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. Professor Shandilya.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as SWAG 105 and FAMS 377) In this course, students will interrogate the precarious relationship between political and popular culture. As we study how politics has successfully deployed popular culture as an ideological tool, we will also consider how politics has overburdened popular culture as a vehicle of change. These broad issues will serve as our framework for analyzing black femininity, womanhood, and the efficacy of the word “feminism” in the post-Civil Rights era. We will think critically about the construction of gender, race, sexuality, and class identity as well as the historical and sociopolitical context for cultural icons and phenomena. Students will read cultural theory, essays, fiction as well as listen to, and watch various forms of media. Expectations include three writing/visual projects as well as a group presentation.
Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Henderson.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as ENGL 112 and SWAG 106) This course will examine the phenomenon of “realism” in a variety of artistic media. We will study realism in the visual arts, film, television, and literature with a view towards determining the nature of our interest in the representation of “real life” and the ways in which works of art are or are not an accurate reflection of that life. Among the works we may consider are classic English novels (Defoe, Austen, Dickens), European and North and South American short fiction (Gogol, Zola, Chekhov, Henry James, Kafka, Borges, Alice Munro), essays and memoirs (Orwell, Frederick Exley, Mary Karr) and films, both documentary and fiction (Double Indemnity, The Battle of Algiers, Saving Private Ryan). Two themes will attract special attention: the representation of women’s lives and the representation of war. We will address such questions as the following: Is a photograph always more realistic than a painting? In what way can a story about a man who turns into a bug be considered realistic? How real is virtual reality? The course will conclude with an examination of the phenomenon of reality television.
This is an intensive writing course. Frequent short papers will be assigned. Preference given to first-year students and to students who have taken a previous intensive writing course and who wish to continue to work to improve their analytic writing. Admission with consent of the instructor. Each section limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Senior Lecturer Lieber. Spring semester: Professor Barale and Senior Lecturer Lieber.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ENGL 111 and SWAG 111) Using a variety of texts–novels, essays, short stories–this course will work to develop the reading and writing of difficult prose, paying particular attention to the kinds of evidence and authority, logic and structure that produce strong arguments. The authors we study may include Peter Singer, Aravind Adiga, Willa Cather, Toni Morrison, George Orwell, Charles Johnson, James Baldwin, Alice Munro, William Carlos Williams. This is an intensive writing course. Frequent short papers will be assigned.
Preference given to first-year Amherst College students. Admission with consent of the instructor. Each section limited to 12 students. Fall semester: Professor Barale and Senior Lecturer Lieber. Spring semester: Senior Lecturer Lieber.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
This interdisciplinary course explores the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual, and polyamorous people and the discrete and inter-twined meanings of sexuality, gender expression and gender identity. Students will get a primer in the "alphabet soup" of LGBTQIA terminology, learn about the history of LGBTQ rights within the United States, and explore contemporary debates within the LGBTQ community, around such questions as same-sex marriage, bathroom regulations, and conversion therapy laws. We will also consider the intersections between black lives matter, queer rights, and disability activism. Class texts are from many different disciplines and will include theory, poetry, comics, short films, and music.
Fall semester. Visiting Professor Vooris.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as CLAS 123 and SWAG 123) We read in English the major authors from Homer in the 8th century BCE to Plato in the 4th century in order to trace the emergence of epic, lyric poetry, tragedy, comedy, history, and philosophy. How did the Greek enlightenment, and through it Western culture, emerge from a few generations of people moving around a rocky archipelago? How did oral and mythological traditions develop into various forms of “rationality”: science, history, and philosophy? What are the implications of male control over public and private life and the written record? What can be inferred about ancient women if they cannot speak for themselves in the texts? Other authors include Sappho, Herodotus, Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, Aristophanes, and Thucydides. The course seeks to develop the skills of close reading and persuasive argumentation. Three class hours per week.
Spring Semester. Professor Griffiths.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as ARHA 145, EUST 145, and SWAG 145) This course will explore the self-conscious invention of modernism in painting, sculpture and architecture, from the visual clarion calls of the French Revolution to the performance art and earthworks of "art now." As we move from Goya, David, Monet and Picasso to Kahlo, Kiefer and beyond, we will be attentive to changing responses toward a historical past or societal present, the stance toward popular and alien cultures, the radical redefinition of all artistic media, changing representations of nature and gender, as well as the larger problem of mythologies and meaning in the modern period. Study of original objects and a range of primary texts (artists’ letters, diaries, manifestos, contemporary criticism) will be enhanced with readings from recent historical and theoretical secondary sources.
Limited to 50 students. Spring semester. Professor Staller.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as THDA 155, BLST 144, and SWAG 155) In this introductory course we will look at dance performance as reflective of culture, gender, race and politics. Class sessions will incorporate viewings of recorded performances and in-depth discussions; attendance at live performances will also be part of the course. Selected readings in gender, critical race and queer theories (among others) will be assigned and used to develop a critical understanding of the relationship between bodies and performance, both on and off stage. Selected readings for this course include Judith Butler, Brenda Dixon Gottschild, and Jose Esteban Munoz, among others. Selected choreographers include Pina Bausch, Merce Cunningham, Faye Driscoll, William Forsythe, and Martha Graham.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Visiting Assistant Professor Brown.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as POSC 160 and SWAG 160) From abortion to gay rights, sexuality is deeply entangled in world politics. As LGBT rights become human rights principles, they not only enter the rights structure of the European Union and the United Nations but are also considered a barometer of political modernity. If some Latin American nations have depicted their recognition of gay rights as symbolic of their progressive character, certain North African nations have depicted their repression of homosexuality symbolic of their opposition to western imperialism. The results of sexual politics are often contradictory, with some countries enabling same-sex marriage but criminalizing abortion and others cutting aid in the name of human rights. This course explores the influence of sexual politics on international relations. We analyze how women and gay rights take shape in the international system, from the UN to security agendas, and evaluate how sexuality shapes the modus operandi of contemporary politics.
Limited to 30 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Picq.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as HIST 162 [US] and SWAG 162) Sexuality is a product of history and culture. This course will survey sex throughout United States history in relation to the various discourses of power and difference that have given it meaning, such as class, ethnicity, gender, race, and religion. Topics covered include the legal and social history of marriage, sex education, sexuality and the family during and after slavery, masculinity and the Western frontier, sexology and the invention of homosexuality, the making of urban gay subcultures, feminism and sexual liberation, the politics of abortion, HIV/AIDS, the LGBT rights movement, and the transgender revolution. We will consider the ways in which the study of sexuality creates opportunities to re-think major themes in U.S. social, cultural, and political history, with emphasis on the history of medicine, the history of social change, and the history of the family. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 35 students. Spring semester. Professor Manion.2020-21: 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.
Requisite: Open to first-year students who have taken SWAG 100 and upper-class students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Sadjadi.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as SWAG 202, BLST 242 [US], and ENGL 259) Why do 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 18 students. Open to first-year students with consent of the instructor. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Henderson.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as BLST 203 [D], ENGL 216, and SWAG 203) The term “Women Writers” suggests, and perhaps assumes, a particular category. How useful is this term in describing the writers we tend to include under the frame? And further, how useful are the designations "African" and "African Diaspora"? We will begin by critically examining these central questions, and revisit them frequently as we read specific texts and the body of works included in this course. Our readings comprise a range of literary and scholarly works by canonical and more recent female writers from Africa, the Caribbean, and continental America. Framed primarily by Postcolonial Criticism, our explorations will center on how writers treat historical and contemporary issues specifically connected to women’s experiences, as well as other issues, such as globalization, modernity, and sexuality. We will consider the continuities and points of departure between writers, periods, and regions, and explore the significance of the writers’ stylistic choices. Here our emphasis will be on how writers appropriate vernacular and conventional modes of writing.
Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Bailey.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 284, EUST 284, and SWAG 206) 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 2018-19. Professor Courtright.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as SWAG 207, ASLC 207, and POSC 207) 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?
Omitted 2018-19. Professors Shandilya and Basu.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as SWAG 208, BLST 345 [US], ENGL 276, and FAMS 379) Through a close reading of texts by African American authors, we will critically examine the characterization of female protagonists, with a specific focus on how writers negotiate literary forms alongside race, gender, sexuality, and class in their work. Coupled with our explication of poems, short stories, novels, and literary criticism, we will explore the stakes of adaptation in visual culture. Students will analyze the film and television adaptations of The Color Purple (1985), The Women of Brewster Place (1989), and Their Eyes Were Watching God (2005). Authors will include Toni Morrison, Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker, Gwendolyn Brooks, and Gloria Naylor. Expectations include three writing projects, a group presentation, and various in-class assignments.
Limited to 18 students. Priority given to those students who attend the first day of the class. Open to first-year students with consent of the instructor. Spring semester. Professor Henderson.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as SWAG 210 and ANTH 210) This course draws on anthropological literature to study the socio-cultural making of human sexuality and its variations. We will critically examine theories of sexuality as a domain of human experience and locate sexual acts, desires and relations in particular historical and cultural contexts. The course offers analytical tools to understand and evaluate different methods and approaches to the study of human sexuality. We will examine the relation of sex to kinship/family, to reproduction and to romance. As we read about the bodily experience of sexual pleasure, we will explore how sexual taboos, norms and morality develop in various cultures and why sex acquires explosive political dimensions during certain historical periods. The course will explore the gendered and racial dimensions of human sexual experience in the context of class, nation and empire. How do class divisions produce different sexual cultures? What economies of sex are involved in sex work, marriage and immigration? What has been the role of sexuality in projects of nation building and in colonial encounters? When, where and how did sexuality become a matter of identity? In addition to a focus on contemporary ethnographic studies of sexuality in various parts of the world, we will read theoretical and historical texts that have been influential in shaping the anthropological approaches to sexuality. We will also briefly address scientific theories of sexuality. Two meetings per week.
Omitted 2018-19. Professor Sadjadi.2020-21: Not offered
It is said that we have reached a "transgender tipping" point regarding trans representation in the media over the last ten years, as trans people in the United States and around the world have become increasingly visible to a public audience. This course challenges the idea that trans people are a "new" twenty-first century phenomenon and introduces students to examples of gender non-conformity and transgender identities across time and cultures.The first half of the course examines representations of trans people within sexology, psychology, the medical archive, and the mainstream media, while the second half examines autobiographical accounts written by trans people themselves. We will read memoirs and comics, watch films, and listen to podcasts produced for, by, and about trans people. Assignments will include an analytical essay, creative responses to class texts, and a group project.
Recommended requisite: SWAG 100 or 120. Limited to 35 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Vooris.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 224 [EU], EUST 224, and SWAG 224) In the 1920s and 30s, authoritarian and fascist states across Europe declared that sexuality was not private. Sexual choices in the bedroom, they claimed, shaped national identities and the direction of social and cultural development. Through a variety of programs, propaganda and legal codes, states such as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy sought to regulate sexual behavior and promote specific gender roles and identities. The intervention of the state in the intimate lives of citizens in the twentieth century, however, was rooted in the transformations of state, culture and economy that took place long before the speeches of great dictators. This course explores the cultural debates surrounding sexual practices, medical theories of gender and sexuality, and the relationship between sexuality and state that shaped European societies in the twentieth century. In case studies from across the continent, the course explores a range of topics, including but not limited to the history of sex reform, prostitution, homosexuality, venereal disease, contraception, abortion, the “New Woman” and sexual emancipation movements, sexual revolutions and reactionary movements and reproductive politics, among others. Students will explore how seemingly self-evident and unchanging categories – feminine and masculine, straight and gay, “normal” and “deviant”– have taken shape and changed over time, and how historical processes (modernization, imperialism, urbanization) and actors (social movements, sex reformers, nationalist groups and states) sought to define and regulate these boundaries in the so-called “century of sex.” Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 25 students. Omitted 2018-19.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 226 [EUP], ARHA 226, EUST 226, and SWAG 225) Although overlooked in military histories until recently, women have long been actively involved in warfare: as combatants, as victims, as workers, and as symbols. This course examines both the changing role of women, and the shifting constructions of “womanhood,” in four major European conflicts: the wars of Elizabeth I in sixteenth-century England, the wars and peace of Marie de Médicis in seventeenth-century France, the French Revolution, and the First World War. Using methodologies drawn from Art History and History, the course seeks to understand the gendered nature of warfare. Why are images of women and the family central to the iconography of war, and how have representations of womanhood shifted according to the aims of particular conflicts? To what extent do women’s experiences of warfare differ from men’s, and can war be considered a source of women’s liberation or oppression? Students will analyze a range of historical images in conjunction with primary source texts from these conflicts and will also develop an original research project related to the course’s themes. Two class meetings per week.
Recommended requisite: A course in Art History or History. Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Boucher.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as SPAN 243 and SWAG 236) This class explores the political economy of the largely queer and feminized labor that animates capitalism’s global reach. Through close readings of literary and audiovisual texts, we will chart how the migrant laboring body has been produced since the nineteenth century using recurring tropes of queerness, pathology, and dependency. Some of the artists we will discuss include writers Carlos Bulosan, Monique Truong, and Gloria Anzaldúa, and documentary film directors Tomer Heymann (Paper Dolls, 2006), and Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles (Mala Mala, 2014). Conducted in English.
Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Coráñez Bolton.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ANTH 238 and SWAG 238) This course concerns the reproductive health experiences, including those focused on sexuality, birth, and motherhood, of women in the United States. It explores the relationship between these experiences and the fact of having a black female body (as was first constructed under slavery). It also explores the complex relationship between women’s reproductive experiences and their contemporary racial and socioeconomic locations in American society. The aim is to garner a thorough and sophisticated understanding of why “reproductive justice” is elusive in the contemporary United States and to consider what might be done about it.
Limited to 35 students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor H. Cole.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as RELI 261 and SWAG 239) 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. This discussion course requires participants to prepare a series of closely argued essays related to assigned readings and films.
Omitted 2018-19. Professor Niditch.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as AMST 240 and SWAG 243) From Longfellow's Hiawatha and D.H. Lawrence's Studies in Classic American Literature to Disney's Pocahontas and James Cameron's Avatar, representations of the indigenous as "Other" have greatly shaped cultural production in America as vehicles for defining the nation and the self. This interdisciplinary course introduces students to the broad field of Native American Studies, engaging a range of texts from law to policy to history and literature as well as music and aesthetics. Film and literary texts in particular will provide primary grounding for our inquiries. By keeping popular culture, representation, and the nature of historical narrative in mind, we will consider the often mutually constitutive relationship between American identity and Indian identity as we pose the following questions: How have imaginings of a national space and national culture by Americans been shaped by a history marked by conquest and reconciliation with indigenous peoples? And, how has the creation of a national American literary tradition often defined itself as both apart from and yet indebted to Native American cultural traditions? This course also considers how categories like race, class, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and religion have contributed to discussions of citizenship and identity, and changed over time with particular attention to specific Native American individuals and tribal nations. Students will be able to design their own final research project that may focus on either a historically contingent or contemporary issue related to Native American people in the United States.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Vigil.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as BLST 246 [US] and SWAG 246) The course introduces students to theories, methods, and analytical approaches to the study of Black girlhood. Students will interrogate Black girlhood as a political category of identity and symbol of agency, addressing such topics as foundations of the field, utility of the categories of "girl" and "woman" and representation of Black girlhood in academic literature and popular culture. We will explore problems pressing upon the lives of Black girls with respect to their lived experiences of work, sexuality, and education and illuminate the strategies, genius and potential of Black girls and Black girlhood. Working within and beyond Black radical hip hop feminist frameworks, our learning will involve thinking through and embodying theories and practices—emancipatory, humanizing, radical acts—as produced by Black girls, artists, and scholars. Class materials will include journal articles, films, novels, music and student-generated ethnographic observations.
Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Hill.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 245 [US] and SWAG 247) An overview of punishment from the Enlightenment to modern times. Topics include theories of criminality; birth of the penitentiary; growth of carceral culture; role of reform movements; relationship between slavery, abolition, and punishment; rise of criminology, eugenics, and sexology; persistence of poverty among carceral subjects; and the emergence of the contemporary prison industrial complex. Primary sources for consideration include newspaper articles, reform and abolition organizational records, official prison reports, and legal and sociological papers. Secondary readings will be primarily historical with some critical theories of difference and power including critical race theory, feminist theories of intersectionality, queer theory, and contemporary critical prison studies. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 30 students. Five spaces reserved for Five College students. Fall semester. Professor Manion.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as SPAN 242, BLST 282 [CLA] and SWAG 248) Historically speaking, discourses of mestizaje or racial mixture in Latin America, the Philippines, and the US-Mexican borderlands have implicitly or explicitly used “blackness” as a monolithic signifier connoting a perversity and backwardness to be rehabilitated by civilizational uplift. Students in this class will explore queer and trans texts that challenge this tradition and problematize the connection of the transracial to the transgender. Some of the theorists and authors we will engage include: Cathy Cohen, Fernando Ortiz, CLR James, Sylvia Wynter, Jessica Hagedorn, and Junot Díaz. While some class materials will be in English, the course will be conducted in Spanish.
Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Fall semester. Professor Coráñez Bolton.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as SWAG 279, BLST 202, and ENGL 279) What do we mean by “women’s fiction”? How do we understand women’s genres in different national contexts? This course examines topics in feminist thought such as marriage, sexuality, desire and the home in novels written by women writers from South Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. We will draw on postcolonial literary theory, essays on transnational feminism and historical studies to situate our analyses of these novels. Texts include South African writer Nadine Gordimer’s My Son’s Story, Indian novelist Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss, and Caribbean author Shani Mootoo’s Cereus Blooms at Night.
Spring semester. Professor Shandilya.2020-21: Not offered
This course is an interdisciplinary methods course designed to complement the existing SWAG core sequence. Using theories and approaches from the discipline of performance studies, the explicit mission of the seminar is to acquaint students with the study of LGBT history, politics, and culture while also strengthening student research skills in four overlapping areas: archival research, close-reading, performance analysis, and community engagement-as-activism. Course activities include working in the Amherst College Frost Archives, the production of a performance piece, and structured engagement with contemporary LGBT activism in the Pioneer Valley and the larger world.
Requisite: SWAG 100 or similar Five College intro to gender and sexuality courses. Recommended requisite: SWAG 200, 300, 330, or 353. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Polk.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ENGL 300 and SWAG 302) [Before 1800] The seventeenth century was a time of rapid and profound political, religious, and social change in England. Civil wars saw the execution of a divinely-sanctioned monarch; new lands were colonized; new forms of science changed the way the universe was perceived; religious and social shifts reframed the definition of marriage. Through it all, women wrote, and they increasingly wrote for audiences outside their immediate familial circle. This course reads selections from women authors who wrote in, for, and sometimes at the public, and who attracted varying degrees of censure for doing so. We will consider the devotional writing of Aemilia Lanyer, royal poetry by Queen Elizabeth I, selections of a long prose romance (a precursor to the novel) by Mary Wroth, Lucy Hutchinson’s biography of her husband, Margaret Cavendish’s scientific writings, and collections of recipes, letters, and other household documents. Along the way we will consider questions such as: What counts as publication? Was there such a thing as gender in the seventeenth century? What were the social and political implications for women who decided to write, in public?
Fall semester. Five College Fellow Henrichs.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ANTH 300 and SWAG 303) Reproductive Justice operates at the intersections of both reproductive rights and social justice. In its simplest form, it is a framework that addresses the right to have a child or not as well as the right to parent and raise a child in a healthy and safe environment. Using this framework as an analytical lens, this course seeks to examine representations of race and reproduction in film and media. Given growing national and international interest in maternal health disparities in the United States, reproduction and race currently sit center stage for broad public consumption. Yet, the exhibition of reproductive bodies is not a new phenomenon. This course will examine film (both documentary and popular) as well as other visual media presentations in order to extrapolate the ways in which film and media 1) have depicted historically and continue to depict reproduction, 2) perpetuate and/or challenge stereotypes and the status quo, and 3) (re)create and/or challenge systems of power and social hierarchy. Each week students will view a film and read a set of accompanying texts that will address a variety of topics related to race, reproduction, and health.
Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor H. Cole.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as AMST 305, SOCI 305 and SWAG 305) In this course we draw from sociology, anthropology, and geography to explore the gendered dynamics and experiences of Latino migration to the United States. We begin by situating gendered patterns of migration in the context of contemporary globalization and relating them to social constructions of gender. Next we look at experiences of settlement, analyzing the role of women’s and men’s networks in the process of migration, especially in terms of employment and survival strategies. We also analyze how specific contexts of reception influence the gender experience of settlement. For example, how does migration to rural areas differ from migration to traditional urban migration hubs, and how does gender influence that difference? We then look at Latino family formation, paying special attention to the experiences of transnational mothers and fathers, those who have left children behind in their home countries in the process of migration. Finally, we explore the relationship between migration and sexuality.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Schmalzbauer.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 385, EUST 385, and SWAG 310) 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 Valdés Leal, Velázquez, Goya, Munch, Ensor, Redon, Nolde, Picasso, Dalí, Kiki Smith, and Cindy Sherman. Not open to first-year students. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 20 students. Fall semester. Professor Staller.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as SPAN 317, EUST 317, and SWAG 317) This course will examine the diverse and often contradictory representations of women in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain as seen through the eyes of both male and female writers. This approach will allow us to inquire into how women represented themselves versus how they were understood by men. In our analysis of this topic, we will also take into consideration some scientific, legal, and moral discourses that attempted to define the nature and value of women in early modern Spain. Works by authors such as Cervantes, María de Zayas, Calderón de la Barca, and Catalina de Erauso, among others, will offer us fascinating examples and different approaches to the subject. Conducted in Spanish.
Requisite: SPAN 211 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Infante.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as SWAG 329, BLST 377 [US], and ENGL 368) History has long valorized passive, obedient, and long-suffering African American women alongside assertive male protagonists and savants. This course provides an alternative narrative to this representation by exploring the ways in which African American female characters, writers, and artists have challenged ideals of stoicism and submission. Using an interdisciplinary focus, we will critically examine transgression across time and space in diverse twentieth- and early twenty-first century literary, sonic, and visual texts. Expectations include three writing projects, a group presentation, and various in-class assignments.
Open to first-year students with consent of the instructor. Priority given to students who attend the first day of class. Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Henderson.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as BLST 236 [US] and SWAG 330) From the modern era to the contemporary moment, the intersection of race, gender, and class has been especially salient for people of African descent—for men as well as for women. How might the category of sexuality act as an additional optic through which to view and reframe contemporary and historical debates concerning the construction of black identity? In what ways have traditional understandings of masculinity and femininity contributed to an understanding of African American life and culture as invariably heterosexual? How have black lesbian, gay, and transgendered persons effected political change through their theoretical articulations of identity, difference, and power? In this interdisciplinary course, we will address these questions through an examination of the complex roles gender and sexuality play in the lives of people of African descent. Remaining attentive to the ways black people have claimed social and sexual agency in spite of systemic modes of inequality, we will engage with critical race theory, black feminist thought, queer-of-color critique, literature, art, film, “new media” and erotica, as well as scholarship from anthropology, sociology, and history.
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Polk.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
(Offered as SWAG 331 and ENGL 319) What is the novel? How do we know when a work of literature qualifies as a novel? In this course we will study the postcolonial novel which explodes the certainties of the European novel. Written in the aftermath of empire, these novels question race, class, gender and empire in their subject matter and narrative form. We will consider fiction from South Asia, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa. Novels include South African writer J.M. Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and Caribbean novelist Dionne Brand’s In Another Place, Not Here.
Fall semester. Professor Shandilya.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ANTH 225 and SWAG 335) This seminar provides an analysis of male-female relationships from a cross-cultural perspective, focusing upon the ways in which cultural factors modify and exaggerate the biological differences between men and women. Consideration will be given to the positions of men and women in the evolution of society, and in different contemporary social, political, and economic systems, including those of the industrialized nations.
Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Gewertz.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as FREN 342 and SWAG 342) Prostitutes play a central role in nineteenth-century French fiction, especially of the realistic and naturalistic kind. Both widely available and largely visible in nineteenth-century France, prostitutes inspired many negative stereotypes. But, as the very product of the culture that marginalized her, the prostitute offered an ideal vehicle for writers to criticize the hypocrisy of bourgeois mores. The socially stratified world of prostitutes, ranging from low-ranking sex workers to high-class courtesans, presents a fascinating microcosm of French society as a whole. We will read selections from Honoré de Balzac, Splendeur et misère des courtisanes; Victor Hugo, Les Misérables; and Gustave Flaubert, L’éducation sentimentale; as well as Boule-de-Suif and other stories by Guy de Maupassant; La fille Elisa by Edmond de Goncourt; Nana by Emile Zola; Marthe by Joris-Karl Huysmans; La dame aux camélias by Alexandre Dumas fils; and extracts from Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust. Additional readings will be drawn from the fields of history (Alain Corbin, Michelle Perrot) and critical theory (Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva). We will also discuss visual representations of prostitutes in nineteenth-century French art (Gavarni, Daumier, C. Guys, Degas, Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec). Conducted in French.
Requisite: One of the following—FREN 207, 2081 or the equivalent. Fall semester. Professor Katsaros.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
This course investigates key issues in feminist approaches to technology. Throughout the semester, we will examine the role of technology in structuring social relations as well as the social and cultural dimensions of technology’s development. Central themes will include the relationship between technology and domesticity, with emphasis on family life and household labor; technology and industry, with attention to gendered and racialized workforces; and technology and embodiment, including the role that technology plays in sexuality and in trans and disability ontologies. Our objects of study will include both today’s emerging technologies and historical technological innovations, as we ask after the social implications of technology’s emergence in diverse cultural contexts. With guidance from our course material, each student will engage in a research project focused on a technology of their choosing, culminating in a term paper that analyzes social forces that shape the production of technology and its cultural connotations.
Recommended requisite: At least one course in gender and/or sexuality. Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professor Cornfeld.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as HIST 345 [LA/TS] and SWAG 345) Popular mythologies of Latin America have historically relied on hyper-masculine archetypes, including the conquistador, the caudillo, and the guerrillero to explain the continent’s past, culture and political development. By contrast, students in this course will be asked to bring women, gender and sexuality from the margins to the center of Latin American history. In doing so, we will reevaluate four transformative historical moments: the Spanish conquest, the wars of independence, the emergence of industrial capitalism, and the proliferation of late twentieth-century political revolutions. Through an exploration of these key periods of upheaval we will assess how social conflict was frequently mediated through competing definitions of masculinity and femininity. In addition, this course will explore the ways in which women’s activism has been central to social and political movements across the continent. Furthermore, we will investigate how the domain of sexual practice and reproduction underpinned broader conflicts over racial purity, worker power, and the boundaries of citizenship in racially and ethnically diverse societies. The course will culminate in a final research paper on a topic chosen by the student. Two class meetings per week.
Limited to 18 students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Hicks.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
(Offered as BLST 347 [US] and SWAG 347) From the aftermath of the Civil War to today's "global war on terror," the U.S. military has functioned as a vital arbiter of the overlapping taxonomies of race, gender, and sexuality in America and around the world. This course examines the global trek of American militarism through times of war and peace in the twentieth century. In a variety of texts and contexts, we will investigate how the U.S. military's production of new ideas about race and racialization, masculinity and femininity, and sexuality and citizenship impacted the lives of soldiers and civilians, men and women, at "home" and abroad. Our interdisciplinary focus will allow us to study the multiple intersections of difference within the military, enabling us to address a number of topics, including: How have African American soldiers functioned as both subjects and agents of American militarism? What role has the U.S. military played in the creation of contemporary gay and lesbian subjectivity? Is military sexual assault a contemporary phenomenon or can it be traced to longer practices of sexual exploitation occurring on or around U.S. bases globally?
Limited to 25 students. Fall semester. Professor Polk.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
Thinking through questions about age, identity formation, reproduction, and family structures, this course explores gender and sexuality across the life-span, from conception to the end of life. Some of these questions include: What is a queer child? When and how do people discover their sexuality and gender identity? What does a polyamorous family look like? Can trans women breast-feed their children? What are the distinctive features of aging and mourning in many LGBTQ communities? Throughout the course we will challenge heteronormative ideas about what it means to live a good life and the class will explore how some LGBTQ folks have created new ways of being and living. Interdisciplinary in nature, this course assigns scholarship from a variety of fields including psychology, biology, literature, queer theory, feminist theory, anthropology, and history. Students should expect to read a variety of theoretical texts, along with poetry, comics, photo-essays and memoirs.
Requsite: SWAG 100 or SWAG 120, or another gender/sexuality course, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 35 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Vooris.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ANTH 353 and SWAG 353) This course offers a cross-cultural study of gender transition and transgression. We will explore ethnographic studies of gender non-conforming lives in a variety of contexts around the world. Students will be encouraged to approach gender transition and gender non-conformity, and the role of the body in the production of sex and gender, through the synthesis of feminist, queer, and transgender theories. In addition to questions of appearance, body and identity, we will explore the social production of gendered roles, activities and relations across class, race, caste and religion. We will analyze the discursive and material conditions that have enabled the emergence of the category of “transgender” and its relation to other cultural categories of gender non-normative personhood. Finally, we will discuss the role of Western medical ideologies and technologies in shaping subjectivities as well as the convergence and divergence of medical diagnosis and identity. This seminar requires group student presentations during the semester and completion of an individual research project.
Requisite: SWAG 200 or its equivalent in gender and sexuality studies. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Omit 2018-2019. Professor Sadjadi.2020-21: Not offered
In this course we will read Willa Cather's short fiction, essays, and novels with an eye to the role sexuality plays in her literary production. This course, aimed at juniors and seniors, is attentive to writing and speaking: there will be short papers, as well as a longer project that will be the subject of a class presentation.
Requisite: At least one course in gender and/or sexuality. Limited to 15 juniors and seniors. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Barale.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as SWAG 400 and POSC 407) The topic will vary from year to year. A student may take this course more than once, providing only that the topic is not the same. The current iteration of this seminar will explore the consequences of neoliberalism, cultural conservatism, Islamophobia, and anti-immigrant sentiments for women of different social and economic strata as well as women’s divergent political responses. Why have some women become prominent right wing leaders and activists while others have allied with leftist, anti-racist, and other progressive forces to fight for the rights of women and other marginalized groups? How have transnational forces influenced both forms of women’s activism? To what extent are there cross-national similarities in the impact of the far right surge on women, gender and sexuality? The seminar will draw on examples from many different regions of the world, with particular attention to India and the U.S. There will be a final research paper for this course.
Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professor Basu.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020
This seminar explores the gender dimension of the HIV epidemic in the U.S. and globally, and the role of socio-economic, political and biological factors in the shaping of the epidemic. This course encourages students to think about AIDS and other diseases politically, while remaining attentive to their bodily and social effects. We will engage with AIDS on various scales, from the virus and T cells to the transnational pharmaceutical industry, and from intimate sexual relations to the political economies of health care. We will consider the processes by which some groups of people become more vulnerable to the epidemic than others and we will read about the power dynamics involved in negotiations over condom use. Global processes that guide our investigation include the feminization of poverty, the neoliberal economic restructuring of health systems and the politics of scientific and medical research on AIDS. In addition, the course examines the role of social movements in responding to the epidemic.
Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Sadjadi.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as POSC 411 and SWAGS 411) Indigenous women are rarely considered actors in world politics. Yet from their positions of marginality, they are shaping politics in significant ways. This course inter-weaves feminist and Indigenous approaches to suggest the importance of Indigenous women’s political contributions. It is an invitation not merely to recognize their achievements but also to understand why they matter to international relations.
This course tackles varied Indigenous contexts, ranging from pre-conquest gender relations to the 1994 Zapatista uprising. We will learn how Indigenous women played diplomatic roles and led armies into battle during colonial times. We will analyze the progressive erosion of their political and economic power, notably through the introduction of property rights, to understand the intersectional forms of racial, class, and gender violence. Course materials explore the linkages between sexuality and colonization, revealing how sexual violence was a tool of conquest, how gender norms were enforced and sexualities disciplined. In doing so, we will analyze indigenous women’s relationship to feminism as well as their specific struggles for self-determination. We will illustrate the sophistication of their current activism in such cases as the Maya defense of collective intellectual property rights. As we follow their struggles from the Arctic to the Andes, we will understand how indigenous women articulate local, national, and international politics to challenge state sovereignty.
Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Picq.2020-21: Offered in Spring 2021
Sexuality and gender identity have until recently been considered adult identities; even in the late twentieth century, the concept of the "gay child" was largely a creation of gay adults reflecting back on their childhood. This seminar explores children's gender and sexuality, focusing in particular on the lives of transgender, gender-creative, gender non-conforming, gay and queer children who are under twelve years old. We will explore the ways that our society thinks about children’s autonomy, place within familial structures, and relationships to adults. Most important, we will listen to the voices of children and consider their own perspectives on matters of identity, expression and desire. Students will complete a semester research paper on a topic of their choice that relates to children’s gender and sexuality.
Requisite: SWAG 100 or consent of the instructor. Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Visiting Professor Vooris.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as MUSI 440 and SWAG 440) How do popular musicians express their identity through their music? And how do listeners explore their own identities by consuming and interacting with this music? This course explores how American popular music of the last sixty years has expressed the race, gender, and sexual identities of its performers and consumers, and how the music industry has affected the production and meaning of popular music from the 1950s into the present, through rock and roll, soul, country, hip hop, and more. Combining historical and cultural inquiries with the analysis of recorded music, students in this course will examine how popular musicians sound their identity while simultaneously resisting essentialism, analyze how musical sounds are shaped by the gender politics of their specific cultural context, and evaluate how the music industry encourages and challenges racial inequality. Seminar work will culminate in a creative research project designed in consultation with the professor. Fulfills either the departmental seminar requirement or the comprehensive exam requirement for the major.
Requisite: Music 111 or consent of the instructor. Fall semester. Assistant Professor Amy Coddington.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as ARHA 452, EUST 452, and SWAG 452) Shortly after the Franco-Prussian War—when there were more bloody corpses in the streets of Paris than at the height of the French Revolution—Monet and some others invented Impressionism. Rather than grab horror by the throat, as Goya and Picasso did in Spain, they created an earthly paradise. To this end, some ecstatically immersed themselves in nature; others tapped the gas-lit pleasures of the demi-monde.
We will revel in the different visions of Monet, Degas, Renoir, as well as of Van Gogh, Gauguin, Cézanne, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse—the Symbolist and Fauvist artists who followed. We will feast on the artists’ images, originals whenever possible (including Monet’s Matinée sur la Seine at the Mead). We will study their words—Van Gogh’s letters, Gauguin’s Noa Noa, Matisse’s “Notes of a Painter”—and analyze the ways in which they transformed their experiences into art.
There will be at least one required field trip, on a Friday. This is a research seminar: each student will choose an artist, whose paradise they will study in depth, and share as a class presentation and substantial paper.
We will consider the centrality of beauty and joy in the creation of art and life.
Requisite: One course in modern art, or consent of the instructor. Knowledge of French helpful but not required. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Staller.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as POSC 467 and SWAG 467) The goal of this seminar is to illuminate the complex character of social movements and civil society organizations and their vital influence on Indian democracy. Social movements have strengthened democratic processes by forming or allying with political parties and thereby contributed to the growth of a multi-party system. They have increased the political power of previously marginalized and underprivileged groups and pressured the state to address social inequalities. However, conservative religious movements and civil society organizations have threatened minority rights and undermined secular, democratic principles. During the semester, we will interact through internet technology with students, scholars and community organizers in India.
Requisite: Prior course work in POSC. Not open to first-year students. Limited to 15 students. Omitted 2018-19. Professor Basu.2020-21: Not offered
(Offered as SWAG 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.2020-21: Not offered
Independent reading course.
Fall and spring semesters. The Department.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2021
Open to senior majors in Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies who have received departmental approval.
Fall semester. The Department.2020-21: Offered in Fall 2020