Sexuality, Women's and Gender Studies

2020-21

100 The Cross-Cultural Construction of Gender

This course introduces students to issues involved in the social and historical construction of gender identities and roles from a cross-cultural and interdisciplinary perspective. Topics, which change from year-to-year, have included gender and sexuality; the uses and limits of biology in explaining gender differences; women’s participation in production and reproduction; the intertwining of gender, race, nationality, and class in explaining oppression and resistance; women, men and globalization; and gender and warfare.

All class meetings will occur remotely and consist of lecture and small group discussions throughout the semester.

Fall semester. Professor Henderson.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2022

105 Women, Gender and Popular Culture

(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.

All class meetings will occur remotely and consist of lecture and small group discussions throughout the semester.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Limited to 18 students. Spring semester. Professor Henderson.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

108 Feminist Science Studies

(Offered as ANTH 211 and SWAG 108) This course introduces students to theories and methodologies in the interdisciplinary field of feminist science studies. Specific areas of investigation include scientific cultures, animal models, and science in the media and popular culture. Students will continuously engage larger questions such as: What kinds of knowledge count as "science?" What is objectivity? How have cultural assumptions shaped scientific knowledge production in this and other historical periods? What is the relationship between "the body" and scientific data? And, finally, is feminist science possible?

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Hamilton.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020

110 The Bodies of Tragedy

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in January 2021, January 2022, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2025

123 Greek Civilization

Other years: Offered in Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2023

138 Greek Drama

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2009, Spring 2016, Fall 2019

145 The Modern World

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2011, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019

155 Introduction to Dance Studies: What is Performance?

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018, Fall 2018

160 Sexualities in International Relations

Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022

162 History of Sexuality in the U.S.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

163 LGBTQ History in Popular Culture

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, January 2022, Spring 2022

200 Feminist Theory

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.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Requisite: Open to first-year students who have taken SWAG 100 and upper-class students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Hamilton.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

203 Women Writers of Africa and the African Diaspora

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2024

206 Women and Art in Early Modern Europe

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2008, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Spring 2021

207 The Home and the World: Women and Gender in South Asia

(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 2020-21. Professor Shandilya.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2019

208 Black Feminist Literary Traditions

(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 twentieth-century fiction. Authors will include Toni Morrison, Lorraine Hansberry, Alice Walker, and Gloria Naylor. Expectations include three writing projects, a group presentation, and various in-class assignments.

All class meetings will occur remotely and consist of lecture and small group discussions throughout the semester.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

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. Fall semester. Professor Henderson.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

222 Witches, Saints, and Whores: Representing Gender in Premodern Europe

2023-24: Not offered

223 Law, Sex, and Family in the Wider Mediterranean (1300–1800)

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2021

224 The Century of Sex: Gender and Sexual Politics in Modern Europe

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

225 Women and War in European History, 1558–1918

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2016, Spring 2019

231 Contested Bodies: Race, Gender, and Embodiment in Biomedicine

(Offered as SWAG 231 and ANTH 232) Using primary and secondary materials as well as documentaries and feature films, this course explores conceptualizations and representations of race and sex in health and medicine. We begin by looking at the histories of race and sex in Western science. We will examine gendered and racialized pathologies, such as hysteria and drapetomania, and consider how scientific thought intersects with larger political and economic movements. We will then move into a discussion of the uses of race and sex in contemporary biomedicine. Why is the pharmaceutical industry developing drugs geared toward different racial groups? How have advances in reproductive technologies challenged or reinforced our understandings of our bodies? Why and how is sexuality a key site of scientific debate? Finally, how has the genomic age reshaped (or reinforced) our understandings of race, sex, and sexuality?

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Visiting Professor Hamilton.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

234 Dissecting the Music Video: Dance, Image, and Representation

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

235 Black Sexualities

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2022, Spring 2025

236 Queer Migrant Imaginaries

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2019

240 Women in Architecture

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

243 Rethinking Pocahontas: An Introduction to Native American and Indigenous Studies

Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2023

247 U.S. Carceral Culture

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Spring 2021

248 Black Mestizx: Gender Variance and Transgender Politics in the Borderlands

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018

249 Contemporary Fashion in a Historical Perspective

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Fall 2020

263 Trans Theories of Race

The slogan "black trans lives matter" has circulated widely in the last half-decade to describe the historical erasure and violence experienced by transgender people of color. What historical intersections between gender and race gave rise to this slogan? How can we think of race as inseparable for trans politics and transgender studies? This course examines the history of the political, economic, and epistemological connections between race and transgender politics. Focusing on the United States, we will examine how normative conceptions of gender and sexuality emerged out of histories of settler-colonization, enslavement, racial science, and racist law.  With a firm historical grounding, we will then explore contemporary issues such as immigrant detention, labor politics, bathroom bills, media representation, transgender rights and resistance, hormones, and much more.  Students are expected to have some familiarity with theories and histories of race, gender, and sexuality. Students should also be prepared to engage a variety of written texts ranging from poetry, historical documents, and memoir to dense, difficult theoretical essays. 

All class meetings will take place online and will consist of lectures, small group work, writing exercises, and guided close readings.

Recommended requisite: Courses on histories or theories of race, gender, and sexuality. Spring semester. Visiting Lecturer Dillon.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

275 Her Story Is: Feminist Approaches to Theater and Performance

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

276 Women and Religion in Greece and Rome

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021

279 Global Women's Literature

(Offered as SWAG 279, BLST 302, 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 July's People, Pakistani novelist Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking India, and Caribbean author Jean Rhys' Wide Sargasso Sea.

This class will be taught online on Zoom. The class will include weekly Moodle posts, breakout rooms for small group discussions and in-class writing assignments that will be shared both orally by students and through the Chat function on Zoom.

Omitted 2020-21. Professor Shandilya.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2015, Fall 2016, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2023

294 Black Europe

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2023

296 Black Women and Reproductive Justice in the African Diaspora

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Spring 2022, Spring 2025

301 Queer Theory and Practice

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. Omitted 2020-21. Professor Polk.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2019, Spring 2020

305 Gender, Migration and Power: Latinos in the Americas

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Fall 2016, Fall 2018

307 States of Extraction: Nature, Women, and World Politics

308 Gender, Feminisms, and Education

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Spring 2021

310 Witches, Vampires and Other Monsters

Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014, Fall 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Fall 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2023

316 Immersive Accompaniment: Reading the Bildungsroman

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2024

317 Women in Early Modern Spain

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Spring 2019, Spring 2021

329 Bad Black Women

(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.

All class meetings will occur remotely and consist of lecture and small group discussions throughout the semester.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

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.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021

331 The Postcolonial Novel: Gender, Race and Empire

(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 Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh's The Calcutta Chromosome, Caribbean writer Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John and North African author Tayeb Salih's Season of Migration to the North.

Omitted 2020-21. Professor Shandilya.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2018, Spring 2020

335 Gender: An Anthropological Perspective

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2007, Fall 2008, Fall 2009, Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018

337 Angela Davis

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019

342 Women of Ill Repute: Prostitutes in Nineteenth-Century French Literature

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2012, Fall 2015, Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2023

343 Comparative Borderlands: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Transnational Perspective

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020, Fall 2022

345 Gender and Sexuality in Latin America

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016, Fall 2019, Spring 2021

347 Race, Sex, and Gender in the U.S. Military

Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2023, Fall 2023

349 Law and Love

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2011, Spring 2014, Fall 2015, Fall 2017, Spring 2021, Fall 2022, Fall 2024

365 Reading the Romance

(Offered as ENGL 372 and SWAG 365) Do people the world over love in the same way, or does romance mean different things in different cultures? What happens when love violates social norms? Is the “romance” genre an escape from real-world conflicts or a resolution of them? This course analyzes romantic narratives from across the world through the lens of feminist theories of sexuality, marriage, and romance. We will read heterosexual romances such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, alongside queer fiction such as Sarah Waters’ Fingersmiths and Radclyffe Hall’s Well of Loneliness. We will also pay attention to the Western romantic-comedy film, the telenovela and the Bollywood spectacular.

This class will be taught online on Zoom. The class will include weekly Moodle posts, breakout rooms for small group discussions and in-class writing assignments that will be shared both orally by students and through the Chat function on Zoom.

Limited to 18 students. Not open to first-year students. Spring semester. Professor Shandilya.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Spring 2023, Fall 2023

372 Indigenous Feminisms

(Offered as SWAG 372 and AMST 370) This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of Indigenous feminisms, and explores how questions of sex, gender, and sexuality have been articulated in relation to concerns such as sovereignty, colonization, and imperialism. We will explore how Indigenous feminists engage with or challenge other modes of feminist thought and activism. We will focus on how Indigenous ways of knowing and being can challenge how we conduct research and produce knowledge. While we will concentrate on work produced within the context of Native North America, we will also be attentive to transnational dimensions of Indigenous feminist histories, political movements, and world-building. Specific topics include movements to recognize missing and murdered Indigenous women; Indigenous feminist science and technology studies; and, Indigenous futurisms.

This course fulfills a requirement for the Five College Reproductive Health, Rights and Justice (RHRJ) certificate.

Fall semester. Visiting Professor Hamilton.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020, Spring 2022

380 Women of Color and the Emergence of U.S. Third World Feminist Left

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2020

381 Global Transgender Histories

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2021, Spring 2022

400 Contemporary Debates: Gender and Right-Wing Nationalism

(Offered as SWAG 400 and POSC 407) The topic will vary from year to year. Students who have taken this seminar in the past may take it again this year.

Right wing populism has grown in many regions of the world by forging links with conservative religious groups. This has crucial and sometimes paradoxical implications for gender, sexuality, and ethnic/racial inequalities. Although right wing nationalists have often retracted the rights of women and LGBTQ groups, they have provided women from majority communities leadership opportunities and political power. This seminar will examine the way race, religion, gender, sexuality, and class figure in right wing populists’ understanding of home, community, citizenship and nationalism. We will also explore the implications of women’s increasingly fractured identities for their agency and activism. Our approach will be comparative, cross-national, and inter-disciplinary. Texts will include novels, films, and social science texts. The seminar will culminate in a final research paper.

Most class meetings will occur on-line but some may take place in person if conditions permit. Students will meet remotely and in person in small groups throughout the semester.

Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Professors Basu and Shandilya.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

411 Indigenous Women and World Politics

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2021, Fall 2022

416 Economics of Race and Gender

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2015, Fall 2022, Fall 2024

430 Renaissance Bodies

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2020

436 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in U.S. History

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2019, Fall 2020, Fall 2021

440 Race, Gender, and Sexuality in American Popular Music

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017, Fall 2018

469 South Asian Feminist Cinema

(Offered as SWAG 469, ASLC 452, 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.

This class will be taught online on Zoom. The class will include weekly Moodle posts, breakout rooms for small group discussions and in-class writing assignments that will be shared both orally by students and through the Chat function on Zoom.

Limited to 20 students. Omitted 2020-21. Professor Shandilya.

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2014, Fall 2015, Spring 2019

490 Special Topics

Independent reading course.

Fall and spring semesters. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Fall 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, Fall 2021, Spring 2022, Fall 2022, Spring 2023, Fall 2023, Fall 2024

498, 498D, 499, 499D Senior Departmental Honors

Open to senior majors in Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies who have received departmental approval.

Spring semester. The Department.

Other years: Offered in Spring 2015, Spring 2016, Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020, Spring 2021, Spring 2022, Spring 2023, Spring 2025

Departmental Courses

239 Jewish Identity and MeToo: A Study of Women in Judaism

2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2010, Spring 2014, Spring 2016, Spring 2018, Spring 2020, Spring 2022

Related Courses

- (Course not offered this year.)