Women's Studies Program - 2011/12 Catalogue - Vassar College

Requirements for the Concentration:  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.  No more than 2 units at the 100-level may count towards the Women's Studies minimum requirement of 12 units.  The senior thesis is graded.

Senior-Year Requirements: Women’s Studies 299 (.5 unit, Thesis Preparation) and Women’s Studies 301-302 (total of 1.0 unit, Thesis).

Requirements for the Correlate Sequence: 6 graded units including: (1) Women’s Studies 130, Introduction to Women’s Studies; (2) 1 unit chosen from Women’s Studies 240, 241, 245, 248, 277, 251; (3) 1 unit in feminist theory, chosen from Women’s Studies 250, 278, 376, or an equivalent course approved by the steering committee by petition; (4) 3 other courses from the list of Women’s Studies 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.

I. Introductory

110a. Gender, Social Problems and Social Change (1)

(Sociology 110a.) This course introduces students to a variety of social problems using insights from political science, sociology, and gender studies. We begin with an exploration of the sociological perspective, and how social problems are defined as such. We then examine the general issues of inequalities based on economic and employment status, racial and ethnic identity, and gender and sexual orientation. We apply these categories of analysis to problems facing the educational system and the criminal justice system. As we examine specific issues, we discuss political processes, social movements, and individual actions that people have used to address these problems. Ms. Leonard.

This class is taught at the Taconic Correctional Facility for Women to a combined class of Vassar and Taconic students.

Permission of instructor.

One 3-hour meeting.

112. Family, Law and Social Policy (1)

(Same as Political Science and Sociology 112)This course explores the ways laws and social policies intertwine with the rapid changes affecting US families in the 21st century. We focus on ways in which public policies both respond to and try to influence changes in family composition and structure. The topics we explore may include marriage (including same-sex and polygamous marriage); the nuclear family and alternative family forms; domestic violence and the law; incarcerated parents and their children; juvenile justice and families; transnational families; and reproductive technologies. Although focusing on contemporary law and social policy, we place these issues in historical and comparative perspective. By permission of the instructor. Ms. Leonard, Ms. Shanley.

One 3-hour meeting.

Not offered in 2011/12.

130. a 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. 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. Ms. Hart.

Two 75-minute sessions.

II. Intermediate

204. Gender Issues in Economics (1)

(Same as Economics 204) 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.

Prerequisite: Economics 101.

Two 75-minute sessions.

Not offered in 2011/12.

205. Topics in Social Psychology (1)

(Same as Jewish Studies 205b. and Psychology 205b.)

Prejudice and Persuasion: This course introduces students to the discipline of social psychology via the in-depth exploration of two areas of inquiry: prejudice and persuasion. A central goal of this course is to advance your understanding of the processes underlying social perception interaction and influence. To this end, we shall examine classic modern, and implicit forms of sexism, racism, classism, heterosexism, and antisemitism, as well as explore ways of reducing prejudice and discrimination. We shall examine the mechanisms underlying effective persuasion techniques by using examples from advertising, propaganda, political interest groups, and hate-groups to illustrate research findings. In addition to exposing you to the relevant research and theories, this course should help you to develop ways of conceptualizing some of the social psychological phenomena you and others confront every day. Finally, this course should increase your appreciation of the central role that empirical research plays in psychological explanations of human social behavior.

Prerequisites: Psychology 105 or 106.

Two 75-minute sessions.

Not offered in 2011/12.

210b. Domestic Violence (1)

(Same as Sociology 210b.) This course provides a general overview of the prevalence and dynamics of domestic violence in the United States and its effects on battered women. We examine the role of the Battered Women's Movement in both the development of societal awareness about domestic violence and in the initiation of legal sanctions against it. We also explore and discuss, both from a historical and present day perspective, ways in which our culture covertly and overtly condones the abuse of women by their intimate partners. Ms. DePorto.

215a. Pre-modern Drama: Text and Performance before 1800(1)

(Same as English 215) Study of selected dramatic texts and their embodiment both on the page and the stage. Authors, critical and theoretical approaches, dramatic genres, historical coverage, and themes may vary from year to year. Ms. Dunn.

220a. Medieval and Renaissance Culture: Women in Renaissance Culture (1)

(Same as History and Medieval Renaissance Studies 220)

Topic for 2010-11a: Before Feminism. From the fifteenth century until the end of the seventeenth century, European women and men argued about the nature and status of woman and their debates still engage us today. These discussions were the result of a number of critical developments, which included urbanization, increased female literacy, the rise of print culture, and Protestant and Catholic Reform. Furthermore, women, such as Isabella of Castile, Elizabeth I, Catherine de Medici, and Christina of Sweden, became powerful rulers, as a result of hereditary accidents, which gave greater urgency to the definition of woman's nature. Writers and intellectuals raised questions about woman's essence, her lineage from Eve, and her proper position in society and family. While many accepted the more conventional patriarchal framework, others resisted and challenged the denigration of woman through writing, legal action and work. We read writers and thinkers from the writer and poet Christine de Pisan to the playwright Aphra Behn. Literature, political treatises, and polemical works reveal that the discussion shifted from theological to biological definitions of woman. Studying the question of woman in this era leads us to ask what was "feminist" and "feminism" in the past and even today. Ms. Choudhury, Ms. Robertson.

Two 75-minute sessions.

231. Women Making Music (1)

(Same as Music 231b.) A study of women's involvement in Western and non-Western musical cultures. Drawing on recent work in feminist musicology and ethnomusicology, the course studies a wide range of music created by women, both past and present. It explores such topics as musical instruments and gender, voice and embodiment, access to training and performance opportunities, and representations of women musicians in art and literature. Ms. Libin.

Prerequisite: one unit in Music, or Women's Studies, or by permission of instructor.

Two 75-minute sessions.

Not offered in 2011/12.

240b. Gender in American Popular Media (1)

This course sets out to study the intersections between American popular culture and the politics of gender, race, class, and sex. Objects of study may include dolls and other toys as well as a variety of television and film genres, including classical Hollywood, documentaries, talk shows, music videos, cartoons, pornography, and independent film. Readings draw on a number of important contributions in feminist cultural analysis, cultural studies, psychoanalysis, and journalism from across the humanities and social sciences.

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

Two 75-minute sessions.

241a. Topics in the Construction of Gender:Gender, Imperial Practice, and Visual Representation (1)

This course examines the construction of gender as a social category and introduces students to various methodologies of gender studies and feminist analysis. Particular attention is given to the connections between gender, class, race, sex, and sexual identity. Topics vary from year to year and may include the study of gender in the context of a particular historical period, medicine and science, or the arts and literature.

Topic for 2011/2012: Gender, Imperial Practice, and Visual Representation.(Same as International Studies 241)This course concentrates on the politics of gender and visual representation of women in cultures other than American and European ones. Centrally, the class inquires into the status of the visual within wider systems of knowledge and power by "reading" imperial images created in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and investigating contemporary women's responses to them. Course topics include the construction of authenticity, the commodification of the exotic, investments in primitivism, the cultural shaping of space, and the notion of the "gaze," with attention to the imperial female as well as the masculine representations of subaltern women's bodies and spaces. We also examine representations created by contemporary women artists from these formerly colonized cultures. Through paintings and postcards, exhibitions and advertisements, films and ethnographic photographs, cityscapes and imagined Edens, the course exhumes the ways in which sexual ideology is uniquely enmeshed in visual culture. Ms. Kane.

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

Two 75-minute sessions.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

245b. Making Waves:Topics in Feminist Activism: Women and Gender in Eastern Europe (1)

This course is a study of feminist activism in all its forms. Topics vary from year to year and may include the examination of first-, second-, or third-wave feminism, as well as feminist moments that offer alternatives to the “wave” model, including pre-modern and non-western challenges to the legal, social, and economic restrictions on women.

Topic for 2011/2012: Women and Gender in Eastern Europe: From Communism to Post-Communism. This course explores the experience of women, and related questions of gender, from the 1917 Soviet Revolution through communist rule in the Eastern Bloc to the transition to capitalism after 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 were women’s everyday lives like during communism? What was the theory versus the practice of equality? 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 in the public and private spheres, and reshaped women’s needs and demands? Why did Eastern Europe’s women not welcome Western feminists with open arms? How have gender representations and feminist priorities changed as former communist citizens encounter capitalism and its byproducts, including advertising and downsizing? Ms. Bren.

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

Two 75 minute meetings.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

248b. Gender and Science (1)

(Same as Science Technology and Society 248) This class introduces the subfield of STS and women's studies that has been variously labeled "gender and science," "women and science," "feminist critiques of science," and "feminist science studies." We consider the methodological perspectives of a wide range of authors, including Judith Butler, Evelyn Fox Keller, Joan Wallach Scott, Londa Schiebinger, Margaret Rossiter, Donna Haraway, Emily Martin, and Helen Longino. Topics include: histories of women in the development of the sciences; the place of feminisms in current scientific practice; debates about abortion; technologies of sex and sexuality; feminist epistemologies of science; and ways in which an awareness of gender can lead to novel approaches to science education. Mr. Fiss.

250a. Feminist Theory (1)

(Same as Philosophy 250a.) The central purpose of the course is to understand a variety of theoretical perspectives in feminism-including liberal, radical, socialist, psychoanalytic and postmodern perspectives. We will explore how each of these feminist perspectives is indebted to more ‘mainstream’ theoretical frameworks (for example, to liberal political theory, Marxism, and psychoanalysis). We will also examine the ways in which each version of feminist theory raises new questions and challenges for these ‘mainstream’ theories. We will attempt to understand the theoretical resources that each of these perspectives provides the projects of feminism, how they highlight different aspects of women’s oppression and offer a variety of different solutions. We will look at the ways in which issues of race, class and sexuality figure in various theoretical feminist perspectives and consider the divergent takes that different theoretical perspectives offer on issues such as domestic violence, pornography, housework and childcare, economic equality, and respect for cultural differences. Ms. Narayan.

Pre-requisite: 1 unit of Philosophy or Women’s Studies.

Two 75-minute sessions.

251a. Global Feminism (1)

(Same as International Studies 251a.) The course focuses on several different forms of work that women , mostly in Third World countries, do in order to earn their livelihood within the circuits of the contemporary global economy. The types of work we examine include factory work, home-based work, sex work, office work, care work, informal sector work and agricultural labor. We consider how these forms of work both benefit and burden women, and how women's work interacts with gender roles, reinforcing or transforming them. We also consider some of the general aspects of economic globalization and how it affects poor working women; migration within and across national borders, urbanization, the spread of a culture of consumption, and ecological devastation. Ms. Narayan

Two 75-minute sessions.

254a. Bio-Politics of Breast Cancer (1)

(Same as Science, Technology and Society 254.) We examine the basic scientific, clinical and epidemiological data relevant to our current understanding of the risks (including environmental, genetic, hormonal and lifestyle factors), detection, treatment (including both traditional and alternative approaches), and prevention of breast cancer. In trying to understand these data in the context of the culture of the disease, we explore the roles of the pharmaceutical companies, federal and private foundations, survivor and other activist groups, and the media in shaping research, treatment and policy strategies related to breast cancer. Ms. Gray.

Two 75-minute sessions.

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

(Same as History 259b.) 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.

Two 75-minute sessions.

260. 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

261a. History of Women in the United States Since 1890 (1)

(Same as History 261b.) Traces the changes in female employment patterns, how women combined work and family responsibilities, how changes in work and family affected women's leisure lives from the late nineteenth century through the development of postindustrial America. The course also explores the women's rights movements of the twentieth century, and how class, race, and ethnicity combined with gender to shape women's lives. Ms. Cohen.

Two 75-minute sessions.

262. Native American Women (1)

(Same as American Culture 262a.) In an effort to subjugate indigenous nations, colonizing and Christianizing enterprises in the Americas included the implicit understanding that subduing Native American women through rape and murder maintained imperial hierarchies of gender and power; this was necessary to eradicate Native people's traditional egalitarian societies and uphold the colonial agenda. Needless to say, Native women's stories and histories have been inaccurately portrayed, often tainted with nostalgia and delivered through a lens of western patriarchy and discourses of domination. Through class readings and writing assignments, discussions and films, this course examines Native women's lives by considering the intersections of gender and race through indigenous frameworks. We expose Native women's various cultural worldviews in order to reveal and assess the importance of indigenous women's voices to national and global issues such as sexual violence, environmentalism, and health. The class also takes into consideration the shortcomings of western feminisms in relation to the realities of Native women and Native people's sovereignty in general. Areas of particular importance to this course are indigenous women's urban experience, Haudenosaunee influence on early U.S. suffragists, indigenous women in the creative arts, third-gender/two-spiritedness, and Native women's traditional and contemporary roles as cultural carriers. Ms. McGlennen

Two 75-minute sessions.

Not offered in 2011/12.

270a. Gender and Social Space (1)

(Same as Geography and Urban Studies 270a.) This course explores the ways in which gender informs the spatial organization of daily life; the interrelation of gender and key spatial forms and practices such as the home, the city, the hotel, migration, shopping, community activism, and walking at night. It 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.

278b. Sex and Justice (1)

(Same as Political Science 278b.) This course explores both theories and policy issues related to gender difference and sexuality in the U.S. context. We examine the development of feminist theory after 1960, with emphasis on how issues of race, class, and sexual orientation (including queer theory) have affected analyses of gender. The course looks at the dynamic relationship between different theoretical perspectives on the one hand, and a variety of public policy issues and law on the other. Among the issues we may examine are affirmative action, family and workplace, pornography and sex work, reproductive justice (including use of reproductive technologies), same-sex marriage, and welfare reform. Ms. Shanley.

Two 75-minute sessions.

284a. Women in Musical Theater (1)

(Same as Drama 284)

This course focuses on the role of female characters in the American Musical Theater. To what extent did the portrayal of women conform to a gendered norm or stereotype in the early American stage musical? How did the popular book musicals of the 1950s and early 1960s subvert assumptions of female behavior and femininity in a conservative post-war era? Characters such as the tomboyish Nellie in South Pacific, the acerbic Momma Rose in Gypsy, the commercially shrewd but personally vulnerable Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, and the nonconformist Aunty Mame in Mamedefy sentimental appeal and traditional feminine norms. Do contemporary musicals, from the Disney franchise, to Hairspray and Wicked, to recent Tony winners such asSpring Awakening and In the Heights continue to challenge popular notions of femininity, and what part does genre play in the construction of gender? Ms. Walen.

Prerequisites: Drama 221/222 or Women's Studies 130.

Two 75-minute sessions.

285a. Pathways to Vassar: The Rise of Women's Higher Education in Historical Context (1)

(2011 A semester; 150th Anniversary Sesquicentennial Class) (Same as History 285) 

This course traces the emergence of women's higher education, focusing primarily on the United States. We consider, first, how writers began to advance new arguments for women's education, inspired by the Enlightenment, the American Revolution, and evangelical religion. We explore domesticity, the role of literacy in bourgeois and working-class female identities, women's participation in reform and politics, and radical arguments for women's rights. We study the creation of Vassar College, amid the upheavals of the Civil War, and explore early students' experiences. We also draw comparisons with female students in other educational settings. The course ends by assessing the dilemmas and achievements of early female college graduates and the place of the "Vassar Girl" in American popular culture. Ms. Edwards and participating History faculty: Ms. Bisaha, Ms. Choudhury, Ms. Cohen, Mr. Merrell, Mr. Mills, Mr. Patkus, Mr. Shimoda.

287b. The Political Economy of Gender (1)

(Same as Asian Studies and International Studies 287) This one semester course provides an overview of such issues as the history of protectionist policies in the United States (including gender-specific limits on hours of employment and working conditions, limits on ability to sign contracts, own property or vote) and the effect of 20th century feminism and the Civil Rights legislation. We examine the persistence of gender-based wage differentials throughout the world. We also consider the economics of the family ( economic theories of marriage markets and bargaining within the family), and gender issues in the developing world (access to education, health, fertility, child marriage, etc.) We use selected parts of a textbook, but also read some journal articles and law cases. Students have a choice of writing two short papers during the semester or a term paper, due at the end of the semester. Ms. Johnson-Lans.

Prerequisite: Women's Studies 130.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work (1/2 or 1)

Prerequisite for fieldwork: 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.

297. Reading Courses (1/2)

297.01. Queer Theory. The program.

297.02. Lesbian Sex and Politics in the United States. The program.

297.04. Women and Sport. The program.

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

Prerequisite for 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.

299a. Thesis Preparation (1/2)

A graded ½ unit co-requisite of the Senior Thesis, taken in the first half of the fall semester in the senior year.

1st 6-week course.

III. Advanced

301a. Senior Thesis or Project (1/2)

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

Year long course 301-302.

302b. Senior Thesis or Project (1/2)

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

Yearlong course 301-302.

306. Women's Movements in Asia (1)

(Same as Asian Studies and Sociology 306) This interdisciplinary course examines the reemergence of women's movements in contemporary Asia by focusing on their cultural and historical contexts that go beyond the theory of "resource mobilization." Drawing upon case studies from Korea, Japan, India, and China, it traces the rise of feminist consciousness and women's movements at the turn of the twentieth century, and then analyzes the relationships between contemporary women's movements and the following topics: nationalism, political democratization, capitalist industrialization, ambivalence toward modernization, and postmodern conditions. Ms. Moon.

One 2-hour session.

Not offered in 2011/12.

321. Feminism, Knowledge, Praxis (1)

(Same as Sociology 321) 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, engaged listening, 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. 

One 2-hour session.

Not offered in 2011/12.

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 session.

Not offered in 2011/12.

341b. Studies In The Renaissance (1)

(Same as English 341)

Intensive study of selected Renaissance texts and the questions they raise about their context and interpretation.

355a. Childhood and Children in Nineteenth-Century Britain (1)

(Same as History 355a.) This course examines both the social constructions of childhood and the experiences of children in Britain during the nineteenth century, a period of immense industrial and social change. We analyze the various understandings of childhood at the beginning of the century (including utilitarian, Romantic, and evangelical approaches to childhood) and explore how, by the end of the century, all social classes shared similar expectations of what it meant to be a child. Main topics include the relationships between children and parents, child labor, sexuality, education, health and welfare, abuse, delinquency, and children as imperial subjects. Ms. Murdoch.

360b. Problems in Cultural Analysis (1)

Covers a variety of current issues in modern anthropology in terms of ongoing discussion among scholars of diverse opinions rather than a rigid body of fact and theory. The department.

May be repeated for credit if topic has changed.

Prerequisites: Previous coursework in Anthropology or by permission of instructor.

Topic for 2011/12b: Women in Anthropology. (Same as Anthropology 360b.) In this course, we consider the history of cultural anthropological thought from the perspectives of women in the field from the early twentieth century to the present. Through an examination of primary works, biographies, and critical histories, we explore the participation and contribution of women anthropologists to debates and theoretical approaches engaged by the field. Theorists may include Audrey Richards, Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Zora Neale Hurston, Micaela di Leonardo, Annette Weiner, Faye Harrison and Lila Abu Lughod. Ms. Lowe Swift.

362a. Women in Japanese and Chinese Literature (1)

(Same as Asian Studies 362a. and Chinese and Japanese 362a.) An intercultural examination of the images of women presented in Japanese and Chinese narrative, drama, and poetry from their early emergence to the modern period. While giving critical attention to aesthetic issues and the gendered voices in representative works, the course also provides a comparative view of the dynamic changes in women's roles in Japan and China. All selections are in English translation. Ms. Qiu.

Prerequisite: one 200-level course in language, literature, culture or Asian Studies, or permission of instructor.

One two-hour session.

366b. Art and Activism (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 366b. American Culture 366b., Art 366b., and Urban Studies 366b.). Topic for 2011/12: Vision and Critique in the Black Arts and Women's Art Movements in the United States. 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 1960s and 1970s. 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.

Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2011/12.

367. Artists' Books from the Women's Studio Workshop (1)

(Same as Art 367b. and American Culture 367b.)

In this interdisciplinary seminar, we explore the limited edition artists' books created through the Women's Studio Workshop in Rosendale, New York. Founded in 1974, the Women's Studio Workshop encourages the voice and vision of individual women artists, and women artists associated with the workshop have, since 1979, created over 180 hand-printed books using a variety of media, including hand-made paper, letterpress, silkscreen, photography, intaglio, and ceramics. Vassar College recently became an official repository for this vibrant collection which, in the words of the workshop's co-founder, documents "the artistic activities of the longest continually operating women's workspace in the country." Working directly with the artists' books, this seminar will meet in Vassar Library's Special Collections and closely investigate the range of media, subject matter, and aesthetic sensibilities of the rare books, as well as their contexts and meanings. We will also travel to the Women's Studio Workshop to experience firsthand the artistic process in an alternative space. Ms. Collins

Permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour session.

Not offered in 2011/12.

370b. Feminist Perspectives on Environmentalism (1)

(Same as Environmental Studies and Earth Science 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.

Prerequisite: Women's Studies 130 recommended.

One 2-hour session.

375a. Seminar in Women's Studies:Latina Feminisms (1)

(Latin American and Latino/a Studies 375a) Topic for 2011/2012a: Latina Feminisms. 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.

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

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

376b. Families, Politics, and Law (1)

(Same as Political Science 376b.) This seminar examines ethical, legal, and political issues concerning state regulation of families and intimate association. We analyze both popular and legal debates over public policy concerning marriage, having and raising children, access to reproductive technologies, and adoption and foster parenting; we examine how these debates have been significantly influenced by considerations of race, national origin, class, and gender. We also analyze disputes over whether or not the state has a responsibility to support families actively through welfare, child allowances, or basic income programs. We focus primarily on the US but give some attention to family policy in other countries, and to international dimensions of issues like recognition of marriage, the families of undocumented immigrants, transnational adoption, and “fertility tourism.” We draw on works of popular culture, political theory, court decisions and legislative initiatives both in the US and abroad in exploring these issues. Ms. Shanley.

Special permission.

One two-hour session.

380b. How Queer is That? (1)

This course sets out to examine what, exactly, constitutes the object of inquiry in queer studies. What is sexuality, and how does it relate to gender, race, class, or nation? Does homosexuality designate one transhistorial and transcultural phenomenon, or do we need to distinguish premodern same-sex practices from the modern identities that emerged in the 19th century? As part of investigating the terms and methodologies associated with queer studies, the course will interrogate competing narratives about the origins of homosexuality and what is at stake in any given account. Special attention will also be paid to the intellectual and political connections between queer studies and feminism, critical race studies, postcolonialism, Marxism, etc. Additional topics may include bisexuality, tensions between mainstream tactics and subcultural formations, the closet, coming out, popular culture, debates around gay marriage, and similarities and differences between lesbian and gay culture. Readings and films will draw on works by Butler, Foucault, Freud, Halberstam, Halperin, de Lauretis, Lorde, E. Newton, Rich, M. Riggs, Sedgwick, and Wilde. Mr. Schneider.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor; Women's Studies 130 and relevant 200-level course desirable.

One 2-hour period per week.

382. Marie-Antoinette (1)

(Same as History 382) More than 200 years after her death, Marie-Antoinette continues to be an object of fascination because of her supposed excesses and her death at the guillotine. For her contemporaries, Marie-Antoinette often symbolized all that was wrong in French body politic. Through the life of Marie-Antoinette, we investigate the changing political and cultural landscape of eighteenth-century France including the French Revolution. Topics include women and power, political scandal and public opinion, fashion and self-representation, motherhood and domesticity, and revolution and gender iconography. Throughout the course, we explore the changing nature of the biographical narrative. The course also considers the legacy of Marie Antoinette as martyr and fetish object in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and her continuing relevance today. Ms. Choudhury.

Not offered in 2011/12.

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

(Same as College Course and International Studies 384) 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. Mr. Swamy.

Not offered in 2011/12.

385. Women, Culture, and Development (1)

(Same as International Studies, Latin American and Latino/a and 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.

386. 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.

Not offered in 2011/12.

388. 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.

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

One 2-hour session.

Not offered in 2011/12.

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

Prerequisite for 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.

Approved Courses

In addition to the WMST program courses, the following courses are approved for credit in WMST. Students are responsible for checking with the home department or program for information about when courses will be offered and to be certain to meet the course prerequisites and/or secure appropriate permissions. If you have a question about a course not listed below, please contact the Women's Studies Program Director.

American Culture 275 Ethnicity and Race in America: Whiteness (1)

Anthropology 255 Language and Gender (1)

Anthropology 261 Culture, Power, History (1)

Anthropology 362 Race, Ethnicity, and Gender (1)

Art 251 The Challenge of Modernity: American Art, 1865-1945 (1)

Asian Studies/Sociology 369 Masculinities: Global Perspectives (1)

Biology 384 Ecology and Evolution of Sexual Reproduction (1)

Drama 337 Seminar in Para-Theater (1)

Education 282 Education for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights (1)

Education 353 Pedagogies of Difference: Critical Approaches to Education (1)

English 101 Before there were Colleges for Women (Ms. Robertson) (1)

English 170 Approaches to Literary Studies (Ms. Graham, Mr. Perez) (1)

English 177 Virginia Woolf (Mr. Russell) (0.5)

English 262 Postcolonial Literatures (1)

English 265 Selected Author: Topic: Jane Austen (Ms. Zlotnick) (1)

English 330 American Modernism (1)

English 340 Studies in Medieval Literature: Topic: Prostitutes, Virgins, Brewers, Nuns: Medieval Women Writers and Readers (Ms. Kim) (1)

English 351 Studies in Nineteenth-Century British Literature: Topic: The Bronte Sisters (Ms. Zlotnick) (1)

Film 216 Genre: Romantic Comedy (1)

Film 231 Minorities in the Media (1)

Film 237 Indian National Cinema (1)

French and Francophone Studies 355 Cross-Currents in French Culture: Women in the Margins (1)

Geography 242 Brazil:Society/Culture/Environment/Portuguese America (Same as LALS242) (1)

Hispanic Studies 228 Modern Spain: Postmodern Sexual Identities in Post-Franco Spain (1)

History 231 France and Its "Others" (1)

History 254 Victorian Britain (1)

History 369 Themes in Twentieth Century Urban History: Social Reform and the Evolution of the Welfare State (1)

Italian 381 Gender Effects: Women in Italian Cinema (1)

Latin American and Latino/a Studies 383 Senior Seminar: Nation, Race & Gender in Latin America & the Caribbean (1)

Political Science 247 The Politics of Difference (1)

Political Science 271 Race, Gender, and Class in American Political Thought (1)

Political Science 310 Feminism of Color in the Law (1)

Political Science 382 The Politics of Migration and Diasporas (1)

STS 272 Bioethics and Human Reproduction (1)

Sociology 250 Sex, Gender, and Society (1)

Sociology 259 Social Stratification (1)

Sociology 280 Body Politics (1)

Sociology 317 Women, Crime, and Punishment (1)

Sociology 369 Masculinities: Global Perspectives (1)

Sociology 381 Race and Popular Culture (1)

Urban Studies 254 Victorian Britain (1)

Urban Studies 369 Themes in Twentieth Century Urban History: Social Reform and the the Evolution of the Welfare State (1)