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.
Spring semester. Professors Hunt and Shandilya.2023-24: Not offered
In this course we will investigate contemporary feminist thought from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We will focus on key issues in feminist theory, such as the sex/gender debate, sexual desire and the body, the political economy of gender, the creation of the "queer" as subject, and the construction of masculinity, among others. This course aims also to think through the ways in which these concerns intersect with issues of race, class, the environment and the nation. Texts include feminist philosopher Judith Butler's Gender Trouble, anthropologist Kamala Visweswaran's Fictions of Feminist Ethnography, and feminist economist Bina Agarwal's The Structure of Patriarchy.
Fall semester. Professor Shandilya.2023-24: Not offered
This course will study South Asian women and gender through key texts in film, literature, history and politics. How did colonialism and nationalism challenge the distinctions between the “home” and the “world” and bring about partitions which splintered once shared cultural practices? What consequences did this have for postcolonial politics? How do ethnic conflicts, religious nationalisms and state repression challenge conceptions of “home”? How have migrations, globalization and diasporas complicated relations between the home and the world? Texts will include Salman Rushdie’s Shalimar the Clown, Ram Gopal Varma’s epic film Sarkar and Partha Chatterjee’s The Nation and Its Fragments.
Fall semester. Professors Basu and Shandilya.2023-24: Not offered
This seminar will explore the influence of gender studies and of feminism on our research questions, methods and the way we situate ourselves in relationship to our scholarship. For example, how can we employ ethnography, textual analysis, empirical data and archival sources in studying the complex ties between the local and the global, and the national and the transnational? Which ideas and methods are best suited to analyzing the varied forms of women’s resistance across ideological, class, racial and national differences? Our major goal will be to foster students' critical skills as inter-disciplinary, cross cultural writers and researchers. This course counts as a proseminar designed for juniors and seniors in WAGS.
Limited to 20 students. Not open to first year students. Spring semester. Professor Basu.2023-24: Not offered
This course will explore the interface between feminist theory and political economy. It will ask how the social construction of gender has shaped the discourse of economics, with a strong emphasis on feminist theory's intellectual history in Britain, the U.S., and France. It will also explore a variety of ways that economic theory can help explain the evolution of gender inequality, with particular attention to insights of recent behavioral and experimental research. No formal background in economics is necessary, but participants must have a high level of intellectual curiosity about social science in general, and economics in particular. Students should also be prepared to tackle some technical topics including utility maximization, game theory, statistical analysis, and experimental methodologies. Course pedagogy will emphasize active learning, consistent class participation, a number of small written assignments and oral presentations, and a final research paper.
Limited to 35 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Folbre.2023-24: Not offered
Independent Reading Courses.
Fall and spring semesters.2023-24: Not offered
(Offered as WAGS 469, ASLC 452 [SA], and FAMS 322.) How do we define the word “feminism”? Can the term be used to define cinematic texts outside the Euro-American world? In this course we will study a range of issues that have been integral to feminist theory--the body, domesticity, same sex desire, gendered constructions of the nation, feminist utopias and dystopias--through a range of South Asian cinematic texts. Through our viewings and readings we will consider whether the term “feminist” can be applied to these texts, and we will experiment with new theoretical lenses for exploring these films. Films will range from Satyajit Ray’s classic masterpiece Charulata to Gurinder Chadha’s trendy diasporic film, Bend It Like Beckham. Attendance for screenings on Monday is compulsory.
Limited to 20 students. Spring semester. Professor Shandilya.2023-24: Not offered
Open to senior majors in Women’s and Gender Studies who have received departmental approval.
Spring semester.2023-24: Not offered
Why does love and courtship continue to be central concerns in black women's literature and contemporary black popular fiction? Are these thematic issues representative of apolitical yearnings or an allegory for political subjectivity? Drawing on a wide range of texts, we will examine the chasm between the "popular" and the literary, as we uncover how representations of love and courtship vary in both genres. Surveying the growing discourse in media outlets such as CNN and The Washington Post regarding the "crisis" of the single black woman, students will analyze the contentious public debates regarding black women and love and connect them to black women's literature and black feminist literary theory. Authors covered will range from Nella Larsen to Terry McMillan and topics will include gender, race, class, and sexuality.
Limited to 20 students. Open to first-year students with consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Five College Fellow Henderson.2023-24: Not offered