Women's Studies Program

Director: Lydia Murdoch; Steering Committee: Light Carruyo (Sociology), Kristin Sanchez Carter (English), Colleen Ballerino Cohen (Anthropology/Women’s Studies), Eve Dunbar (English), Leslie Dunn (English), Diane Harriford (Sociology), Kathleen Hart (French), Susan Hiner (French), Jean Kane (English), Lydia Murdoch (History), Barbara Olsen (Classics), Peipei Qiu (Japanese), Karen Robertson (Women’s Studies), Laura Yow (English), Susan Zlotnick (English); Members of the Program: Elizabeth Arlyck (French), Rodica Blumenfeld (Italian), Light Carruyo (Sociology), Kristin Sanchez Carter (English), Colleen Ballerino Cohen (Anthropology/Women’s Studies), Miriam Cohen (History), Lisa Collins (Art), Eve Dunbar (English), Leslie Dunn (English), Amy Freeman (Geology), Janet Gray (Psychology), Kathleen Hart (French), Susan Hiner (French), Shirley Johnson-Lans (Economics), Jean Kane (English), Sarah Kozloff (Film), Kathryn Libin (Music), Seungsook Moon (Sociology), Lydia Murdoch (History), Uma Narayan (Philosophy), Barbara Olsen (Classics), Lisa Paravisini-Gebert (Hispanic Studies), Peggy Piesche (German Studies) Christine Reno (French), Karen Robertson (English/Women’s Studies), Jeffrey Schneider (German), Jill Schneiderman (Earth Science and Geography), Mary Shanley (Political Science), Linta Varghese (Anthropology), Silke von der Emde (German), 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)

This course is an introduction to issues in feminism with a focus on the female body and its representations. We read a variety of texts and analyze visuals from film, performance, art, cartoons and advertising. Particular focus is given to women's bodies in art, popular culture and the media, and the intersection of race, class and gender. This is a writing-focused course. In addition to three traditional critical essays, students experiment with other forms of writing such as journals, comic strips, film review, op-ed essays and responses to visuals. This course stresses the development of analytical thinking, clarity of expression and originality.

Two 75-minute sessions.

Not offered in 2009/10.

185a. Gender Social Problems, and Social Change in the Contemporary U.S.(1)

(Same as Political Science 185a and Sociology 185a) ) This introduces students to a variety of social problems and the possibilities of social change. It examines general issues such as economic inequality and poverty, racial and ethnic inequality, and social inequality based on gender and sexual orientation. It then looks at the ways in which these problems manifest themselves in institutions and policies concerning education, health care, the family, the criminal justice system and the environment.  Within each of these areas of concern, we focus on the ways in which the issues relate specifically to women and gender. We also discuss social movements that have attempted to address economic, racial, and gender inequality, and concrete proposals to address the problems we study.  Ms. Leonard, Ms. Shanley.

One 3-hour per week session

Prerequisites: permission of the instructor

201b. Jewish Texuality: Sources and Subversions(1)

(Same as Jewish Studies and Religion 201b.) Jewish tradition consists of a series of developments from the biblical stratum of text and practice through rabbinic interpretations and medieval, modern and postmodern revisions, reforms and even rejections of those interpretations. This course examines themes in Jewish life and thought from their biblical roots to their postmodern reinventions or reclamations.

Topic for 2009/10: Women in Judaism: Oppressed, Rebellious, Empowered. An exploration of key moments in the experience of Jewish women throughout history, building on an analysis of primary sources (Hebrew Bible and the corpus of rabbinic literature) custom, and non-religious cultural factors, and the implications and repercussions of all of these for the lived experience of women in a variety of Jewish societies up to and including the postmodern era. All sources in translation. Instructor: Ms. Veto

Jewish Studies 101 or by permission.

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.

218b. Literature, Gender, and Sexuality(1)

(Same as Africana Studies 218a and English 218a) 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.

Topic for 2009/10: Black Feminism. 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.

[ 220b. Medieval and Renaissance Culture: Women in Renaissance Culture ](1)

Ms. Robertson, Ms. Reno.

Two 75-minute periods.

[ 221b. Feminism, Knowledge, Praxis ](1)

(Same as Sociology 221b) How do feminist politics inform how research, pedagogy, and social action are approached? Can feminist anti-racist praxis and insights into issues of race, 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). Additionally, we explore and engage with contemplative practices such as mediation, movement, and creative-visualization. Our goal is to develop an understanding of the relationship between power, knowledge and action and to collectively envision healing forms of critical social inquiry. Ms. Carruyo.

[ 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 2009/10.

[ 231a. Women Making Music ](1)

(Same as Music 231)

Two 75-minute sessions.

Not offered in 2009/10.

240b. Construction of Gender(1)

Topics vary from year to year.

Topic for 2009/10: Representations of Gender in American Popular Media. From the perspective of feminist cultural studies the course considers aspects of contemporary American culture: movies, toys, television, popular fiction, cultural rituals and ceremonies. Ms. Robertson, Mr. Schneider.

Two 75-minute sessions.

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

250b. Feminist Theory(1)

(Sames as Philosophy 250b) Examination of the theoretical sources and commitments of different feminist perspectives (including liberal, socialist, radical, psychoanalytic, and postmodern) and their bearing on such topics as the body, mothering, sexuality, racism, relations among First- and Third-World women. Ms. Narayan.

Prerequisite: 1 unit of philosophy or women's studies 130.

251a. Global Feminism(1)

(Same as International Studies 251a) 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 Narayan.

259b. The History of the Family in Early Modern Europe(1)

(Same as History) This course examines the changing notions of family, marriage, and childhood between 1500 and 1800 and their ties to the larger early modern context. During this period, Europeans came to see the family less as a network of social and political relationships and more as a set of bonds based on intimacy and affection. Major topics include family and politics in the Italian city-state, the Reformation and witchcraft, absolutism, and paternal authority, and the increasing importance of the idea of the nuclear family. Ms. Choudhury.

260b. Women in the United States to 1890(1)

(Same as History 260) An examination of women's social, economic, and political roles in colonial America and the eighteenth and nineteenth century U.S. The course emphasizes varieties of experience based on race, ethnicity, class, and region. Major issues include the household and other workplaces, changes in society and family life, slavery and emancipation, and women's growing influence in public affairs from the Revolution to the Gilded Age. Ms. Edwards.

Two 75-minute sessions.

[ 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 sessions

Not offered in 2009/10.

281a. Gender and Politics(1)

(Same as Political Science 281)
This course examines the relationship between gender and politics.  Drawing on the experiences of women in different countries, topics covered include international women's movements, state feminism, women as political candidates, as politicians and gender quotas.  Throughout the course, we remain attentive to the underlying impact of cultural and economic structures that affect women's political participation.

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

This course explores the experience of women and related questions of gender from the 1917 Soviet Revolution to communist rule in Eastern Europe after World War II to the still ongoing transition to capitalism since the fall of the Wall in 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 like during communism? The second half of the course will focus 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 public and private spheres? Why did Eastern Europe's women not welcome Western feminists with open arms? How have gender representations changed as former communist citizens encounter capitalism and its byproducts, such as advertising, pornography, and high-tech media? Ms. Bren.

Two 75- minute sessions; no prerequisites required.

288a. Constructing the Second Wave(1)

Second-wave feminism was a political movement imagined and disseminated in the fiction and poetry of the era and energized by the recovery of a tradition of women's writing. Novelists and poets challenged traditional models of femininity while the presses founded in the 1970s and 1980s republished earlier women writers and assembled anthologies of new writing. Feminist bookstores provided a central location for the meeting of women as well as the sale of books. This course examines bestsellers of the movement and more experimental fiction, particularly feminist science fiction, within the context of the feminist presses and the founding of Ms. magazine. Writers may include, Lisa Alther, Margaret Atwood, Marilyn French, June Jordan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ursula LeGuin, Audre Lorde, Tillie Olsen, Grace Paley, Marge Piercy, Adrienne Rich, and Alice Walker. Ms. Robertson.

Two 75- minute sessions.

[ 306b. Women's Movements in Asia ](1)

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

Not offered in 2009/10.

[ 331 Gender, Resources and Justice ](1)

(Same as Earth Science and Society 331) This multidisciplinary course acquaints students with the debates and theoretical approaches involved in understanding resource issues from a gender and justice perspective. It is intended for those in the social and natural sciences who, while familiar with their own disciplinary approaches to resource issues, are not familiar with gendered perspectives on resource issues and the activism that surrounds them. It is also appropriate for students of gender studies unfamiliar with feminist scholarship in this area. Increasing concern for the development of more sustainable production systems has led to consideration of the ways in which gender, race, and class influence human-earth interactions. The course examines conceptual issues related to gender studies, earth systems, and land-use policies. It interrogates the complex intersections of activists, agencies and institutions in the global arena through a focus on contested power relations. The readings, videos and other materials used in the class are drawn from both the South and the North to familiarize students with the similarities and differences in gendered relationships to the earth, access to resources, and resource justice activism. Ms. Schneiderman.

One 2-hour period.

341b. Studies in the Renaissance(1)

(Same as English 341b.) Intensive study of selected Renaissance texts and the questions they raise about their context and interpretation.

Topic for 2009/10: Elizabeth I: Representation of the Virgin Queen in iconography, poetry, and prose. Ms. Robertson.

[ 362. Women in Japanese and Chinese Literature ](1)

(Same as Chinese and Japanese 362)

Not offered in 2009/10.

[ 366b. 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 2009/10.

[ 370b. Feminist Perspectives on Environmentalism ](1)

(Same as Environmental Studies 370a and Science, Technology, and Society 370) In this seminar we explore some basic concepts and approaches within feminist environmental analysis paying particular attention to feminist theory and its relevance to environmental issues. We examine a range of feminist research and analysis in ‘environmental studies' that is connected by the recognition that gender subordination and environmental destruction are related phenomena. That is, they are the linked outcomes of forms of interactions with nature that are shaped by hierarchy and dominance, and they have global relevance. The course helps students discover the expansive contributions of feminist analysis and action to environmental research and advocacy; it provides the chance for students to apply the contributions of a feminist perspective to their own specific environmental interests. Ms. Schneiderman.

Special permission.

One 2-hour meeting per week.

Prerequisite: Women's Studies 130 recommended.

Not offered in 2009/10.

375a. Seminar in Women's Studies: Women and Class(1)

Topic for 2009/10: Foregrounding Class. While modern identity is understood to reside at the intersections of race, class, gender, nation and sexuality class is the component that has received the least attention in recent feminist studies. To address this over- sight, this course foregrounds the construction of class in twentieth-century Britain and America. We begin with a brief theoretical overview of class and then address a range of topics. Theoretical readings by Karl Marx, Thorsten Veblen, Raynod Williams, Heidi Hartmann, and Carolyn Steedman are supplemented by novels, memoirs, non-fiction essays, as well as films and television programs. The goal of the course is to make class a more visible category. Ms. Robertson, Ms. Zlotnick.

Special permission.

One 2-hour meeting per week.

[ 380a. 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.

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

Special permission.

One 2-hour meeting per week.

Not offered in 2009/10.

384a. Transnational Queer: Genders, Sexualities, Identities(1)

(Same as College Course 384a and International Studies 384a) What does it mean to be Queer? This seminar examines, critiques, and interrogates queer identities and constructions in France and North America. In what ways do diverse cultures engage with discourses on gender and sexuality? Can or should our understanding of queerness change depending on cultural contexts? Through guest lectures and discussion seminars, the course examines a broad range of queer cultural production, from fiction to cinema and performance. Topics include such diverse issues as queer bodies, national citizenship, sexual politics, legal discourse, and aesthetic representation. All lectures, readings, and discussions are in English.

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

(Same as Sociology 385) 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.

386b. Women of Color in the U.S. Public and Private Citizenship(1)

This course explores the cultural production and consumption by and of "women of color" in the U.S., with a focus on the way various groups have negotiated the presumed gap between what is represented or understood as 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. We explore the varied ways in which family, labor, and leisure practices can place women of color in social positions which blur the distinction between private and public culture, and which call for a reconsideration of the notion of "experience" itself. Theorists and writers considered include Patricia Williams, Chela Sandoval, Cherrie Moraga, Valerie Smith, and Lisa Lowe. Ms. Carter.

[ 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.

Not offered in 2009/10.

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 2009/10.

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 2009/10.

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)

Approved Courses

Approved Courses - Spring 2010

In addition to the WMST program courses, the following approved courses for the WMST major/correlate are offered in the spring.  Students are responsible for checking with the home department or program to be certain to meet the course prerequisites and/or secure appropriate permissions.

AMCL 285.51 Screening South Asian America (1)

AMCL 275.51 Ethnicity and Race in America: Whiteness (1)

ANTH 240.51 Cultural Localities: Topic for 2009/10b: South Asia and Neoliberalism (1)

ANTH 255.51 Language and Gender (1)

EDUC 353.51 Pedagogies of Difference: Critical Approaches to Education (1)

ENGL 265.51 Selected Author: Topic for 2009/10: Jane Austen (1)

FILM 216.51 Genre: Romantic Comedy (1)

FREN 355.51 Cross-Currents in French Culture: Women in the Margins (1)

GEOG 242.51 Brazil:Society/Culture/Environment/Portuguese America(Same as LALS242) (1)

HISP 228.51 Modern Spain:Postmodern Sexual Identities in Post-Franco Spain  (1)

HIST 231.51 France and Its "Others" (1)

LALS 383.51 Senior Seminar: Nation, Race & Gender in Latin America & the Caribbean  (1)

POLI 382.51 The Politics of Migration and Diasporas (1)

STS 272.51 Bioethics and Human Reproduction (1)

SOCI 317.51 Women, Crime, and Punishment (1)