Courses

AH 324H Gender in the Visual Arts (A) (C) (RR) (UU)

One unit. This course explores the relationship between gender and the visual arts, concentrating on representation of women throughout history, as well as the work of women artists. Issues of gender are examined in relation to subject matter, stylistic preference, media, reception and criticism. Issues and topics to be explored include: sexual identity in artistic production; gender, race and art; queer theory in relation to the visual arts, post-colonialism and gender, themes of motherhood, prostitution and the female body; constructions of masculinity; the gaze and the gendering of vision. We begin in the Middle Ages and continue up through the work of contemporary artists in all media including painting, sculpture, installation, photography, architecture and cinema. We will learn about these issues through seminar discussion, readings, films and first-hand viewing of works of art. Pre-requisite: any art history or gender studies course.

 

AN 251 Sex, Gender, and Culture (S) (UU)

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.

 

EC 414 Economics of Discrimination (D) / (S)

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 (Lit) (W) / (H) (L) (RR) (WW)

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.

 

EN 224 Orphans, Poverty and Scandal in 19th-century British Literature (Lit) (W) / (L) (RR) (WW)

The plight of orphans such as Dicken’s Oliver Twist, the poverty that drives flawed decision-making for Braddon’s Lady Audley and the fear of scandal that haunts many of Sherlock Holmes’s clients are examples of the issues we will study in this course. The tension between a rapidly changing society and tradition and social conventions wreaks havoc for Victorian characters. Expanding views of women’s rights, the pressure of maintaining a vast empire and the influence of increasing industrialization all challenged the familiar and comfortable ideas of nineteenth-century English people. Not open to students who have taken EN 309 or EN 324. (One Unit)

 

EN 225  Ghosts, Vampires and Civilization in English Gothic Fiction (Lit) (W) / (H) (L) (RR) (WW)

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 (Lit) (I) (W) / (H) (O) (RR) (WC)

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 (Lit) (D) / (H) (R) (UU) (WW)

This course is designed to introduce you to a selection of influential southern women writers working in a variety of genres and across a broad historical period. As we explore these writers in the context of the South, we will also investigate the cultural complexities of “Southern Women Writers” as a category in order to assess the benefits and risks of this designation. Toward this end, we will consider such questions as What counts as the South?; What are the historical stakes of literacy and literary production for women in the South?; and What are our assumptions about women’s writing, and are they valid? Additionally, we will examine how the writers on our syllabus write within and against conceptions of womanhood and region, particularly as they intersect with issues of sexuality, race, and class.

 

EN 351/FR 351 French Women Writers in English Translation (Lit) (W) (I) / (H) (RR) (WW) (U)

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 255/FR 255 Sex and Gender in Medieval French Literature (H) (RR) (U) (WW)

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.

 

FM 291 Special Topics: Women and Hollywood

This course will examine the role of women, both on screen and behind the scenes. Presented as a non-chronological survey course, week to week, students will explore noteworthy directors, screenwriters, actors, editors, producers, hyphenates, studio executives, and critics -- covering both film and television. Additionally, students will examine exactly how women appear on screen, exploring the earliest representations in 1920s Hollywood to the Bechdel test to intersectionality and trans representation today. A sample of the Hollywood figures to be explored include: Alice Guy-Blaché, Louise Brooks, Dorothy Arzner, Louella Parsons, Bette Davis, Elaine May, Polly Platt, Barbra Streisand, Mary Tyler Moore, Oprah Winfrey, Nora Ephron, Pauline Kael, Thelma Schoonmaker, Mira Nair, Shonda Rhimes, Ava DuVernay, Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Laverne Cox, and many more.

 

GOV 272 Feminist Political Thought (S)

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 226/GOV 218 Topics in History and Politics of Gender (D) / (H) (L) (R) (WC)

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 257 Sex, Power, & Identity in Europe before 1800 (W) (I) / (RR) (WW)

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 286 On the Screen: Gender, Class, and Culture in Film (W) (I) / (H) (R) (UU) (WW)

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.

 

NR 212 Human Sexuality (D) / (U)

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 (H) (RR) (UU) (WC)

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

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) / (S) (UU)

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.

 

RE 220 Forbidden Knowledge: The Power of Myth in Genesis (H)

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 (H)

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 301 Marriage and Family (D) / (L) (UU) (WC)

One Unit. This course explores marriage and the family as emotional, economic, historical and sociocultural institutions. The class gives an in-depth look at some important issues that affect marriages and families today; these issues include politics, culture, gender, sexuality, the economy, racism, social policy, and immigration. This course focuses also on the interactions between marriage, family, and society. In addition, it not only looks at the social influences on marriage and the family, but also how marriage and the family affect the social world. In this course, we will make use of a variety of texts (theoretical, historical, ethnographic) in exploring marriage and the family - with a focus on the U.S. - through the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. We will look at dominant notions of what marriage and families “should” be and social realities of what families actually have been. Attention will be paid to the contradictions between romanticized concepts of marriage and family and our lived experiences of marriage, relationships, and family. In this process we will uncover how wider social forces such as the state, the media, the workforce, race, class, and the gender system, influence our cultural notions about marriage and the family and our lived realities. Offered spring semester.

 

SO 320 Sociology of Gender (D) / (RR) (UU) (WC)

One Unit. The primary objective of this course is to develop a critical and sociologically grounded approach to the study of gender.  Questions that will be considered in this class include: What is the difference between sex and gender? What does it mean to study gender from a sociological perspective?  Are there different ways of understanding this concept? What does “doing gender” mean? What is feminism? How do social class, race, ethnicity, nationality, and age affect the meaning of gender and/or being gendered? Have concepts of femininity and masculinity changed over time? How are gender norms and gender ideals communicated through the media, religion, and the state? In addition we will consider the role of individual agency by looking at different social movements (e.g. women’s liberation, gay rights). Offered fall semester.

 

SP 323 Contemporary Hispanic Women Writers (I) / (H) (RR) (UU) (WC)

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.

 

SW 292 Introduction to Social Policy (D) / (L) (WW) (UU)

One unit. Examines problems and concepts of the policy process in the U.S., exploring the political, economic, and institutional frameworks which structure public welfare choices. This course covers problem and needs analysis, policy analysis, program development, and program evaluation. Offered as required.