Introduction to Gender and Sexuality Studies
What does it mean to be a woman or a man? Or neither? How do gender and sexuality, those seemingly most personal and private of attributes, emerge from networks of power and social relations? This course introduces major concepts in the interdisciplinary field of gender and sexuality studies. We will analyze the ways in which gender, as an object of study and as a lived experience, intersects with class, race, and ability, and will examine the relation between gender, sexuality and power in literary, philosophical, political and medical discourses.
Professor/InstructorJoshua Henry Billings
A study of classical myths in their cultural context and in their wider application to abiding human concerns (such as creation, generation, sex and gender, identity, heroic experience, death, transformations, and transcendence). A variety of approaches for understanding the mythic imagination and symbol formation through literature, art, and film. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Inequality: Class, Race, and Gender
Inequalities in property, power, and prestige examined for their effects on life chances and lifestyles. Primary focus on socioeconomic classes in modern societies. Special attention to the role of religious, racial, and ethnic factors. Comparisons of different systems of stratification in the world today. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Sex, Sexuality, and Gender
This course focuses on the many ways gender differences are created, diminished, and reinforced in society. Students will learn how sexuality and gender categories are socially constructed concepts that vary across the life course (childhood, adolescence, adulthood) and different social settings (media and public discourse, schools, work, family, other countries, the policy arena, and the scientific academy). A variety of theoretical perspectives will be examined including sociobiological, micro- and social-psychological, and social-structural. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Evolution and the Behavior of the Sexes
Psychological, biological, and cross-cultural approaches to the study of sex and gender. Topics include biological components and development of sex differences; acquisitions of gender identity; social organization of key life cycle events; evolutionary considerations in the study of sex differences. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute class.
Topics in the Study of Gender
Advanced seminar; focus changes from year to year. In general the seminar uses contemporary and classic works of feminist theory to examine ideas about gender that have shaped modern culture. Topics have included feminism and liberalism, literature and ideology, and psychoanalysis and feminism.
Women and Film
An exploration of the relationships between the idea of "woman'' and the art of film. Issues addressed will include the role of woman as performer and director, questions of film genre, the identification of the female image as constitutive of the cinematic image, the historical and social dimensions of the female image projected in films of different times and different cultures. Film screenings, one three-hour seminar.
Topics in Judaic Studies
The seminar, normally taken in the junior year, explores in depth a theme, issue, or problem in Jewish studies, often from a comparative perspective. Possible topics include gender and the family, comparative diasporas, messianic ideas and movements, Jewish history, anti-Semitism, authority, leadership, and conflict in Judaism, Jewish literature, Jewish popular culture. One three-hour seminar.
Gender and Development in the Americas
An examination of gender as an integral component of socioeconomic development in advanced and less-developed countries, with a focus on the United States and selected areas of Latin America. Special attention will be given to processes of industrial restructuring on a global scale that have increased the participation of women in the formal labor force. An understanding of the relationship between gender inequality and social order will be a central object of inquiry. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Topics in Medieval Greek Literature
Professor/InstructorEmmanuel C. Bourbouhakis
The subject of this course will be medieval Greek Romantic fiction. We will read translations of the four surviving novels written in twelfth-century Constantinople in a bid to answer questions about the link between eroticism and the novel, truth and invention in the middle ages, who read fiction and why, and what role, if any, did the medieval or Byzantine Romances have in the story of the European novel. Above all, we will seek to recover some of the pleasure felt by the medieval readers and audiences of these novels.
Topics in German Medieval Literature
Professor/InstructorSara S. Poor
Exploration of German medieval literature. Topics may include medieval German Arthurian literature and the relationship between gender and power in the medieval epics.
Women and Gender in Islamic Societies
Professor/InstructorShaun Elizabeth Marmon
This seminar focuses on issues of gender and sexuality in Islamic societies, past and present. Topics include women's lives, women's writings, changing perceptions of male vs. female piety, marriage and divorce, motherhood and fatherhood, sexuality and the body, and the feminist movement in the Middle East. Course materials include a wide range of texts in translation, including novels and poetry, as well as contemporary films. One three-hour seminar.
Psychology of Gender
Professor/InstructorKeiko Taga Brynildsen
Gender is a topic with which everybody feels intimately familiar. This course holds up to scientific scrutiny the strong beliefs people have about how women and men are similar to and different from each other, examining major theories and empirical findings in psychological research on gender. Topics include the development of gender identity, empirical comparisons of men and women, gender stereotypes and their perpetuation, and the role of gender and gendered beliefs in achievement, interpersonal relationships, and physical and psychological well-being. Prerequisite: any course in psychology. Two 90-minute lectures, one preceptorial.
The Invention of Literature and Culture in France
The birth of literature in the Middle Ages in France is accompanied by remarkable inventiveness. From the glamour of troubadour love songs to the somber passion of heroic poetry, from the refinements of chivalric romance to the bawdy of (fabliaux), from intricate lyric forms to complex prose romances, medieval writers not only practiced but constantly re-created the emergent concept of "literature," elaborating, as they did so, such legendary tales as those of Roland, Tristan, Lancelot, and the grail. Prerequisite: a 200-level course in French or instructor's permission. One 90-minute lecture, one 90-minute preceptorial.
Sex and Gender in the Ancient World
The theoretical and ideological bases of the Western attitudes toward sex and gender categories in their formative period in the Greco-Roman world through the study of myth and ritual, archaeology, art, literature, philosophy, science, medicine, law, economics, and historiography. Selected readings in classical and modern texts.
Topics in 19th-Century Art
Professor/InstructorBridget A. Alsdorf
An often interdisciplinary study of themes and problems in 19th-century art with special attention to recent writing in the field. Possible topics include: the persistence of realism, Impressionism and its aftermath, shifting representations of masculinity and femininity, and the formation of the first European avant-gardes. The course may also center on a particular artistic medium or geographical location. For department majors, this course satisfies the Group 3 distribution requirement. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Law, Social Policy, and African American Women
Journeying from enslavement and Jim Crow to the post-civil rights era, this course will learn how law and social policy have shaped, constrained, and been resisted by black women's experience and thought. Using a wide breadth of materials including legal scholarship, social science research, visual arts, and literature, we will also develop an understanding of how property, the body, and the structure and interpretation of domestic relations have been frameworks through which black female subjectivity in the United States was and is mediated.
Topics in 17th- and 18th-Century French Literature
Topics will range from single authors and major texts (for example, the Encyclopedie) to literary genres and questions of culture (preciosite, comedy and/or tragedy, historiography, epistolary writing, etc.). Prerequisite: a 200-level course in French or instructor's permission. Two 90-minute classes.
Women and American Religion
An exploration of women's roles and experiences, and constructions of gender in diverse settings within North American religion. The seminar will examine female religious leaders and participants in such subcultures as Puritanism, evangelicalism, Catholicism, Judaism, African American Protestantism, native traditions, and American Islam. Emphasis on the dilemmas faced by women in religious institutions as well as the creative uses women have made of their social and religious "place." One three-hour seminar.
Culture, Power, and Inequality
An introduction to theories of symbolism, ideology, and belief. Approaches to the analysis and comparison of cultural patterns. Emphasis on the social sources of new idea systems, the role of ideology in social movements, and the social effects of cultural change. Comparisons of competing idea systems in contemporary culture. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
20th Century Master
This special topics course will focus on artists and intellectuals whose corpus reflects and illuminates 20th century African American life. Lorraine Hansberry, the first African American female playright to have a play open on Broadway, explored a series of critical themes in her work, including: race, migration, colonialism, gender and social class. In addition to having a distinguished career as a playright, Hansberry was an activist and advocate for gender and racial justice. Students will study her published and unpublished plays, essays and poetry, as well as relevant social and cultural history and literary criticism.
Culture and International Order
Professor/InstructorJohn W. Borneman
This course focuses on the relation of local and global cultural processes to international orders and regimes. After colonialism and after the Cold War, there is a fundamental reorganizing of "peoples" and "cultures." Emphasis on the increased intensity and scale of interaction between local and global processes, on changes in group identifications, on the transformation of ideologies (cultural, economic, religious, political), and on alternative ways of imagining and managing life. One three-hour seminar.
Religion, Gender, and Sexuality in Early Latin America
This seminar explores scholarship on the history of religion, gender, and sexuality in Latin America, focusing primarily on the mainland colonial period (1492-1821), but including some pre-colonial and the nineteenth century material. Through historical studies, primary documents, and discussion, students will consider connections between religious beliefs, spiritual and sexual practices, gendered social relations, and the ways race, class, and gender intersected with ideas about moral and social order in the period under study. We will also think critically about how scholars have portrayed these subjects. One three-hour seminar.
Gender and Sexuality in Modern America
An examination of changing patterns of manhood and womanhood, with an emphasis on women's experience. Topics include housekeeping, child rearing, birth control, sexuality, work, feminism, and the role of gender in religious and political movements and economic development. Two lectures, one preceptorial.
Women Writers of the African Diaspora
Professor/InstructorDaphne A. Brooks
A reading of fiction by African, Caribbean, and African American women writers. Diverse strategies for addressing issues of race, gender, and culture in local, global, personal, and political terms are considered. Two lectures, one preceptorial.