College of Arts and Sciences

Course Information

Fall 2019 Courses

                           WOST210 Intro, Fall 2019

This interdisciplinary course explores and analyzes the position of women and the role of gender in the institutions of the United States, including the family, education, government, law, the economy, and religion. It includes an examination, through the lenses of feminism, of women’s historic and contemporary status legally, politically, and economically, as well as women’s struggles in identity, expression, sexuality, and lifestyle. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Social and Behavioral Sciences distribution requirement and for General Education Category B5: Social and Behavioral Ways of Knowing.

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                            WOST225 GSPC, Fall 2019

Examination of popular cultural “makings” of masculinity, femininity, and sexuality through typical representation of gender within fiction, theater, cinema, radio, music, television, journalism, and other secular mass media. Course will include the analysis of the developing international telecommunications “superhighway” and the struggles to secure increased representation of women and of feminist perspectives within existing culture industries. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Humanities distribution requirement and for General Education Category B6: Humanistic Ways of Knowing.

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                             WOST240 Feminism Food, Fall 2019

What's the last thing you ate? As the saying goes, you are what you eat. Also, how, where and why you ate it. From dinner traditions, to genetically modified foods, organic groceries, urban food deserts, the obesity epidemic, and 'food stars' on reality TV, we navigate a landscape ripe for feminist inquiry and intervention. This course explores how everyday eating habits relate to health and well-being: physical, emotional, local and global. This course includes a service learning component. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Social and Behavioral Sciences distribution requirement and for General Education Category B7: Interdisciplinary Ways of Knowing.

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                              WOST301 Women & Faith, Fall 2019

This course explores the intersection of three disciplines: anthropology, women’s studies, and the study of religion. In this course, students will read scholarship that comes from these three disciplines and explores how women find empowerment through spiritual practice. Course texts will include full-length ethnographies that address women’s faith and practice as well as supplemental texts on feminism, theoretical approaches to religion, and anthropological and ethnographic methods. Geographical regions to be covered include the Middle East and Asia. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Cultural Studies (Non-Western Culture) requirement and General Education Capstone.

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                               WOST301 Transnational Perspectives, Fall 2019

This course decenters Western perspectives in feminist theory and praxis. As a class we will consider in what ways systems of oppression shape people’s lives throughout the world and transnationally. We will explore how power hierarchies impact women in a manner that relates to their geographical location and intersectional identities. We will also explore the impacts of diverse forms of prejudice which include but are not limited to sexism, racism, communalism, xenophobia, heterosexism, cisgenderism, and classism. Students will be prompted to consider what other systematic inequalities impact human beings. How have feminist scholars and activists challenged these structures of oppression and privilege? This course explores these questions and identifies ways feminist activists throughout the world have mobilized against colonialism, imperialism, hegemony, poverty, and global inequality. Through radical approaches to activism, feminists from the Global South have promoted human rights and compassion while troubling the concept of woman as a uniformly experienced collective identity. In this course, students will problematize narrow understandings of womanhood and other collective identities by examining how identities are complex and intersectional. How does acknowledging the intricacy of subjectivities reveal that there is no simple solution to inequalities? Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Cultural Studies (Non-Western Culture)requirement and General Education Capstone. 

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                              WOST301 Beyond Harem, Fall 2019

This course examines gender and sexuality in literature, film, art and historical documents produced by and about North Africans and Middle Easterners. As the cultural and geographic crossroads between these regions, Egypt will be emphasized. Course materials explore representations of the lives and social situations of women in the Arab and Islamic societies from the colonial period to the present. Students will consider the idea of feminism from various cultural and historical perspectives, as well as topics ranging from Orientalism to the recent resurgence of voluntary veiling among the educated elite. Approved by the College of Arts and Sciences for the Cultural Studies (Non-Western Culture) requirement and General Education Capstone.

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WOST340 LGBTQ Lit, Fall 2019

This course does not attempt a comprehensive survey of LGBTQ literature but rather will use the lens of contemporary queer and feminist theories to examine some of the best-known twentieth-century Anglo-American queer texts. We will read novels that did important cultural work in their time to push boundaries of what and how readers thought about gender and sexuality and will discuss how that cultural work illustrates a negotiation between what could and could not be thought/said/published at a given time, that is, the "Overton window" of queer visibility as a changing and historically constrained conceptual window.

Texts will include the following: E.M. Forster, Maurice (written 1913-1914, published 1971); Radclyffe Hall, The Well of Loneliness (1928); Virginia Woolf, Orlando: A Biography (1928); James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room (1956); Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man (1964); Alice Walker, The Color Purple (1982); Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (1985): and Leslie Feinberg, Stone Butch Blues (1993). Short readings in queer theory will be accessed through the course's learning management system.