Course Offerings

Fall 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Women, Art, and Empowerment

ARTH 365 - King, Elliott H.

This seminar explores female artists from the late 18th century through the present, whose depictions of women have directly challenged the value system in art history that has traditionally privileged white heterosexual male artists, audiences, collectors, historians, curators, etc. Lectures, discussions, and research projects address multicultural perspectives and provide a sense of feminism's global import in a current and historical context.

Gender-Role Development

CBSC 262 - Fulcher, Megan

This course provides the student with an overview of gender-role development: How do children learn to be boys and girls? What role do biological factors play in different behaviors of boys and girls? Does society push boys and girls in different directions? We discuss children's evolving ideas about gender, and what can be done to change these ideas (or whether they need to be changed at all). Through the examination of these questions and issues, the course introduces students to the major theories of gender-role development, the research methods used to measure children's gender-role behaviors and attitudes, and the current research in the field.

Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Discrimination

CBSC 269 - Woodzicka, Julie A.

This course examines cognitive and affective processes involved in stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination. Causes and social implications of prejudice involving various stigmatized groups (e.g., African-Americans, women, homosexuals, people of low socioeconomic status, overweight individuals) are examined. Participants focus on attitudes and behaviors of both perpetrators and targets of prejudice that likely contribute to and result from social inequality.

Shakespearean Genres

ENGL 320 - Pickett, Holly C.

In a given term, this course focuses on one or two of the major genres explored by Shakespeare (e.g., histories, tragedies, comedies, tragicomedies/romances, lyric and narrative poetry), in light of Renaissance literary conventions and recent theoretical approaches. Students consider the ways in which Shakespeare's generic experiments are variably inflected by gender, by political considerations, by habitat, and by history.

Seminar: The Age of the Witch Hunts

HIST 219 - Brock, Michelle D. (Mikki)

This course introduces students to one of the most fascinating and disturbing events in the history of the Western world: the witch hunts in early-modern Europe and North America. Between 1450 and 1750, more than 100,000 individuals, from Russia to Salem, were prosecuted for the crime of witchcraft. Most were women and more than half were executed. In this course, we examine the political, religious, social, and legal reasons behind the trials, asking why they occurred in Europe when they did and why they finally ended. We also explore, in brief, global witch hunts that still occur today in places like Africa and India, asking how they resemble yet differ from those of the early-modern world.

Women and Slavery in the Black Atlantic

HIST 261 - Dennie, Nneka D.

From the 16th century to the 19th century, over 12 million Africans were shipped to the New World. Of those who survived the Middle Passage, fewer than 500,000 arrived in the United States; the vast majority were dispersed throughout the Caribbean and South America. The experiences of enslaved women, as well as the relationships between free and enslaved women, are as diverse as the African diaspora. Given the broad geographical scope of Africans' arrivals in the New World, this course offers a comparative examination of women and slavery in the Black Atlantic. Topics for consideration include black women's gendered experiences of slavery, white women's roles in slave societies, and women abolitionists. Students also examine how African and European conceptions of gender shaped the institution of slavery in the New World. Particular attention is devoted to slavery in West Africa, Barbados, Cuba, Brazil, and the United States.

God and Goddess in Hinduism

REL 132 - Haskett, Christian P. (Chris)

This course explores the many ways in which Hindus visualize and talk about the divine and its manifestations in the world through mythic stories, use of images in worship, explanations of the nature of the soul and body in relation to the divine, and the belief in human embodiments of the divine in Hindu holy men and women. Topics include: the religious meanings of masculine and feminine in the divine and human contexts; the idea of local, family, and "chosen" divinities; and differing forms of Hindu devotion for men and women.

Women and Gender in Islam

REL 284 - Al-Ahmad, Jumana S.

How have issues of gender and sexuality in Medieval and Modern Islamic societies been debated across the Middle East, South Asia, and the West? Students examine scholarly and public discussions of gender and Islam, and they build a vocabulary in which to talk about women. queer, and intersex history as they concern Muslim societies and their foundational sources in their regional and historical contexts. No prior knowledge of Islam is necessary.

FS: First-year Seminar

WGSS 180 - Bell, Melina C.

First-year seminar. Topics vary with term and instructor.

Spring 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Seminar in Evolutionary Psychology

CBSC 215 - Whiting, Wythe L., IV

The purpose of this course is to examine evolutionary theory as a means of explaining human behavior. The main premise is that behaviors such as cooperation, aggression, mate selection, and intelligence exist because individuals exhibiting these behaviors were more likely to produce healthy offspring that perpetuated those behaviors (i.e., natural selection). We evaluate the validity of this argument in a number of areas of human behavior and also discuss how culture has shaped our genes. Evolutionary psychology is not an area of psychology, like social psychology or cognitive psychology, but is instead a lens through which all human behavior can be explained. Though it is tempting to engage in "arm chair" application of evolutionary theory to behavior, this is a science course; all arguments must be backed up with data.

Reading Lolita in Lexington

ENGL 285 - Brodie, Laura F.

This class uses Azar Nafisi's memoir, Reading Lolita in Tehran , as a centerpiece for learning about Islam, Iran, and the intersections between Western literature and the lives of contemporary Iranian women. We read The Great Gatsby , Lolita , and Pride and Prejudice , exploring how they resonated in the lives of Nafisi's students in Tehran. We also visit The Islamic Center of Washington and conduct journalistic research into attitudes about Iran and Islam.

Whitman vs Dickinson

ENGL 356 - Wheeler, Lesley M.

In this seminar, students read two wild and wildly different U.S. poets alongside queer theory about temporality. Since we are discussing queerness in the past, present, and future, we will also consider 2lst-century reception of 19th-century literature and history, and students will participate in a Nineteenth-Century Poetry Slam.

Winter 2020

See complete information about these courses in the course offerings database. For more information about a specific course, including course type, schedule and location, click on its title.

Contemporary Modern Dance History

DANC 240 - Davies, Jenefer M.

This course is a study of the manifestations of American modern dance from the beginning of the 20th century to the present. Students explore the relationship between dance and developments in U.S. culture and study the innovators of the art form and their techniques, writings, and art works through readings, video and lectures.

Gender, Love, and Marriage in the Middle Ages

ENGL 312 - Kao, Wan-Chuan

A study of the complex nexus of gender, love, and marriage in medieval legal, theological, political, and cultural discourses. Reading an eclectic range of texts--such as romance, hagiography, fabliau, (auto)biography, conduct literature, and drama--we consider questions of desire, masculinity, femininity, and agency, as well as the production and maintenance of gender roles and of emotional bonds within medieval conjugality. Authors include Chaucer, Chretien de Troyes, Heldris of Cornwall, Andreas Capellanus, Margery Kempe, and Christine de Pisan. Readings in Middle English or in translation. No prior knowledge of medieval languages necessary.

 

The Tudors

ENGL 316 - Gertz, Genelle C.

Famous for his mistresses and marriages, his fickle treatment of courtiers, and his vaunting ambition, Henry VIII did more to change English society and religion than any other king. No one understood Henry's power more carefully than his daughter Elizabeth, who oversaw England's first spy network and jealously guarded her throne from rebel contenders. This course studies the writers who worked for the legendary Tudors, focusing on the love poetry of courtiers, trials, and persecution of religious dissidents, plays, and accounts of exploration to the new world. We trace how the ambitions of the monarch, along with religious revolution and colonial expansion, figure in the work of writers like Wyatt, Surrey, and Anne Askew; Spenser, Marlowe, Shakespeare, and Southwell; and Thomas More and Walter Ralegh.

Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

PHIL 242 - Bell, Melina C.

An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society.

Gender and Politics

POL 255 - LeBlanc, Robin M.

This course investigates the gendered terms under which women and men participate in political life. Attention is given to the causes of men's and women's different patterns of participation in politics, to processes that are likely to decrease the inequalities between men's and women's political power, and the processes by which society's gender expectations shape electoral and institutional politics. The different effects of gender on the practice of politics in different nations are compared, with a special emphasis placed on advanced industrial democracies.

Gender, Sexuality, and Islam

REL 284 - Atanasova, Kameliya N.

How have issues of gender and sexuality in Medieval and Modern Islamic societies been debated across the Middle East, South Asia, and the West? Students examine scholarly and public discussions of gender and Islam, and they build a vocabulary in which to talk about women. queer, and intersex history as they concern Muslim societies and their foundational sources in their regional and historical contexts. No prior knowledge of Islam is necessary.

Introduction to Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

WGSS 120 - Bell, Melina C.

An interdisciplinary introduction to the academic study of women, gender, and sexuality. We read the work of scholars who are trying to make sense of the complicated ways in which gender intersects with other power structures such as race, class, sexuality, and nationality. The course first introduces several key terms in gender and queer studies including intersectionality, social constructivism, oppression, and heteronormativity. Using these terms, we then further analyze topics such as the family as a social institution, gender in the workplace, beauty norms, gendered violence, the history of feminist and queer activism, and gender and queer identity in immigration law. Assignments encourage students to analyze their other academic pursuits, as well as the non-academic environments in which they live, including thinking critically about their own experiences in contemporary society. The course provides a foundation in feminist analysis for students who wish to complete a minor in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. It is also appropriate for students at any level who are seeking a more systematic understanding of how gendered dynamics shape the subjects of their major studies or the practices of their daily lives. 

Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity

WGSS 242 - Bell, Melina C.

An exploration of the different range of opportunities available to various social groups, including racial, ethnic and sexual minorities, women, and the poor. Topics include how to define fair equality of opportunity; the social mechanisms that play a role in expanding and limiting opportunity; legal and group-initiated strategies aimed at effecting fair equality of opportunity and the theoretical foundations of these strategies; as well as an analysis of the concepts of equality, merit and citizenship, and their value to individuals and society