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Feminist scholarship, which arose in the late twentieth century in response to the historically masculine bias of the academy, explores the important but often hidden ways that gender and gender inequality have shaped, and been shaped by, our cultural, social, and personal worlds. In recent years, scholars in the field have increasingly recognized that gender and gender inequality cannot be understood in abstraction from other axes of social identity and power, especially those of race, class, sexual orientation, and nation. Thus, the program in Women's and Gender Studies offers students the opportunity to examine, from both disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, gender's intersections with other dimensions of social power and identity. In addition to addressing these intersections, courses may focus on developments within feminist thought, on applications of feminist scholarship to a particular field of study, or on selected topics concerning gender and gender inequality. All Women's and Gender Studies classes encourage students to think systematically and critically about gender and to confront the challenges of moving toward a more equitable world.
Courses counting towards the Women's and Gender Studies Major and Minor fall into one of three groups.
** Courses that may be counted by petition for the major are those that are offered one time only or have variable emphasis but that, in a given semester, focus on scholarship in Women's and Gender Studies.
** Courses that may be counted toward the minor by petition are those that are given one time only or have variable emphases but which, in a given semester, focus on the analysis of gender and gender inequality and which draw on current scholarship in Women's Studies.
This interdisciplinary course will explore the ways that gender inequality structures aspects of personal lives and social institutions. We will examine a variety of feminist perspectives on work, family, sexuality and culture and will consider the role of class, race and ethnicity in feminist thought. Emphases will vary with instructor.
This course examines images of women represented in various forms of texts including Confucian, Taoist, and Buddhist scriptures, novels, poetry, Chinese art and films. Through close reading of these texts from 600 BCE to modern times, the course seeks to explore women's power, spirituality, and gender roles in different periods of Chinese history. The course will also focus on a comparison between the "woman" as an ideological construct and the actual living experiences of women, and between images constructed by male and female writers.
Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts; Asia Cluster
This seminar in women's history examines the lives and contributions of women in the fine arts primarily in Western Europe from the medieval period through the twenty-first century. A series of case studies facilitates historical understanding of women fine artists in the church, in secular society, in the domestic sphere, and in popular culture. Topics include: women's artistic products (music compositions; works of visual art; literature and poetry; videos); women's lives as fine artists in their respective historical period, demographic, and cultural milieu; women's representations of themselves as fine artists in letters and other documents; and present-day biographical narratives of women fine artists.
Mode of Inquiry: Thinking Historically
This course explores Greek attitudes towards gender roles and sexuality, drawing on primary medical texts, tragedy, comedy, didactic poetry, forensic speeches, the romance novel, philosophy, early lyric poetry, and secondary scholarship about these texts. Topics include gender construction, misogyny, hysteria, virginity, marriage, rape, seduction, inheritance, female and male desire, homosexuality, and rites of passage.
Mode of Inquiry: Interpreting Texts; Fourth Semester Language Requirement
Do traditional philosophical theories promote ways of thinking that perpetuate gender inequality? We will evaluate feminist criticisms of epistemology, ethics, social theory and aesthetics. We will also examine feminist alternatives to traditional philosophical perspectives.
This course provides an opportunity for qualified students to examine, from an interdisciplinary perspective, a particular topic in feminist analysis. Seminar topics and staff will change from year to year. Closed to freshmen. May be taken a second time.
Prerequisite: Two previous courses focusing on feminist scholarship or instructor's permission
This course examines the full range of women's participation in American political life through voluntary organizations, social movements and electoral politics. We explore the relationship between the two strains of feminism that have motivated women to political action: difference feminism and equality feminism, and reflect on the uneasy alliance between the struggle for racial equality and gender equality. Contemporary "women's issues" are covered: abortion, welfare, and pay equity. More generally, this course raises questions about the theory of representation and the nature of American politics through the lens of women in politics.
General Education Fulfillment Requirements: Writing-Centered
Prerequisite: POLI 210 or consent of instructor
This interdisciplinary course will examine such basic issues as gender difference and its relationship to women's subordination; the intersections of gender with other dimensions of social identity and power (e.g., class, race/ethnicity, sexuality, nation); the way gendered discourse shapes social reality. These issues will be discussed from a variety of feminist theoretical perspective (e.g., those influenced by liberalism, Marxism/socialism, psychoanalysis, radical feminism, post-modernism, and post-colonialism). Closed to freshmen.
General Education Requirement Fulfillment: Writing centered
Prerequisite: One previous Women's Studies course
An examination of the psychological literature with a focus of how our knowledge of human behavior, which was initially developed from the exclusive study of males, evolved to include the study of females. Issues of sexism in psychological research, biological influences and socialization affecting females and males, and the effect of societally-constructed gender roles on human behavior. Specific topics include: Cognitive abilities, morality, achievement, interpersonal violence, and mental illness.
Mode of Inquiry: Understanding Society
Prerequisite: PSYC 210 or consent of Instructor
Qualified students will undertake a program of independent research with a Women's and Gender Studies faculty member. Closed to freshmen.
Prerequisite: WGS major or minor and consent of instructor
Senior Women's and Gender Studies major will research and write senior papers on topics of their choice.
Prerequisite: Senior Women's and Gender Studies majors