Prof. Natasha Pravaz
TuTh 9:30 - 10:45 a.m.
Bartlett 125

Office hours.: Tuesday 11 a.m.-12 p.m., and by appointment. Bartlett 7C.
Phone: 545-0869
e-mail: t.b.a.

In this course we will explore the ways women have been represented, marked and produced as such, and women's own investments and/or contestations of these processes. Conceptualizing gender as performance, we will inspect corporeal practices stemming from one's social location, and temporary identification strategies on the part of the subject. We will study the representation of women's bodies in science, art and popular culture, and the ways our bodies have been inscribed and invested as "female" in different cultural contexts, defining both our biological outlook and our identities as "women." Turning toward an understanding of how the marking of the body becomes a fundamental piece in the constitution of women's own subjectivities, we will examine the performative ways in which women live in, through and against our bodies in practice.

REQUIRED TEXTS:

Books for sale at: Food for Thought Books. E. Pleasant Street, Amherst.

Lancaster, Roger N. & Micaela di Leonardo (eds.) 1997 The Gender/Sexuality Reader: Culture, History, Political Economy. New York: Routledge.

Lock, Margaret. 1993 Encounters with Aging: Mythologies of Menopause in Japan and North America. Berkeley: University of California Press. California Press.

Reading Kit for sale at: Collective Copies. S. Pleasant Street, Amherst.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS

  1. Class Participation: The success of this course depends on your full engagement and participation in class. You are expected to come to every class and to have read the materials carefully. I expect that we can build a safe and creative learning environment where we are all able to share our ideas productively. Your class participation is worth 10% of your grade.

  2. Individual Presentation: Each student will be expected to choose one article or chapter from the reading list for presentation in class. You will read the article or chapter carefully and deliver a 15 minute presentation summarizing what you consider to be the main points of the article. Then, you will present a series of questions and/or comments to the class to facilitate discussion of the materials. The presentation is worth 15%. The class BEFORE your presentation you will be expected to hand in a 5 page review of the article where you address the key issues raised in it and critically engage them. Your presentation should build on this review, which is 20% of your grade.

  3. Outline: As a preparatory step toward the writing of your research paper, you will develop a 3 page outline where you will describe in broad strokes what the focus of your paper will be. This will allow me to provide you with feedback before you get started on your project. Details on how to write this outline will be provided. The outline is due on October 1 and is 20% of your grade.

  4. Research Paper: On December 3 you will be expected to hand in a 15 to 17 page paper where you develop a topic of your choice using one or more of the perspectives discussed in class. You can build upon your individual presentation or move on to different matters. Even though you might choose to discuss specific practices or issues dealt with in class materials, your paper will be graded for originality and critical thinking. This means you will need to bring to bear your personal analytic skills and creativity. The paper is worth 35% of your final grade.

CALENDAR

Unit I: Gender, Race and the Politics of Representation of the Body