Academics

Classes - Spring 2008

Class Number Class Title & Syllabus Professor(s) Time
SP.400 Special Topics in Women's Studies Seminar: Writing the Body A. Castillo W 7-10pm
SP.401 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies A. Walsh MW 3-4:30
SP.406 Sexual and Gender Identities K. Surkan T 7-10pm
SP.409 Women & Global Activism A. Sur TR 3-5
SP.414 Gender/Media Studies K. Surkan W 2-5
SP.454 Identity and Difference J. Jackson MW 2:30-4
SP.461 International Women's Voices I. Decourtivron MW 1-2:30
SP.492 Popular Narrative: Elements of Style A. Braithwaite TR 3:30-5
SP.574 Writing & Reading Short Stories: Contemporary US Women of Color H. Lee MW 11-12:30
SP.575J Writing about Race S. King TR 3-4:30
SP.576J Advanced Essay Workshop: Negotiating Identities R. Faery T 7-10pm
SP.591J Traditions in American Concert Dance: Gender and Autobiography M. Blanco-Borelli TR 3:30-5
SP.595 Theatre & Cultural Diversity in the US T. Defrantz WF 3-5
SP.601J Feminist Political Thought E. Wood W 1-4
SP.620J Medicine, Religion and Politics in Africa E. James T 1-4
SP.622J Dilemmas in Bio-Medical Ethics E. James MW 11-12:30
SP.650J The Psychology of Gender and Race (International Focus) C. Kapungu R 7-10pm

SP.400 Special Topics in Women's Studies Seminar

Spring 2008 Topic: Writing the Body. The course will focus on how the body one inhabits directly informs one's perspective on her/his writing. The topic will be reviewed vis a vis guest speakers, films, reading assignments and class discussions. Writing assignments will take the form of memoir writing, personal essays and journal writing. Students will be expected to participate fully, be self-reflective and open to other perspectives. While the course will be open to discussion of feminist thought this is not a theory course.
A. Castillo

SP.401 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies

Drawing on multiple disciplines — such as literature, history, economics, psychology, philosophy, political science, anthropology, media studies and the arts — to examine cultural assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality. Integrates analysis of current events through student presentations, aiming to increase awareness of contemporary and historical experiences of women, and of the ways sex and gender interact with race, class, nationality, and other social identities. Students are introduced to recent scholarship on gender and its implications for traditional disciplines.
A. Walsh

SP.406 Sexual and Gender Identities

Introduces scholarly debates about sexual identities, gender identities and expressions, and sexual orientation and its representation in various media. Topics may include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) sexual identities as well as their histories in Western and non-Western cultures; queer theory and theories of identity; the origins of social movements for equality; issues of race and diversity within LGBT communities; questions of visibility and media representation; and the politics of sexual orientation in contemporary American institutions. Materials include secondary readings in history, philosophy and cultural theory as well as novels and plays, films and television programs, community studies, oral histories, and legal cases.
K. Surkan

SP.409 Women & Global Activism

An interdisciplinary subject that examines questions of feminism, international women's issues, and globalization through the study of novels, films, critical essays, painting and music. Considers how women redefine the notions of community and nation, how development affects their lives, and how access to the internet and to the production industry impacts women's lives. Primary topics of interest include transformations of traditional values, social change, gender role distribution, identity formation, migration flows, globalization and development, popular culture, urban life, cyber-culture, activism, and human rights. Enrollment limited to 25 when Writing Tutor is assigned to the class. Otherwise, 18.
A. Sur

SP.414 Gender/Media Studies

Examines representations of race, gender, and sexual identity in the media. Considers issues of authorship, spectatorship, and the ways in which various media (film, television, print journalism, advertising) enable, facilitate, and challenge these social constructions in society. Studies the impact of new media and digital media through analysis of gendered and racialized language and embodiment online in blogs and vlogs, avatars, and in the construction of cyberidentities. Provides introduction to feminist approaches to media studies by drawing from work in feminist film theory, cultural studies, gender and politics, and cyberfeminism.
K. Surkan

SP.454 Identity & Difference

Subject examines several theoretical perspectives on human identity and focuses on processes of creating categories of acceptable and deviant identities; how identities are formed, how behaviors are labelled, and how people enter deviant roles and worlds; and responses to differences and strategies for coping with these responses. Subject material describes how identity and difference are inescapably linked. Enrollment limited.
J. Jackson

SP.461/21F.022J International Women's Voices

Introduces students to a variety of fictional works by contemporary women writers. Subject's international perspective emphasizes the extent to which each author's work reflects her distinct cultural heritage and to what extent, if any, we can identify a female voice that transcends national boundaries. A variety of interpretive perspectives, including sociohistorical, psychoanalytic, and feminist criticism is used to examine the texts. Authors include: Mariama Ba, Isabel Allende, Anita Desai, Maxine Hong Kingston, Toni Morrison, Doris Lessing, Alifa Riyaat, Yang Jiang, Nawal Al-Saadawi, and Sawako Ariyoshi. Taught in English.
I. Decourtivron

SP.492 Popular Narrative: Elements of Style

Manolo Blahnik, Phat Farm, Marc Jacobs, Prada. Thanks to magazines like In Style and GQ, these names have become a part of our daily vocabulary. Popular culture's current obsession with appearance has made the quest for style much more accessible, but how might this turn to style affect our understanding of this term's connotations, specifically literary style? This course will begin with this current obsession and then explore representations of style, both fashion and literary in 20th century literature. We will explore what role details like the cut of a suit or intricate sentences play in both personal and literary self-fashioning. How does one fashion oneself through clothes as well as words?
A. Braithwaite

SP.574 Writing & Reading Short Stories: Contemporary US Women of Color

Students read short stories by Native American, Latina, African-American, and Asian-American women writers and write their own stories and descriptive sketches. Writing assignments and discussions focus on these themes: reclaiming, reconstructing, and preserving culture; cultural heritage as a source of power and resistance; storytelling as a means of celebration and survival; shifting, contending, and multiple identities; the costs and advantages of breaking silence; and tensions between assimilation and maintaining cultural practices.
H. Lee

SP.575J Writing about Race

The issue of race and racial identity have preoccupied many writers throughout the history of the US. Students read Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Louise Erdrich, William Faulkner, Maxine Hong Kingston, Sandra Cisneros, and Judson Mitcham, and consider the story of race in its peculiarly American dimensions. The reading, along with the writing of members of the class, is the focus of class discussions. Oral presentations on subjects of individual interest are also part of the class activities. Students explore race and ethnicity in personal essays, pieces of cultural criticism or analysis, or (with permission of instructor) fiction. All written work is read and responded to in class workshops and subsequently revised. Enrollment limited.
S. King

SP.576J/21W.745 Advanced Essay Workshop: Negotiating Identities

For students with experience in writing essays and nonfiction prose. Focuses on negotiating and representing identities grounded in gender, race, class, nationality, and sexuality in prose that is expository, exploratory, investigative, persuasive, lyrical, or incantatory. Authors include James Baldwin, Minnie Bruce Pratt, Audre Lorde, Richard Rodriguez, Alice Walker, John Edgar Wideman, Diana Hume George, bell hooks, Margaret Atwood, Patricia J. Williams, and others. Designed to help students build upon their strengths as writers and to expand their repertoire of styles and approaches in essay writing.
R. Faery

SP.591J Traditions in American Concert Dance: Gender and Autobiography

Explores forms, content, and contexts of world traditions in dance that played a crucial role in shaping American concert dance with attention to issues of gender and autobiography. Explores artistic lives of dance artists Katherine Dunham, Alvin Ailey, Isadora Duncan, Martha Graham, and George Balanchine as American dance innovators. Lectures and discussions analyze these artists' works, taking into consideration historical and political contexts. Viewing assignments and attendance of Boston-area dance performances help students identify visual, musical, and kinesthetic underpinnings of choreographic structure.
M. Blanco-Borelli

SP.595 Theatre and Cultural Diversity in the US

Explores contemporary American theatrical expression around issues of gender, ethnic, and cultural identities. Analyzes performances, scripts, video documentation,and invention of original documents of theatrical expression, and construction of gender within particular formations of American culture. Class lectures and discussions analyze samples of Native American, Chicano, African American, and Asian American theater, considering the historical and political context for the creation of these works. Performance exercises help identify theatrical forms used by these theaters and consider how these techniques contribute to the overall goals of specific theatrical expressions.
T. Defrantz

SP.601J Feminist Political Thought

Analyzes theories of gender and politics, especially ideologies of gender and their construction; definitions of public and private spheres; gender issues in citizenship, the development of the welfare state, experiences of war and revolution, class formation, and the politics of sexuality. Graduate students are expected to pursue the subject in greater depth through reading and individual research.
E. Wood

SP.620J Medicine, Religion and Politics in Africa

An exploration of colonial and postcolonial clashes between theories of healing and embodiment in the African world and those of western biomedicine. Examines how Afro-Atlantic religious traditions have challenged western conceptions of illness, healing, and the body, and have offered alternative notions of morality, rationality, kinship, gender and sexuality. Analyzes whether contemporary western biomedical interventions reinforce colonial or imperial power in the effort to promote global health in Africa and the African diaspora.
E. James

SP.622J Dilemmas in Bio-Medical Ethics

An introduction to the cross-cultural study of biomedical ethics. Examines moral foundations of the science and practice of western biomedicine through case studies of abortion, contraception, cloning, organ transplantation and other issues. Evaluates challenges that new medical technologies pose to the practice and availability of medical services around the globe, and to cross-cultural ideas of kinship and personhood. Discusses critiques of the biomedical tradition from anthropological, feminist, legal, religious, and cross-cultural theorists. Enrollment limited.
E. James

SP.650J/9.75J The Psychology of Gender and Race (International focus)

Examines evidence (and lack thereof) regarding when and how an individual's thoughts, feelings, and actions are affected by gender and race. Topics include gender and racial factors in: identity development; cognition and emotion; stereotypes; physical and mental health, sexuality, close relationships, and work. Enrollment limited to 25.
C. Kapungu

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