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Courses

The following information is from the 2017-18 Vassar College Catalogue.

Women's Studies: I. Introductory

110a. Gender, Social Problems and Social Change 1

(Same as SOCI 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. Carlos Alamo, Eileen Leonard.

Prerequisite(s): with permission of the instructor.

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

Not offered in 2017/18.

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.

154 Victorian Women 1

(Same as HIST 154) This course introduces students to college writing and historical methodologies through the study of women in Victorian Britain.  We explore how women from various class and social backgrounds responded to debates about "woman's nature" and the female body in their writings and reform campaigns.  Topics include slavery and abolition, industrial labor, women's suffrage, higher education, domestic violence, sexual assault, and medical treatment for such conditions as hysteria.  Students practice writing skills through the close analysis of select texts on the craft of writing along with primary source materials, including memoirs, essays, government documents, and medical records, as well as material culture artifacts: photographs and paintings, crinolines and corsets.  We also examine the politics of the historical archive, exploring possible methods for researching Victorian women—especially working-class women, women of color, young women, and "lesbian like" or queer women—who were less likely to record their experiences and have them preserved, or who self-identified in terms that no longer fit our own.  In addition to short assignments, students complete an independent research paper on a topic of choice. Lydia Murdoch. 

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

160 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 and write about a variety of texts, consider historical objects as well 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 make use of Vassar resources such as the Rare Book Collection, the Costume Shop and the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. Barbara Olsen.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

170 Meeting Places 1

(Same as FREN 170) Beginning with the nineteenth century, this first-year writing seminar examines the role of gender in stories about people who meet in public urban places, such as bars, streets or cafés. Public urban places are associated with a specifically modern consciousness, characterized by the embracing of more fluid identities, fewer constraints, and a greater sense of the ephemeral. We use each text to practice writing about literature while exploring the critical concepts of gender, place and modernity in a French studies context. The course is taught in English: all works are read in translation. Kathleen Hart.

Open only to first-year students; satisfies the college requirement for a First-Year Writing Seminar.

Women's Studies: II. Intermediate

201 Introduction to Queer Studies 1

This course offers an introduction to queer theories and methodologies as a form of inquiry that emerged out of and alongside feminism, LGBT liberation movements and AIDS activism. In addition to exploring the experiences of LBGTQ individuals and communities in a global context, the course focuses on the historical emergence of a variety of sexual and gender identities as well as the political strategies they pursued. Special attention is paid to the way sexuality intersects with gender, nationality, race, class, and dis/ability. Christina Owens.
 

Prerequisite(s): WMST 130 or permission of the instructor.

Two 75-minute periods.

203 Women in Greek and Roman History and Myth 1

(Same as GRST 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. Barbara Olsen.

Two 75-minute periods.

204 Gender and Sexuality in Roman Culture 1

(Same as GRST 204) This course examines in detail the sexual attitudes and behaviors of the ancient Romans and the gender roles that both shaped and were shaped by those attitudes. We study selections from ancient Greek and Roman literature, examine artistic remains, and read articles written by prominent scholars of ancient Rome. While the readings are in roughly chronological order, the course is principally organized by topic (e.g., a day for "Roman pederasty" or "Vestal virgins"). All readings are in English translation.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

205b. Arab Women Writers 1

(Same as AFRS 205) This course examines a selection of literary works by modern and contemporary Arab women writers in English translation. We will read fiction, poetry, autobiographies, short stories, and critical scholarship by and about Arab women, from North Africa and the Middle East, in order to develop a critical understanding of the social, political, and cultural context(s) of these writings, and to form an enlightened opinion about the issues and concerns raised by Arab women writers throughout the Twentieth Century, at different historical junctures, and in different locations. Our class discussions will focus-among other themes-on: (1) Arab women writers and feminism. (2) Arab Women and Islamism. (3) Arab women and the West. (4) Arab Nationalism(s), Arab Modernity(s), and Arab women. (5) Arab Women writing in the Diaspora: hyphenated identities and different routes of homecoming. The authors to be read include Assia Djebar (Algeria); Fatima Mernissi (Morocco); Nawal Sadaawi (Egypt); Hanan Al-Shaykh (Lebanon); and Sahar Khalifeh (Palestine); and many others. Mootacem Mhiri.

Two 75-minute periods.

210a. Domestic Violence 1

(Same as SOCI 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. Darlene DePorto.

214b. Transnational Perspectives on Women and Work 1

(Same as LALS 214 and SOCI 214) This class is a theoretical and empirical exploration of women's paid and unpaid labor. We examine how women's experiences as workers --- across space, place, and time --- interact with larger economic structures, historical moments, and narratives about womanhood. We pay particular attention to the ways in which race, class, gender, sexuality and citizenship intersect and shape not only women's relationships to work and family, but to other women workers (at times very differently geopolitically situated). We are attentive to the construction of women workers, the work itself, and the meanings women give to production, reproduction, and the global economy. Light Carruyo.

Not offered 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

215 Pre-modern Drama: Text and Performance before 1800 1

(Same as ENGL 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.

Topic for 2017/18b: Gender Transgression on the Early Modern Stage. According to Jonathan Goldberg, the early modern theatre was "permitted to rehearse the dark side of Elizabethan culture…[it was] a recreative spot where sedition could wear the face of play." This course explores how drama represented "seditions" against the gendered social order. Our subjects include cross-dressers, disobedient wives, adulterers, witches, husband-murderers, and characters whose desires transgress boundaries of both gender and class. We take varied approaches to the plays, situating them in their historical and cultural contexts, examining their structure and language, reading them through the lenses of contemporary performance and criticism, and occasionally performing scenes ourselves. Leslie Dunn.

 

Two 75-minute periods.

218 Literature, Gender, and Sexuality 1

(Same as ENGL 218) Topic for 2017/18a: Gender, Sexuality, Disability. This course examines the intersecting categories of disability and gender, both in social constructions of disability and in the lived experiences of disabled people. We explore how disability is gendered, and how it intersects with race, class, and sexuality in both historical and contemporary contexts. We examine representations of disability, and the self-representations of disabled people, in a variety of literary forms and media, including poetry, essays, memoirs, comics, photography, film, and performance pieces.  We also attend to our own changing understandings of disability as the course progresses. Disability in this course is defined broadly, to include all the ways in which bodies and minds are construed as different from medical or cultural norms. Leslie 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. Hiram Perez.

Prerequisite(s): WMST 130 or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

222a. Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Islamic Spaces 1

(Same as RELI 222) This course explores the relationship between Islam, gender, and sexuality through a focus on space. The course is organized through six key spaces that have formed gendered bodies in Islamic contexts and diasporas: the home, the mosque, the baths (hammam), the school, the public square, and the interior soul. As we move through each of these spaces, we explore how sexual difference, gender, sexuality, and religious practice take on different shapes in different settings, and at different life stages. We read canonical works of Muslim feminist thought, as well as the classical sources they engage with. We pay attention to gender diversity in the classical traditions and contemporary Islamic contexts, coming-of-age and other life stages, and to the role of gender and sexuality in mystical relationship with the divine. Kirsten Wesselhoeft.

 

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

230 European Women's Cinema 1

(Same as FILM 230) This course examines contemporary European culture and history through film; various critical theories (feminist, queer, post-colonial), are studied and applied to films, through selected readings and other relevant resources. Using a multidisciplinary approach, the purpose of this course is to provide critical models for interpreting social and cultural constructions of meaning. We consider the ways in which images of women and the concept of "woman" are invested with culturally and historically specific meanings that intersect with other categories of difference/identity such as: class, sexual orientation, excess, war, and the state. Essential to the discussion of difference will be the analysis of the cultural and linguistic differences introduced by the otherness of film itself, and of the specific films we study. Cinematic interpretive skills are developed through visual and linguistic exercises, group projects, and film-making. Film directors may include: Lina Wertmüller, Liliana Cavani, Margarethe von Trotta, Monika Treut, Ulrike Öttinger, Claire Denis, Coline Serreau, Céline Sciamma, Gurinder Chadha, Ngozi Onwurah. Rodica Blumenfeld.

 

Prerequisite(s): WMST 130 preferable but not obligatory.     

Open to Sophomores and above.

Two 75-minute periods plus outside screenings.

231b. Women Making Music 1

(Same as MUSI 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. Kathryn Libin.

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

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

234 Women in American Musical Theater 1

(Same as DRAM 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. Denise Walen.

Prerequisite(s): DRAM 221/DRAM 222 or WMST 130.

Two 75-minute periods.

240 Gender in American Popular Media 1

Topic for 2017/18a: Gender in Digital Media. In this course we explore how the gendered body is represented, consumed and (dis)embodied through digital media. Beginning with the first coders and digital laborers, we study the work of Women of Color, Cisgender and Queer pioneers. Turning to media processes and interfaces we examine how gender is transversally present in issues such as the digital divide/generation/revolution, mediamaking, surveillance, revenge porn, social media, and gaming. Interrogating our assumptions about the analog, the digital and cyberspace, we probe gendered, sexualized and racialized constructions of avatars, hackers, cyborgs and androids in texts such as Ex Machina and Westworld. We end by analyzing the future of gender in a post-media, post-human era, on the cusp of the singularity. Assignments offer students opportunities to both theorize concepts and produce digital media. Eva Woods Peiró.


2017/18

Prerequisite(s): WMST 130.

Two 75-minute periods.

241 Topics in the Construction of Gender 1

Topic for 2017/18b: Women and Power from Antiquity to the Present. Women's relationship to power has been a complicated and changing one from the ancient to the contemporary world. Ancient narratives of Pandora, Eve, and Jezebel offer literary and historical antecedents for limitations placed on women's roles in the public and political spheres with many of the ancient rhetorical tropes persisting across the centuries. This class begins with foundational mythological narratives of Ancient Greece, Rome, and the Near East, then moves to queens and empresses such as Cleopatra, Boudicca, Helena, and Elizabeth, and concludes with 20th and 21st century politicians such as Barbara Jordan, Margaret Thatcher, and Hillary Clinton, and women's involvement in feminist, nationalist, religious, and justice movements. Throughout, the course examines the challenges facing women in the exercise of political, economic, and social power and how ancient and present tropes inform and challenge each other. Barbara Olsen.



Prerequisite: WMST 130 or permission of the instructor.

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

Two 75-minute periods.

245a. Making Waves: Topics in Feminist Activism 1

(Same as AFRS 245 and SOCI 245) Topic for 2017/18a: Black Women in Feminism. This course explores the role Black women played in the development and growth of feminism in the U.S. from the 19th Century to the present. We will pay particular attention to the work of Anna Julia Cooper, Audre Lorde and bell hooks. Film, poetry, music, novels as well as articles and books will be among the texts for the course. Diane Harriford.

Two 75-minute periods.

250a and b. Feminist Theory 1

(Same as PHIL 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 explore how each of these feminist perspectives is indebted to more 'mainstream' theoretical frameworks (for example, to liberal political theory, Marxism, and psychoanalysis). We also examine the ways in which each version of feminist theory raises new questions and challenges for these 'mainstream' theories. We 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 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. We try to get clearer on a variety of complex concepts important to feminism - such as rights, equality, choice, essentialism, cultural appropriation and intersectionality. Uma Narayan.

Prerequisite(s): one unit of Philosophy or Women's Studies.

Two 75-minute periods.

251a. Global Feminism 1

(Same as INTL 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. Uma Narayan

Two 75-minute periods.

254a. Bio-Politics of Breast Cancer 1

(Same as STS 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. Janet Gray.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

259 The History of the Family in Early Modern Europe 1

(Same as HIST 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. Sumita Choudhury.

Two 75-minute periods.

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

(Same as HIST 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. Rebecca Edwards.

Two 75-minute periods.

261b. Women in 20th Century America 1

(Same as HIST 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. Miriam Cohen.

Two 75-minute periods.

262a. Native American Women 1

(Same as AMST 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. Molly McGlennen.

Not offered 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

264 African American Women's History 1

(Same as AFRS 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. Lisa Collins.

Not offered in 2016/17.

Two 75-minute periods.

270 Gender and Social Space 1

(Same as GEOG 270 and URBS 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. Lisa Brawley.

Prerequisite(s): one of the following: URBS 100, GEOG 102, or WMST 130, or permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

277b. Feminist Approaches to Science and Technology 1

(Same as STS 277) In this course students examine the intersections of science and technology with the categories of gender, race, class, and sexuality. We explore the ways that science and technology help to construct these socio-cultural categories and how the constructions play out in society. Examples come from the history of science and technology, concerns about gender identity, health care, environmentalism, and equal opportunity in education and careers. Throughout the course, we ask how the social institution and power of science itself is affected by social categories. We also investigate alternative approaches to the construction of knowledge. Jill Schneiderman.

Not offered in 2017/18.

Two 75-minute periods.

283b. Gender, Sexuality and Abolitionist Activism 1

(Same as AFRS 283 and SOCI 283) This course arrives at the study of Abolition by way of questions of gender and sexuality often disappeared by both mainstream antislavery and anti-prison movements. We engage firsthand accounts of resistance to slavery, human trafficking, convict leasing, lynching, prisons, solitary confinement, and torture as movements out of racial injustice, labor exploitation, and gender violence and towards new imaginations of collective identity, class, ability, nationality and sexuality -- movements that begin with captivity but do not end with emancipation. Readings train students in interdisciplinary methods of research and grassroots analysis scholars and activists have amassed to theorize the complex intersections of public safety and social justice that converge on the lives of racially profiled and gender non-conforming bodies. Jasmine Syedullah.

Two 75-minute periods.

288 Rethinking Gender in an Educational Context 1

(Same as EDUC 288) This course uses a feminist lens to examine the social and cultural context of education, the structure of schools and classrooms, and the process of teaching and learning. Issues of gender are inherently tied a variety of identities and subjectivities in ways that intersect and interlock. These intersecting and interlocking identities include, but are not limited to: race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, (dis)ability, socioeconomic class, and citizenship status. How does a feminist pedagogical strategy begin to address contemporary issues in education such as laws about bathrooms, and laws that impact immigrant and undocumented youth? Using a variety of methods including reflective self- inquiry the course will answer the following questions:

1. How do dichotomous understandings of gender shape students' experiences in schools?

2. How is gender experienced differently depending on other intersecting identities? Are all "women" the same and do they experience gender oppression in the same ways?

3. How do schools and curriculum address issues of gender?

4. What is the relationship between gender, democracy and education?

5. What role do teachers play in identity development in schools?

6. How do schools begin to address violence against particular students (LGBTQ, Black students, Latino students and other students from underrepresented groups)? Kimberly Williams-Brown.

Two 75-minute periods.

290a or b. Field Work 0.5 to 1

Prerequisite(s): 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.

297a and b. Reading Courses 0.5

Topic for 297.01/51: Queer Theory. The program.

Topic for 297.02/52: Lesbian Sex and Politics in the United States. The program.

Topic for 297.03/53: Constructing American Masculinities. The program.

Topic for 297.04/54: Women and Sport. The program.

298a or b. Independent Study 0.5 to 1

Prerequisite(s): 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 0.5

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.

Women's Studies: III. Advanced

301a. Senior Thesis or Project 0.5

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

Yearlong course 301-WMST 302.

302b. Senior Thesis or Project 0.5

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

Yearlong course WMST 301-302.

317a. Women, Crime, and Punishment 1

(Same as SOCI 317) This course begins with a comparative analysis of the involvement of men and women in crime in the United States and explanations offered for the striking variability. It proceeds by examining the exceptionally high rate of imprisonment for women in the U.S., the demographics of those who are imprisoned, the crimes they are convicted of, and the conditions under which they are confined. It deals with such issues as substance abuse problems, violence against women, medical care in prison, prison programming and efforts at rehabilitation, legal rights of inmates, and family issues, particularly the care of the children of incarcerated women. It also examines prison friendships, families, and sexualities, and post-release. The course ends with a consideration of the possibilities of a fundamental change in the current US system of crime and punishment specifically regarding women. Eileen Leonard.
 

One 2-hour period.

318 Literary Studies in Gender and Sexuality 1

(Same as ENGL 318) Advanced study of gender and sexuality in literary texts, theory and criticism. The focus will vary from year to year but will include a substantial theoretical or critical component that may draw from a range of approaches, such as feminist theory, queer theory, transgender studies, feminist psychoanalysis, disability studies and critical race theory.

Open to Juniors and Seniors with two units of 200-level work in English or by permission of the instructor.

One 2-hour period.

321 Feminism, Knowledge, Practice 1

(Same as LALS 321 and SOCI 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. Light Carruyo.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

331 Gender, Resources, and Justice 1

(Same as ESSC 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. Jill Schneiderman.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

352 Romantic Poets: Rebels with a Cause 1

(Same as ENGL 352) Intensive study of the major poetry and critical prose of Blake, Wordsworth, and Coleridge (ENGL 352), and Byron, Shelley, and Keats (ENGL 353) in the context of Enlightenment thought, the French Revolution, and the post-Napoleonic era. Readings may include biographies, letters, and a few philosophical texts central to the period. Some preliminary study of Milton is strongly recommended. 

Why is it that the most influential and ambitious work in queer studies has rarely emerged from the field of Romanticism? As Michael O'Rourke and David Collings rightly note, "We have had [scholarly studies called] Queering the Middle Ages, Queering the Renaissance, Victorian Sexual Dissidence, and Queering the Moderns—but no Queering the Romantics." Accounting for this critical gap, Richard Sha argues that the Romantic period has been mischaracterized as a "seemingly asexual zone between eighteenth-century edenic 'liberated' sexuality…and the repressive sexology of the Victorians." In reality, this relatively brief cultural moment in England produced a diverse range of queer figures, both historical and literary: from Anne Lister, whose diary records hundreds of pages in code about her sexual relationships with women, to the Ladies of Llangollen, who openly cohabited with the support of English high society, to the myth of the modern vampire, a deeply sexualized and often queer figure. Given the richness of the terrain, then, why are queer studies lagging behind in Romantic circles?

In this advanced seminar, we address this underdeveloped area of scholarly research through our reading of primary and secondary texts, our class discussion, and our critical research projects. Reading theory and criticism from Romanticism studies and adjacent scholarly fields, we ask ourselves—what is queer about this literary-historical moment that has not yet been accounted for? Our goal is to redefine the boundaries of queer Romanticism—beyond a simplistic search for queer characters in the primary texts—to include broader theoretical categories such as queer affect and queer temporality, among others. We focus primarily on the poetry of the period, but also attend to some prose genres, including the diary and the essay. Kathleen Gemmill.

One 2-hour period.

355b. Childhood and Children in Nineteenth-Century Britain 1

(Same as HIST 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. Lydia Murdoch.

Not offered in 2017/18.

362 Senior Seminar: Women in Japanese and Chinese Literature 1

(Same as ASIA 362 and CHJA 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. Peipei Qiu.

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

One 2-hour period.

366b. Art and Activism in the United States 1

(Same as AFRS 366, AMST 366, and ART 366)

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

367 Artists' Books from the Women's Studio Workshop 1

(Same as AMST 367 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. Lisa Collins.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

370 Feminist Perspectives on Environmentalism 1

(Same as ENST 370 and ESSC 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. Jill Schneiderman.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor; WMST 130 recommended.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

375b. Seminar in Women's Studies 1

This capstone seminar examines recent topics in contemporary feminist theory, foregrounding work at the frontier and periphery of what we might call 21st century feminisms. Class readings and viewings are radically interdisciplinary and include themes such as sex worker rights, transgender feminisms, women of color feminisms, transnational feminisms, crip feminisms, post-feminisms, feminism and the body, and media activisms. 

Topic for 2017/18a: Women and Class. While modern identity is understood to reside at the intersections of race, class, gender, nation, and sexuality, class is the component that has received the least attention in recent feminist studies. This course examines the complexity of class, paying particular attention both to the absence of gender in traditional Marxist formulations of class and to the historical imbrication of class and race in the United States. The goal of the course is to make class a more visible category in women's studies. Course texts are drawn from the fields of sociology, anthropology, critical psychology, history, economics, literary studies and women's studies.  In addition to selections from Marx, Engels and Weber, we also read works by Carolyn Steedman, Valerie Martin,  Arlie Hochschild, Sherri Ortner, bell hooks, Dorothy Allison, and Pierre Bourdieu. Karen Robertson and Susan Zlotnick.

Topic for 2017/18b: Transnational Sexualities. This interdisciplinary seminar examines the scholarly field of transnational sexualities, which explores how the mobility of ideas and bodies across borders has shaped new forms of intimacy and sexual subjectivity. The course pays close attention to the traces of colonial inequality that reappear in contemporary sexualities and interrogates the limits of postcolonial nationalism for envisioning sexual and gender liberation. We engage scholarly analyses of queer diaspora, "global gays" homonationalism, sex and marriage tourism, military prostitution, and transnational media erotics. The course analyzes these phenomena as intersectionally constituted and inextricable from the structuring force of neoliberal globalization. Christina Owens.

 

May be repeated for credit if the topic has changed.

One 2-hour period.

380b. Religion, Sex, and the Modern State 1

(Same as RELI 380) This course examines the intertwined regulation of religion and sexuality by modern states through six case studies from around the world: Nigeria, France, Norway, Iran, Uganda, and India. These cases take us through a range of political systems and both religiously homogenous and religiously diverse societies, showing how in each case the state is intimately concerned with the relationship between religion, sexuality, and sexual difference. Through our analysis of these cases, we cover topics including comparative secularisms, race and citizenship, Islamic law, postcolonial feminist and queer theory, the sociology of religious revival, and religion and global media. At the end of the course, students will have a globally-informed and nuanced understanding of the stakes of contemporary debates about religious freedom, women's rights, and LGBTQ rights around the world. Kirsten Wesselhoeft.

Not offered 2017/18.

One 2-hour period.

381a. 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. Hiram Perez.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the instructor; WMST 130 and relevant 200-level course desirable.

One 2-hour period.

382b. Marie-Antoinette 1

(Same as HIST 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. Sumita Choudhury.

Not offered in 2017/18.

384 Transnational Queer: Genders, Sexualities, Identities 1

(Same as CLCS 384 and INTL 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. Vinay Swamy.

Prerequisite(s): Freshman Writing Seminar and one 200-level course.

By special permission.

Not offered in 2017/18.

One 3-hour period.

385b. Women, Culture, and Development 1

(Same as INTL 385, LALS 385 and SOCI 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. Light Carruyo.

Not offered 2017/18.

399a or b. Senior Independent Study 0.5 to 1

Prerequisite(s): 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.