Spring 2015

WGST 07.1 He, She, and It: Reconstructing Gender in Science Fiction

Speculative or "science" fiction has often been the domain of male-oriented, rocket-propelled, fantasy writers who have often relegated women into secondary roles of submission or exploitation. However, feminist writers of speculative fiction have created alternative worlds and explored radical feminist theory in order to challenge concepts of gender, genetics, and the intractability of patriarchal societies. In this class we will explore these worlds of resistance which confront our current conceptions of gender as we boldly go where no man has gone before. Some of our course readings include: Margaret Atwood, Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, Donna Harraway, Marge Piercy, and Joanna Russ. Dist: LIT.

Professor Moody
10 Hour

WGST 07.12 Humanities and Human Rights: Thoughts on Community

This course will focus on the deep connections between democracy and the role of the arts in the public sphere.  We will focus on the work of artists who deem that the role of their creations is to generate dialogue around issues of social justice. We will study the work of writers,  filmmakers, documentarians, photographers, and poets, individuals, who make "energy" (intellectual energy) usable in different places and contexts.  This course will cross disciplinary boundaries and follow the "comparative method" scrupulously.  We will be reading literature with care and learning how to read literarily—with intensive textual scrutiny, defiance, and metatheoretical awareness—a wide array of theoretical, visual and filmic texts.  Students will be responsible for writing weekly responses, longer reflection pieces, developing a group project, and writing a final paper on a topic that has sparked their interest.

Professor Martín
10A Hour

WGST 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 Bahng
10A Hour

WGST 33.1/AAAS 25/SOCY 46 Constructing Black Womanhood

This course is a critical examination of the historical and contemporary status of black women in the United States, as presented in fiction, primary accounts, and social science literature. We will explore the nature, extent, and consequences of the multiple discriminations of race, sex, and class, as the context in which these women shaped their social roles and identities within the black community and the larger society. We will consider the themes of family, motherhood, and sexuality; educational, economic and political participation; aesthetics and religious traditions; and self and social images. Open to juniors and seniors. Dist: SOC; WCult: CI.

Professor King
3A Hour

WGST 34.2/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 historical 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
2A Hour

WGST 43.3/REL 56 Women and the Bible

As contemporary Jewish and Christian communities of faith face the question of the role of women within their traditions, many turn to the Bible for answers. Yet the biblical materials are multivalent, and their position on the role of women unclear. This course intends to take a close look at the biblical tradition, both the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) and the New Testament, to ask what the Bible does—and does not—say about women. Yet the course is called "Women and the Bible," not "Women in the Bible," and implicit in this title is a second goal of the course: not only to look at the Bible to see what it actually says about women but also to look at differing ways that modern feminist biblical scholars have engaged in the enterprise of interpreting the biblical text. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI.

Professor Ackerman
10A Hour

WGST 48.7 Sex and Gender in the Italian Renaissance

This interdisciplinary course explores conceptions of sex and gender in Italian Renaissance literature and visual art. We'll trace a social history of love and sex in Renaissance Italy, examine how sex and sexual bodies were represented in literature and in images, and look at how governments and the Church attempted to manage and punish sexual transgression. Themes we will investigate include representations of male and female bodies, gender roles for both men and women, sexual violence, same-sex desire, and cross-dressing.

Professor Quaintance
10A Hour

WGST 52.3/AMES 41.1 Feminism, Islam, and Modernity in Postcolonial and Global Contexts

This course examines the relationship between feminism in relation to Islam and state modernizing projects in modern nation-states of the Middle East and North Africa. We will identify problems and promises in theoretical paradigms and methodologies of writing about MENA women in feminist scholarship. We will study how the condition of MENA women have been shaped by the gendered nature of nationalist, Islamic, and imperialist discourses and how women have responded and participated in national debates, pious movements, social struggles, global impacts, and with feminism to voice their rights, narrate their selfhood, and articulate their own desires. Topics include: the family, veil, ritual, dance, education, citizenship, law, marriage, women's work, and activism. Case studies are from a variety of different modern Arab or Muslim states with a strong focus on Egypt, including Algeria, Iran, Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon, and Sudan. DIST:INT or SOC; WCULT: NW.

Professor Yessayan
12 Hour

WGST 59.3/THEA 10/AMES 25 Unveiling the Harem Dancer

Images of subjugated veiled women and seductive harem dancers are arguably the pivotal figures of Western Orientalism. Stereotypes of Arab and Muslim women continue to proliferate today's media, U.S. film industry, and even the visual and performing arts. Studying the genealogy of such images becomes ever more crucial, especially as the Middle Eastern woman and representations of her body take center stage in contemporary debate and conflict between religions, cultures, and values. Therefore, this course will focus on unpacking the histories, cultures, politics, and ideologies performed through and around the Orient, the Oriental woman and her dancing body. Through mapping the larger political economy of Oriental dance, its appropriation and circulation from the east to the west and the reverse, we will pay particular attention on the histories of race, sexuality, identity, class, nation, and gender formations that the dance tells. We will also focus on the ways in which Islam and Arab Eastern cultures have fostered their own responses and stereotypes towards female performers with a take on their rationalizations of morality, gender roles and sexuality. Topics such as self-exoticism and self-Orientalism in relation to identity and nation building politics will be discussed. Lastly, we will be asking whether and how dance, arts, and the humanities can shape, alter, and deconstruct such perceptions. Through examining and analyzing a number of theoretical texts, travelers' accounts, and cultural productions—such as photography, theater, concert dance, and cinema—this course will explore how and why archetypal representations of the Orient have been created and continue to shape western understandings of the Middle East and its women. Dist: INT; WCult: NW.

Professor Yessayan
10 Hour

WGST 65.7 Queer Popular Culture (NEW)

This course explores queer popular culture in the performing and media arts, from expressive visual and sonic cultures that include film, performance, music and television to museum and fashion shows, and street carnivals. We will look at conceptions of queerness that play with hyperbolic genders, sexualities and racializations, and interrogate their value, significance and meaning as cultural and/or political expressions. Is queer popular culture a way to sell LGBT life styles as metrosexual taste, or is it a way to challenge the heteronormative mandates set by the market, the state, and their regulatory institutions? 

Professor Lim
2A Hour


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

Our social structure is full of unseen, unspoken, and unheard dynamics. These hidden and irresponsible social behaviors have always contributed to the building of visible and invisible social walls. Behind these walls, a growing invisible population has found a way into visibility into society through addiction, violence, and crime. This course offers students the unique opportunity to collaborate with a group of people from behind those social walls from two different perspectives: theoretical and practical. For one class each week, students will study the root cause of social isolations and invisibility mainly pertaining to incarceration and addiction, in an active learning classroom. For the other half, students will travel to the Sullivan County Department of Corrections, and participate in an interdisciplinary arts program there. Its goal is the creation and performance of an original production that will facilitate the inmates' voices. The final project for the course will combine research on themes related to addiction, incarceration, rehabilitation, transition, facilitation, and critical analysis and self-reflection on the effectiveness of community-based learning and performance in rehabilitation. Dist: ART; WCult: CI.

Professors Hernandez and Schweitzer
2A Hour

WGST 67.3 Sex, Violence, and the Internet (NEW)

Lauded as an extraordinary and unprecedented international free speech forum, the Internet, with its protection of anonymity, lack of systematic oversight, and instantaneous global reach, can be a powerful tool for positive social change. At the same time, increasing incidents of hate crimes in cyberspace serve to harass, intimidate, threaten, and silence those in already marginalized groups and activists fighting for social justice. This course will explore questions such as: How is Internet speech (including images, videos, and music)  structured by racial, sexual, gendered, national, global, and colonial inequalities in different contexts? How do new media technologies and social networking sites change the possibilities for community organizing, public protests, social movements, access to censored material, and coalition building? How, if at all, should the Internet be regulated in order to promote free speech values? What are these values? Are they universal or do they differ depending on time, place, and culture?

In conjunction with this course there will be several guest speakers and a workshop on Global Expressive Rights and the Internet with internationally known scholars who are working on the Internet and free speech rights. Dist: TMV; WCult: CI (pending faculty approval)

Professor Brison
3B Hour


WGST 96 Advanced Research in Gender Studies

This course is WGST's curricular connection with the Gender Research Institute at Dartmouth's annual spring research seminar.  Each offering of WGST 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 WGST 96 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: Major or Minor in WGST; or Permission by Instructor.

In 15S, Just Words: Free Speech and Social Change

The course examines the value and limits of the right to freedom of expression in the pursuit of social justice. Together, we will explore how everyday life is shaped by language and systems of representation and in turn how subjects use language as an act of agency that has important consequences. “The vitality of language,” as Toni Morrison puts it, “lies in its ability to limn the actual, imagined and possible lives of its speakers, readers, and writers” (Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech, 1993). The politics of language––embodied as well in music, images, everyday encounters, and signs––produce in this sense subjects and imagined worlds of becoming. We will explore how everyday people use language and express themselves––individually and collectively––to imagine, organize, and actualize more just worlds free of sexism, classism, racism, colonialism, ableism, ageism, heterosexism, sexual violence, and militarism.

Professor Gallagher, GRID Postdoctoral Fellow
Mondays 3-6 PM