This course is designed to provide students with a solid understanding of the mechanisms by which international norms of gender equality and women’s rights develop and are implemented, with a special emphasis on discourses and practices of international human rights. The course analyzes international treaties such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and addresses issues regarding domestic violence, political participation, reproductive rights, economic opportunities, and modern slavery, among other gendered problems. Bridging gender and global politics, we explore the ways international norms are transported from the United Nations to the daily reality of women throughout the world, and how states, civil society and institutions collaborate (or not) to promote women’s rights where they are most needed.
Fall semester. Visiting Professor Picq.2017-18: Not offered
This course explores gender and ethnicity in Latin America, focusing on the tension between universal rights and cultural rights. The first part maps the daily lives of indigenous women across the region, looking at indigenous women in Central America (Mexico and Guatemala), the Andes (Ecuador, Chile, and Bolivia) and the Amazon (Shuar, Huaorani). We look at socio-economic indicators, gender-based violence, and political participation, while taking into consideration history and culture. In the second part of the course, we examine the ways social and political movements (e.g., agrarian reform, democratic, and environmental movements, the New Left), and, most recently, discourses of indigenous rights (e.g., Ecuador’s Pachakutik) have affected them and their communities over time. Through various case studies, such as that of Rigoberta Menchú in Guatemala, we analyze women’s capacity to maneuver politics of identity to advance their rights as women and as Indians. The third part pays special attention to the issue of minorities within minorities and the debate between universalism and cultural relativism. This section explores issues such as indigenous justice and the discrepancies between international norms of gender and the inequalities prevailing in indigenous practice. Through the lenses of gender, this course offers a window on the complexity of Latin America.
Fall semester. Visiting Professor Picq.2017-18: Not offered
Latin America has the greatest extremes of wealth of any region in the world, and gender is one of the most important factors leading to this inequality. The study of gender therefore offers a valuable window into the socio-economic structures and political systems of the region. Bringing together the disciplines of comparative politics, political economy, and gender, this course proposes to analyze the gender implications of economic and political reforms at large in Latin America, from the military dictatorships of the 1970s through the democratization of the 1980s, the neoliberal reforms of the 1990s, and the New Left. We will also explore the history and geography of women's rights in terms of political participation, agrarian reform, informal economics, reproductive rights, welfare policies, migration, and human trafficking. Beyond women's rights, the class offers a larger analysis of social movements and the politics of contestation in Latin America, the movements’ interactions with state actors and the impact of changing markets on women's empowerment.
Spring semester. Visiting Professor Picq.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as Asian 28 [C] and Women’s and Gender Studies 05.) This survey course will focus on sexual culture in China, from pre-Qin times to the present. Using various sources such as ancient medical texts, Daoist manuals, court poetry and Confucian classics, paintings and illustrated books, movies and documentaries, as well as modern and pre-modern fiction written both in the classic and vernacular languages, we will explore notions of sex, sexuality, and desire. Through the lens of cultural history and gender studies, we will try to reconstruct the genealogy of the discourses centered around sex that developed in China, at all levels of society, throughout 5,000 years. Among the topics covered will be sexual yoga, prostitution, pornography, and sex-tourism.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Zamperini.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as Art 84 and Women’s and Gender Studies 06.) This course will examine the ways in which prevailing ideas about women and gender shaped visual imagery, and how these images influenced ideas concerning women from the Renaissance to the Enlightenment. It will adopt a comparative perspective, both by identifying regional differences among European nations and tracing changes over time. In addition to considering patronage of art by women and works by women artists, we will look at the depiction of women heroes such as Judith; the portrayal of women rulers, including Elizabeth I and Marie de' Medici; and the imagery of rape. Topics emerging from these categories of art include biological theories about women; humanist defenses of women; the relationship between the exercise of political power and sexuality; differing attitudes toward women in Catholic and Protestant art; and feminine ideals of beauty
Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Courtright.2017-18: Not offered
This interdisciplinary course lies at the intersection of gender and environmental studies. Exploring different regions of the world from Latin America to South East Asia, we will study the impact of environmental degradation on women's security, dealing with such themes as access to water, resource governance, and how access to resources such as firewood, food, and property affect education and health. The course also explores political ecology and diverging discourses on conservation and resource management by analyzing the engendering of international norms and practices in the U.N. system and beyond. Lastly, the course looks at the securitization of gender in global politics, pointing to the central role of women's agency in promoting environmental security and peace-making.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Picq.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as Art 85 and Women’s and Gender Studies 10.) This course will explore the construction of the monstrous, over cultures, centuries and disciplines. With the greatest possible historical and cultural specificity, we will investigate the varied forms of monstrous creatures, their putative powers, and the explanations given for their existence-as we attempt to articulate the kindred qualities they share. Among the artists to be considered are Bosch, Valdés Leal, Velázquez, Goya, Munch, Ensor, Redon, Nolde, Picasso, Dalí, Kiki Smith, and Cindy Sherman. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Staller.2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
This course introduces students to the issues involved in the social and historical construction of gender and gender roles from a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective. Topics change from year-to-year and have included women and social change; male and female sexualities including homosexualities; the uses and limits of biology in explaining human gender differences; women’s participation in production and reproduction; the relationship among gender, race and class as intertwining oppressions; women, men and globalization; and gender and warfare.
Fall semester. Professors Bumiller and Saxton.2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
(Offered as Asian 29 and Women’s and Gender Studies 13.) This course will focus on both the historical and cultural development of fashion, clothing and consumption in East Asia, with a special focus on China and Japan. Using a variety of sources, from fiction to art, from legal codes to advertisements, we will study both actual garments created and worn in society throughout history, as well as the ways in which they inform the social characterization of class, ethnicity, nationality, and gender attributed to fashion. Among the topics we will analyze in this sense will be hairstyle, foot-binding and, in a deeper sense, bodily practices that inform most fashion-related discourses in East Asia. We will also think through the issue of fashion consumption as an often-contested site of modernity, especially in relationship to the issue of globalization and world-market. Thus we will also include a discussion of international fashion designers, along with analysis of phenomena such as sweatshops.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Zamperini.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as European Studies 26 and Women and Gender Studies 14.) Beginning with Euripides’ tragedy, Medea has continued to occupy the European mind mainly in dramatic treatments by male authors (Seneca, Corneille, Grillparzer, Anouilh, and Heiner Müller). As multiple “outsider”-- woman, foreigner, sorceress, demi-goddess, abandoned wife--Medea embodies “otherness” in manifold ways: she is the representative of the conflict between barbarism and civilization, between the supernatural and the natural, the magical and the commonsensical, madness and reason. Recently, women authors like Christa Wolf have entered the debate, aiming to reclaim Medea as one of the repressed voices of femininity. Our approach will be interdisciplinary in nature: in addition to reading dramatic texts and background material, we will explore the transformations of the Medea myth in the European tradition in the fine arts (Vanloo, Delacroix, Anselm Feuerbach), in dance (Martha Graham, the Bolshoi Ballet), sample the operas of Cherubini and Charpentier, and view the films by Pasolini, Ula Stöckl, and Lars von Trier, as well as priceless B-movie masterpiece, Don Chaffey’s Jason and the Argonauts. Readings will be in English. Students who know any of the foreign languages represented are encouraged to read the material in the original.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Rogowski.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as History 74 [C] and Women and Gender Studies 20.) The topic changes from year to year. One class meeting per week.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Hunt.2017-18: Not offered
In this course we will explore the intimate relations of gender and labor: both the necessary labor of genders’ production as well as the gendered organization of labor itself. In general the course will use gender to focus on contemporary concerns in the American workplace--class, ethnicity, sexuality, and race--but will also make critical comparisons with developments in other nations. The biological labor of reproduction and its intersection with the labor of production will necessarily be a constant concern in our discussions. We shall have to become familiar with certain terms: glass ceiling, glass escalator, mommy-track, affirmative action, child care, sexual harassment, welfare to workfare. We certainly might want to ask what constitutes work? But we also might need to wonder if work is done for love, is it still work?
Spring semester. Professors Barale and Olver.2017-18: Not offered
Historically the law has functioned as much to differentiate women from men as to assert their similarities. This course will explore the variety of types of laws (natural law, religious law, statute law, customary law, and the like) that have been used to regulate women’s lives and try to assess the philosophies that lie behind them. Family law, especially where it pertains to marriage, divorce, married women’s property, domestic assault, custody, and so forth, will receive special attention through a comparison of Western European and American legal traditions with Muslim shari’a law, both in the past and the present. The course will look closely at the law and law enforcement as they pertain to female sexuality, and assess issues to do with women criminals as well as women as victims of specific types of criminal acts such as rape. It will examine what happens to women when (a) legal structures break down, as in war, and (b) when “the law” becomes a tool of racial, ethnic, religious, sexual or gender repression. Finally, it will address the extent to which “changing the law” succeeds as a strategy for empowering women by looking at several key legal campaigns involving women in both Western and non-Western settings.
Sources will include religious writing (such as the Book of Leviticus from the Bible and the second and fourth surahs of the Qur’an), transcripts of court cases from a variety of times and places, historical writings on adultery and prostitution, biographical accounts of female criminals, and contemporary discussions in various media pertaining to the human rights of women and sexual minorities. Two class meetings per week.
Spring semester. Professor Hunt.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as Asia 36 [C] and Women’s and Gender Studies 30.) The course will deal with the world of romance in traditional Chinese culture. Following the thematic arrangement found in the seventeenth-century text Qingshi, A History of Love, an encyclopedic work about the various forms love can take, we will read and analyze stories, novels, poetry and plays (in their English translation) from different historical periods. Our aim shall be to try and draw together all of the discourses circulating about the experience of passion, love and lust from the Tang dynasty up until the early twentieth century. If time allows, we will engage in comparisons with other East Asian traditions as well as with the Western traditions of romance, with the goal to generate meaningful cross-cultural exchanges.
Omitted 2009-10. Professor Zamperini.2017-18: Not offered
We consider how evolving sexual identities (homosexual/LGBT/queer) have used foundational texts (or “classics”) to create a shared history without getting trapped in it. We look at these emerging identities in the context of more visible racial and ethnic communities, and read theory by Sigmund Freud, Michel Foucault, Eve Sedgwick, and others. Some questions: How are queer kids parented by texts and, since great books tend to be tragic books, do we get more pride than pain from the experience? What do we gain and lose by recruiting earlier authors into identities that they would not have recognized or admitted? Are such canons a relic of the closet or do they still matter amid mainstreaming and the Internet? Authors and directors include: Sappho, Sophocles, Plato, Petronius, William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Radclyffe Hall, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, Yukio Mishima, Manuel Puig, and Marlon Riggs.
Spring semester. Professor Griffiths.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as WAGS 32 and Political Science 24 [CP, GP].) This course is intended to give students a sense of the challenges and satisfactions involved in the practice of human rights work as well as a critical sense of how the discourses calling it forth developed and continue to evolve. We intend to provide specific historical and cultural context to selected areas in which human rights abuses of women and men have occurred, and to explore how differing traditions facilitate and inhibit activism within these areas. The semester will begin by exploring the historical growth of human rights discourse in Europe and the United States, culminating in the emergence of the post-World War II Universal Declaration. We will then turn to the proliferation of these discourses since the 1970s, including the growing importance of non-governmental organizations, many of them internationally based, the use of human rights discourse by a wide range of groups, and expanding meanings of human rights including new conceptions of women’s human rights. The third part of the course will explore criticisms of human rights discourses, particularly the charge that for all their claims to universalism, these discourses reflect the values of European Enlightenment traditions which are inimical to conceptions of rights and justice that are grounded in culture and religion. Throughout the course, rights’ workers will discuss their own experiences, abroad and in the U.S., and reflect on the relationship between their work and formal human rights discourse.
Spring semester. Professors Basu and Saxton.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as Classics 38 and Women and Gender Studies 38.) This course addresses the staging of politics and gender in selected plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes, with attention to performance and the modern use of the plays to reconstruct systems of sexuality, gender, class, and ethnicity. We also consider Homer's Iliad as precursor of tragedy, and the remaking of plays in contemporary film, dance, and theater, including Michael Cacoyannis, The Trojan Women; Rita Dove, The Darker Face of the Earth; Martha Graham, Medea and Night Journey; Pier Paolo Pasolini, Oedipus Rex and Medea; and Igor Stravinsky, Oedipus Rex.
Fall semester. Professor Griffiths.
2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as religion 39 and Women’s and Gender Studies 39.) A study of the portrayal of women in Jewish tradition. Readings will include biblical and apocryphal texts; Rabbinic legal (halakic) and non-legal (aggadic) material; selections from medieval commentaries; letters, diaries, and autobiographies written by Jewish women of various periods and settings; and works of fiction and non-fiction concerning the woman in modern Judaism. Employing an inter-disciplinary and cross-cultural approach, we will examine not only the actual roles played by women in particular historical periods and cultural contexts, but also the roles they assume in traditional literary patterns and religious symbol systems.
Omitted 2009-10. Professor Niditch.2017-18: Offered in Spring 2018
(Offered as Asian 40 [C] and Womens' and Gender Studies 40.) The focus of this course will be texts written by women throughout the course of Chinese history. We will deal with a wide range of sources, from poetry to drama, from novels and short stories to nüshu (the secret script invented by peasant women in a remote area of Hunan province), from autobiographies to cinematic discourse. We will address the issue of women as others represent them and women as they portray themselves in terms of gender, sexuality, social class, power, family, and material culture. We will try to detect the presence and absence of female voices in the literature of different historical periods and to understand how those literary works relate to male-authored literary works. In addition to primary sources, we will integrate theoretical work in the field of pre-modern, modern and contemporary Chinese literature and culture.
Fall semester. Professor Zamperini.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as English 32 and Women’s and Gender Studies 55.) This course will examine the literary and cultural meanings of love, sexuality, and marriage in the Middle Ages, with a primary focus on late medieval England. We will explore such phenomena as “courtly love,” bawdy humor, and the place of romantic love in marriage, while we also consider how various authors use the language and concepts of love to explore deeper questions of power, identity, and literary purpose. We will read and discuss selected texts from the Arthurian tradition and from the works of John Gower and Geoffrey Chaucer, as well as assorted religious texts, love poems, comic tales of adultery, and debates about the sinfulness of women. Readings will be in translation or in Middle English (of which no prior knowledge is required).
Spring semester. Visiting Professor Walling.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as Political Science 29 [GS, CP], Black Studies 25 [A], and Women’s and Gender Studies 61.) This course will explore the genesis and effects of political activism by women in Africa, which some believe represents a new African feminism, and its implications for state/civil society relations in contemporary Africa. Topics will include the historical effects of colonialism on the economic, social, and political roles of African women, the nature of urban/rural distinctions, and the diverse responses by women to the economic and political crises of post-colonial African policies. This course will also explore case studies of specific African countries, with readings of novels and women’s life histories as well as analyses by social scientists.
Spring semester. Five College Professor Newbury.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as History 62 [ME], Asian 63 [WA], and Women’s and Gender Studies 62.) The course examines the major developments, themes and issues in women’s history in the Middle East. The first segment of the course concerns the early Islamic period and discusses the impact of the Quran on the status of women, the development of Islamic religious traditions and Islamic law. Questions concerning the historiography of this “formative” period of Islamic history, as well as hermeneutics of the Quran will be the focus of this segment. The second segment of the course concerns the 19th- and 20th-century Middle East. We will investigate the emergence and development of the “woman question,” the role of gender in the construction of Middle Eastern nationalisms, women’s political participation, and the debates concerning the connections between women, gender, and religious and cultural traditions. The third segment of the course concerns the contemporary Middle East, and investigates new developments and emerging trends of women’s political, social and religious activism in different countries. The course will provide a familiarity with the major primary texts concerning women and the study of women in the Middle East, as well as with the debates concerning the interpretation of texts, law, religion, and history in the shaping of women’s status and concerns in the Middle East today. This class is conducted as a seminar. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Ringer.2017-18: Not offered
Offered as History 46 [US] and Women’s and Gender Studies 64.) This course begins with an examination of the experience of women from different racial, ethnic and economic backgrounds during Reconstruction. It will look at changes in family life as a result of increasing industrialization and the westward movement of settler families, and will also look at the settlers’ impact on Native American women and families. Topics will include the work and familial experiences of immigrant women (including Irish, Polish, and Italian), women’s reform movements (particularly suffrage, temperance, and anti-lynching), the expansion of educational opportunities, and the origins and programs of the Progressives. The course will examine the agitation for suffrage and the subsequent splits among feminists, women’s experiences in the labor force, and participation in the world wars. Finally, we will look at the origins of the Second Wave and its struggles to transcend its white middle-class origins. Two class meetings per week.
Omitted 2009-10. Professor Saxton.2017-18: Not offered
(Offered as Political Science 86 [CP] and Women’s and Gender Studies 68.) This seminar will explore the changing trajectories of social movements amidst economic, political and cultural globalization. Social movements have organized in opposition to the environmental destruction, increased class inequalities and diminished accountability of nation states that have often accompanied the global spread of capitalism. Globalization from above has given rise to globalization from below as activists have organized transnationally, employing new technologies of communication and appealing to universal human rights. However, in organizing transnationally and appealing to universal principles, activists may find their energies displaced from local to transnational arenas, from substantive to procedural inequalities, and from grass roots activism to routinized activity within the judicial process. We will consider the extent to which globalization heightens divisions between universalistic and particularistic movements or contributes to the creation of a global civil society which can protect and extend human rights. We will examine women’s movements, environmental movements, and democracy movements in several regions of the world. This course fulfills the requirement of an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: One of Political Science 13, 20, 31, 46, 48, 70, or 74. Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2009-10. Professor Basu.2017-18: Not offered
Open to senior majors in Women’s and Gender Studies who have received departmental approval.
Fall semester.2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017
(Offered as Political Science 85 [AP, GP] and Women’s and Gender Studies 85.) In this course the students will examine the role of the modern welfare state in people’s everyday lives. We will study the historical growth and retrenchment of the modern welfare state in the United States and other Western democracies. The course will critically examine the ideologies of “dependency” and the role of the state as an agent of social control. In particular, we will study the ways in which state action has implications for gender identities. In this course we will analyze the construction of social problems linked to states of poverty, including hunger, homelessness, health care, disability, discrimination, and violence. We will ask how these conditions disproportionately affect the lives of women and children. We will take a broad view of the interventions of the welfare state by considering not only the impact of public assistance and social service programs, but the role of the police, family courts, therapeutic professionals, and schools in creating and responding to the conditions of impoverishment. The work of the seminar will culminate in the production of a research paper and students will be given the option of incorporating field work into the independent project. This course fulfills the requirement for an advanced seminar in Political Science.
Requisite: Some previous exposure to background material. Admission with consent of the instructor. Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Bumiller.2017-18: Not offered
Independent Reading Courses.
Fall semester.2017-18: Offered in Fall 2017 and Spring 2018