Course Catalog for WOMEN, GENDER, AND SEXUALITY
WMGS 101
Women, Gender, and Sexuality
This course introduces students to the study of women, gender, and sexuality, paying attention to issues of power, agency, and resistance. Using a variety of 19th- and 20th-century American materials, the course seeks to understand: women’s experiences and the way they have been shaped, normative and nonnormative alignments of sex, gender, and sexuality across different historical periods, and the intersection of gender, sexuality, race, class, and nation. (HUM)
This course is not open to seniors.
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 133
Blues Women to Nicki Minaj
This course explores the music of black American women in music fro the era of blues queens of the 1920s through Nicki Minaj. Along the way we will listen to and read about the music of blues greats Ma Rainey and Bessie smith; trailblazer Marian Anderson; jazz legends Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Dinah Washington; Motown superstar Dina Ross and the fabulous Supremes; disco queen Donna summer; gospel and sould diva Aretha Franklin; rocker Tina Turner; and, ultimately, women in hip-hop, among them Queen Latifa, Lil Kim, and Nicki Minaj. Because context is critical to understanding of the music of these women, course readings will situate the women in their social and musical times. (ART)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 150
Before Lady Gaga and Beyoncé
A broad survey of the music and music-making traditions of European and North American women from antiquity to the present. We explore the work and lives of women active as composers and performers in a range of genres, including the classical traditions, blues, jazz, and hip hop. No previous training or experience in music is required. (ART)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 201
Gender and Sexuality in a Transnational World
This broadly interdisciplinary course provides students with an introduction to the field of gender and sexuality studies. It pays particular attention to transnational approaches. Materials are drawn from a variety of disciplines and may include films, novels, ethnographies, oral histories, and legal cases. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 211
Global Intimacies
What is globalization? A process of homogenization and Americanization? Where does globalization happen? In the economic realm that we usually associate with the public? In contrast to these conceptualizations, this course explores diverse and contingent processes of globalization in the domestic and private spheres. Specifically, we will look at how global mobilities trouble and complicate intimate relations such as marriage, love, sex, reproduction, family making, and self-identity across culture. (GLB)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 212
Introduction to Disability Studies: Theory and History
This course offers a rigorous interdisciplinary introduction to Disability Studies. We will look at the history of disability studies as it emerged in relation to the Civil Rights movement. We will consider how the efforts of disability activists and scholars have shaped disability studies and how this field informs and is also informed by other disciplines, such as Performance and Trauma Studies. We will examine how disability has been defined over time and how particular definitions of disability intersect with other aspects of identity, such as socio-economic class, race and/or ethnicity, sexuality and gender. In addition to reading and critiquing history and theory, we will also look at a variety of “disability texts” that will include various genres, such as fiction, memoir, film, and drama. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 239
African-American Feminism
This course is a historical survey of the writings of African-American women as they have historically attempted to negotiate fundamental philosophical questions of the "race problem" and the "woman problem." To this extent, we will be inserting black women's voices into the philosophical canon of both race and feminism. Along with exploring and contextualizing the responses and dialogues of women writers, like Anna Julia Cooper with their more famous male contemporaries such as Du Bois, up to more contemporary articulations of black women's voices in what is known as hip-hop feminism, we will ask the question of whether there is a particular black feminist thought, epistemology, and thus philosophy. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 240
Introduction to Feminist Philosophy
In the last several decades, feminist philosophy has developed with new vitality. It has influenced such diverse areas of philosophy as ethics, politics, and epistemology. Its contributors represent both Anglo-American and European philosophical traditions. This course will introduce students both to some of the major contributors and to the ways in which they have influenced various areas of philosophy. (May be counted toward Women, Gender, and Sexuality major and minor.) (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 245
The Hollywood Musical
Perhaps more than any other genre, the musical epitomized Hollywood’s “golden age.” This course traces the development of the enormously popular genre from its emergence at the beginning of the Great Depression to its decline amid the social upheavals of the 1960s. It pays particular attention to the genre’s queering of masculinity and femininity, as well as its relationship to camp modes of reception. Readings by Jane Feuer, Rick Altman, Richard Dyer, Janet Staiger, and Steven Cohan. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 246
Sociology of Gender
Sex and gender are used as principles of social organization in all known societies. This course surveys research in the sociological study of gender with the goal of providing students with a theoretical grounding for analyzing gender from a sociological perspective. We will explore how our lives and the world around us are shaped by gender and how gender has been constructed over time. We will further examine how sociological research on gender helps us to understand power and inequality at various levels – institutional, organizational, and interactional—by examining various topics such as gender socialization, reproduction, education, work, and violence. We will also pay attention to how gender reinforces and builds upon other areas of inequality such as social class, race, ethnicity, and age. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 247
Marriage in Greek and Roman Society
How did ancient Greek and Roman societies understand “marriage,” a concept so familiar to us in contemporary American society? In recent years we have witnessed how its very definition, the kind of obligations and rights it entails, and how it defines gender roles are bound up in a web of familial, religious, and political interests that can change, despite insistence on “tradition.” In this course, we will read a survey of Greek and Roman texts that engage with the concept of marriage over a millennium, including Homer’s Odyssey, Athenian tragedies and legal oratory, Roman comedies, the account of Roman history by Livy, and the Roman poet Ovid’s epic Metamorphoses. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 248
Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Religion
Why do particular embodiments render some people “other” within their religion? How are women represented in religious texts and images? How does gender determine what counts for religiously-sanctioned behavior? This course provides an overview of topics where issues of gender and sexuality intersect with particular religious traditions (including Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Native American traditions). Topics include: purity and power, celibacy and virginity, marriage and reproduction, veiling and eating practices, violence and sacrifice, as well as the issue of religious leadership and ordination. This course may count towards the Women, Gender and Sexuality major. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 249
Amazons Then and Now
In ancient Greece, the Amazons were a group of female warriors who created their own society outside of ancient Greek civilization. Cultivating their legendary skills in combat, they were characterized as the archenemies of Greek culture, the opposite of its patriarchal definition of sexuality, and frequently clashed with heroes like Hercules and Theseus. In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Amazons have become a popular topic once again as modern societies grapple with women's roles, the most prominent example being the superheroine Wonder Woman. In this course we'll explore the various meanings that have been attributed to the Amazons at different times in different places, from ancient Greece to the contemporary United States in literature, art, film, and graphic novels. (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 260
Sexual Diversity and Society
Sexuality has often been considered to be a natural, biological instinct-a drive that is fueled by hormones, genes or deep psychic impulses. During the last twenty years, however, scholars (including sociologists) have challenged this view of sexuality. Instead, they argue that how we organize our sexuality-our desires, ideas, value systems, practices and identities-are profoundly shaped by social and cultural influences. Although this course focuses on the social construction of homosexuality, we will also examine the many ways that normative as well as nonnormative sexualities are socially constructed. We will also examine the many ways that the social construction of sexuality is informed by class, gender, race and ethnicity. Using materials from sociology and from the many other disciplines that are working in the areas of lesbian and gay studies and queer theory, we will explore the impact that history, economics, social structure and cultural logics have had on sexual behaviors, identities, and belief systems. Enrollment limited. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 293
James Baldwin Now
This course focuses on James Baldwin, one of the most important and influential figures in the post World War II struggle for racial justice in the United States. It pays particular attention to Baldwin's analysis of the complicated nexus of race, gender, and sexuality and explores his relevance today in the context of the Black Lives Matter movement and lgbtq activism. In addition to a selection of his writings, materials also include documentaries, feature films, and broadcast interviews. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 308
Mapping Modern American Sexualities
This course examines the emergence of modern forms of sexual personhood in the United States. Starting in the late nineteenth century, it tracks the shift from gender role to object choice as the organizing principle of sexual identities, desires, and practices while paying particular attention to the consolidation of the hetero/homosexual binary. Readings include novels, plays, films, and memoirs, as well as key theoretical texts. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 309
The Spectacle of Disability
This course examines how people with disabilities are represented in American literature and culture. Whether it is the exceptional savant who is heralded as a hero because of her "special" abilities or the critically injured person whose disability relegates him to the sidelines of society even though his ability to overcome everyday challenges is applauded from a distance, definitions of disabilities (both generally and explicitly) tell us a great deal about the concept of normalcy and the expectations that we attach to this term. In addition, the various narratives associated with different disabilities and their origins are shaped by other aspects of identity, such as socio-economic class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. We will look at a variety of mediums including fiction, non-fiction, film, television, and memoirs in order to examine how these representations, along with the material realities of disabled people, frame our society's understanding of disability and the consequences of these formulations. We look at texts and cases such as Million Dollar Baby, the Terry Schiavo case, Born on a Blue Day, Forrest Gump, the American Disabilities Act, the Christopher Reeves story, and Radio. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 310
Queer China
This course offers an interdisciplinary perspective on non-normative gendered and sexual practices in urban(izing) China and how they have been represented, embodied, and regulated across time and space. The course will introduce students to materials-textual, visual, and audio-that span more than a hundred years from late imperial China to the present against the backdrop of modernization, urbanization, and globalization. Students will explore the different methodological, thematic, and analytic approaches to genders and sexualities in literature, cultural studies, history, and ethnographies. (GLB)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 312
Arab and Queer
This course explores the representations and regulations of non-normative sexual practices in the Arab world, with a focus on the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. The course is interdisciplinary in scope. In addition to queer studies and a variety of theoretical underpinnings, our readings range from literature, history, sociology, anthropology, as well as media and cultural studies. We will explore issues related to identity, power, and resistance especially in the context of (post) Arab Spring. No knowledge of Arabic language is required. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 316
Global Gender Inequalities
This course broadly addresses women’s low status and power worldwide. Topics include issues such as son preference, gendered violence, maternal health and reproductive rights, sexual rights, work and household labor, globalization, politics, human rights, and women’s global activism. Utilizing a transnational sociological feminist perspective, students learn how gender inequality intersects with not only culture but also nationalism, racism, and economic injustice in various countries and regions of the world (Southeast Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South America). At several key points, students engage in critical comparison between examples of gender oppression and exploitation observed in both the United States and other societies (i.e., gendered violence), which reveal a false binary in the discourse of progress often drawn between “us” and “them.” (GLB5)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 319
The Woman's Film
In the 1930s Hollywood created a new genre, the woman’s picture or “weepie,” designed specifically for female audiences. This course examines the development of this enormously popular genre from the 1930s to the 1960s, including important cycles of women’s pictures such as the female gothic and the maternal melodrama. It pays particular attention to the genre’s exploration of female sexuality and its homoerotic organization of the look. It also considers the genre’s role in the formation of contemporary theories of female spectatorship. Film screenings include both versions of Imitations of Life, These Three, Stage Door, Blonde Venus, Stella Dallas, Mildred Pierce, Rebecca, Suspicion, Gaslight, The Old Maid, Old Acquaintance, The Great Lie, Letter from an Unknown Woman, All that Heaven Allows, and Marnie. Readings by Doane, Williams, Modleski, de Lauretis, Jacobs, and White. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 320
Queer Rhetorics
This class is open to anyone interested in learning how rhetoric can create new knowledges and perspectives on diversity and inclusion. Specifically, we will apply rhetorical methodologies to US history, popular culture, politics, and law to research the formation of LGBTQ identities alongside mainstream identities in America. Our course moves from the rhetoric surrounding the 1960s Stonewall Riots through current debates about Don't Ask Don't Tell and gay marriage. We also investigate the influence of alternative rhetorics, such as the subversive use of social media activism and the spatial arguments of gender neutral bathrooms. Students will take away the ability to rhetorically navigate key dialogues about gender and sexuality, as well as articulate how these debates influence research and knowledge creation in their majors. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 321
Gender and Sexuality in Middle Eastern History
Through theoretical readings, historical monographs, ethnographies, novels, and films, this course explores changing discourses of gender and sexuality among Muslims in the Middle East from the foundational period of Islam to the present. Major topics include attitudes toward the body, beauty, and desire; social and legal norms for marriage, divorce, and reproduction; intersections between gender, sexuality, imperialism, and nationalism; and contemporary debates about homosexuality and women's rights. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 326
Representations of Miscegenations
The course examines the notion of miscegenation (interracial relations), including how the term was coined and defined. Using an interdisciplinary approach, we will consider the different and conflicting ways that interracial relations have been represented, historically and contemporaneously, as well as the implications of those varied representations. Examining both primary and secondary texts, including fiction, film, legal cases, historical criticism, and drama, we will explore how instances of interracial contact both threaten and expand formulations of race and “Americanness” in the U.S. and beyond. How is miscegenation emblematic of other issues invoked, such as gender, nation, and sexuality? How do enactments of interracial contact complicate the subjects that they “stage”? (HUM)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 335
Mapping American Masculinities
This course examines the construction of masculinity in American society starting with Theodore Roosevelt’s call at the turn of the twentieth century for men to revitalize the nation by pursuing the “strenuous life." Through close readings of literary and filmic texts, it considers why American manhood has so often been seen as in crisis. It pays particular attention to the formation of non-normative masculinities (African-American, female, and gay) in relation to entrenched racial, class, and sexual hierarchies, as well as the impact of the feminist, civil rights, and gay liberation movements on the shifting construction of male identity. In addition to critical essays, readings also include Tarzan of the Apes, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, The Great Gatsby, The Sun also Rises, Native Son, Another Country, and Kiss Me Deadly (Spillane). Film screenings include Kiss Me Deadly (Aldrich), Shaft, Magnum Force, Philadelphia, Brokeback Mountain, Cleopatra Jones, and Boys Don’t Cry. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 342
History of Sexuality
This course examines the ways in which notions of the body, gender, sexual desire, and sexuality have been organized over space and time. Taking as a starting point the geographical regions of the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America in the ancient and medieval periods, the course seeks to de-center discourses of Western sexual modernity. It then addresses the ways in which colonialism, racism, nationalism, and globalization have depended on and disrupted normative ideas about modern sexuality, including the hetero/homosexual binary. Throughout the course we will ask how historians use theoretical and primary sources to construct a history of sexuality. Course expectations include a final research paper. (GLB2)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 343
Women and Empire
This course examines women’s involvement in British imperialism in the 19th and 20th centuries. What part did ideologies of femininity play in pro-imperialist discourse? In what ways did women writers attempt to "feminize" the imperialist project? What was the relationship between the emerging feminist movement and imperialism at the turn of the 20th century? How have women writers in both centuries resisted imperialist axiomatics? How do women authors from once-colonized countries write about the past? How are post-colonial women represented by contemporary writers? Authors to be studied include Charlotte Brontë, Flora Annie Steel, Rudyard Kipling, Jean Rhys, Jamaica Kincaid, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Alexander McCall Smith. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 345
Film Noir
This course traces the development of film noir, a distinctive style of Hollywood filmmaking inspired by the hardboiled detective fiction of Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, and Raymond Chandler. It pays particular attention to the genre’s complicated gender and sexual politics. In addition to classic examples of film noir, the course also considers novels by Hammett, Cain, and Chandler. (HUM)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 351
The Politics of Love
The Politics of Love This political theory course examines 20th and 21st century historical, literary, and theoretical depictions of love in politics. Love is often depicted as a force that can productively transcend political division. Yet many political thinkers warn that appeals to love in politics - for example, on behalf of gay marriage or racial justice - serve merely to distract us from political problems, oppression, and inequality. Should we see love as a potent political resource, or a dangerous political fantasy? Does love express our common humanity, or does it reinforce heteronormativity and racial inequality? Course readings will include theoretical and literary texts by Hannah Arendt, James Baldwin, Elizabeth Bishop, Jürgen Habermas, Michael Warner, Lauren Berlant, and Audre Lorde. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 359
Feminist Political Theory
This course examines debates in feminist political theory. Topics will include liberal and socialist feminist theory, as well as radical, postcolonial, and postmodern feminist theory. We will also consider feminist perspectives on issues of race and sex, pornography, law and rights, and “hot button” issues like veiling. We will pay particular attention to the question of what feminism means and should mean in increasingly multicultural, global societies. Readings will include work by Mary Wollstonecraft, Carol Gilligan, Catherine MacKinnon, Chandra Mohanty, Wendy Brown, Audre Lorde, Patricia Williams, & Judith Butler. (SOC)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 360
Geographies of Desire
This course examines gender, erotic desire, and sexuality via the critical lens of space, place, and mobilities. Starting from foundational texts that initiated academic conversation on sexuality and urban geography, this course will explore the ways in which gendered bodies and erotic desires shape and are shaped by spaces and places that are simultaneously infused with meanings of race, ethnicity, class, modernity, (trans)nationality, (post)coloniality, neoliberal capitalism and so on. Readings are drawn from a variety of disciplines that may include feminist and queer studies, geography, urban studies, and anthropology. (GLB)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 369
Queer Studies: Issues and Controversies
This course provides an introduction to queer studies, a field that has transformed our understanding of biological sex, gender identity, and sexual desire. It pays particular attention to the issues and controversies currently animating the field. Broadly interdisciplinary, it draws its materials from anthropology, history, public policy, sociology, religion, and performance studies. (GLB)
1.00 units, Lecture
WMGS 379
Feminist and Queer Theory for a Postcolonial World
Feminist and queer theory has influenced contemporary understandings of gender and sexuality globally. This course explores this body of theory specifically in relation to the processes and problematics of colonialism, postcolonialism, nationalism, and transnationalism. Readings will reflect a variety of critical perspectives and consider the intersection of gender and sexuality with race and class. (GLB5)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 390
Medicine, Health, & Society
This course challenges common views of physical and mental health and illness, and encourages students to understand medicine and embodiment from a sociological perspective. Topics include the historical production and medical control of the human body and populations, sociocultural and structural determinants of health and wellness, the stratification of health outcomes via race, class, gender, sexual orientation and other social variables, the social construction of mental health and addiction, current and controversial issues in medical care and health insurance coverage, the role of corporate medicine in the commercialization of physical, psychological, and sexual health, the social construction of ability/disability, and popular representations of neuroscience, psychology, and medical research in the media and their effects on the categorization of "healthy" identities, bodies, and lifestyles. (SOC)
1.00 units, Seminar
WMGS 399
Independent Study
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment.
1.00 units min / 2.00 units max, Independent Study
WMGS 466
Teaching Assistantship
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment.
0.50 units min / 1.00 units max, Independent Study
WMGS 490
Research Assistantship
No Course Description Available.
1.00 units, Independent Study
WMGS 497
Senior Thesis
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for enrollment in this single term thesis. (WEB)
1.00 units, Independent Study
WMGS 498
Senior Thesis Part 1
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and director are required for each semester of this yearlong thesis. (Two course credits are considered pending in the first semester; two course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester). (WEB)
2.00 units, Independent Study
WMGS 499
Senior Thesis Part 2
Submission of the special registration form, available in the Registrar’s Office, and the approval of the instructor and chairperson are required for each semester of this yearlong thesis. (Two course credits are considered pending in the first semester; two course credits will be awarded for completion in the second semester.) (WEB)
2.00 units, Independent Study