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Course Descriptions

Women Studies Course Listings - Spring 2013

Chinese 130A/C:  Chinese Women Writers:  Ancient & Modern
4 semester hours
Chan, Shelley

Taught in English:  No prerequisites.
Chinese women have been known as the suppressed sex for thousands of years.  Nevertheless, women’s writing has always been an important part of Chinese literature.  Whereas the long history of pre-modern China produced a rather large number of women writers, the concept of “women’s literature” emerged only in the early twentieth century when enormous changes in Chinese women’s social status occurred after the May Fourth Movement of 1919.  Moreover, since 1949 Communist China has witnessed further rapid changes as far as women’s writing is concerned.
This course is a general introduction to Chinese women writers in different historical periods, namely, pre-modern, modern, and contemporary.  To help students understand the gender issue, it provides them with a cultural background from the Confucian patriarchy to the Maoist “equality” between the sexes, as well as a background on cultural norms toward Chinese women.  It discovers women’s voice in a traditionally male-centered society and literature, examines the feminine/masculine opposition, studies how Chinese women writers have not only formed their own voice, but also often led the way in the literary development of the post-Mao period.  The readings, including poetry, prose and fiction, will be buttressed by films.  All readings, discussions and lectures will be in English.  The movies will have English subtitles.

COMM 324  Family Communication
4 credits
Warber, Katie

Pre-requisites: COMM 200 and COMM 270S; or permission of instructor
This advanced course examines topics related to 1) family communication and basic family processes, 2) communication in family subsystems, 3) communication during family stress, and 4) family interaction, health and well-being.  Research and theories from communication, sociology and psychology will be used to explain issues related to the family.  Discussion topics include, for example, marital, parent-child, sibling, and intergenerational interactions in the family.  Research pertaining to marital satisfaction, divorce, courtship, and the impact of the family on its children (and vice-versa) will also be examined.

English 180A – Chick Flicks: From Melodrama to Rom-Com
4 semester hours
Inboden, Robin

Prerequisites:  ENGL 101E
From Bette Davis’ eyes and Joan Crawford’s shoulders to Rita Hayworth’s legs and Judy Garland’s ruby slippers, classic Hollywood stars defined, for better or worse, American ideas of modern womanhood.  But how much has really changed? This course will interrogate women’s changing roles as stars, as filmmakers, and as audience members. We will begin by learning some basic terminology and approaches to analyzing film as an art form.  Centering on the Classical Hollywood Cinema (1930-1960), with comparisons to contemporary films, we will then turn to a thematic and historical consideration of the various kinds of roles assigned to women in different films and film genres, from classic melodrama, screwball comedy, and film noir to today’s rom-com.  We will see how many classical Hollywood movies have created conformist role models for women even while subverting them.  Short readings may include work by Jeanine Basinger, Molly Haskell, Laura Mulvey, Mary Anne Doane, and Mick LaSalle, among others. The graded work of the course will consist of a shot-by-shot analysis, several short papers, and a final exam.  Writing Intensive.  Counts towards Cinema Studies minor and Women’s Studies minor.

English 180  "The History of Love"
4 semester hours
Reno, Seth

Prerequisite:  ENGL 101E
What is Love?—Ask him who lives what is life; ask him who adores what is God.” Percy Shelley posed this question nearly 200 years ago, and it embodies a fundamental human impulse. Is love a universal feeling? or an historically-dependent and variable idea? What are the different kinds of love? How does love relate to sex, affection, friendship, companionship, and marriage? How has love shaped and determined ethics, morality, religion, politics, and human experiences? What role does literature play in our understanding of love? To investigate these and other questions, we will explore the meaning and historical development of love through analysis of literature, theory, film, and culture. We will consider the classical concepts of eros, philia, and agape, as well as the concepts of universal love, political love, sexual love, and transcendent love in their various forms. Taking Plato’s Symposium as a starting point for thinking about love in the Western tradition, we will consider the various forms, representations, and discourses of love, including the writings of St. Augustine,courtly love during the Renaissance and in the plays of Shakespeare, Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, Tom Stoppard’s The Invention of Love, and in a variety of poems and films.

English 318   Bad Girls: From Eve to Mary (Wollstonecraft)
4 semester hours
Richards, Cynthia

Prerequsite:  ENGL200 and ENGL280A/Non-majors must have junior standing
    This course will examine the work of women writers from the medieval period to the early nineteenth century and will be organized around the most common tropes by which a woman becomes a “bad girl.” I am sure you know those “tropes” already, but to remind you (and to use their less vulgar incarnations) they are: the fallen woman, the shrew, the prostitute, the coquette, and the promiscuous woman. The course will begin by looking at the original “bad girl,” Eve, and will examine in detail a period of particularly virulent misogynist attacks during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, all played out through an examination of Eve’s original transgression. We will look at the feminist responses to these debates, including—I would argue—Milton’s representation of Eve in Paradise Lost.  We will then go back to discuss the shrew or masculinized woman, starting with Chaucer’s Wife of Bath and Margery Kempe’s account of her spiritual life and concluding in Margaret Cavendish’s early foray into science fiction The Blazing World (1665).  We will then move on to the figure of the prostitute, focusing primarily on the Restoration stage and the work of Aphra Behn. From there, we will examine the coquette or the tease, a figure of womanhood intrinsically connected—interestingly enough—with the birth and development of the novel in the eighteenth century. We will conclude with the figure of the promiscuous woman, focusing on the overtly feminist work of Mary Wollstonecraft and how that intersected with the complexities of her own romantic history. As a coda to the class, we will look at two early nineteenth-century novels, Emma and Frankenstein, one written by a “good girl”—Jane Austen—and another written by a “bad girl”—Mary Shelley—and examine how the “bad girl” goes underground in both these novels, with one experiencing a happy ending and the other a tragic one.
   The course will include a midterm and final, one shorter paper (@five pages) and one researched paper (12-15 pages.) There will also be response papers along the way and the research paper will include a personal component. Writing Intensive.  

HFS 086 – Fitness Programs for Women

      1. Credits

Hubbell, K
Prerequisite:  None

POLI 216R 01 Family Values: The Politics of Virtue, Care, and Equality
4 credits
Wright, Heather

This course examines the theoretical underpinnings of the contemporary debate over family values.  We will “begin at the beginning,” studying the ancient and modern political philosophers and their profoundly influential conceptions of the proper relationship between the family and public life.  Once we grasp the philosophical foundation, we will move into the contemporary “house.”  We will encounter thoughtful and profound analyses of the conflict of rights involved in these debates over the family. What is the proper relationship between biology and society?  Should the family be regulated, or is it beyond the reach of public political scrutiny?  How does emerging reproductive technology enter into the mix?  Whose side should the state take when the conflict over abortion is represented as a contest between the rights of the fetus and the rights of the mother?  Should we allow genetic manipulation of embryos?  How have adoption, surrogate motherhood, and step-parenting redefined the traditional family?  Is that redefinition reflected in contemporary family law?  How will we care for our children and for our parents in an age in which most everyone, male and female, works outside the home?  Do we need a new family politics? Having completed our consideration of the American debate, we will turn to an illuminating comparative case study: Poland.  The addition of perspectives grounded in a radically different political history, and cultural and religious traditions, will throw the American political landscape into sharp relief.  10/12

SOCI 245CS 1W&2W:  Gender and Society
4 Credits
Moskowitz, Nona

Prerequisite:  None
So much of our understanding of ourselves is filtered through personal and societal conceptualizations of gender.  We begin learning and experiencing social meanings of gender from the moment we are born.  Yet, the meanings we learn are not universal.  Anthropological studies on gender illustrate that the constructions of sex and gender vary cross-culturally.  In this course we will examine how gender plays a role in the making of identities in various parts of the world taking Japan as a case study. Through this case study of Japanese understandings gender, the course will examine the construction of the gendered identities at work and play; sex, gender and the body; relationships and sexualities; public representations of gender; feminism; and other topics.  Writing intensive.

SOCI 301S 1W:  Women and Crime
4 Credits
Wagner, Brooke

Prerequisite:  None
This course considers historical and contemporary issues of girls and women involved in crime. We will examine such topics as the gender difference in offending, theoretical explanations for female offending, the social construction of offending women, the social construction of masculinities leading to violence against women, and the sexualization and criminalization of women’s bodies.

Spanish 450/1W:  Senior Seminar
(4 semester hours)
Henlon, Sheree

Prerequisites:  Spanish 301 or 302 and one 400 level Spanish course
In-depth study of a literary movement, problem, author, or genre.  Topic to be chosen by instructor.  Required of each Spanish major.  Writing intensive.

WMST 100 -- Women, Culture, Politics, and Society: An Introduction to Women's Studies
4 semester hours
Askeland, Lori

Prerequisite:  none 
"Women, Culture, Politics, and Society" is an introductory Women’s Studies course.  Participants in this course will bring differing backgrounds, levels of experience, interests, and talents, which this course will seek to recognize and value as a strength.  Together, we’ll strive to become more fully aware of the complexity of experience and variety of women lives from around the world, and to ask hard questions about the economic and social structures and traditions that currently maintain a status quo in which women around the world typically have smaller incomes, less total wealth and land ownership, are less represented in politics, and have lower rates of education and literacy than their male counterparts, and work longer hours both inside and outside the home.  And, increasingly, studies show that when women are poor and lack a voice in family decision-making, children of both genders lose out, and societies as a whole are weaker.   For example, in December 2006, a UNICEF study showed that there would be 13 million fewer malnourished children in South Asia if women had a greater say in how their family funds are used.  So, one major premise of Women's Studies is that a focus on women's lives can help us to create new frameworks for exploring gender, sexuality, and social relations of all kinds--frameworks that help us more accurately describe and understand the variety of lived experiences of all people, regardless of gender.  As a class, we will think critically about the influence of historical events, religion, economics, race, gender-identity, sex, sexual orientation, class on women's lives and the way those lives are told—or silenced and forgotten.  We will work with the research methods of traditional fields (religion, history, psychology, sociology, literature), and their attendant theories, but also invoke the creative challenge that Women’s Studies offers to traditional, academic ways of knowing social and cultural life.  In particular, since it arose out of the civil rights movements of the 1960s and 70s, Women’s Studies insists on an intense and necessary relationship between theory and practice, that requires some sort of action to arise from the knowledge.  There will therefore be opportunities for exploration and even small acts of experimentation and/or resistance to gender roles and expectations throughout this course.   This course is writing intensive.  2 papers, one including research (may include hands-on work like interviews, surveys, experiments), a midterm and a final.  CLAC oportunities will be encouraged!

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