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Course Descriptions

Spring 2018

WSGS 522/COMM 521: Communication and Gender

TR: 1:40 - 2:50 pm (P. Arneson)

Examines research addressing differences and similarities in male and female communication styles in a variety of contexts, ranging from personal to social to work relationships, with attention given to philosophical and narrative understandings of what it means to be male and female persons. Theme Area: Social Justice.

WSGS 549/ENGL 549: Women Writers and the Literary Marketplace

M: 6:00 - 8:40 pm (F. Barrett)

This course will consider the changing shape of the US literary marketplace across the nineteenth century, as more and more women begin to seek print publication. Writing to his publisher in January of 1855, Nathaniel Hawthorne complains about the "damned mob of scribbling women," whose work he felt would negatively impact reception of his own novels and stories. Reading works by both male and female writers, this course will consider what factors led more and more women to begin publishing in this era and how male writers responded to this development. Over the course of the semester, we will consider the following questions: To what extent does the increase in women's participation in the print marketplace revise traditional gender roles? When do women writers endorse traditional roles, and when do they call for change? How do women writers position themselves in relation to the newly-created category of professional "author"? And how do male writers respond to these developments? We will also consider how these writers contribute to two of the most important reform movements of the nineteenth century, namely abolition and women's rights.

The first section of the course will focus on the position of women in Transcendentalism. Readings for this section will include selected essays by Emerson and Thoreau, Hawthorne's Blithedale Romance, Louisa May Alcott's Moods, and selections from the writings of Margaret Fuller. The second section of the course will attend to the representation of women's rights and women's embodied experience in the work of nineteenth century poets. We will consider Whitman's 1855 Leaves of Grass, Lucy Larcom's An Idyll of Work, Phoebe Cary's Poems and Parodies, and selected poems by Frances Harper and Emily Dickinson. In the third and final section of the course, we will consider the turn towards realism in the late nineteenth century fiction, reading Harriet Wilson's Our Nig, Rebecca Harding Davis' Life in the Iron Mills, and selected short stories by Constance Fenimore Woolson and Henry James.

WSGS 640/PHIL 640: Queer Theory and Transgender Studies

W 11:00 am - 1:40 pm (L. Rodemeyer)

Sexuality, gender, and embodiment have been understood in dramatically new ways since the mid-20th century. This course will begin with Foucault's History of Sexuality and Butler's Gender Trouble; both stand as important reactions against traditional understandings of sexuality, gender, and embodiment as well as influential texts in the rise of queer theory and trans studies. We will focus on their arguments that present sexuality, gender, and embodiment as discursive and/or performative, and how these arguments ground subsequent positions in both queer theory and trans studies. Then we will turn to articles in queer theory and transgender studies to demonstrate how each of these movements developed, the dialogues within each area, and the discussions--and criticisms--between these two regions of study.

Fall 2017

WSGS 501 / HIST 501: Medieval Europe

R 6:00 - 8:40 p.m. (J. Parsons)

An explorationn of the elements which, taken together, comprise the culture of the Middle Ages.

WSGS 521 / JMA 521: Sex Myth and Media

TR 4:30 - 5:45 p.m. (M. Patterson)

This course will examine the role of mass media in reinforcing or challenging common cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity and power relationships between the sexes. In analyzing various mass media--including print, television, Internet publishing, electronic games, and film--we will apply gender theory and connect these artifacts to their historical moment. Students' own experiences, insights, questions, and ideas are a key part of this course. Throughout the term, we will consider not only what is in terms of gender roles, but also what might be.

WSGS 568 / ENGL 568: Feminist Theory

MW 4:25 - 5:40 p.m. (M. Michael)

This course will introduce students to feminist methodologies and offer students an opportunity to explore how these methodologies might be useful to the reading and analysis of literary texts and other cultural products. The course will begin with a brief historical survey of primarily Anglo-American feminist thought since the Enlightenment and trace various strains or traditions such as cultural, Marxist, Existential, Freudian, and radical feminisms. The early feminist texts will establish the historical and intellectual context within which second wave and then third wave feminist theory has been produced. Although this particular course will focus on Anglo-American feminist theory, some attention will be given to French feminist theory since it has had a great impact on all feminist theory, and attention to the recent surge of Postcolonial feminist theory will emphasize the complexity and plurality of feminist theorizing when placed in a more global perspective. Essays published during the last fifty years will be organized around major issues in contemporary feminism. Class meetings will be spent discussing critical/theoretical essays, seminar style, and will require active intellectual engagement and exchange among all participants. Students will be given the opportunity to write a final paper that is informed by feminist theories within the context of their particular field of interest.

WSGS 571 / ENGL 571: Contemporary American and British Poetry

M 6:00 - 8:40 p.m. (L. Kinnahan)

This course will trace how poetry in America, Britain, Ireland, and Scotland insists upon exploring intersections of racial, gender, and class identity, especially within socio-cultural contexts of nation and concepts of national identity. How does race become formulated within post-colonial migrations that shape a Black British presence? How do poets write out and in response to the Civil Rights movement and America's history of slavery? How is "woman" rethought in the face of second-wave feminism and queer liberation? How do categories of gender undergo pressure from post-WWII social changes in Anglo-Americn locations? How do the dimensionsof class in Britain, America, or Ireland involve ideas of masculinity, especially in the face of diminshed production economies? How does poetry of the 1950s and beyond grapple with issues of sexuality and its intersections with class, race, and nation? We will read cluusters of poets whose cross-Atlantic dialogues (real or imagined) insist upon these questions and the cultural work that poetry does in grappling with them. Poets under consideration include: (Americans) Natasha Trethewey, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Mark Nowak, Frank O'Hara; (British) Carol Ann Duffy, Tony Harrison, Grace Nichols; (N. Irish) Ciarin Carson; (Irish) Eavan Boland; (Scottish) Jackie Kay; (Welsh) Gillian Clarke. The shaping impact of gender and ideas about gender will weave through the entire set of readings, while focusing on intersectionality of race, class, nation, and gender. Particular attention will be paid to how operations of language, structures of national authority (such as politics, history, education, and community), and intersections of the private and political constitute sites for examining these intersectionalities. In addition to readings of poetry and prose works by individual poets dealing directly with these issues, we will also draw upon a critical mass of feminist scholarship developed in the past 25 years in the field of poetry studies, including critics and poet-criticas such as Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Romana Huk, Lynn Keller, Lisa Sewell, Claudia Rankine, and Evie Shockley.

Spring 2017

WSGS 522 / COMM 522 (01): Communication and Gender

TR 1:40 - 2:55 p.m. (P. Arneson)

Examines research addressing differences and similarities in male and female communication styles in a variety of contexts, ranging from personal to social to work relationships, with attention given to philosophical and narrative understandings of what it means to be male and female persons.

WSGS 529 / ENGL 529 (61): Queens

R 6:00 - 8:40  p.m. (L. Engel)

This course looks in depth at the literary, artistic, and theatrical materials produced around the reigns of four British Queens of the long eighteenth century: Queen Anne, Queen Charlotte, Queen Caroline, and the early reign of Queen Victoria. Each of these female monarchs had enormous influence on the politics, culture, and aesthetic trends of her specific era. We will look closely at the ways in which Queens patronized the arts and professional female artsts as well as how their public accessibility made them celebrities exposed to praise and ridicule. The course will highlight texts from a variety of genres across the period, focusing in particular on women writers and their representations of women in the public sphere. Texts will include plays by Susanna Centlivre, Mary Pix, and Delariviere Manley, the diaries and letters of Frances Burney and Hester Thrale Piozzi, poetry by Anna Seward, Hannah More, and Joanna Baillie, as well as novels by Jane Austen and Mary Robinson. In addition to these materials, we will also be looking at periodicals, prints, caricatures, portraits, accessories, architecture, costume and other material artifacts related to these Queens, at times in rlation to the visual and material culture of the courts of Marie Antoinette and Catherine the Great. Our investigations will be informed by current scholarship in literature, history, theater, and art history on eighteenth-century Queens as well as by feminist historical practices, feminist literary theory, material culture theory, performance theory, celebrity studies, and Queer theory.

WSGS 775 / MLLS 755 (55): Gender and Leadership

Online Course (L. Leavitt)

Gender has a significant impact on leadership style and practice in both overt and covert ways in all aspects of life, including within the workplace context. This course will provide students with an analytic framework for understanding the role that gender plays in defining and determining access to leadership and power. Students will examine the myths, challenges, and opportunities that accompany the issue of gender through an exploration of gender and leadership both conceptually and practically. In addition, an examination of recent efforts to challenge the gendered inequities that are woven into workplace norms and practices will help students develop strategies for navigating the gendered dynamics of the workplace.

Fall 2016

WSGS 521 / JMA 521 (01): Sex, Myth, and Media

TR 4:30 p.m. - 5:45 p.m. (M. Patterson)

This course will examine the role of mass media in reinforcing or challenging common cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity and power relationships between the sexes. In analyzing various mass media--including print, television, Internet publishing, electronic games, and film--we will apply gender theory and connect these artifacts to their historical moment. Students' own experiences, insights, questions, and ideas are a key part of this course. Throughout the term, we will consider not only what is in terms of gender roles, but also what might be.

WSGS 624 / PHIL 624 (01) Medieval Women Philosophers

M 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 (M. Harrington)

Unable to write in the style of scholars and priests, women in the Middle Ages produced a discourse that ran both side-by-side and counter to the mainstream of medieval philosophy. We will read some of the most influential of the protagonists in this alternative Middle Ages: Heloise of Argenteuil, Hildegard of Bingen, Herrad of Hohenburg, and Hadewijch of Antwerp.

WSGS 685 / PHIL 685 (01) Gender, Nature, Being

MW 12:15 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. (M. Harrington)

Is gender natural or not? This is a recent debate among feminists (e.g., Grosz vs. Butler), even more recently enhanced by contributions from transgender theorists (Schrage & Bettcher), but it has an ancient lineage, beginning with Plato, who used it not only to argue that women should become philosopher-queens, but also introduce his doctrines of nature and being. This course begins and ends with the recent feminist debate (Fausto-Sterling & Heyes, e.g.), but tries to clarify it through an intervening survey of differing accounts: Greeks (Plato vs. Aristotle), Catholics (Aquinas and George), evolutionary biologists (Darwin & Roughgarden), evolutionary psychologists (Ridley & Buss), philosophers of science (Dupre and Rosenberg), and genealogists of selfhood (Nietzsche & Foucault). One goal will be to answer the question (Is gender natural?), but a more important goal will be to consider how much is at stake whichever answer one chooses. For above all, this course aims to show that each answer to this question makes commitments to a specific understanding of body and mind, nature and being.

Spring 2016

WSGS 505 / PLCR 505 (61): Values, Ethics, and Policy

M 6:00 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. (M. McIntyre)

What is good public policy? This simple, often asked question already implies the central role ethics play in policy making. This course examines that role in light of the distinctive value structure that arises from the beliefs and institutions of American liberal democracy.

WSGS 522 / COMM 522 (01): Communication and Gender

TR 1:40 p.m. - 2:55 p.m. (P. Arneson)

Examines research addressing differences and similarities in male and female communication syles in a variety of contexts, ranging from personal to social to work relationships, with attention given to philosophical and narrative understandings of what it means to be male and female persons.

WSGS 543 / LAWS C543 (61): Employment Discrimination

T 6:00 p.m. - 8:40 p.m. (R. Kitchen)

Course Requirement: exam or paper* Satisfies Upper Level Writing requirement Spring 2015 (evening students only; day and part-time day students should contact the professor)* Fulfills Concentration Elective: Civil Litigation, Family Law, Government & Public Interest Law, Labor & Employment Law This course is concerned with discrimination in employment. This course will introduce the basic theories and legal principles underlying equal employment opportunity law in the United States. The course focuses primarily on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, and secondarily on the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and, Americans with Disabilities Act (and its amendments): the fundamental federal statutes prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, gender, religion, age and disability.

Fall 2015

WSGS 556 / PHIL 556 (61): Foucault

T 6:00 - 8:40 p.m. (F. Evans)
In his intellectual career, Foucault passed through a number of stages (existential phenomenological, hermeneutical, archaeological, and genealogical). Each new stage was marked by a reinterpretation of his past work in terms of his latest approach. Foucault's genealogical stage is the most discussed in recent scholarship on his work and preserves important aspects of his preceding "archaeological" period. We will therefore begin with some selections from his archaeological period and then focus on his genealogical works as well as on the ethical, "governmentality," and parrhesia writings that overlap with them. We will also view Foucault's genealogy and his ethical and political thought in relation to some major authors and themes in contemporary political and ethical philosophy, feminism, and gay and lesbian thought. As a possible option for those who are interested, I will meet for a number of after-class sessions to discuss Gilles Deleuze's book on Foucault, but it will not be an official part of the course.

WSGS 696 / ENGL 695 (01): Ethnic American Literature by Women Writers

M 6:00 - 8:40 p.m. (M. Michael)
This course will examine recent American ethnic literature by women writers in terms of its engagement with gender as well as with other difficult issues such as race, ethnicity, class, subjectivity, identity, American identity, immigration, colonialism, violence-issues that are usually intertwined, that have dominated globally at the turn of the twenty-first century, and that have become increasingly visible to Americans. At the same time the course will examine the difficulties literature faces in engaging such issues in the wake of the questioning of representation and language that has characterized literature throughout the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century. Texts will be considered individually as well as in relation to their larger cultural, historical, and intellectual contexts. The course is also intended to enhance the students' experience and skills of critical thinking, reading, and writing about literature within the context of literary studies.

Spring 2015

WSGS 501 / HIST 501 (01): Medieval Europe

W 6:00-8:40 p.m. (J. Parsons)
A lecture and discussion course examining the unique characteristics of the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages, with a special focus on social history and the lives of medieval people, from 300 to 1500. We will concentrate on the history of women. Women of course made up half of the population of medieval Europe though, as is the case in most pre-modern societies, their presence in the historical record is not nearly in that proportion. Nevertheless, they played a vital role at all levels of society, and scholars have been able to reconstruct a great deal of their experience from the sources available. Aside from the inherent importance of the subject, studying medieval women's history provides an overview of what is probably the most active and innovative subfield in medieval history, and offers examples of many of the most important and up-to-date methodologies in the field. Over the first half of the course, we will generally alternate between general surveys of the course of medieval history and examination of specialized monographs on issues in women's history. The second half of the course will be devoted to case studies and the analysis of primary sources in women's history.

WSGS 505 / PLCR 505 (01): Values, Ethics, and Policy

M 6:00-8:40 p.m. (M. McIntyre)
What is a good public policy? This simple, often asked question already implies the central role ethics play in policy making. This course examines that role in light of the distinctive value structure that arises from the beliefs and institutions of American liberal democracy.

WSGS 529 / ENGL 692 (01): Drama and Material Culture 1660-1830

M 6:00-8:40 p.m. (L. Engel)
Fans, gloves, patches, swords, muffs, china, feathers, and wigs, these are just some of the things represented in the theater of the long eighteenth century. This course will take a close look at the intersections between performance, gender, and material culture from 1660-1830. Considering texts (plays, memoirs, letters, pamphlet, periodicals), images (portraits, drawings, caricatures) and material artifacts (costumes, furniture, accessories), we will explore the complex relationship between things and subjects. The course will pay particular attention to the ways in which objects and accessories relate to the creation and materialization of gendered identities and constructions of sexuality during this period. We will read current scholarship on eighteenth-century consumerism, celebrity, fashion, and theater history as well as essays on performance theory, "thing" theory, gender theory, and the analysis of material and visual culture. Authors may include: Aphra Behn, William Wycherley, George Etherege, John Gay, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Hannah Cowley, Frances Burney, and Joanna Baillie.

WSGS 543 / LAWS C543 (61): Employment Discrimination

T 6:00-8:40 p.m. (R. Kitchen)
This course is specifically concerned with discrimination in employment and will focus on various federal statutes that prohibit discrimination in employment. We will study employment discrimination through cases and scholarly materials.

WSGS 549 / ENGL 549-61 / ENGL 649-61: 19th Century American Literature

W 6:00-8:40 p.m. (T. Kinnahan)
The course will offer a survey of major American novels and short fiction from the nineteenth century, with particular attention to literary constructions of masculinity and femininity. Possible texts include Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper [1826], Hope Leslie, Catherine Maria Sedgwick [1827], Moby Dick, Herman Melville [1851], Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe [1851-2], The Story of Avis, Elizabeth Stuart Phelps [1877], Daisy Miller, Henry James [1878], Huck Finn, Mark Twain [1885], and Iola Leroy, Francis Harper [1893], along with assorted short fiction by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Kate Chopin, Jack London, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and others.