Women's Studies Program

Director: Diane Harriford; Steering Committee: Light Carruyo (Sociology), Kristin Sanchez Carter (English), Colleen Ballerino Cohen (Anthropology/Women’s Studies), Eve Dunbar (English), Marame Gueye (Africana Studies), Diane Harriford (Sociology), Susan Hiner (French), Lydia Murdoch (History), Barbara Olsen (Classics), Peipei Qiu (Japanese), Denise Walen (Drama), Laura Yow (English), Susan Zlotnick (English); Members of the Program: Elizabeth Arlyck (French), Rodica Blumenfeld (Italian), Light Carryo (Sociology), Kristin Sanchez Carter (English), Colleen Ballerino Cohen (Anthropology/Women’s Studies), Miriam Cohen (History), Lisa Collins (Art), Leslie Dunn (English), Kathleen Hart (French), Susan Hiner (French), Jean Kane (English), Eileen Leonard (Sociology), Kathryn Libin (Music), Seungsook Moon (Sociology), Lydia Murdoch (History), Leslie Offutt (History), Lisa Paravisini-Gebert (Hispanic Studies), Christine Reno (French), Karen Robertson (English/Women’s Studies), Jill Schneiderman (Earth Science and Geography), Mary Shanley (Political Science), Denise Walen (Drama), Laura Yow (English), Susan Zlotnick (English). Subject to change.

Students who wish to concentrate in the multidisciplinary program in Women’s Studies or elect the correlate sequence should consult the director of the program. With an adviser or advisers in the program, applicants plan a course of study, tailored to their particular interests and needs in the field. The concentration or correlate sequence must be approved by the adviser or advisers and the director of the program.

Requirements for Concentration: 12 units elected from at least three disciplines, including: (1) Women’s Studies 130, Introduction to Women’s Studies; (2) 1 unit in feminist theory. Feminist theory courses include Philosophy 250, Political Science 278, Political Science 376; (3) 1 unit selected from Women’s Studies 240, 241, or 251; (4) Women’s Studies 300, a 1-unit essay or project in the senior year; (5) 3 additional units at the 300-level from the list of Approved Courses. These courses must be taken in at least two departments or one department and the Women’s Studies Program; (6) 5 additional courses from the list of Approved Courses or the program’s General courses. All courses should be chosen in consultation with the adviser or the director of the program. No required courses for a concentration in Women’s Studies may be taken NRO, and no more than 3 units may be taken as ungraded work. The senior essay is graded.

Requirements for the Correlate Sequence: 6 graded units including: (1) Women’s Studies 130, Introduction to Women’s Studies; (2) 1 unit in feminist theory. Feminist theory courses include Philosophy 250, Political Science 278, Political Science 376; (3) 4 other courses from the list of Approved Courses, germane to the focus of the correlate sequence. No more than 2 units may be taken at the 100-level and at least 1 unit must be at the 300-level.

Courses taken in the major may also fulfill requirements in the correlate sequence, but the sequence must include courses from at least three departments. It is recommended that the correlate sequence adhere as closely as possible to the plan outlined below.

Freshman or Sophomore
130 Introduction to Women’s Studies
Sophomore and Junior
200-level courses germane to the sequence
a course in feminist theory
300-level course germane to the sequence

I. Program Courses

130a. and b. Introduction to Women’s Studies (1)

Multidisciplinary study of the scholarship on women, with an introduction to feminist theory and methodology. Includes contemporary and historical experiences of women in private and public spaces. Examination of how the concept of women has been constructed in literature, science, the media and other institutions, with attention to the way the construction intersects with nationality, race, class and sexuality.

Two 75-minute sessions.

160a and b. Issues in Feminism: Bodies and Texts (1)

An introduction to issues in feminism with a focus on the body, the representation of the body, and textuality. Possible issues may include reproductive rights, pornography, anorexia, prostitution, women in popular cultures, and the female voice. Specific attention is paid to the intersection of race, class, and gender. The course may include a component of body work. Ms. Hart, Mr. De Coster.

Open only to Freshmen.

Two 75-minute sessions.

204a. Gender Issues in Economics (1)

(Same as Economics 204a) An analysis of gender in education, earnings, employment, and the division of labor within the household. Topics include a study of occupational segregation, discrimination, the role of “protective legislation” in the history of labor law, and effects of changes in the labor market of the U.S. We also study the economics of marriage, divorce, and fertility. A comparative study of gender roles in other parts of the world is the final topic in the course. Ms. Johnson-Lans.

Two 75 minute sessions.

Prerequisite: Economics 101.

218a. Literature, Gender, and Sexuality: Black Feminism (1)

(Same as English 218b) This course considers matters of gender and sexuality in literary texts, criticism, and theory. The focus varies from year to year, and may include study of a historical period, literary movement, or genre; constructions of masculinity and femininity-, sexual identities; or representations of gender in relation to race and class. This course examines the development and history of black feminism in the United States. Through reading works of fiction, memoir, and theory, we explore the central concerns of the black feminist movement, and consider black feminism’s response to Civil Rights, Black Nationalism and white feminism. Authors may include Anna Julia Cooper. Angela Davis, bell hooks, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison and others. Ms. Dunbar.

Two 75-minute sessions.

[220a. Medieval and Renaissance Culture: Women in Renaissance Culture] Ms. Robertson, Ms. Reno. (1)

Two 75 minute periods.

Not offered in 2007/08.

221a. Feminism, Knowledge, Praxis (1)

(Same as Sociology 221a). How do feminist politics inform how research, pedagogy, and social action are approached? Can feminist insights into issues of power and knowledge, intersecting inequalities, and human agency change the way we understand and represent the social world? We discuss several qualitative approaches used by feminists to document the social world (e.g., ethnography, discourse analysis, oral history). The relationship between knowledge and action will be a central concern throughout the course, Ms. Carruyo.

Two 75 minute meetings.

[230b. Women and Film] (1)

(Same as Film 230) Ms. Kozloff.

Two 75-minute sessions, plus outside screenings.

Prerequisite: One course in film or women’s studies.

Not offered in 2007/08.

231a. Women Making Music (1)

(Same as Music 231)

Two 75-minute sessions.

240b. Construction of Gender (1)

Topics vary from year to year. Topic for 2007/08: Women of Color in the U.S.: Public and Private Cultures. This course considers the production of gendered identities and practices of “women of color” in the U.S. with a focus on how they have negotiated the presumed gap between private experience and public or political form. Historical, social, and cultural connections and disjunctions between African-American, Arab-American, Asian-American, Native American, Latina, and other women are examined, especially in the context of feminism , cultural nationalism, and the scholarly discipline and practice of critical legal feminism and critical race studies. Theorists and writers considered include Patricia Williams, Kimberle Crenshaw, Cherrie Moraga, Chandra Mohanty, Lisa Lowe, and Mary Pardo. Ms. Carter.

Two 75 minute sessions.

Prerequisites: Women’s Studies 130, or permission of the instructor.

[241a. Feminist Approaches to Science and Technology] (1)

(Same as Science, Technology, and Society 241a) This course investigates the histories, paradigms, categories, assumptions, and procedures associated with gender and sexuality in scientific, technological, and medical discourse and practice. There is an underlying focus on the theme of “nature” as it is used and constructed by science and medicine. We work under the guise that “(w)e call contrary to Nature what happens contrary to custom; nothing is anything but according to nature, whatever it may be. Let this universal and natural reason drive out of us the error and astonishment that novelty brings us.” (Michel de Montaigne). We try to come to a better understanding of the ways in which our human “Nature” along with our sexualities, genders, and races are viewed, studied, “discovered,” and/or constructed by science and technology.

Two 75-minute sessions.

Not offered in 2007/08.

251a. Global Feminism (1)

(Same as International Studies 251 b) This course explores issues pertinent to women’s experiences in different Third World cultural and national contexts, focusing on feminist political analyses and activism pertaining to a range of issues affecting women. The course examines how political fundamentalism, nationalism and postcoloniality affect different women’s identities and choices, and how feminists negotiate these forces in their struggles for women’s empowerment. In addition to theoretical readings on Third World feminism, we address issues ranging from cultural practices, to issues of sexuality and reproductive rights, and issues pertaining to development and women’s place in the contemporary global economy. Ms. Kane.

[276b. Gender and Social Space] (1)

(Same as Urban Studies 276b) This course explores the inter-relation of gender and key spatial forms and practices such as the home, the city, the hotel, migration, shopping, community activism and walking at night. The course draws on feminist theoretical work from diverse fields such as geography, architecture, anthropology and urban studies not only to begin to map the gendered divisions of the social world but also to understand gender itself as a spatial practice. Ms Brawley.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2007/08.

280a. Fashion and the Feminine: Media, Consumption, and the Construction of Women’s Identity (1)

To many, the term fashion implies surface, frivolity, and deception—all of which serve to reinforce negative stereotypes of femininity. But fashion is also a powerful phenomenon born of modernity that expresses and affects deep social functions and cultural codes that may be undone by the very tools of fashion itself. In this course we consider the ways in which fashion has shaped both the notion of the feminine and the real conditions of women from 1780 to the present through a historical and cultural study of women and fashion. In the course we analyze fashion’s relation to such topics as advertising, consumption, globalization, gender identity, performativity, and the body. We focus on the intersection of fashion and feminism through examination of events like the politicization of Marie-Antoinette’s wardrobe, the rise of the department store, the dress-reform movement, sweatshop labor, and current controversies surrounding models’ weight. Our interdisciplinary approach includes the analysis of visual documentation from the early to the contemporary fashion press, historical and literary material, films and documentaries, and current fashion theory. Ms. Hiner.

282b. Women Immigrants in the United States (1)

Currently immigration to the United States has become the hottest topic. The political debate about illegal immigration is ongoing and is more controversial than ever. However, amidst the discussions, little attention is paid to the experiences of immigrants, particularly those of women. This course focuses on the experiences of women from Latin America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa who have settled in the United States from the 1980s to the present. We critically analyze immigration theories paying particular attention to how policies affect those women’s lives. We look at the ways in which gender, race, class, religion, nationality, and immigrant status shape the lives of migrant women. Topics include: immigration and settlement; labor history and contemporary employment patterns; family and career choices; relationships to home; the representation of female immigrant bodies. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course is taught through films, documentaries and plays, as well as literary texts such as novels and poems. Ms. Gueye.

285b. Women and Gender in Eastern Europe: From Communism to Post-Communism (1)

This course explores the experience of women in Eastern Europe from the early days of communism after World War 11 to the ongoing transition to capitalism and democracy since 1989. In the first half of the semester, we investigate women’s lives during communism through diverse sources such as personal accounts, historical documents, contemporary films, as well as recent scholarship. What did communism promise to women? What was the theory versus the practice of equality? What were women’s everyday lives really like during communism? The second half of the course focuses on the ongoing post-1989 transition away from communism toward “new democracies” and “new economies.” How have these dramatic changes affected the role of women and men in the private and public spheres? Did Eastern Europe’s women welcome Western feminists with open arms? How have gender representations changed as former communist citizens encounter advertising, pornography, and high-tech media? Ms. Bren.

[306b. Women’s Movements in Asia] (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 306 and Sociology 306) Ms. Moon.

Not offered in 2007/08.

[313b. Women, Science and Society] (1)

(Same as Sociology 313 and Science, Technology, and Society 313) The discourses of science and medicine are a powerful influence on constructions of the female body, and on what it means to be a woman. Within the fields of biology and biomedicine, the notion of the biological body as a universal, stable entity has claimed a neutral status. This course examines the perspectives of feminist scientists, sociologists, and historians who understand science as a fully social process tat is culturally and ideologically situated. Key authors include Linda Blum, Anne Fausto-Sterling, Donna Haraway, Sandra Harding, Ruth Hubbard, Barbara Katz-Rothman, Sue Rosser, and Bonnie Spanier. Ms. Sulik.

Not offered in 2007/08.

[366a. Seminar in African American Art and Cultural History] (1)

(Same as Art 366 and Africana 366) Topic: Vision and Critique in the Black Arts and Women’s Art Movements. Focusing on the relationships between visual culture and social movements in the U.S., this seminar examines the arts, institutions, and ideas of the Black Arts movement and Women’s Art movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Analyzing paintings, photographs, posters, quilts, collages, murals, manifestos, mixed-media works, installations, films, performances, and various systems of creation, collaboration, and display, we explore connections between art, politics, and society. Ms. Collins.

Not offered in 2007/08.

[370b. Feminism and Environmentalism] (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 370a and Science, Technology, and Society 370) This seminar takes as its departure point the claim that the women’s movement, the civil rights movement, and the environmental movement, combined with efforts on behalf of anti-classism, anti-heterosexism, and anticolonialism must be practiced and theorized as interconnected. We examine gendered discourses of natural history, explore their past origins and contemporary ramifications, and study various approaches to understanding gender and environment. We pay particular attention to feminist scholarship and activism concerning the gendered implications of development policies and practices. Course readings may include work by Susan Griffin, Donna Haraway, Maria Mies, Carolyn Merchant, Londa Schiebinger, and Vandana Shiva. Ms. Schneiderman.

Special permission.

One 2-hour meeting per week.

Not offered in 2007/08.

375a. Seminar in Women’s Studies: Thinking Women’s Bodies (1)

The course explores the place of women’s bodies in feminist scholarship and activism. It examines how the body is treated in debates about the constructed nature of sex and gender and how women deploy the material and conceptual body to resist oppressive structures and technologies. The course draws on theoretical texts, film and video, ethnography, literature, biography, and popular culture and covers topics ranging from athletics and dance to sex work and AIDS activism and includes a weekly lab/workshop in which students explore ways in which political and individual awareness may be activated, working through the body. Ms. Harriford, Ms Cohen.

Special permission.

One 2-hour meeting per week.

380b. Queer Theory (1)

The western cultural paradigm of sexual orientation has many origins. In particular, this course investigates those coming out of psychoanalysis and science—two of the dominant sources of social knowledge prevalent in our culture. We explore the view that all sexual behaviors, all concepts linking sexual behaviors to sexual identities, and all categories of “normal” and “deviant” sexualities, are social constructs, sets of signifiers which create certain types of social meaning. We see that queer theory follows feminist theory and lesbian and gay studies in rejecting the idea that sexual orientation is an essentialist category, something determined by biology or judged by eternal standards of morality and truth. We try to argue that sexuality is a complex array of social codes and forces, forms of individual activity and institutionalized power relations, which interact to shape the notions of what is “normal” what is “natural,” “essential” or “biological.” Aside from readings in both science of sex, gender, and sexual orientation and psychoanalysis, we read theoretical texts which help guide us toward a more accurate understanding of what we mean by the term ‘queer,’ what we regard as the criteria for labeling a sexual activity queer, in short, the ontology of queer or what queer is. Ms. Robertson, Mr. Schneider.

Women’s Studies 130 and relevant 200-level course desirable.

Special permission.

One 2-hour meeting per week.

384a. Women and Political Activism in Performance (1)

This course examines the role of women as subjects, authors and creators of performance as political activism throughout history. We inspect the unique position of women and children as victims of war, spoils of war, and how such realities are exposed in the convergence of theatre and political activism. A particular emphasis is given to the conjunction of performance and political upheaval which characterized the civil rights and women’s movement of the last fifty years. Contemporary acts of resistance in reaction to 9/11, Iraq, women soldiers in Iraq, Katrina, and global politics are also examined. Material includes women in political and feminist theory beginning with works from the received western cannon such as Euripides Trojan Women and Thucydides History of War to contemporary American and global texts; notable works such as Dario Fo and Franca Rame’s Peace Mom, a performance tapestry of Cindy Sheehan’s letters to George Bush, Daniela Gioseffi's Women on War (an international anthology of writings), Heather Raffo's Nine Parts of Desire, My Name is Rachel Corrie and the writings of Suzan Lori Parks. The source material for “performance” includes (but is not limited to) conventional dramatic texts, performance art, and slam/action poetry etc. The dynamic of this course is dependent on vigorous and engaging class participation. Coursework includes extensive reading, written responses, a major research paper and a practical component of an imagined theatrical protest. Ms. Whitcomb.

[385a. Women, Culture, and Development] (1)

This course examines the ongoing debates within development studies about how integration into the global economy is experienced by women around the world. Drawing on gender studies, cultural and global political economy, we explore the multiple ways in which women struggle to secure wellbeing, challenge injustice, and live meaningful lives. Ms. Carruyo.

Not offered in 2007/08.

388b. Latina Feminisms (1)

This course approaches Latina feminist practice as a highly contested and still-evolving site of cultural production. Among the issues to be explored: Latina participation in feminist coalition-building across linguistic, racial, ethnic, class, and national borders: Latina writers negotiation of poststructuralist theory; and the relationship of Latina feminist activism to other political movements in the Americas, including civil rights, nationalist, anti-colonial, and human rights movements. Ms. Carter.

One 2-hour meeting per week.

Prerequisite: Women’s Studies 130 or permission of the instructor.

II. Reading Courses

Prerequisite for reading courses: Women’s Studies 130 and one additional Women’s Studies course or course from the list of Approved Courses. Permission of the director is required for all reading courses.

[297.01. Queer Theory] ( 1/2)

The program.

Not offered in 2007/08.

297.02. Lesbian Sex and Politics in the United States ( 1/2)

The program.

[297.04. Women and Sport] ( 1/2)

The program.

Not offered in 2007/08.

III. Independent Work

Prerequisite for fieldwork or independent study: 2 units of work in Women’s Studies or from the list of Approved Courses. Permission of the director is required for all independent work.

290a or b. Field Work ( 1/2 or 1)

298a or b. Independent Study ( 1/2 or 1)

300a-300b. Senior Thesis or Project ( 1/2, 1/2)

A 1-unit thesis or project written in two semesters.

399a or b. Senior Independent Study ( 1/2 or 1)

IV. Approved Courses.

Below is a partial list of approved courses. For current offerings, consult the list circulated each term by the program, together with the Women’s Studies Handbook.

Education 252 Race, Representation and Resistance in U.S.Schools (1)

English 218 Literature, Gender, and Sexuality (1)

English 262 Post-Colonial Literatures (1)

English 319 Race and Its Metaphors (1)

History 260 Women in the U.S. to 1890 (1)

History 261 History of Women in the U.S. since 1890 (1)

Philosophy 250 Feminist Theory (1)

Political Science 278 Feminist Theory, Policy Issues (1)

Sociology 250 Sex, Gender, Society (1)

V. General Courses

Consult the list circulated each term by the program, together with the Women’s Studies Handbook.