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WCU Research Day 2014: Research in Women’s Studies

Courses Body Politics: Gender, Culture, and Representation (WOS 100) This course examines the body as a contested site of both pleasure and oppression. Considerable focus will be placed on the impact of culture on our understandings of the body, including ideas about gender, race, and sexuality. Students of all genders will be encouraged to explore how their own body image has been shaped by social norms that are simultaneously accepted and resisted. This course thereby provides an opportunity to question a variety of norms surrounding the body, including ideas about beauty, size, shape, and ability. Women Today (WOS 225) This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the field of women’s studies. You will learn about historical and contemporary experiences of oppression and privilege, which affect women and men’s lives on a daily basis. The readings include both classic and recent statements about gender and feminism, race, class, sexuality, and nationality from a varietyw of theoretical and practical perspectives. A large section of this class demonstrates how to apply theoretical ideas towards positive social and personal change. I will discuss and encourage you to discuss these connections. There are no prerequisites, and students from all majors are encouraged to enroll. Women’s Self-Representation (WOS 250) An interdisciplinary approach to ways women record their lives. Approved diversity (J), writing emphasis (W) and interdisciplinary (I). Sexual Identity and Culture (WOS 276) In this course, we will explore the diversity of human sexuality and the complex, bizarre, and often enlightening means we have used to make sense of our sex lives and the sex we imagine (whether correctly or not) others have. We also aim to understand how sexuality came to be understood as an identity. Because of the enormity of the field of human sexuality, I have opted to focus primarily on sexuality in Western culture. We will, however, address the limitations of a Western-only study of sexuality throughout the semester. The syllabus also follows a roughly historical trajectory, but the trajectory is occasionally interrupted by a-historical detours that highlight relevant issues of gender, race, class, and sexuality. Transnational Feminisms (WOS 306) This course explores current issues and debates relating to the gendered effects of globalization and women’s political responses to it. This course investigates the heterogeneous processes involved in the social and cultural construction of gender identity. We will focus on how gender categories based on various institutions, such as workplace, religion, education and others vary across cultures and they will form the basis for a critical examination of diverse feminist theories and practices as culturally and historically situated. As we analyze the workings of power and gender in different cultural contexts and within international feminist discourse, we will also focus on the creative cultural practices women use to negotiate their lives and consider various challenges and strategies of transnational feminist projects. The emergence of transnational feminism reflects the growing linkages between and among local, national, and global movements. Through critical inquiry into major texts in transnational feminist studies, this class dynamically re-conceptualizes the relationship between women and nation; between gender and globalization; and between feminist theory and practice. Intellectual Roots of Western Feminism (WOS 305) The course examines the major issues and themes that have historically been included in feminist theorizing about women’s situation and experiences, including: ethical foundations, the origins of patriarchy, feminist epistemology, education, body issues, issues of difference, religion, civil rights, and psychological development. Chronologically, the course examines texts from the Enlightenment (Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Woman) through Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex. This is an approved Women of the Global South (WOS 315) This course will examine the nature of women's lives in the Third World, focusing on topics such as family, education, health, development policies, and political change. Geographic areas studied include Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Offered spring semester, odd-numbered years. Approved diversity (J) and interdisciplinary course (I). Gender and Science (WOS 335) Focusing on the implications for both science and society of the marginalization of women and minority scientists, the course examines not only individual scientists, but also the institutional, social, and cultural contexts of scientific work, and scientific debates on the "nature" of men and women and the "nature" of race. Lesbian Studies (WOS 350) This course is an investigation into the meanings attached to lesbian existence. The course will examine historical, sociological, anthropological, scientific, political, and cultural constructions of lesbian existence, including the language used to frame that existence. The course will also explore the intersections of lesbian identity with other theories of identity, including theories of gender, class, race, ethnicity, age, and nationality. Feminist Theory (WOS 405 or PHI 405) The course examines the major issues and themes in contemporary feminist theory. We will study contemporary and the classic texts which informed them. It is designed as a seminar. We will integrate a variety of disciplinary perspectives through our focus on the following essential questions throughout the course: How are feminist theories essential to understanding physical sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts? How do feminist theories help explain relations of power through social and economic systems, individual bodies, and whole nations? How do feminist theories explain exploitation, empowerment, and resistance? How can we apply feminist theories to our personal lives, to our communities, to our work, and to our social justice efforts? Women Artists (ARH 419) This course introduces students to a wide spectrum of art produced by women artists from the Renaissance through the 21st century. This does not imply that women produced no art before then, but that extant works or documentation has not survived. A brief survey of art from Antiquity through the Middle Ages allows us a glimpse of the rich artistry of a matriarchal society that flourished until about 4000 years ago. The textbooks were chosen as a starting point for further class discussion and research into the lives and art of women until the present time. Women and Film (CLS 304)An examination of the role of women in contemporary world cinema and the feminist film. Women’s Literature I (CLS 258) This course will provide an introduction to select works of international women’s literatures, including, most importantly, a sense of the historical trajectory of women’s writing from 800 BCE to 1800 ACE. In so doing, the course will show how women experienced their world, lives, sense of themselves as creative artists, and themselves as public figures occupying spaces by their discourses. We will examine several different genres of women’s writing, and study the intellectual, historical, and cultural contexts that produced this literature. The course will also provide a feminist theoretical framework for understanding these works. Some key questions we will consider include: How do these early and early modern women position themselves as writers? What notions of identity do they build? What ideas of community do they have? How do they handle “male” genres? What female genres have they devised? What is the modern woman’s intellectual heritage from these texts? What intertextual links can we discern? In which dialogues and debates do these women engage? This course meets the Diverse Communities requirement (J). Latina Writing (ESP 333) This course is an examination of representative literary works produced by Latinas (Chicanas, Puertorriqueñas, Dominicanas, Cubans, and Latinoamericanas from Other Countries) in the twentieth century. The study of this literature will include a cross-cultural approach that will elucidate sociopolitical, economic, and feminist themes emerging from the texts, as well as the literary techniques used by the authors to explore matters of content. The course will introduce students to the literary accomplishments of Latina writers, acquaint students with techniques of literary analysis and interpretation, and utilize the work of Latina writers to illuminate social, economic, political, and historical issues throughout the Americas. The course will also create a forum for the discussion of feminist issues (e.g., the construction of subjectivity and patriarchy) and machismo as reflected on the social, political, and economic arenas of power. Gender and Peace (HIS 329)The purpose of examining war and peace through the lens of gender is twofold: to gain some purchase on the meanings of these events for the people who participated in them, and to provide a series of case studies in how the concept of “gender” shapes and is shaped by cultural conceptions of war and peace. How did gender influence participation in modern European wars? Why is it “manly” to fight and “womanly” to nurture? How have these stereotypes been used to promote war and to work against it? How has war challenged or reinforced gender stereotypes? We will begin by engaging various definitions of “gender” as an analytic concept, and examining feminist approaches to the linkages between gender, war, and peace. The remainder of the course will be structured around primary and secondary readings that draw on the disciplines of history, political science, biology, psychology, and literature. New Black Women Writers in America (LIT 204)This course is a survey of black women writers of America.  It examines themes and influences on American and African-American literary contexts. Feminist Poetry (LIT 274) For some people "poetry" is the power of the word.  For some people "feminism" is the power of liberatory change.  When the two are put together, "feminist poetry" becomes that form of creative expression that envisions new ways people can be and act.  This semester we will study a wide variety of poetry, theories of feminism, and perspectives on creativity so we can benefit from other people’s insights into these domains.  We will learn about women’s accomplishments in areas of literary creativity, accomplishments that have often been neglected.  By studying feminist theories we will learn how structural inequalities based on gender, race, class and sexuality have operated in the past as well as how they continue to influence the present.  Each of us will develop our own definition of "feminism" and apply it to our analysis of women’s writing in poetry and song. Historically women not only had to create their work, but also they had to create the context of production as well as the context of reception for that work.  The examples of their persistence and innovations will help us develop our own creative potential to the fullest in whatever endeavors we choose to pursue. Medieval Women’s Culture (LIT 329) This is an interdisciplinary study of writings by medieval women and their contribution to the development of medieval culture. Approved interdisciplinary (I) and writing emphasis (W). Women in Music (MHL 312) This class is an introduction to the study of women, gender, and music in western culture. In it we will examine the historical conditions in which women have exercised musicianship as composers, performers, patrons, and teachers of music; read feminist music criticism and apply it to the analysis of compositions composed by women; explore musical representations of gender difference and sexuality; and consider gendered constructions of music and the role that they play in the creation of personal identities. Class discussion, integrated listening assignments, and written work will emphasize the development of critical listening and analytical skills as a means of developing a fuller appreciation and a clearer understanding of the music most traditionally associated with gender issues. Health Issues of Women (NSG 109)This course encompasses the needs and concerns of women as consumers in our present health care system. It examines various biological, psychological, and social topics related to women's health care, including medical abuses, sexuality, sex roles, and women's health in the workplace. This course is an enrichment to liberal education, encouraging inquiry into previously neglected areas of women and health. It is offered in the women's and gender studies program and is open to all University students, regardless of major, as an elective. Approved diversity (J) course. Women's Sex and Sexuality (NSG 317)This course examines ideas and information about women, sex, and sexuality, from biological, psychological, political, and social perspectives. Areas of focus include: the importance of sex and sexuality to who women are and how they live; the effect on women of the social construction of women's sexuality; and how increased understanding will change and improve how women see themselves and are served by social institutions. Contemporary Issues: Queer Theory (PHI 201)Regardless of how explicitly “religious” women claim to be, religious ideologies past and present have an impact on them.  This course will explore the ways in which religious beliefs have affected women’s lives.  Our investigations will highlight how women’s opportunities have been both hampered and enhanced by the symbols, beliefs and practices of a very diverse set of religious systems.  In all these traditions, we will find ideas and images that have become implicated in systemic forms of oppression against women.  On the other hand, we will uncover a rich heritage of women’s influence, involvement, and resistance.  We will thus explore how women have used ideas and images from these same traditions to undermine violence and exploitation.  We will place these often marginalized voices in the foreground as we explore the multi-layered, dynamic nature of religion in the contemporary world. Women and Religion (PHI 390)Regardless of how explicitly “religious” women claim to be, religious ideologies past and present have an impact on them.  This course will explore the ways in which religious beliefs have affected women’s lives.  Our investigations will highlight how women’s opportunities have been both hampered and enhanced by the symbols, beliefs and practices of a very diverse set of religious systems.  In all these traditions, we will find ideas and images that have become implicated in systemic forms of oppression against women.  On the other hand, we will uncover a rich heritage of women’s influence, involvement, and resistance.  We will thus explore how women have used ideas and images from these same traditions to undermine violence and exploitation.  We will place these often marginalized voices in the foreground as we explore the multi-layered, dynamic nature of religion in the contemporary world. Women and Politics (PSC 301)Examines the role of women in politics and examines how the perspectives of marginalized groups gives access to new interpretations about the U.S. political system. Specific topics include socialization, the media, poiltical campaigns, elections, and public policy. Psychology of Women (PSY 365)This course offers an in-depth study of women’s behavior and experience, including exploration of the determinants of women’s actions, thoughts, and feelings, and implications for creating change. The course is writing emphasis and therefore includes a focus on developing students’ writing abilities. Students will gain exposure to feminist psychology, its key terms and concepts; explore the psychological underpinnings and implications of sexism; understand the intersection of sexism with other oppressions, such as racism and classism; consider what is common and what is unique about women’s behavior and experience across diverse circumstances; acquire a working knowledge of psychological models for conceptualizing the psychology of women, such as Oppression-Focused, Cognitive, Biological, and Social Learning; learn about how psychologists study women’s lives; integrate the above-outlined components into small group and class discussions, class presentations, field work, written exams, and written analyses; develop skill in writing formal analyses and informal journal entries on issues related to the psychology of women.Sociology of Gender (SOC 346) This course will explore how both individuals and collectivities construct, maintain, alter, and experience social structures in relation to Gender.  The course will use gender as an analytical concept that indicates the social roles, characteristics, and values assigned to individuals in a given society.  This analysis will be historically and cross culturally dependant on the intersectionality of race, class, ethnicity, age, education, ability, sexuality, and culture. Gender, Labor, and Globalization (SOC 366) Through critical reading and thinking, study and reflection, discussion and writing, and active class participation, we will analyze how the experiences of international care and sex workers change mainstream definitions of work, family, immigration, and globalization. We will examine the following theories and topics: 1. Intersectionality theory to study gender and other social constructs such as race, nation, sexuality, and class; 2. Workings of race, gender, class, and nation: the push and pull factors of feminized immigration; 3. Public work and private work 4. Emotional labor and the commodification of care and sex 5. Exploitation and the global exchange of emotion, care, love, and sex 6. Citizenship: rights, protection, and responsibilities 7. Social, political, and economic “solutions” and problems, such as guest worker programs and workers’ experiences of exploitation 8. Worker resistance, advocacy, and transnational union organizing Race and Gender in American Theatre (THA 250) In this course we take an interdisciplinary approach to the study of race and gender through American theatre. This course draws on theories, texts, and methods from fields of theatre, film studies, sociology, women’s studies, race studies, literary studies, and psychoanalysis. As is necessary for any discussion of race, we also consider the roles of nationality and class in American theatre; and, as is necessary for any discussion on gender, we also consider the roles of sexual orientation and queer identity. Further, by the end of the course we will understand why these various identity categories can only be fully understood when considered in relationship to each other, through what is known as intersectionality. In other words, we can never truly understand racism in America without also understanding sexism, and visa versa. We will also understand why theatre has been and continues to be so important to the study and expression of identity.