Courses This Semester

The following is from the 2013/14 catalogue. View the 2014/15 Vassar College Catalogue.

I. Introductory

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

(Same as Political Science and 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 and Ms. Shanley.

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

Prerequisite: with permission of the instructor.

One 3-hour period.

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

(Same as American Studies 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.

Not offered in 2013/14.

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.

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

Topic for 2013/14b: Bodies and Texts. This course is an introduction to issues in feminism with a focus on the female body and its representations. We read and write about a variety of texts, consider historical objects as well as literary documents, and analyze visual materials from art, fashion, advertising, and film from the nineteenth century to the present. Particular focus is given to women's bodies in visual, material, and literary culture. We will make use of Vassar resources such as the Rare Book Collection, the Costume Shop and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Ms. Hiner.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

II. Intermediate

203a. Women in Greek and Roman History and Myth (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.

205. Topics in Social Psychology (1)

Not offered in 2013/14.

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.

Topic for 2013/14a: Gender Transgression on the Early Modern Stage. (Same as English 215) This course explores the dramatic representation of challenges to, and disruptions of, the gendered social order of 16th and 17th-century England. We will examine a range of figures, including shrews, witches, cross-dressers, unfaithful wives, murderous spouses, incestuous siblings, and characters whose desires cross the lines of both gender and class. While our focus will be on drama, we will also read a range of materials (legal statutes, ballads, account of trials and executions, marriage tracts), as well as contemporary theory and criticism. Ms. Dunn.

Two 75-minute periods.

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

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 2013/14b: Gender and Disability. (Same as English 218) This course examines the intersecting categories of gender, sexuality, and disability. Through a wide variety of texts, we will explore the difference that gender makes, both in socio-cultural constructions of disability and in the individual experiences of women and men with disabilities. Topics will include representations of disability in literature, art, film, and mass media; cultural ideas of beauty and the acceptable body; the impact of disability on sexuality and gender identity; intersections of disability with race, class, and nationality; and the integration of disability studies with feminist and queer theory. A particular focus will be the self-representations of disabled subjects--how they use art to “out” their disability or disease, to overcome stigma and shame, to negotiate their relationship with their worlds, and to re-imagine their lives. Disability in this course is defined broadly, to include all the ways in which a person’s body or mind may be perceived or experienced as different from the norm. Ms. Dunn.

Two 75-minute periods.

219. 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.

Not offered in 2013/14.

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.

222a. Gender and Islam: Religious Authority, Feminisms, and The Muslim Body (1)

(Same as Religion 222) Many pious women and men grapple daily with their religiosity and its sometimes wary relationship with modern life. Islam is often portrayed as both a religion and “way of life” fundamentally incompatible with modernity and since the colonial period Muslim women, in particular, have been the symbolic repository of ideas about “Islam” in general. Muslims’ religiosity is often described in terms of its social backwardness, women’s subordination to patriarchal norms, and “fundamentalist” tendencies. This course seeks to question certain assumptions in feminist and liberal thought about gender and women’s freedom and autonomy. We will examine a variety of issues including the role of religious arguments in framing gender, bodily practices, political and intimate violence, sexualities, and Islamic feminisms. Islam will be treated as a rich body of discourses and practices growing, nurtured, and challenged by women and men, Muslims and non-Muslims. Ms. Leeming.

Prerequisite: any 100-level Religion or Women's Studies course, or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

231b. 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.

234. Women in American Musical Theater (1)

(Same as Drama 234) This course focuses on the role of female characters in the American Musical Theater. The musical is both a populist and nonconventional form of drama, as such it both reflects contemporary assumptions of gendered behavior and has the potential to challenge conventional notions of normative behavior. Through an examination of librettos, music, and secondary sources covering shows from Show Boat to Spring Awakening the class will examine the way American Musicals have constructed and represented gendered identities. The class is organized thematically and will also consider issues of race, class, and sexuality as they intersect with issues of gender. Ms. Walen.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

Not offered in 2013/14.

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.

241b. Topics in the Construction of Gender (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 2013/14b: Raising Darwin’s Consciousness: Gender and Biocultural Interpretation. For the past two decades, emerging research in brain science, evolutionary psychology, cognitive linguistics and related fields has been transforming literary and cultural analysis. What are the implications of such developments for a feminist approach to cultural studies? Can we reconcile new theories of human nature with those of the social construction of gender difference? Or is evolutionary psychology inherently sexist and reactionary? What is a literary Darwinist? To pursue these questions, we examine the biocultural methods recently used by cultural studies scholars to interpret a variety of verbal and visual texts, from French and American literature and film, to the 2008 campaign rhetoric surrounding Sarah Palin and Barack Obama, to the syndicated advice column run by Amy Alkon, a.k.a., “The Advice Goddess.” Ms. Hart.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

245b. 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. Ms. Blumenfeld.

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

Two 75-minute periods.

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 2013/14.

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 2013/14.

260a. 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.

261a. Women in 20th Century America (1)

(Same as History 261) How did class, race, and ethnicity combine with gender to shape women's lives in the twentieth century? Beginning in 1890 and ending at the turn of this century, this course looks at changes in female employment patterns, how women from different backgrounds combined work and family responsibilities and women's leisure lives. We also study women's activism on behalf of political rights, moral reform, racial and economic equality, and reproductive rights. Readings include memoirs, novels, government documents, and feminist political tracts. Ms. Cohen.

Two 75-minute periods.

262. Native American Women (1)

(Same as American Studies 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.

Not offered in 2013/14.

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 2013/14.

270. 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.

Not offered in 2013/14.

277a. Gender 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.

281b. Writing Immigrant Narrative (1)

(Same as Drama and Engl 281)

Participants closely follow Raffo’s ethnographic process of creating 9 Parts of Desire using interviews with people from immigrant/migrant communities, as well as personal themes and stories resonant with the writer. The end of the course culminates in the writing of a first person narrative monologue or poem. This course focuses on creating a fictional and personally resonant character based on the well-researched life experiences of a person from a culture or position different from one's own. Final presentation is open to the campus and the public. Ms. Raffo.

Second six-week course.

Open to all classes.

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 2013/14.

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 2013/14.

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 2013/14.

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)

Not offered in 2013/14.

355a. 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.

362a. Senior Seminar: 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.

366. Art and Activism in the United States (1)

(Same as Africana Studies, American Studies, 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.

Not offered in 2013/14.

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

(Same as American Studies 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 2013/14.

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 2013/14.

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

Topic for 2013/14a: Gender and the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. (Same as Africana Studies and American Studies 375) In this interdisciplinary course, we examine the modern civil rights movement in the U.S. by foregrounding the roles and experiences of women, particularly African American women. Attentive to issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality, we study the various constraints on--and possibilities for--women activists during the movement, and theorize the impact of women's activism on U.S. society. Ms. Collins.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Prerequisite: Women’s Studies 130.

One 2-hour period.

380b. English Seminar (1)

Topic for 2013/14b: Representing Elizabeth I. (Same as English and Medieval and Renaissance Studies 380) This course considers the verbal and visual strategies that Elizabeth I used to legitimize her rule and that her subjects used to persuade the queen. Major topics include women’s education in the 16th century, problems of female rule in the 16th century, Elizabeth as defender of the English Bible, Elizabeth as the focus of court culture, and the myth of Elizabeth in the 20th century. Ms. Robertson.

One 2-hour period.

381b. 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. Perez.

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

One 2-hour period.

382a. 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.

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 2013/14.

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 2013/14.

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.