Alex Deschamps

Women's Studies, 208 Bartlett, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. 01003
Office: Bartlett 7B • Office Hours: Mo 1:00-4:00pm & By Appointment
Telephone: (413) 545-1958 • Fax: (413) 545-1500 • Email:

Womensst 201 Critical Perspectives in Women's Studies
[Section 2]
Spring 2003
  Tu & Th: 2:30-3:45pm at Bartlett 205  

Course Information


This course explores various ways of analyzing and reflecting on current issues and controversies in feminist thought within a context inclusive of gender, class, race, age, and sexual power concerns. This course will also involve an examination of the multifaceted dimensions of women's lived experiences (Euro-American women, women of color, Third World women); of the production of knowledge and critical thought; crucial debates of feminist scholarship and activities; women's agency a nd their pragmatic activism which addresses those issues deemed injurious to the well-being of all women. We will address the need to reconcile the contradictions between subjectivity and objectivity, between experiences within the academy and outside; be tween the individual and the group; between theory and practice. Debates and discussions will address a wide range of contexts including:

Readings will include a range of women thinkers explicitly grounding the analysis in multiple voices to highlight the diversity, richness and power of women's ideas but also reflecting diverse theoretical interdisciplinary scholarship which should help you to recognize and comment on transnational contemporary issues and debates which affect.

   To wrestle with such difficult and highly politicized questions, students first need to develop an enhanced sense of their own identities and life situations and an understanding of the experiences and values of the many different groups of women in contemporary American and Transnational societies.

Requirements and Written Assignments


Academic Honesty and Other Undergraduate Policies

My assumption is that students are generally honest. You are responsible for knowing and following the University of Massachusetts Academic Guidelines. Please read and familiarize yourselves with the University Policy Statement on Aca demic Honesty, Course Requirements, Attendance, Religious Observances, and other relevant policies, in the Undergraduate Rights and Responsibilities Booklet or at website icies/honesty.html. Necessary action, in compliance with official guidelines, will be taken against students who commit academic dishonesty. Caucus with me about resources for learning needs.

Required Books

Inderpal Grewal & Caren Kaplan Eds.:
An Introduction To Women's Studies : Gender in a Transnational World. McGraw Hill Publishers, 2002.
Jamaica Kincaid:
Annie John. Penguin Books, 1986.
Nancy Naples:
Community Activism and Feminist Politics: Organizing Across Race, Class, and Gender. Routledge, 1998.
Xeroxed Readings Collection

Books are available at Food For Thought Bookshop, North Pleasant Street, Amherst and also on reserve in the library.

Course Calendar

Tue January 28

Introduction to Course


Introductory Exercises and Questions

Thu January 30

Oral reports-The Seque


Current and contemporary critical women's issues.

Tue February 04

Why Theory? Contemporary Feminist Theories


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, pp. xvii-xxii.

[Xeroxed Reading]-Stevi Jackson & Jacki Jones, "Thinking For Ourselves: An Introduction to Feminist Theorizing".

Women's Bodies in Science and Culture

Thu February 06

Sex Differences Across Cultures


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part One, Section One, A, B, C, D, E and Section Two, A, B, C, D, E.

Tue February 11

The Making of Race, Sex, and Empire


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part One, Section Three, A, B, C, D, E and Section Four, B, C, D, E.

**Critical Autobiography Paper Due**

Thu February 13

Health, Population Control and Reproductive Rights: Technology and Power


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part One, Section Five, A, B, C, D, E, F and Section Six, A, B, C, D, E, F.

Tue February 18

No Class-Monday's Schedule

Gendered Identities: Individuals, Communities, States, Nations

Thu February 20

Women: Intersections of the Public and the Private


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Two, Section One, A, B, C, D and Section Two, A, B, C, D.

Tue February 25

Identity Politics and Social Movements.

Video Screening: The Way Home


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Two, Section Three, A, B, C, D, E and Section Four, A, B, C, D.

Thu February 27

Feminist Organizing Across Borders


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Two, Section Five, A, B, C, D, E, F.

**Critical Analysis Paper 1 Due**

Gendering Globalization

Tue March 04

Travel, Tourism, Relocations, Removals


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Four, Section One, A, B, C, D and Section Two, A, B, C, D, E.

Thu March 06



[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Four, Section Three, A, B, C, D.

Tue March 11

The Gender Politics of Economic Globalization


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Four, Grouped Selections from Sections Four, Five and Six.

Thu March 13

Transnational Perspectives: Invited Panel Presentaion


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Four, Conclusion.

March 15-23

Spring Break Recess

Representations, Cultures, Media, Markets

Tue March 25

Representational Practices


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Three, Section One, A, B, C, D and Section Two, A, B, C, D.

Thu March 27

Gender, Literacy and Representation


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Three, Section Three, A, B, C, D, E and Section Four, A, B, C, D.

**Critical Analysis Paper 2 Due**

Tue April 01

Consumer Culture and the Business of Advertising.

Video Screening


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Three, Section Five, A, B, C, D.

Thu April 03

Consumer Beauty Culture: Commodifying the Body


[Text]-Grewal & Kaplan, Part Three, Section Six, A, B, C, D, E, F, G.

Tue April 08

Representation: The Personal and the Political: Student Roundtable Discussion


[Xeroxed Reading]

Feminist Literary Theory: Theorizing the Personal

Thu April 10

Mothers and Daughters


[Text]-Jamaica Kincaid, (Read up to page 84).

Tue April 15

Rites of Passage


[Text]-Jamaica Kincaid, (Finish book).

Community Activism and Feminist Politics - The Praxis

Thu April 17

Challenging Categories and Frameworks


[Text]-Nancy Naples, Part One, Chapters 1, 2, 3.

Paper on Annie John due

Tue April 22

Transforming Politics


[Text]-Nancy Naples, Part Two, Chapters 4, 5, 6, 7.

Thu April 24

Networking for Change


[Text]-Nancy Naples, Part Three, Chapters 8, 9, 10.

Tue April 29

Constructing Community


[Text]-Nancy Naples, Part Four, Chapters, 11, 12, 13, 14.

**Take Home Examination Due**

Taking Action - Student Presentations and Analysis

Thu May 01

Class Presentations

Tue May 06

Class Presentations

Thu May 08

Class Presentations

Tue May 13

Closing Exercises: New Lenses.

**Individual Project Assignment Due in Class**