Courses

AN 251 Sex, Gender, and Culture

This comparative course emphasizes the varying ways in which sex and gender are culturally interpreted and socially organized among different human groups. An initial brief investigation of the biological foundations of human sexuality will provide the background for considering such culturally determined elements as: what defines masculinity verses femininity and heterosexuality verses homosexuality in various cultures; the roles and rituals that may be assigned to each gender; and the meanings attached to sexual behavior. Data will be drawn from both western and non-western societies. Prerequisites: none. Offered fall semester.

AR 216 Women in the Visual Arts

This course explores the work of women artists, as well as representations of women throughout history, with an emphasis on the modern period. Issues of gender are examined in relation to the subject matter, stylistic preferences, media, reception and criticism of female artists. Issues to be discussed include self representations by women artists, themes of motherhood, prostitution and female sexuality in the visual arts, the impact of the women's movement on art, issues of the gaze and the gendering of vision, and the various obstacles and options facing the contemporary woman artist. Painters and sculptors to be studied include Artemesia Gentelleschi, Frida Kahlo, Eva Hesse, Georgia O'Keefe, Cindy Sherman, Judy Chicago, Merritt Oppenheim, Hannah Hoch and many others. Discussions also focus on major worjs created during the Renaissance, Impressionist and Modern periods, as well as works in such diverse media as performance, cinema and advertising.

EC 414 Economics of Discrimination

Large gaps in earnings and difference in patterns of employment by race, gender, and ethnicity place many women and racial and ethnic minorities near or in poverty. Educational opportunities, access to healthcare, legal services, credit, and housing, and eligibility for government programs can also differ systematically for members of different groups. This course explores these differences through readings, film, research projects, and field trips. In this process we will examine debates on the roles of biology, family, culture, and economic opportunity in generating inequality. Topics such as affirmative action and comparable worth will be discussed. Prerequisite: Economics 101 or 102. Offered alternate spring semesters.

EN 206 Romantic Poetry, Revolution, the Slave Trade and Women's Rights

The fear of revolutionary ideas spreading from France to England, the growing opposition to slavery and the slave-trade, and increasing calls for the redefinition of women's rights all help to create the social and political contexts for English literature written between 1780 and 1830. Poets of the period respond to these issues and to questions about the workings of the human mind, the power of the imagination and the relationship between people and nature. We will explore these concerns as we study the works of Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Keats and others. This course is open to all students. Offered fall semester of odd-numbered years.

EN225  Ghosts, Vampires and Civilization in English Gothic Fiction

This course focuses on the English novel as it evolves from the 18th century through the end of the 19th century.  The gothic tradition that begins with Walpole's The Castle of Otranto includes explorations of the supernatural, human emotions, family psychology and dysfunction, gender, social norms and their violation, and monstrosity.  We will discuss such texts as Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, Sheridan LeFanu's Carmilla, Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Bram Stoker's Dracula.

EN 347 The Study of Fairy Tales

We will focus on some traditional European tales as well as critical reading and some more modern versions of the stories. “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella,” and “Bluebeard” are a few of the tales we will take up. Angela Carter’s versions of some of these tales as well as McGuire’s Wicked (a version of the Wizard of Oz) will also be among the twentieth century texts we read. Prerequisite: English 212 or permission of the instructor. Offered spring semester of even-numbered years.

EN 348 Southern Women Writers

This course explores the work of important American writers from the South, including Eudora Welty, Flannery O'Connor, Katherine Anne Porter, Kaye Gibbons, Doris Betts, Ellen Gilchrist, Carson McCullers, Elizabeth Spencer, Dorothy Allison and Alice Walker.  Their regional perspectives—on love and loyalty, independence and work, race and family—underpin a unique sense of place and a rootedness in tradition that permeates their work.

EN 349 Women Writers

A study of the writings of British and American women in the past two centuries. Attention will be given to how race, class and colonial status complicate questions of gender. Writers such as Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Jean Rhys, Virginia Woolf and Toni Morrison will be included.  Offered fall semester of even-numbered years.

EN 351/FR 351 French Women Writers in English Translation

This course explores women's writing from the unique literary and cultural perspectives of French speaking society. Readings include such authors as Madame de Sevigne, George Sand, Simone de Beauvoir, Colette, Nathalie Sarraute, and Marguerite Duras. The course also includes writings by francophone West African, Caribbean and Canadian authors. Offered spring semester of odd-numbered years.

EN 355/FR 355 Sex and Gender in Medieval French Literature

Medieval France saw a new flowering of interest in romantic love, but also  a new  imposition of control over sexual behavior by the  Church. As a result there was an explosion of literature both celebrating and condemning a wide variety of erotic attitudes and practices, composed by churchmen, noblemen, and the few women who achieved the education and authority to write. We will read troubadour love lyrics, Arthurian romances,  poems debating the merits of same-sex love,  and  selections from  Christine de Pizan, widely considered to be Europe’s first feminist. The course counts as an elective for the English major and the French minor. All texts, whether written in French or Latin, will be read in English translation.

GOV 272 Feminist Political Thought

Introduction to major concepts in modern and contemporary feminist political theory. Critical analysis of key texts that address feminist topics from a variety of perspectives. Examines many issues raised by African-American, Third world, postcolonial, poststructuralist, and transnational thought.

HI 257 Sex and Society in Christian Europe

The development of Christian notions of male and female sexuality from c.400 A.D. to c.1650 A.D., changing gender roles from the early middle ages to the seventeenth century, and the impact of gender on culture and on political and social organization. Topics will include the rise of chivalric culture, attitudes toward chastity and prostitution, the history of costume and cross-dressing, and witchcraft. Offered as required.

HI 226/GOV 218 Topics in History and Politics of Gender

An Introduction to the history of gender relations in America, including a discussion of feminist theories, gender in contemporary culture, and the politics of gender. Offered as required.

HI 282 Working Stiffs and Welfare Moms: Love and Labor in the Modern World

Why have Europeans created a safety net for children and wage-earners that differs from that in the U.S. and how did it happen? This course analyzes changes in leisure, work, and family relations over the past century. Students will debate current controversies such as labor discrimination, sweatshops, privatizing social security, and parental leave. How did immigration, globalization, wars, and fears of national and “racial” decline affect policy? Other topics addressed include: employment law, unions, and business practices; socialism, feminism, and civil rights; cultural representations of labor and gender; child-care and social work. The course will include guest lecturers, films, and visits to sites of labor history and social reform in New York City. Offered as required.

HI 286 On the Screen: Gender, Class, and Culture in Film

This course offers students the two-fold opportunity to gain a better understanding of the history of the twentieth century and to become cultural critics of the cinema. Beginning with the invention of motion pictures in 1895 to the present, the course will trace the evolution of technology, style and meaning in mass entertainment in Europe, the U.S. and throughout the world. Films will be examined as cultural artifacts of their society, with particular attention to gender, sexuality, class, and ethnics and national identities. Works by major twentieth century directors, including such films as The Blue Angel (Germany, 1930) and Bicycle Thief (Italy, 1948) will be critiqued. Students will visit the Museum of the Moving Image and other independent cinema venues in New York City. Offered as required.

HI 291 Women in the Third World, Past and Present (I)

Women in the Third World countries have surmounted various obstacles to become active participants in a competitive world, both as local activists and national political leaders.  Case studies of women in Africa and Asia from the late 19th century to the present will be used.  This course explores how imperialism, nationalism, industrialism, urbanization and globalization have contributed to the construction of gendered societies. Themes include religion, the economy, the family, national liberation, feminist and women movements, education, women’s literature, sexuality, and relations between Third World and “Western” women.

NR 212 Human Sexuality Across the Life Span (D)

This is a survey course designed to provide the student with a factual background on human sexuality. Historical and research perspectives are integrated throughout the course as well as discussion, and examination of differing view points and current issues.

PH 204 Philosophy of Feminism

This course examines the characteristic trends (e.g. Existentialist, Liberal, Libertarian, Marxist, and Postmodern) positions, and topics (e.g. knowledge, politics, ethics, sex, gender, identity; heterosexuality, alternative lifestyles and family; sexism, misogyny, and equality) of feminist philosophers and their philosophical and cultural impact.  Authors may include Anscombe, Benhabib, Butler, de Beauvoir, Cixous,  Irigaray, Kristeva, Fraser, Frye, MacKinnon, Nussbaum, and Paglia. Offered as Required.

PS 241 Psychology of Gender (D)

This course examines the similarities and differences between men and women from a psychological perspective, with emphasis on the following themes: major theories of gender development, including the psychoanalytic, cognitive, and behavioral models; the development of gender roles across the life span; application of schema theory to the understanding of gender; examination of biological and psychological sources of gender awareness; and exploration of gender issues in film and media.

PS 243/SO243 Violence and Aggression (D)

In this one-unit Intermediate Learning Community, students explore violence and aggression as emotional, economic, historial and sociocultural phenomena. The course examines social, psychological and historical context with a focus on diverse groups' experiences. Topics include media and aggression, violence in the meat industry, relational and physical aggression common in our homes, schools and workplaces, and understandings of conflict resolution. Offered as required during spring semesters.

PS 245 Psychology of Boys and Men

An examination of male psychological development from boyhood through old age. Topics include the anthropology of manhood, masculinities, men's attitudes toward women, being a son, being a father, male homosexuality, the spiritual life of men, and psychological disorders peculiar to boys and men. Offered as required.

PS 247 Other Sexualities (D)

This course considers the meaning, expression and experience of sexual and erotic life other than heterosexuality, in historical context and from the perspective of contemporary psychiatry and gender studies. Topics include the origin of sexuality as a topic in developmental and forensic psychology, male homosexuality and lesbianism, bisexuality, transgenderism, and the paraphilias, including sexual sadism and sexual masochism, fetishism and transvestic fetishism (cross-dressing), exhibitionism, voyeurism, and pedophilia. Emphasis will be placed on both theoretical and experiential accounts of the meaning of these sexualities for individuals. Careful distinctions are made between biological sex, assigned sex, sex of identification, gender and sexual orientation. Illustrations are drawn from psychiatry, queer (alternatives) studies, sociobiology, philosophy and literature. Readings include texts by psychologists and sexologiest (Kraftt-Ebing, Ellis, Moll, Freud, Ferenczi, Money, Katz), representatives of contemporary psychiatry, and theoreticians and advocates representing lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender (LGBT) studies and gender studies literature (Sedgwick, Halberstam). Offered as required. No prerequisites.

RE 220 Forbidden Knowledge: The Power of Myth in Genesis

This course is an intensive reading and discussion of the meanings of the Book of Genesis. The mythic themes and literary motifs of its magnificent but often infuriating stories are examined: e.g., the moral ambiguity and imperfection of Genesis' human heroes, the first man and woman's desire for knowledge despite the consequences. The relationship between Creation and why we die, the idea of Original Sin, the ultimate reason for human suffering, and the paradox of a God who is both blessed and flawed. In addition, this course attempts to uncover the narrator's perspective not only of Israel's patriarchs but also of the paradigmatic role that its matriarchs play in the sensitive treatment of the fragile nature of God's promise.

RE 224 Mary Magdalene and Judas

This course will examine the roles of Mary Magdalene and Judas in the New Testament Gospels as well as in the second-century Gospels of Mary Magdalene & Judas and also in the other so-called Gnostic gospels that were not canonized. The course will also focus on gender-related issues regarding these two figures. Students will participate with oral reports, papers and a research paper. The course will be offered biannually in the fall semesters.

SO 201 Courtship and Marriage

An examination of the forms and functions of courtship and marriage patterns in relationship to individual and social needs. Analysis of sex-related roles and the changing patterns of these roles in marriage and courtship.

SO 210 Growing Up Female (D)

This course explores what it means to grow up female in the United States.  We will consider differences and similarities in the experiences of girls across lines of class, race and sexual orientation.  We will examine how gender defines girls’ experiences and how some girls resist these definitions.  Sigmund Freud once called work and love the central arenas of human life.  We will examine what it means to grow up and be female in these two areas, along with an examination of the representation of women in the larger culture, and of violence in the lives of girls.  We will make use of a variety of texts in exploring cultural notions of female “nature” and so-called women’s work, the expectations “experts” have of girls and women, the representation of girls in the mass media, and girls’ own stories about their lives, romances and sexuality.

SO 213 Sexualities and the Social (D)

Ranging from pre-colonial Nigerian to contemporary United States culture, “Sexualities and the Social” will examine the diverse ways human beings think about and experience sexuality, sex and gender roles, intimacy and love, marriage and other forms of intimate human relationship, parenting, and domestic and sexual labor. The course will explore how both the experience and ideological meanings of human sexuality have changed in different social and historical contexts, and how sexuality permeates the social division of labor. It will investigate how the ways humans think about and organize sexuality are related to the material realities of the political economy and people’s everyday lives and work. Special attention is given to differences and similarities in the experience of sexual relationships across lines of gender, sex, class, race, and sexual orientation. “Sexualities and the Social” makes use of sociological, anthropological and literary sources on sexuality, sex and gender roles including for example the following: Igbo society before and during British colonization; an early nineteenth-century British novelist’s exposé on sex and love; an American sex researcher’s exploration of human sexuality in the 1940s; second-wave feminist and conservative thinking on marriage and divorce; a late twentieth-century gay man’s autobiographical story about his partner’s death; and contemporary sociological research on domestic and sexual labor.

SO 276 Employment, Education, Household and Gender

This course examines gender differences in education, employment, demographic behavior and other household behaviors. Particular attention will be given to how gender discrimination in the labor market relates to changes in education, demographic behavior and other household behaviors. Major topics that will be covered include gender discrimination and income inequality, education, marriage and the distribution of marital power, the household division of labor, sexual behavior, reproduction and divorce.

SO 301 The Family (D)

This course explores the family as an emotional, economic, historical and sociocultural institution.  Families hold great paradox.  On the one hand, they are a deeply mundane and ordinary part of human experience; and on the other hand, families contain incredible drama, vast pain and profound love.  They both shape our individual lives and social world, and are fundamentally shaped by our society and history.  In this course, we will make use of a variety of texts in exploring the family - with a focus on the American family - through the twentieth century.  We will look at cultural notions of what families “should” be and social realities of what families actually have been/are in terms of marriage and sexuality, work, popular culture, domestic violence, and law and social policy.  Throughout the term, we will consider differences and similarities in the experiences of families across lines of class, race, gender and sexual orientation.

SP 323 Contemporary Hispanic Women Writers (I)

This course addresses the cultural, social and political currents that have changed the works of contemporary Hispanic women writers in the twentieth and twenty-first century. Feminist concepts are examined in the works of such authors as Carmen Laforet, Ana Maria Matute, Carmen Martin Gaite, Soledad Puertolas, Maria Luisa Bombal, Luisa Valenzuela, and Cristina Peri Rossi. Historical, sociological and artistic documents will also be examined for what they reveal of the changing consciousness of women in Spain and Latin America. Prerequisites: Spanish 251 or permission of instructor.  Offered spring semester of even-numbered years.