Classes - Spring 2010
SP.400 - Special Topics: Latina Voices (New!) (HASS)
TR 12.30-2 (8-119)
This course will explore the rich diversity of women's voices and experiences as reflected in writings and films by and about Latina writers, filmmmakers, and artists. Through close readings, class discussions and independently researched student presentations related to each text, we will explore not only the unique, individual voice of the writer, but also the cultural, social and political contexts which inform their narratives. We will also examine the roles that gender, familial ties, and social and political preoccupations play in shaping the values of the writers and the nature of the characters encountered in the texts and films. Works will include Sandra Cisneros' novel Caramelo, Isabel Allende's account of her daughter's illness in Paula, and Esmeralda Santiago's coming-of-age memoir When I Was Puerto Rican. The latina experience will also be traced in such films as Like Water for Chocolate, Real Women Have Curves, and Frida.
S. E. King
SP.401 Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies (HASS-D, CI-H)
TR 3-4.30 (2-146)
The UN reports that "Women work two-thirds of the world's working hours, produce half of the world's food, and yet earn only 10% of the world's income and own less than 1% of the world's property." Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies explores the ways in which gender, race, and class structure our social world as well as shape our experiences and self-perceptions. The course will draw upon feminist scholarship across multiple disciplines to discuss topics such as women and work, issues of women's health and reproduction, sexuality, families, motherhood, globalization, body image and representation, and women's political movements. The primary objective of this course is to familiarize students with key concepts in gender studies and to foster a critical consciousness of gender and power relations.
SP.409 Women and Global Activism in Media and Politics (HASS-D, CI-H)
TR 3-5 (2-143)
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.
SP.414 Gender and Media Studies (HASS)
T 7-10 PM (14E-310)
Beginning with our earliest childhood encounters with media, we are bombarded with often conflicting images of girls and women that contribute to how we construct notions of gender. From Disney, for instance, we learn that good girls are either born or become princesses, while adult women are inevitably evil stepmothers or frustrated spinsters. Later we continue to rely on Hollywood, the press, and the Internet to supply us with equally contradictory representations of women and femininity. In this course, we will take a critical look at the way women, fictional and non-fictional, are looked at and portrayed-often critically-in mainstream media and visual culture. Besides Disney princesses, we will also examine stereotypic and iconic representations of girls, adolescents and women from a variety of contexts, from conventional news outlets to Hollywood to Youtube. Together we will try to make sense out of such phenomena as the recent media decisions that resulted in the actress who plays Precious being featured in the Sunday New York Times while First Lady Michelle Obama appeared simultaneously on the cover of Glamour.
S. E. King
SP.448/21A.470 Gender and Representation of Asian Women (HASS)
W 7-10 PM (66-220)
Explores some of the forces and mechanisms through which stereotypes are built and perpetuated. In particular, examines stereotypes associated with Asian women in colonial, nationalist, state-authoritarian, and global/diasporic narratives about gender and power. Students read ethnography, fiction, and history, and view films to examine the politics and circumstances that create and perpetuate the representation of Asian women as dragon ladies, lotus blossoms, despotic tyrants, desexualized servants, and docile subordinates. Students are introduced to debates about Orientalism, gender, and power.
SP.454/21A.218 Identity and Difference (HASS, CI-H)
T 7-10 PM (56-162)
This course explores how identities, whether of individuals or groups, are produced, maintained, and transformed. Students will be introduced to various theoretical perspectives that deal with identity formation, including constructions of "the normal." We will explore the utility of these perspectives for understanding identity components such as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, language, social class, and bodily difference. By semester's end you will understand better how an individual can be at once cause and consequence of society, a unique agent of social action and also a social product. Enrollment limited.
SP.513/21L.473 Jane Austen
TR 1-2.30 (14N-112)
We will study the full range of Jane Austen's work, reading not just her novels, but her earlier juvenilia, several unfinished fragments, and her wonderful letters to her sister Cassandra. This great writer's work will be examined in relation to both biography and history. We will learn to analyze Austen's characteristic style and techniques, thereby gaining an enhanced appreciation of her writing-its intelligence, its wit, its themes-and of the times that produced it. Enrollment limited.
SP.575/21W.742 Writing about Race: Race and Place (HASS-D)
MW 9.30-11 (2-135)
In this course, we will investigate the concept of "place" as a way of understanding race, both as a lived experience and as a socially constructed form of identity. How do the places we inhabit shape our sense of self, community and history? How do they shape our experience of belonging or exclusion? What makes a place home, or not home? How is place itself socially and culturally constructed? How do writers use place as a way of mapping social, political, and emotional terrain? We will read essays, short stories, memoirs and novels that examine various kinds of places - cities, suburbs, rural areas and natural landscapes such as deserts and forests, as well as in-between, imagined, and nonphysical places such as borderlands, cyberspace, and the nation.
SP.576/21W.745 Advanced Essay Workshop: Negotiating Identities
T 7-10 PM (14N-325)
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.
SP.601/17.006/17.007/24.237 Feminist Political Thought
W 12-3 (5-231)
In this course we will examine different aspects of women's lives through the life cycle as seen from the vantage point of feminist theory. In addition we will consider different ways of looking at power and political culture in modern societies, issues of race and class, poverty and welfare, sexuality and morality. In recent years feminist scholars in a range of disciplines have challenged previously accepted notions of political theory such as the distinctions between public and private, the definitions of politics itself, the nature of citizenship, and the roles of women in civil society. We will look at these newer theories and "test" them, as it were, by looking as well at current events to see how much the theory helps us to understand what is going on in modern society, whether it be issues of the recent presidential campaign (Obama/Clinton/McCain/Palin), prostitution (the Elliot Spitzer case) or women's work in sneaker factories in Indonesia.
SP.650/9.75 Psychology of Gender and Race (International Focus)
R 7-10 PM (14E-310)
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, achievement, stereotypes, physical and mental health, sexuality, close relationships, work, and violence. Enrollment limited.