Women's Studies Program

Requirements for the Concentration:  12 units elected from at least three disciplines, including: (1) Women’s Studies 130, Introduction to Women’s Studies; (2) 2 units selected from Women’s Studies 240, 241, 245, 248, 251, 277; (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) Women’s Studies 299 (Thesis Preparation) and Women’s Studies 301-302 (Thesis), a 1-unit essay or project in the senior year; (5) WMST 375, “Seminar in Women’s Studies”; (6) in addition to the thesis and 375, 2 units at the 300-level selected from Women’s Studies program courses or the list of Women’s Studies Approved Courses (300-level courses must be taken from no fewer than two departments or programs); (6) additional Women’s Studies courses selected from program courses or the list of Women’s Studies Approved 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.  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

101. A Room of One's Own (1)

Development of critical reading in various forms of literary expression, and regular practice in different kinds of writing. The content of each section varies; see the Freshman Handbook for descriptions. The department.

Open only to freshmen; satisfies college requirement for a Freshman Writing Seminar.

Although the content of each section varies, this course may not be repeated for credit; see the Freshman Handbook for descriptions.

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

(Sociology 110) 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.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

112a. Family, Law and Social Policy (1)

(Same as American Culture and Political Science 112) This course explores the ways laws and social policies intertwine with the rapid changes affecting U.S. 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 family formation using reproductive technologies. Although focusing on contemporary law and social policy, we place these issues in historical and comparative perspective. Course meets at the Taconic Correctional Facility. Ms. Dunbar and Ms. Shanley.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructors.

One 3-hour period.

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 periods.

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. Dunn.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2012/13.

II. Intermediate

203. Women in Antiquity (1)

(Same as Greek and Roman Studies 203) Greek and Roman literary and historical accounts abound with vividly drawn women such as Helen, Antigone, Medea, Livia, and Agrippina, the mother of Nero. But how representative were such figures of the daily lives of women throughout Greek and Roman antiquity? This course investigates the images and realities of women in the ancient Greek and Roman world, from the Greek Late Bronze Age (c. 1200 BCE) to the Roman Empire (up to the III c. CE) by juxtaposing evidence from literature, historical sources, and archaeological material. Throughout, the course examines the complex ways in which ancient women interacted with the institutions of the state, the family, religion, and the arts. Ms. Olsen.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2012/13.

205. Topics in Social Psychology (1)

Not offered in 2012/13.

210a. Domestic Violence (1)

(Same as Sociology 210) 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)

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.

Not offered in 2012/13.

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

(Same as Africana Studies and English 218) 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 2012/13a: Queer of Color Critique. This course considers what interventions the construction “queer of color” makes possible for queer theory, LGBT scholarship and activism, and different models of ethnic studies. We will assess the value and limitations of queer theory’s “subjectless critique” in doing cultural and political work. What kind of complications (or contradictions) does the notion “queer of color” present for subjectless critique? How might queer of color critique inform political organizing? Particular attention will be devoted to how “queer” travels. Toward this end, students will determine what conflicts are presently shaping debates around sexuality in their own communities and consider how these debates may be linked to different regional, national or transnational politics. Throughout the semester, we evaluate what "queer" means and what kind of work it enables. Is it an identity or an anti-identity? A verb, a noun, an adjective? An analytic mode or a kind of literacy? Mr. Perez.

Topic for 2012/13b: Black Feminism. Meeting at the intersection between race, gender, sexuality, class and region, we explore how black women in the United States engage, contradict, and redefine notions of American "feminism" and "womanhood." In this course we read memoirs, fiction, essays and theory, listen to music and watch films by and about African-American women in order to explore black female articulations of self and community in the face of various structures that seek to oppress both. In addition to an exploration of black feminist thought, you are asked to articulate your intellectual and personal negotiation of the course materials. Ms. Dunbar.

Two 75-minute periods.

219b. Queering the Archive (1)

This course provides a review of the methodologies and theories for collecting oral histories and other forms of archiving, with attention specifically to the difficulties attending histories of queer sexualities and gender non-conformity. As a class, we learn about the practice and politics of archiving, speaking with archivists from Vassar Library’s Special Collections, the Black Gay and Lesbian Archive at the Schomburg Center, and the Lesbian Herstory Archive, as well as practitioners and scholars of public and/or oral histories, both in and outside the academy and across disciplinary boundaries. We strive in this course to think expansively and creatively about what exactly constitutes archives and artifacts. As we learn and practice methodologies for oral history, we inquire also into what it might mean to queer those practices, especially if we think of “queerness” as anti-disciplinary. Mr. Perez.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

220b. Medieval and Renaissance Culture: Women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1)

Topic for 2012/13b: Women in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. (Same as Medieval and Renaissance Studies 220) An interdisciplinary introduction to women in European Medieval and Renaissance Cultures. Close scrutiny of primary sources, including literary texts. The course examines themes such as female agency, women and religion, gendered voices, women's literacy, and gendered spaces. Ms. Robertson.

Two 75-minute periods.

231. Women Making Music (1)

(Same as Music 231) 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 permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2012/13.

234a. Women in American Musical Theater (1)

(Same as Drama 234) 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 Mame defy sentimental appeal and traditional feminine norms. Do contemporary musicals, from the Disney franchise, to Hairspray and Wicked, to recent Tony winners such as Spring 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 periods.

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. Ms. Robertson.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

241a. Topics in the Construction of Gender: Fashion and the Feminine (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. May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Topic for 2012/13a: Fashion and the Feminine. (Same as International Studies 241) In this course we consider the ways in which fashion and, in particular, the Western fashion system has shaped both the notion of the feminine and the real conditions of women from the late eighteenth century to the present through a historical and cultural study of women and fashion. We analyze fashion’s relation to such topics as advertising, consumption, global production, gender identity, performativity, and the body. We focus on the intersection of fashion and feminism through examination of themes like the cultural politics of clothing, the feminization of consumption, the dress-reform movement, sweatshop labor, the beauty industry, 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, television and documentaries, and current fashion theory. Ms. Hiner.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

245a. Making Waves:Topics in Feminist Activism: Essential Reads(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. May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Topic for 2012/13a: Essential Reads. This course is a creative interdisciplinary exploration of key texts that inspired, shaped, and stretched feminist thought and activism in the U.S. during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. Ms. Collins.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

248. 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.

Not offered in 2012/13.

250a. Feminist Theory (1)

(Same as Philosophy 250) 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.

Prerequisite: 1 unit of philosophy or women’s studies.

Two 75-minute periods.

251a. Global Feminism (1)

(Same as International Studies 251) 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 periods.

254. 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 periods.

Not offered in 2012/13.

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

(Same as History 259) 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 periods.

Not offered in 2012/13.

260. Sex & Reproduction in 19th Century United States: Before Margaret Sanger (1)

(Same as History 260) Focusing on the United States from roughly 1800 to 1900, this course explores sex and reproduction and their relationship to broader transformations in society, politics, and women’s rights. Among the issues considered are birth patterns on the frontier and in the slave South; industrialization, urbanization, and falling fertility; the rise of sex radicalism; and the emergence of “heterosexual” and “homosexual” as categories of identity. The course examines public scandals, such as the infamous Beecher-Tilton adultery trial, and the controversy over education and women’s health that was prompted by the opening of Vassar College. The course ends by tracing the complex impact of the Comstock law (1873) and the emergence of a modern movement for birth control. Ms. Edwards.

Two 75-minute periods.

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

(Same as History 261) 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 periods.

Not offered in 2012/13.

262b. Native American Women (1)

(Same as American Culture 262) 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 periods.

264. African American Women's History (1)

(Same as Africana Studies 264) In this interdisciplinary course, we explore the roles of black women in the U.S. as thinkers, activists, and creators during the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Focusing on the intellectual work, social activism, and cultural expression of a diverse group of African American women, we examine how they have understood their lives, resisted oppression, constructed emancipatory visions, and struggled to change society. Ms. Collins.

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2012/13.

270a. Gender and Social Space (1)

(Same as Geography and Urban Studies 270) 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 periods.

277. Gender, Race, and Nature (1)

In this course we will think carefully about the concepts of "nature" and the "natural." What are the various American myths about nature? How are the concepts of "nature" and the "natural" used in American culture to justify social inequalities based on gender, race, and class? What are the consequences for environments, both natural and built, of American myths about nature? We will consider the relationship between these questions and their utility for addressing 21st century environmental issues. Students will gain practical experience using interdisciplinary resources and methods and will encounter time periods ranging from the colonial to contemporary. We will emphasize writing and critical thinking. Reading materials will include historical narratives, political polemics, personal stories, and theoretical analyses. Students will acquire tools to evaluate mainstream and radical environmental discourse. Ultimately students will attend to the complexly intertwined representations of nature, gender, race, class and sexuality in U.S. popular culture. Ms. Schneiderman.

Two 75-minute periods.

282b. Psychology of Gender: Attraction, Repulsion, Lust, and Love (1/2)

(Same as Psychology 282) Using psychological science as the foundation, this course focuses on current perspectives and empirical research concerning gender-related behavior in select domains. We address questions related to the development of gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation, and explore some of the ways in which gender roles and cultural expectations influence behavior. Topics may include interpersonal attraction and dating, romantic relationships, sexual behavior, stereotypes, and prejudice. The course highlights the importance of considering the ways in which culture, race, ethnicity, and class shape the questions posed and the information revealed when trying to understand women’s lives. Ms. Morrow.

Prerequisite: Women's Studies 130; or Psychology 105 or 106; or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

First and second 6-week course.

286b. Partners & Crime: Queer Outlaws in Latin American and Iberian Literature and Film (1/2)

(Same as Latin American and Latino/a Studies 286) This course will look at the intersection of sexuality and legality in literature and film. Beginning with the buddy cop film and canonical texts on homosociability, we will see how certain genders/sexualities come to be on the right side of the law and how these norms are quite literally policed. We will then move on to contrast a selection of writings and films from Latin American and Iberian contexts (possible works could include: Before Night Falls, Burnt Money, Kiss of the Spider Woman, My Tender Matador, Our Lady of the Assassins, Madam Sata, O Fantasma, Suddenly, El Mar, etc), whose queer protagonists choose not to seek acceptance and decide to move outside of the law. Through bank robbery, border crossing, terrorism, etc these figures threaten not only the sexual order but also structures of class, race, and national security. We will have to inquire into the true nature of these crimes, and also try and decide to what degree these figures are queered because of their criminality. These will be analyzed together with critical works on queer and dissident genders and sexualities. Mr. Barreto.

Two 75-minute periods.

First 6 weeks of semester.

287a. 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.

Yearlong 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 period.

Not offered in 2012/13.

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 period.

Not offered in 2012/13.

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.

Not offered in 2012/13.

341a. Studies in the Renaissance (1)

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

Topic for 2012/13a: Performing Women in Early Modern England. (Same as English 341) This course draws on both historical evidence and the perspectives of contemporary feminist criticism to explore the performance of gender in early modern English culture. We’ll begin by unpacking the discourses of gender difference in a range of early modern texts. Then we’ll consider the transvestite theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as a site where masculinity and femininity were impersonated, sometimes to unsettling or subversive effect. We’ll also consider some lyric representations of feminine performance, in which the female body and voice often served as vehicles for negotiating the male poet’s own concerns. Then we’ll shift our focus from men performing women to women performing themselves. Though barred from the professional stage, early modern women had many spaces, both public and private, in which to act, from the political stage on which Queen Elizabeth I enacted female power, to the court masques in which Queen Anne and her ladies danced, to the household rooms in which women played instruments, sang songs, and wrote and performed their own plays. In illumining these spaces of women’s performance, we’ll put particular emphasis on the ways in which they could be used to re-imagine gendered social roles. Ms. Dunn.

One 2-hour period.

350. Confronting Modernity (1)

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

(Same as History 355) 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.

Not offered in 2012/13.

362. Women in Japanese and Chinese Literature (1)

(Same as Asian Studies and Chinese and Japanese 362) 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 the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2012/13.

366b. Art and Activism: Vision and Critique in the Black Arts and Women's Art Movements in the US (1)

(Same as Africana Studies, American Culture, and Art 366) 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 the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

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

(Same as American Culture and Art 367) 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.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2012/13.

370. 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.

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

One 2-hour period.

Not offered in 2012/13.

375b. Seminar in Women's Studies: Gender, Race, and Science(1)

Topic for 2012/13b: Gender, Race, and Science. (Same as Science, Technology, and Society 375) This multidisciplinary course critically examines the intersections between science and the categories of gender, race, class, and sexuality. The course explores the ways that science and culture construct such categories and how the constructions play out in society. We will consider how these constructions and the practice of science matter in terms of health care, education, foods, the environment, safety, careers, and power in society. We will examine the historical and current relationships between ‘western’ science, multicultural sciences, imperialism, and economic globalization. Throughout the course, we will ask how the social institution and power of science itself is affected by gender, race, class, and sexualtiy. For instance, who does science and who decides which projects to pursue and what constitutes a ‘fact’? Finally, we will investigate people’s alternative approaches to constructing knowledge. Mr. Fiss, Ms.Schneiderman.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Prerequisite: Women’s Studies 130.

One 2-hour period.

380a. 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 a relevant 200-level course desirable.

Two 75-minute periods.

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 2012/13.

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.

By special permission.

Prerequisites: Freshman Writing Seminar and one 200-level course.

One 3-hour period.

Not offered in 2012/13.

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.

Not offered in 2012/13.

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 278 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)

Philosophy 270 Queer Theory: Choreographies of Sex and Gender (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)