Spring 2017

WGSS 07.14 Black Women's Activism: 1970-Present

In this course we will explore several genres of writing, grounded in an intellectual engagement with the creative, scholarly, and activist writing of Black women of all genders from 1970 to the present. How does Black women’s activism constitute a political intellectual tradition that impacts how we do research and pose questions? How does black women’s activism refigure the categories and categorization of knowledge and knowledge production? What does it mean to write oneself into existence if and when knowledge is premised on their epistemic and actual disappearance? This course approaches Black women’s intellectual and cultural production as one entry point into the project of creating from nothing, writing to become, writing as an act of survival, and writing to envision and practice new worlds. These are all vital skills in a rapidly transforming social, economic, political and climatic landscapes. This course is a First Year Writing Seminar and thus will be focused on developing creative and technical writing skills, writing voice, argumentation, and style. We will write and peer review each other’s writing in some form or fashion in just about every class period. Be prepared to work.

Professor Ellison
10A Hour

WGSS 07.15 Looks, Lookism, & the Law

People discriminate against other people based on appearance. We all do it, whether we like it or not. Nevertheless, all discrimination is not the same -- choosing a mate or a reproductive partner is quite different from hiring or firing an employee or renting space to a tenant. The law clearly prohibits discrimination of certain “protected classes” in situations where lifestyle and wage earning is concerned. Conversely, the law allows and, arguably, encourages discrimination against certain types of personal appearance. Appearance discrimination of those in unprotected classes can go so far as to endanger the fiscal and psychological welfare those human beings, but few laws and policies exist to counteract the discrimination. Should American society, as a fair, democratic and just society, tolerate certain types of appearance discrimination or should we ask our legislators, policy makers and courts to offer protections like those offered to protected classes? If so, how can we help them do it well? On the other hand, would their interference only make things worse? After all, one can argue that ineffective law and policy is equal to or worse than none at all.

Professor Sargent
11 Hour

WGSS 16 Contemporary Issues in Feminism

This course explores the theoretical underpinnings of some of the most highly contested issues in society today. We will look at a spectrum of positions on such issues as: questions of difference and equality; women’s health and reproductive rights; identity and identity politics; morality-pornography-violence; eco-feminism-environmentalism; children, family, and human rights; and the representation/performance of femininity/masculinity. Special emphasis will be placed on the connection between theory and practice. Open to all students. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Ellison
2A Hour

WGSS 21.01/CLST 11.12 Did Roman Women Have a History?

In this course we explore the lives of Roman women first in terms of the larger institutional frameworks that structured and gave meaning to women's lives, either by inclusion (family, marriage) or exclusion (law, politics). From this basis we investigate the characterization and self-representation of women in literary texts: women as mothers and wives, women as political actors, women as priests and ritual participants. Selected readings of Roman literary and legal sources will be supplemented by evidence from Roman inscriptions, domestic architecture, sculpture and coinage. Open to all students. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Stewart
10A Hour

WGSS 30.05/LACS 036 Maid in America: The Politics of Domestic Labor (NEW)

In Maid in America we study the representation, history, and rights of domestic workers in the Americas with a focus on the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Chile, and Argentina. Specifically, we look at representation and rights from artistic, legal, and sociological perspectives. Using the the theoretical frames of intersectional and transnational feminism we will analyze primary texts that include essays, manifestos, theater, and documentary film. Topics we will explore will include media representation and controlling images, migrant imaginaries, invisible labors, modern-day slavery, the feminization of migrant work, and labor organization and rights. The class will include a theater workshop component that will culminate in the public presentation of an original group performance titled: Making the Invisible Visible: The Politics of Domestic Labor.

Professor A'Ness
11 Hour

WGSS 31.01/GOV 20.01 Women and Politics

This is a general course about gender and politics in which we will examine the roles of women and men as voters, activists, and politicians. We will begin by examining a wide range of relevant issues, including: how gender affects political participation and partisan preferences, how boys and girls are socialized differently into politics, how public opinion regarding domestic and foreign policy sometimes differs for women and men, and how a different gender balance among office holders might be expected to affect representation, policy, and governance. The course will then critically examine various barriers that women may face in the pursuit of elected office in the U.S., and we will also expand our view beyond politics, by analyzing women in non-political leadership positions in order to draw useful comparisons. Finally, the course will examine the role of gender in an international context, comparing gender dynamics in the U.S. with those of other countries in order to better understand the future of women in politics in the U.S. and in the world at large. This course is appropriate for all students, from all majors (there are no prerequisites). Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor D. Brooks
12 Hour

WGSS 33.03/JWST 53 Gender and Judaism

Examining the intersections between gender, religious practice, cultural identity, and personal belief, this class will draw upon contemporary gender theory, religious texts and contemporary interpretations of Jewish thought and culture to examine the construction of Jewish identity through a feminist lens.  Authors will include Alder, Boyarin, Heschel, Gilman, Peskowitz, Levitt and Biale.  The class will also investigate questions of race, ethnicity, assimilation and Jewish gender issues in popular culture, including films and the work of performers Cantor, Benny, Berg, Midler, and Sandler. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI.

Professor Greenblatt
2A Hour

WGSS 34.02/AAAS 40 Gender Identities and Politics in Africa

This interdisciplinary course explores the constructions of gender identities in different African socio-cultural contexts. The emphasis is on contemporary Africa, although we will discuss some of the historical framework of these identities. We will read historial accounts of gender in some pre-colonial African societies, investigate the impact of colonialism, and examine gender in some anti-colonial movements. We will also analyze gender in urban and rural contexts, and address such questions as homosexuality and gay rights. Dist: INT; WCult: CI.

Professor Coly
3A Hour

WGSS 34.04/SOCY 56 Sociology of Gender

What is gender? This seminar examines multiple sociological perspectives on what it means to be a woman, man, boy, or girl in everyday life - including gender as a social structure, an identity, an ideology, and something people "do." Readings and discussions reflect a belief that diversity (race/ethnicity, class, age, sexuality, etc.) is central to the study of gender. Possible topics include: language, the body, science, the wage gap, education, and masculinity during young adulthood.

Professor McCabe
2A Hour

WGSS 36.01/ANTH 31 Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Sex (biological differences between men and women) and gender (social constructions of those differences) are not straighforward or natural, and it naturally follows that gender inequalities and gender oppression are also not straightforward and natural. Therefore, we will pay close attention to the issue of power - in terms of control and distribution of resources and the enforcement of gender roles and sexuality. We will also look at how Western gender ideals have been imposed on people in other parts of the world. We will talk about concepts, perceptions, images, stories, encounters, games, connections, and disconnections. Finally, we will explore questions of practice and resistance. Dist: INT or SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor Billings
2A Hour

WGSS 46.01/PHIL 4 Philosophy and Gender

This course will focus primarily on the following questions: What is feminism? What is sexism? What is oppression? What is gender? Is knowledge gendered? Is value gendered? What is a (gendered) self? What would liberation be? In exploring these issues, we will examine the ways feminist theorists have rethought basic concepts in core areas of philosophy such as ethics, social and political philosophy, metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of law, and philosophy of mind. Open to all classes. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI.

Professor Aldea
12 Hour

WGSS 49.05/ARAB 61.01 Women and War in Modern Arabic Literature and Film (NEW)

Women are central figures in the political upheavals of the modern Middle East; their images have had a remarkable hold on national and international imaginations. This course investigates the representations of women and war in literature and film through such topics as colonialism and decolonization, Third Wave feminism, civil war, gendered spaces, the gender politics of national symbolism and liberation, as well as the politics and aesthetics of documentary film.

Professor Morsi
10A Hour

WGSS 51.09/ENGL 54.03 Young Adult Literature (NEW)

This course explores the genre of young adult fiction in the 20th and 21st centuries. While the course will begin with a brief consideration of the conventions and early history of the genre, most of the course will examine post-1970s (most American) young adult novels. We'll trave the evolution of the genre in relation to ideas of racial innocence, sentimentality, consent, queer childhood, and revolutionary girlhood, and position the novels within historical contexts such as the rise of mass incarceration, settler colonialism, fantasies of post-racial politics, and environmental disaster. At the end of the course, we'll consider how young adult novels have created not just reading but creative communities and explore the kinds of fan productions that have emerged in relation to young adult novels. The course will include critical and creative assignments. Texts may include The Hunger Games; the Harry Potter series; Are You There God, It's Me Margaret; The Outsiders; The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing; Vivian Apple at the End of the World; Fangirl; Artistotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe; Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian; The Fault in Our Stars; Ship Breaker; Long Division; Monster; Akata Witch; Make Your Home Among Strangers. Dist: LIT; WCult: CI.

Professor Stuelke
10A Hour

WGSS 52.04/ENGL 63.04 Arts Against Empire (NEW)

Anticolonial struggle and movements for social justice have always been accompanied by a range of cultural practices, including fiction, art, music, film, murals, theater, graffitti and theory. This course explores that tradition of cultural activism considering attempts to narrate revolutionary formation, imagine solidarity, and write decolonial history. We will begin by examining revolutionary nationalist and anti-imperialist culture in the Americas—ranging from the memoirs of Che Guevara and Malcolm X to Nuyorican and Chicano Movement literature—in order to consider the formation of revolutionary subjects, and how 20th century ideas of revolution were raced and gendered. We will then consider how novelists, artists, photographers, filmmakers, and activists attempted to imagine solidarity with revolutionary movements and suffering others in the Americas, from Central America solidarity photography to performance art in solidarity with Guantanamo Bay prisoners. We will pay special attention to the work of feminist and queer solidarity artists, writers, and performers. Finally, we will examine contemporary activist cultural projects, such as PanAmerican public art road trips and hashtag-activism. Students will have the opportunity to produce a creative or multimedia final project. Dist: INT or LIT; WCult: W.

Professor Stuelke
2A Hour

WGSS 58.05 Women in Art (NEW)

This course will examine the complex and varied roles of women in the arts, from the Renaissance to the late 20th century. Topics and themes will include women as artists, women in the academy, women as patrons, “feminine” or minor genres in art making, modernist art and the female nude, and feminist art production of the post-­modern period. We will also explore the role that notions of femininity and masculinity play in modernism. Dist: ART; WCult: W.

Professor O'Rourke
2 Hour

WGSS 59.07 Latinx Performance (NEW)

This course offers a critical investigation of performance in the Americas through a queer and transgender/travesti lens. We explore specific social, political, and economic contexts in which artists are performing and interweave written texts with audio, visual, and other modes of doing theory. Our texts are interdisciplinary: we listen to music, watch films, do written performance responses, and read memoir, history, ethnography, manifesto, and critical theory. The course will be organized around various themes that can be transposed to many other areas of study. Creative and critical written assignments provide opportunities to develop self-reflexivity, writing and thinking skills, and making connections betwen our everyday lives and larger workings of power. Ultimately, the course invites students to think about how queer and trans/trava performance is imbricated with social justice artistic formations in the contemporary world. Dist: INT or ART; WCult: CI.

Professor Krell
10A Hour

WGSS 66.5/ENGL 53.04/MALS 364 Telling Stories for Social Change

Our social structure is full of unseen, unspoken, and unheard dynamics that create visible and invisible social walls. Students in this course have a unique opportunity to collaborate with a group of people from behind these social walls from two different perspectives: theoretical and practical. Students study the causes of this invisibility and social isolation (mainly pertaining to incarceration and addiction) by participating in an interdisciplinary arts program with local community members from these invisible populations while at the same time attending discussion-based seminars. This combination of practice and theory asks for students to go beyond a critical reflection on our society by contributing to constructive social actions towards change. Dist: ART; WCult: CI.

Professors Hernandez and Schweitzer
2A Hour

WGSS 96 Advanced Research in Gender Studies

This course is WGSS's curricular connection with the Gender Research Institute's annual spring research seminar. Each offering of WGSS 96 will center on texts written or created by GRID's guest speakers and complemented with other relevant theoretical, critical, or artistic material. Students matriculated in WGSS will automatically be considered GRID Fellows and will have the opportunity of meeting and directly engaging in conversation with the authors and artists studied in the course. In addition to regular class sessions, students will also attend the GRID seminar meetings and public lectures. Students will be expected to produce a publishable paper on a topic of their choice as it relates to the theme of the seminar. Final projects may be co-authored with any GRID fellow. Prerequisites: Majors and Minors in WGSS; or Permission by Instructor.

In Spring 2017: "Radical Unlearning:Feminist Reflections on Transgression, Humility, and Chaos."

In "Radical Unlearning" we will address how, in the words of bell hooks, "our ways of knowing are forged in history and relations of power," and how this recognition shapes social experiences, our academic approaches, and our performance of community. Feminist theories have allowed us to analyze and critique the workings of social power, to see that our institutions, communities, and intimate relations are full of unseen, unspoken, and unheard dynamics. These hidden social behaviors contribute to building and maintaining visible and invisible walls. Dartmouth more so than most, because of our location in rural New England, a relatively non-diverse area far from large population centers. In reality, our community is quite diverse, but we gloss over our differences rather than acknowledging them as a means "to enrich our visions and our joint struggles," as Audre Lorde counseled back in 1984. Despite several decades of work on feminist and critical pedagogy, we have not fully integrated these insights and practices into our teaching and classrooms.

Professor Hernandez
3A Hour

Associated Courses

EDUC 57 Social and Emotional Development

Professor Tine
10 Hour

REL 40.01 Gods, Demons, and Monkeys: The Ramayana Epic of India

Professor Ohnuma
2 Hour