Courses in the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) examine how gender and sexuality affect and intersect with many aspects of the world in which we live, including political structures; social relations; economic institutions; the production of literature, art and history; and cultural representations of gender, sexuality, race, class and ethnicity. The curriculum provides opportunities to explore the specificity of gendered experiences, concerns and perspectives, and to see how these vary among different social groups and at different points in time. WGSS courses examine the ways constructions of difference — ethnicity, race, class, nationality, ability and religion — intersect with constructions of gender and sexuality. The department has four areas of focus around which courses are organized: literature/theory/history; sexuality/the body/health; global and transnational feminist and gender studies; and critical race studies of gender and sexuality. Students may choose to concentrate in one of these areas or to investigate all four.
Among the first in the nation (est. 1972), the Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Washington University has emphasized the importance of gender and sexuality to such disciplines and interdisciplinary programs as philosophy, psychology, history, education, law, architecture, art history and archaeology, anthropology, political science, international studies, American culture studies, and studies in culture and languages.
The Department of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies offers both interdisciplinary courses based in the department and more disciplinary-based courses coming from departments and programs throughout the university. Examples of interdisciplinary courses located within the department include: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; Black Masculinities; Women's Healthcare in America; Queer Histories; On Love and Intimacy: Theorizing Kinship in the Multiple; Transnational Feminisms; and Sex, Gender, and Popular Culture.
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies students are often leaders in campus organizations that deal with issues concerning women, gender relations, sexuality and health. They also participate in a wide spectrum of co-curricular organizations available to undergraduates, including Students for Choice, Uncle Joe's Peer Counseling, MORE, Student Forum on Sexuality, SARAH, Pride Alliance WU, and the Representation Project.
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies encourages students to think critically and to participate actively in their education. Most classes are small, rely heavily on classroom discussion, and emphasize interaction between faculty and students. Courses in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies can be taken as electives, toward a primary or secondary major, or toward a minor. Graduate students can pursue a certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies can help students prepare for a career that involves women's and men's concerns or issues of gender or sexuality. Many graduates who continue their schooling choose to focus on such issues in medical school, law school, public health programs or social work. Some students envisage a career in college or university teaching, where they can apply a gender studies focus. Other students find jobs in social agencies focused on women's or gender issues. Others currently are employed in such areas as health care, business, education, the arts, media, politics and law.
The Major in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Total required units: 27 units
3 credits of the introductory course: WGSS 100B Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
3 credits of theory:
The following courses may fulfill this requirement:
|WGSS 3013||On Love and Intimacy: Theorizing Kinship in the Multiple||3|
|WGSS 3031||Queer Theory||3|
|WGSS 335||Feminist Theory||3|
|WGSS 383||Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: Spectacular Blackness, Race Gender & Visual Culture||3|
|WGSS 4012||Advanced Queer Theory: The Intimacy of Precarity||3|
|WGSS 406||Queering Theory: A Multidisciplinary Approach||3|
|WGSS 416||The Politics of Pleasure||3|
|WGSS 419||Feminist Literary and Cultural Theory||3|
|WGSS 420||Contemporary Feminisms||3|
|WGSS 421||From Mammy to the Welfare Queen: African-American Women Theorize Identity||3|
|WGSS 475||Reformers and Radicals:Feminist Thinking through History||3|
Note: The 400-level theory classes also will satisfy the requirement for a 400-level class.
3 credits of a research methods or service learning course:
The following courses may fulfill this requirement:
|WGSS 3133||Service Learning: Feminist and Queer Youth Studies||4|
|WGSS 3171||Service Learning: Women and Prison||4|
|WGSS 3173||Service Learning: Documenting the Queer Past in St. Louis||4|
|WGSS 3942||Service Learning: Projects in Domestic Violence||4|
|WGSS 417W||Feminist Research Methodologies||3|
|Any other service learning course approved by WGSS|
3 credits at the 400 level or an honors thesis:
- Any home-based or cross-listed WGSS class at the 400 level or a WGSS honors thesis will satisfy this requirement.
3 credits of a historical context course:
- A course home-based or cross-listed in WGSS that explores gender, sex or sexuality in a historical context or studies the history of these categories.
3 credits of an ethnic/global/racial context course:
- A course home-based or cross-listed in WGSS that considers gender and ethnicity, or gender and race, or gender in a global context.
9 credits of WGSS courses in addition to the credits required in the categories above:
- Courses home-based or cross-listed in WGSS.
Note: Only two home-based or cross-listed WGSS courses below the 300 level may be counted toward the 27 required units for the major.
Study Abroad: We strongly encourage and support students who wish to study abroad and will accept up to 9 credits from approved programs. Please contact Barbara Baumgartner, WGSS Study Abroad supervisor, about this option.
Honors: The honors program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies is open to majors who have strong academic records. Students who have maintained a cumulative 3.65 grade point average through five semesters and have at least a 3.65 in the major may be considered for honors. Application to the program must be made by April 1 of junior year (no late applications will be accepted).
The Minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Units required: 18 units, 12 of which are at or above the 300 level. All 18 units must be separate courses not double-counted toward a major. All minor courses must be home-based or cross-listed in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. All courses taken for the minor must be taken for a grade.
Individual programs are designed in consultation with an adviser in light of the student's interests and abilities, major course of study, and plans for the future. All courses must be home-based or cross-listed in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Visit online course listings to view semester offerings for L77 WGSS.
L77 WGSS 100B Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
This course will provide an introduction to the major and concepts in the interdisciplinary field of women, gender, and sexuality studies. We will examine the meanings attached to terms such as "man," "woman," "gay," and "sex." Topics discussed may include the history of feminist movements, masculinity, biological frameworks for understanding gender, intimate violence, sexual identities, and intersectionality. Five seats are reserved for freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors in each section. One section is reserved for freshman and sophomore students only. Attendance mandatory first day in order to reserve class enrollment.
L77 WGSS 102 Women in Science: An Introduction
Throughout the centuries, women were interested and involved in the sciences. Their scientific contributions, however, have often been overlooked and their abilities questioned. The 2005 proposition by Harvard's President Larry Summers that women's innate differences explain why fewer women succeed in math and science suggests that women continue to face assumptions about their scientific competence. In addition to examining the history of women's participation in science, this class explores the continuing cultural and economic barriers to women interested in science. Starting with a historical overview of women in science, we look at the contributions of women scientists. We review the numbers of women in various fields with good representation, such as biology, and those with few women, such as physics and computer science. Like the prestigious journal Science, we also explore whether women do science differently. This course is restricted to Women in Science Focus program participants.
L77 WGSS 103 Freshman Seminar: Sex & Gender in the Gutter: An Intro to Gender and Sexuality Studies Through Comics
This freshman seminar serves as an introduction to some of the history and concepts important in the field of gender and sexuality studies through graphic storytelling. Topics include the history of feminism in the United States, violence against girls and women, queer theory, intersectionality, and transnational feminism. Please be advised that while we will read comics — most of these texts are not for kids. We discuss traumatic issues and will look at some disturbing images. Please spend some looking at descriptions of the required texts and think about whether or not this class is for you.
L77 WGSS 1135 Freshmen Seminar: The World of Cleopatra
Cleopatra, the last queen of ancient Egypt, captivated her contemporaries and has fascinated the Western world ever since her famous suicide by asp in 31 BCE. She was a woman of contrasts: Pharaoh of Egypt and Greco-Macedonian queen; seductive woman and shrewd political strategist; a ruthless monarch using every means available to consolidate her position in the face of the encroaching power of the Roman Empire. Through texts and material culture, the seminar seeks to understand Cleopatra in the context both of her native Egypt and of the wider Mediterranean world. We thus examine the traditions of Pharaonic Egypt; the historical events that brought Egypt under the control of the Macedonian Ptolemies (Cleopatra's dynasty); the wider stage of East-West tension and conquest in which Cleopatra struggled to maintain her power; her relationships (political and personal) with famous men of her day (Caesar, Herod, Mark Antony); her capital city of Alexandria, the largest metropolis of its day; Cleopatra's brilliant court and its luxury arts; and finally the many Cleopatras that have populated art and literature of later times. We emerge with a sense of Cleopatra, both as a unique individual and as a product of her time.
Same as L08 Classics 1135
L77 WGSS 206 Sexuality and the State: Introduction to Sexuality Studies
Taking Michel Foucault's idea of biopolitics as a starting point. This course examines the ways in which sexuality has been produced and regulated by the state. Drawing on history, theory, and literature, we will look at contemporary examples of the relationship between the state and sexuality. What assumptions lie behind our ideas of sexuality? How are bodies linked by the prevailing logic of sexuality? How does sexuality inform the way that we see bodies as gendered, raced, or able-bodied. In addition to looking at the relationship between sexuality and capitalism, religion, and nation, this course asks how these ideas are embodied in particular raced and gendered ideologies.
L77 WGSS 214C Gender and Texts
Discussion of canonical and nontraditional texts, most by women. Emphasis on how these texts represent gender, how literature contributes to identity formation, and how women have used the written word to change their social and imaginative conditions.
L77 WGSS 2250 Freshman Seminar: African-American Women's History: Sexuality, Violence and the Love of Hip-Hop
Black women, much like their male counterparts, have shaped the contours of African-American history and culture. Still, close study of African-American women's history has burgeoned only within the past few decades as scholars continue to uncover the multifaceted lives of Black women. This course explores the lived experiences of Black women in North America through a significant focus on the critical themes of violence and sexuality. We examine African-American women as the perpetrators and the victims of violence and as the objects of sexual surveillance and we explore a range of contemporary debates concerning the intersections of race, class and gender, particularly within the evolving hip-hop movement. We take an interdisciplinary approach through historical narratives, literature, biographies, films and documentaries.
Same as L90 AFAS 2250
L77 WGSS 240 Not Members of this Club: Women and Slaves in the Greco-Roman World
Both the Athenian Democracy and the Roman Senatorial Oligarchy were societies in which political power was the exclusive property of free, citizen males. With very few exceptions, the astounding accomplishments of those societies were also the creations of free, citizen males. This course examines the lives of two disparate but comparable groups of outsiders within Greek and Roman society. The status, rights and accomplishments of Athenian and Roman women are explored and placed in the context of other premodern societies. Likewise, the institution of slavery in Greece and Rome is explored and compared with other slave-holding societies, ancient and modern.
Same as L08 Classics 240
L77 WGSS 246A Freshman Seminar: Latin American Women in History and Culture: Icons and Idols
In English. This class takes an in-depth look at various iconic female figures in the history of Latin America, examining their (self-) representation in history, literature, art and other cultural manifestations. We examine their lives, writings and art to learn more about the historical and cultural moment they lived in; how this moment shaped their lives and how they, in turn, shaped their historical moment. We aim to draw the larger conclusions of how women in history, despite hostile circumstances, have managed to forge political, cultural and artistic identities and make an impact on the world around them. We study these women in a chronological fashion, showing how society's attitudes changed toward women and how, in some ways, paradoxically, stayed the same. The women we study are all very different in terms of identity, historical period and sociocultural background but all are similar in terms of their desire to overcome convention and resist repression — sometimes with very tragic results. Figures we study include La Malinche, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Manuela Saenz, Delmira Agustini, Frida Kahlo, Eva Perón, the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, Rigoberta Menchú and Ingrid Betancourt. Prerequisite: concurrent registration in individually appropriate level of Spanish language course is required.
Same as L38 Span 246
L77 WGSS 247 Freshman Seminar
Taught in English. Small group seminar devoted to readings and study of other texts such as films, paintings, etc., active discussion, writing. Topics vary; interdisciplinary focus.
Same as L38 Span 247
L77 WGSS 253 Women's Fiction in Contemporary Spain
This course focuses on selected novels and short stories by 20th-century women writers in Spain, beginning with those writing during the post-Civil War years (1939-1975) and ending with the new generation of women writers who emerged after the end of the Franco dictatorship (post-1975). Discussions center on both political and aesthetic issues in the contexts of post-war and post-Franco Spain, including the effects of political repression and censorship; representations of gender and sexuality; and literature's relationship to feminist and nationalist movements in Spain. When relevant, other cultural media, such as film and music, are used in conjunction with our reading and analysis of literary texts. The course is taught in English.
Same as L38 Span 245
L77 WGSS 299 Independent Study: Internships
This course number is to be used for internships only.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units. Art: HUM
L77 WGSS 2991 Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
In this course an advanced undergraduate can assist a faculty member in the teaching of an introductory-level Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course. Students can enroll in one course only after having obtained permission from a faculty member who is willing to supervise. Students do not engage in any grading but may serve in a variety of other capacities — as discussion leaders, in providing logistical support, or in otherwise assisting with the transmission of course material.
L77 WGSS 3003 Writing Intensive in Ancient Studies: Helen of Troy in Greece and Rome
Study of selected topics in Classics. This is a Writing Intensive course.
Same as L08 Classics 3003
L77 WGSS 3013 On Love and Intimacy: Theorizing Kinship in the Multiple
Love and intimacy are terms that have a lot of cultural cache. In this course, we analyze the ways in which intimacy has been embedded within certain discourses of privacy, rights and individuality. In addition to the couple form, we examine friendship, celibacy, therapy and relationships people form with pets and with objects to flesh out intimacy's multiplicities to see how these forces impact these affective tides. This course brings together history, critical theory and film to think through various expressions of intimacy and what it means to relate to the other. Prerequisites: any 100- or 200-level Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course or permission from the instructor.
L77 WGSS 301A The Politics of Kanye West: Black Genius and Sonic Aesthetics
As a hip-hop artist Kanye West has had unprecedented impact on the sonic force of music, fashion, politics and videography. Coupling his controversial moments with his corpus of musical texts with special focus on sonic production, this course illuminates "Mr. West" as a case study for interrogating the interplay between fame, gender, sexuality and race. Mostly, we explore how racialized ways of doing iconography, complex ways of seeing, create a distorted or reductive frame through which we see the black and famous. Nonetheless, the course oscillates with entertaining these nuances, while being entertained by the decade-long catalogue of music and visual imagery. Together, we extract the "Politics of Mr. West" in his music and life, while also illuminating the importance of a politics of genius-making in the larger arc of black pop culture tradition.
Same as L90 AFAS 3010
L77 WGSS 303 Gender and Education
An examination, through the lens of gender, of educational practices at the preprimary, primary, secondary, and higher education levels. A sociological and historical approach links gender discrimination in education to other forms of discrimination as well as social forces. Students' own gender-related educational experiences are analyzed in the context of the literature used in the course. Prerequisite: sophomore standing, or permission of instructor.
Same as L12 Educ 303
L77 WGSS 3031 Queer Theory
This course provides students with an interdisciplinary examination of the history, politics and cultural expressions of gay and lesbian communities in American culture. It explores the ways lesbians, gay men, bisexual and transgendered people construct, participate in and resist various constructions of gender and sexuality. We question desire and social/cultural power, the nature and power of social change, etc. Particular attention is paid to examining the roots and effects of heterosexism and homophobia, the call for hate crime legislation, the ethics of "outing" and "passing," the impact of AIDS, partnership recognition and domestic violence on LGBT communities. Throughout the course students are encouraged to examine the intersections of gender, race, ethnicity and social class with sexual orientation.
L77 WGSS 304 Sex, Gender and Popular Culture
A critical survey of sex and gender in the production, reception and content of contemporary popular culture. Possible topics include: television, film, advertising, popular fiction, music, comics, internet, foodways and fashion. Themes include: the representation and stylization of sexed and gendered bodies; popular models of sexual and gendered social relations; production of normative and alternative sex and gender identities through media consumption; sex and gender in systems of popular cultural production.
L77 WGSS 3041 Making Sex and Gender: Understanding the History of the Body
This course provides an overview of the history of the body from antiquity to modern times using an interdisciplinary approach. By exploring selections from medical texts, literature, fashion, art, accounts of "new world" exploration, legal records, self-help books and contemporary media representations of human bodies, we consider the changing historical perception of the body. The intersection of gender, race and class factor significantly in our discussions of how the body has been construed historically and how it is currently being constructed in contemporary American culture. This course also provides an introduction to feminist/gender methodologies that apply to understanding the history of the body. This course is not open to students who have taken WGSS 204. Prerequisite: any 100- or 200-level WGSS course or permission of instructor.
L77 WGSS 310 From Hysteria to Hysterectomy: Women's Health Care in America
This course examines issues surrounding women's health care in America. While the scope is broad, the major emphasis will be on the 19th and 20th centuries. Through an examination of popular writing, scientific/medical writing, letters, diaries and fiction, we will look at the changing perceptions and conceptions of women's bodies and health in America.
L77 WGSS 3101 An Intellectual History of Sex and Gender
When did sexuality begin? Is it safe to assume that gender constructions are universal and timeless? In this course, we engage with a broad range of readings that serve as primary texts in the history of sexuality and gender. Our aims are threefold: to analyze the literary evidence we have for sexuality and gender identity in Western culture, to survey modern scholarly approaches to those same texts and to consider the ways in which these modern theoretical frameworks have become the most recent set of "primary" texts on sexuality and gender.
Same as L93 IPH 310
L77 WGSS 3121 Topics in English and American Literature
Topic varies. Writing intensive.
Same as L14 E Lit 316W
L77 WGSS 3132 Service Learning: Girls' Studies
2012 marked the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts of America, an organization that has played a significant role in defining what it means to be a girl in American culture. This class looks back at girlhood over the past 100 years to today by exploring topics that include literature for girls, the education of girls, sports and girlhood, marketing to girls, girls' health and sexuality, and, of course, the history of organizations for girls in the United States and abroad. This course introduces students to the emerging field of Girl Studies within the field of Feminist/Gender Studies research. Because the course builds upon basic knowledge of women's movements in the U.S. and builds upon an understanding of core women and gender studies readings, students must take Introduction to Women and Gender Studies or Introduction to Sexuality Studies before enrolling in this course. This course includes a fieldwork component in addition to regular course meetings. Prerequisite: any 100-level WGSS course.
L77 WGSS 3133 Service Learning: Feminist and Queer Youth Studies
Categorizing life experience into childhood and adolescence is a relatively new construct. The first part of the course will examine how the categories of early childhood and adolescence developed in social and medical discourses. The remainder of the course encourages students to draw connections between Feminist and Queer theoretical scholarship on children, and the practice of designing and implementing programming for children. Students will examine the relationship between the course readings and their experience working with various agencies in St. Louis. Important Note: This is a service-learning class, which means it combines classroom learning with outside work at a community organization. In addition to regular class time, there is a service requirement, which will necessitate an additional 4-5 hours a week. Before beginning community service, students must complete required training and submit material for a background check. Prerequisite: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (L77 100B). CET course.
L77 WGSS 313A Topics in English & American Literature: Dreams
Called the "Age of Revolution," the Romantic Age of British literature, 1770-1830, witnessed the birth of new lyric forms, the effacement of traditional strictures on style and taste, and produced through poetic voice (and its quaverings and multiplications) what might be called, oversimply, the modern subject. Within a developing discourse of human rights and personal freedom, this growing assertion through poetry of individual expressivity allowed William Blake to construct in a single work a visual and verbal "Jerusalem." It encouraged William Wordsworth to write a pathbreaking investigation of the sources of his own creativity that challenged conventional restraints on what topics can, and cannot, be confessed in poetry. Beginning with these two poets, we consider the historical contexts, and the sometimes competing histories of ideas, that shaped the five major British Romantic poets: Blake, Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Lord Byron, and John Keats. We follow an anthology for much of the poetry, including the poems and prose of influential contemporaries (female as well as male) who included the political philosopher Edmund Burke and Mary Wollstonecraft. Texts assigned also include Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Byron's Don Juan.
Same as L14 E Lit 313
L77 WGSS 3152 Sex and Gender in Greco-Roman Antiquity
Ideas about sex and gender have not remained stable over time. The ancient Greeks and Romans had their own ideas — ideas that strike us today as both deeply alien and strikingly familiar. This course will consider questions such as: What constituted "normal" sex for the Greeks and for the Romans? What sex acts did they consider to be problematic or illicit, and why? What traits did the Greeks and Romans associate with masculinity? With femininity? How did society treat those who did not quite fit into those categories? How did peoples of the ancient world respond to same-sex and other-sex relationships, and was there an ancient concept of "sexuality"? How did issues of class, ethnicity and age interact with and shape these concepts? How does an understanding of these issues change the way we think about sex and gender today? We will read an array of ancient texts in translation, consider various theoretical viewpoints, and move toward an understanding of what sex and gender meant in the ancient world.
Same as L08 Classics 3152
L77 WGSS 3171 Service Learning: Women and Prison
Since President Reagan declared a war on drugs in the 1980s, the numbers of women in prison has increased dramatically. Due to mandatory minimum sentencing requirements and increasingly punitive prisoners for nonviolent offenses, there are no more than 200,000 women incarcerated in the United States with more than 1 million on probation and parole. While women are the fastest growing population in prison, men still make up the vast majority of prisoners, and the system is largely geared toward men and their needs. In this course, we explore the historical and contemporary issues of girls and women who are convicted of a crime. Through readings, films, reflective writings and facility tours, we explore the impact of incarceration on women and their families. While our scope is national, we focus on the corrections system in Missouri. Prerequisite: Introduction to Women and Gender Studies or Introduction to Sexuality Studies. CET course.
L77 WGSS 3172 Queer Histories
Queer history is a profoundly political project. Scholars and activists use queer histories to assert theories of identity formation, build communities and advance a vision of the meanings of sexuality in modern life and the place of queer people in national communities. This history of alternative sexual identities is narrated in a variety of settings — the internet as well as the academy, art and film as well as the streets — and draws upon numerous disciplines, including anthropology, geography, sociology, oral history, fiction and memoir, as well as history. This discussion-based course examines the sites and genres of queer history, with particular attention to moments of contestation and debate about its contours and meanings.
L77 WGSS 3173 Service Learning: Documenting the Queer Past in St. Louis
Around the U.S. and the world, grassroots LGBTQ history projects investigate the queer past as a means of honoring the courage of those who have come before, creating a sense of community today, and understanding the exclusions and divisions that shaped their communities and continue to limit them. In this course, we participate in this national project of history-making by helping to excavate the queer past in the greater St. Louis region. Course readings will focus on the ways that sexual identities and communities in the United States have been shaped by urban settings since the late 19th century, with particular attention to the ways that race, class and gender have structured queer spaces and communities. In their community service project, students will work with the grassroots St. Louis LGBT History Project to research St. Louis' queer past, including conducting oral histories with local LGBTQ elders. Important Note: This is a service-learning class, which means it combines classroom learning with outside work at a community organization. In addition to regular class time, there is a service requirement, which will necessitate an additional 3-4 hours a week. Before beginning community service, students must complete required training. Prerequisite: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies or Introduction to Queer Studies, or permission of instructor. CET course.
L77 WGSS 3191 Contemporary American Women Poets
An introduction to the work of contemporary American poets who are women; extensive reading of both poetry and prose. Readings include the work of poets such as Bishop, Rich, Plath, Sexton, Clampitt, Gluck, Moss, Graham, Howe, Dove, Oliver, Forche, Lauterbach.
Same as L14 E Lit 3191
L77 WGSS 3201 Gender, Culture and Madness
This course explores the relationships among gender constructs, cultural values and definitions of mental health and illness. Understandings of the proper roles, sensibilities, emotions and dispositions of women and men are often culturally and morally loaded as indicators of the "proper" selves permitted in a given context. Across cultures, then, gender often becomes an expressive idiom for the relative health of the self. Gender identities or presentations that run counter to these conventions are frequently identified as disordered and in need of fixing. In this course, we take up these issues through three fundamental themes: the social and cultural (re)production of gendered bodies and dispositions; the normalization of these productions and the subsequent location of "madness" in divergent or dissonant experiences of embodiment; and the situation of discourses of "madness" within debates of resistance and conformity, selfhood and agency.
Same as L48 Anthro 3201
L77 WGSS 3206 Global Gender Issues
This course compares the life experiences of women and men in societies throughout the world. We discuss the evidence regarding the universal subordination of women, and examine explanations that propose to situate women's and men's personality attributes, roles and responsibilities in the biological or cultural domains. In general, through readings, films and lectures, the class provides a cross-cultural perspective on ideas regarding gender and how gendered meanings, practices, performances serve as structuring principles in society.
Same as L48 Anthro 3206
L77 WGSS 323 Selected American Writers: Walt Whitman in His Time and Ours
Intensive study of one or more American writers. Consult Course Listings for offerings in any given semester.
Same as L14 E Lit 323
L77 WGSS 323A Sex Trafficking
Both in the United States and on a global level, interrelated inequities in gender, sex, power, class, opportunity, education, culture, politics, race, and sexual objectification are among the social phenomena that contribute to the larger number of women and girls who enter into systems of prostitution and sex trafficking. We will examine the dynamics of sex trafficking on a local and global level from various perspectives, with particular attention given to the sexed and gendered social conditions that impact sex trafficking. In studying the extent and nature of the problem we will look at demand, prevalence, experiences of victims, methods of traffickers, child trafficking, cultural dynamics, and global power dynamics. We also examine international, federal and state legislation along with organizational and grassroots efforts to prevent and respond to sex trafficking.
L77 WGSS 3255 Black Masculinities
This course investigates and explores how manhood, or masculinity, interacts with ideas of sexuality in public and private life. Together, we look closely at writers who offer cultural and theoretical frameworks to challenge our ideas of what black manhood is and should be, particularly those writers who are bold enough to represent same-sex desire among black men and women. Authors include James Baldwin, Essex Hemphill, Mark Anthony Neal, Mignon Moore, and E. Patrick Johnson.
L77 WGSS 3282 Sexuality in Africa
An examination of various themes of African sexuality, including courtship, marriage, circumcision, STDs and AIDS, polygamy, homosexuality, child marriages, and the status of women. Course materials include ethnographic and historical material, African novels and films, and U.S. mass media productions. Using sexuality as a window of analysis, students are exposed to a broad range of social science perspectives such as functionalist, historical, feminist, social constructionist, Marxist and postmodern.
Same as L90 AFAS 3282
L77 WGSS 330A Native American/Euro-American Encounters: Confrontations of Bodies and Beliefs
This course surveys the history and historiography of how Native Americans, Europeans and Euro-Americans reacted and adapted to one another's presence in North America from the 1600s to the mid-1800s, focusing on themes of religion and gender. We will examine the cultural and social implications of encounters between Native peoples, missionaries and other European and Euro-American Protestants and Catholics. We will pay particular attention to how bodies were a venue for encounter — through sexual contact, through the policing of gendered social and economic behaviors, and through religiously-based understandings of women's and men's duties and functions. We will also study how historians know what they know about these encounters, and what materials enable them to answer their historical questions.
Same as L57 RelPol 330
L77 WGSS 3313 Topics in Gender & Religion
This course examines the ways in which issues pertaining to gender are salient in U.S. politics. The course is divided into four parts. First, we will examine theoretical approaches to the study of gender and politics, including the use of gender as an analytical category, and the relationship between gender, race, ethnicity and power. Second, we will study gender-based social movements, including the suffrage and woman's rights movements, women's participation in the civil rights movement, the contemporary feminist and anti-feminist movements, the gay rights/queer movement and the women's peace movement. Third, we will examine the role of gender in the electoral arena, in terms of how it affects voting, running for office and being in office. Finally, we will examine contemporary debates about public policy issues, including the integration of women and gays in the military, sexual harassment, pornography and equal rights.
Same as L32 Pol Sci 331B
L77 WGSS 3323 Topics in Gender and Religion
An anthropological study of the position of women in the contemporary Muslim world, with examples drawn primarily from the Middle East but also from Asia, Africa, Europe and the United States. Students examine ethnographic, historical and literary works, including those written by Muslim women. Topics having a major impact on the construction of gender include Islamic belief and ritual, modest dress (veiling), notions of marriage and the family, modernization, nationalism and the nation-state, politics and protest, legal reform, formal education, work and Westernization. The course includes a visit to a St. Louis mosque, discussions with Muslim women, and films.
Same as L48 Anthro 3313
L77 WGSS 335 Feminist Theory
This course begins by examining the 19th- and early 20th-century historical context out of which contemporary feminist theory emerged. We then turn to the 1960s and the emergence of the "Second Wave" of feminism. We focus on some of the major theories that developed during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s and the conflicts and internal problems these theories generated. We then examine some of the ways these problems were resolved in feminist theory of the 1990s. The last part of the course focuses on topics of concern to contemporary feminists — such as the family, sexuality and globalism — and the contributions feminist theory brings to these topics. Open to graduate students by enrolling in L77 WS 500; contact the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies office for details.
L77 WGSS 337 Women's Literature: Before Thelma and Louise: American Women's Adventure Stories
American literature is filled with adventurers and adventure stories. Some of the most exciting tales were written by women. Their adventures include Mary Rowlandson's autobiography of her capture by and life with the Indians, E.D.E.N. Southworth's story of a 19th-century heroine who rescues imprisoned maidens and fights duels, and Octavia Butler's science fiction account of a 20th-century black woman who is transported back through time to an antebellum plantation. Until recently, American women authors and their stories were largely dismissed because they were perceived to focus on domestic concerns, which were seen as narrow and trivial. But the works of many women authors are far different from sentimental domestic fiction. In addition to looking closely at the historical and cultural conditions in which the narratives were written, we examine the ways in which these writers conform to and rebel against cultural prescriptions about femininity. Finally, we read some contemporary and current criticism about these works and American women's writing and discuss the politics of canon formation. Tentative Reading List: Mary Rowlandson, The Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson (1682); The Journal of Madam Knight (1704); Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Hope Leslie (1827); E.D.E.N. Southworth, The Hidden Hand (1858); Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937); Octavia Butler, Kindred (1979); Paule Marshall, Praisesong for the Widow (1983). Writing-intensive.
L77 WGSS 340 Israeli Women Writers
Study of selected novels and shorter fiction by women. Attention to the texts as women's writing and as products of Israeli literature. No knowledge of Hebrew necessary; all readings in English translation.
Same as L74 HBRW 340
L77 WGSS 3401 Performing Gender
This course investigates an array of contemporary performances to explore manifestations of and challenges to gender norms in American culture. An initial reading of crucial performance theories by Judith Butler, Jill Dolan and others help set the stage for our examination of a diverse collection of contemporary texts, including plays, solo performances, stand-up comedy and pop culture phenomenon. We raise questions about feminist performance strategies, butch/femme performance, camp, cross-dressing, feminist spectatorship, multimedia performances and the representation of lesbian desire. Prerequisite: any 100-level WGSS course.
Same as L15 Drama 3301
L77 WGSS 3410 Gender in Society
Introduction to the sociological study of gender. The primary focus is U.S. society, but we will also discuss gender in an international context. From the moment of birth, boys and girls are treated differently. Gender structures the experiences of people in all major social institutions, including the family, the workplace and schools. We will explore how gender impacts lives and life chances. The central themes of the course are historical changes in gender beliefs and practices; socialization practices that reproduce gender identities; how race/ethnicity, class and sexuality shape the experience of gender; and the relationship between gender, power and social inequality. Prerequisite: introductory course in sociology or consent of the instructor.
Same as L40 SOC 3410
L77 WGSS 3413 Women in Early Modern Europe
From the Renaissance to the Enlightenment, European women experienced tremendous change as Europe witnessed religious upheaval, economic retrenchment, political consolidation, and intellectual revolution. However, many of the core ideas about women's role and status remained remarkably stable during this period, and women continually struggled to create opportunity for themselves. We will examine both the changing and unchanging nature of women's lives through sources such as conduct manuals for women, biographies about women from different economic, social, and religious backgrounds, and the works of female authors.
Same as L22 History 3413
L77 WGSS 3416 War, Genocide and Gender in Modern Europe
This course explores the way in which gender and gender relations shaped and were shaped by war and genocide in 20th-century Europe. The course approaches the subject from various vantage points, including economic, social and cultural history, and draws on comparisons between different regions. Topics covered will include: new wartime tasks for women; soldiers' treatment of civilians under occupation, including sexual violence; how combatants dealt with fear, injury and the loss of comrades; masculine attributes of soldiers and officers of different nations and in different wartime roles; survival strategies and the relation to expectations with regard to people's (perceived) gender identity; the meanings of patriotism for women and men during war; and gender specific experiences of genocide.
Same as L22 History 3416
L77 WGSS 343 Understanding the Evidence: Provocative Topics of Contemporary Women's Health and Reproduction
Contemporary topics of women's health and reproduction are used as vehicles to introduce the student to the world of evidence-based data acquisition. Selected topics span and cross a multitude of contemporary boundaries. Issues evoke moral, ethical, religious, cultural, political and medical foundations of thought. The student is provided introductory detail to each topic and subsequently embark on an independent critical review of current data and opinion to formulate their own said notions. Examples of targeted topics for the upcoming semester include, but are not limited to: abortion, human cloning, genetics, elective Cesarean section, fetal surgery, hormone replacement, refusal of medical care, medical reimbursement, liability crisis and gender bias of medical care.
L77 WGSS 345A Sexual Politics in Film Noir and Hardboiled Literature
Emerging in American films most forcefully during the 1940s, film noir is a cycle of films associated with a distinctive visual style and a cynical worldview. In this course, we explore the sexual politics of film noir as a distinctive vision of American sexual relations every bit as identifiable as the form's stylized lighting and circuitous storytelling. We explore how and why sexual paranoia and perversion seem to animate this genre and why these movies continue to influence "neo-noir" filmmaking into the 21st century, even as film noir's representation of gender and sexuality is inseparable from its literary antecedents, most notably, the so-called "hard-boiled" school of writing. We read examples from this literature by Dashiell Hammett, James Cain, Raymond Chandler and Cornell Woolrich, and discuss these novels and short stories in the context of other artistic and cultural influences on gendered power relations and film noir. We also explore the relationship of these films to censorship and to changing post-World War II cultural values. Films screened in complete prints or in excerpts likely include many of the following: The Maltese Falcon, Double Indemnity, Murder My Sweet, Phantom Lady, Strangers on a Train, The Big Sleep, The Killers, Mildred Pierce, The High Wall, Sudden Fear, The Big Combo, Laura, The Glass Key, The Big Heat, Kiss Me Deadly, The Crimson Kimono, Touch of Evil, Alphaville, Chinatown, Taxi Driver, Devil in a Blue Dress, The Bad Lieutenant and Memento. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 345
L77 WGSS 347 Gender and Citizenship: Writing-Intensive Seminar
In this writing-intensive course we examine how ideas about gender have shaped the ways Americans understand what it means to be a citizen. We focus on a variety of cases in the past and present to explore the means by which women and men have claimed the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The types of questions that we ask include: What rights or duties devolve from the status of citizen? Who qualifies for citizenship and what qualifies them? What distinct models of citizenship have been available to Americans? How have individuals used notions of gender identity to make claims to political subjectivity? And finally, how do gendered claims to citizenship intersect or conflict with claims based on race, class, ethnicity or humanity? Prerequisite: previous course work in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies or permission of the instructor. Not open to students who have taken WGSS 210.
L77 WGSS 348 Rethinking the Second Wave: Race, Sexuality and Class in the Feminist Movement 1960-1990
The U.S. women's movement has been called "the 20th century's most influential movement," but until recently assessments of its origins, characteristics and impact have been largely impressionistic and subjective, left to movement participants and popular culture. Building on a recent explosion of historical studies of American feminism, this course examines the history of the so-called "second wave" of the women's movement from its origins in the early 1960s to its alleged demise in the late 1980s. Topics covered include the origins of feminist activism; the traditional history of the women's movement and recent revisions; how race and class shaped the feminist movement; how feminist ideas and organizing transformed American society; feminism and individual experience; and responses to the women's movement. In this discussion-based course, we read scholarly analyses of the women's movement as well as memoirs, popular essays and many primary documents from the period.
L77 WGSS 3506 Women Writers of Early Modern Spain
This course will analyze early modern women's writings (both secular and religious) by considering socio-historic context, genre studies (autobiography, convent narratives, short prose fiction, poetry and theater) and feminist criticism. Critical approaches included will consider issues of self-representation and subjectivity, performance, mysticism, life writing, feminist and lesbian utopias, cross-dressing, the body and spirituality, and the role of the Inquisition and confessors in the collaborative process of confessional writing. Class conducted in English. Spanish majors do the readings and papers in Spanish.
Same as L38 Span 3506
L77 WGSS 355A Topics in Korean Literature and Culture: Sexing Korea: Gender & Sexuality in Korean Popular Cultur
A topics course in Korean literature and culture; topics vary by semester.
Same as L51 Korean 355
L77 WGSS 3560 Black Women Writers
When someone says "black woman writer," you may well think of Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison. But not long ago, to be a black woman writer meant to be considered an aberration. When Thomas Jefferson wrote that Phillis Wheatley's poems were "beneath the dignity of criticism," he could hardly have imagined entire Modern Language Association sessions built around her verse, but such is now the case. In this class we survey the range of Anglophone African-American women authors. Writers likely to be covered include Phillis Wheatley, Harriet Wilson, Nella Larsen, Lorraine Hansberry, Octavia Butler and Rita Dove, among others. Be prepared to read, explore, discuss and debate the specific impact of race and gender on American literature.
Same as L90 AFAS 3651
L77 WGSS 3561 Law, Gender, & Justice
This course (formerly called "Women and the Law") explores how social constructions of gender, race, class and sexuality have shaped traditional legal reasoning and American legal concepts, including women's legal rights. We will begin by placing our current legal framework, and its gender, race, sexuality, and other societal assumptions, in an historical and Constitutional context. We will then examine many of the questions raised by feminist theory, feminist jurisprudence, and other critical perspectives. For example, is the legal subject gendered male, and, if so, how can advocates (or women and men) use the law to gain greater equality? What paradoxes have emerged in areas such as employment discrimination, family law, or reproductive rights, as women and others have sought liberal equality? What is the equality/difference debate about and why is it important for feminists? How do intersectionality and various schools of feminist thought affect our concepts of discrimination, equality and justice? The course is thematic, but we will spend time on key cases that have influenced law and policy, examining how they affect the everyday lives of women. Over the years, this course has attracted WGSS students and pre-law students. This course is taught by law students under the supervision of a member of the School of Law faculty. In spring 2017, Jesse Doggendorf, Sapna Khatri, Rebecca Swarm, and Sarah Watson will be teaching this course under the supervision of Professor Susan Appleton. Students who have taken L77 3561 Women and the Law can not take this class.
L77 WGSS 358 Scribbling Women: 19th-Century American Women Writers
In 1855, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote to his publisher, William Tichnor, that "America is now wholly given over to a damned mob of scribbling women, and I should have no chance of success while the public taste is occupied with their trash." In this class, we examine works of those scribbling women of the 19th century. We read one of the best-selling novels of the century, one that created a scandal and ruined the author's literary reputation, along with others that have garnered more attention in our time than their own. In addition to focusing on these women writers, we also explore questions about the canon of American literature: What makes literature "good"? What constitutes American literature? How does an author get in the canon and stay there? Finally, in this writing-intensive course, there are frequent writing assignments and a strong emphasis on the essential writing process of drafting and revising.
L77 WGSS 359 Topics in European History: Modern European Women
This course examines the radical transformation in the position and perspective of European women since the 18th century. The primary geographical focus is on Britain, France and Germany. Topics include: changing relations between the sexes; the emergence of mass feminist movements; the rise of the "new woman"; women and war; and the cultural construction and social organization of gender. We will look at the lives of women as nurses, prostitutes, artists, mothers, hysterics, political activists, consumers and factory hands.
Same as L22 History 359
L77 WGSS 360 Trans* Studies
Trans* Studies is an interdisciplinary course that was previously named Transgender Studies. The new course title represents the development of the field and the identity in U.S. culture. In this course students engage with the following questions: When and why did the category gender emerge? What is the relationship between sex, sexuality and gender? How have the fields of medicine and psychology dealt with gender? How have approaches to "gender dysphoria" changed over time? Why is LGBT grouped together as a social movement? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this grouping? What are the legal obstacles faced by people who resist normative gender categories? What legal obstacles are faced by people who transition from one sex to another? To what extent do U.S. citizens have autonomy over defining their gender or sex? How are trans people represented in fiction? What does it mean to apply transgender theory to interpret fictional accounts of trans? Any of the following are suitable (but not required) courses to take before enrolling in this class: WGSS 100B, WGSS 105, WGSS 205 or WGSS 3091.
L77 WGSS 3601 The Traffic in Women and Contemporary European Cinema
What binds society together? One of the most influential answers to this question was offered by French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss. He argued that the fabric of a society is formed by a network of exchanges among kinship groups, which circulate three kinds of objects: economic goods, linguistic signs and women. In this course, we inquire into the place of women in this argument. We trace rudiments of the traditional marriage system (a father figure still "gives away" the bride in the marriage ceremony), its range of displacements in a global economy (transnational wives, nannies and domestic servants), the role of new media in the formation of new systems of trafficking (internet brides), and the place of the debate on gay marriage within the larger conversation. We read texts by Friedrich Engels, Sigmund Freud, Marcel Mauss, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Gayle Rubin, Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Russell Hochschild; and we watch a number of films that dramatize the traffic in women in the context of contemporary Europe: Coline Serreau's Chaos, Lukas Moodisson's Lilja 4-ever, Cristian Mungiu's Occident, Nilita Vachani's When Mother Comes Home for Christmas, Fatih Akin's Head-on, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne's The Silence of Lorna.
Same as L93 IPH 360
L77 WGSS 361 Women and Social Movements: Gender and Sexuality in US Social Movements
This course examines the history of grassroots activism and political engagement of women in the U.S. Looking at social movements organized by women or around issues of gender and sexuality, class texts interrogate women's participation in, and exclusion from, political life. Key movements organizing the course units include, among others: the Temperance Movement, Abolitionist Movements, the Women's Suffrage Movements, Women's Labor Movements, Women's Global Peace Movements, and Recent Immigration Movements. Readings and discussion pay particular attention to the movements of women of color, as well as the critiques of women of color of dominant women's movements. Course materials analyze how methods of organizing reflect traditional forms of "doing politics," but also strategies and tactics for defining problems and posing solutions particular to women. Prerequisites: any 100- or 200- level Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course or permission from the instructor.
L77 WGSS 363 Neither Man Nor Woman: Transgender Ethnographies in Global Context
This seminar examines transgenderism and gender variance more broadly in a global context that includes, but does not privilege, Western analytical frameworks. We read ethnographic accounts of gender diversity that complicate Western notions of sex, gender and sexuality. In particular, we interrogate the idea of transgenderism as a crossing from one gender to an opposite one (i.e., male to female or female to male), investigate the relationship between gender identity and sexuality, and examine the particularities of local gender forms in cultural context. Any of the following are suitable (but not required) courses to take before enrolling in this class: L77 WGSS 100B, L77 WGSS 105, L77 WGSS 205 or L77 WGSS 3091.
L77 WGSS 3666 Women and Film
The aim of this course is primarily to familiarize students with the work of prominent women directors over the course of the 20th century, from commercial blockbusters to the radical avant-garde. Approaching the films in chronological order, we consider the specific historical and cultural context of each filmmaker's work. In addition we discuss the films in relation to specific gender and feminist issues such as the status of women's film genres, representations of men and women on screen, and the gender politics of film production. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 366
L77 WGSS 369A Reading Sex in Premodern England
This course introduces students to the literary representation of gender and sexuality in England from the medieval period to the 18th century. To understand a tradition that addressed the intractable problem of human sexuality in terms very different from ours, we ask: how does premodern culture imagine gendered identities, sexual difference, and erotic desire? How do various contexts — medical, religious, social, private, public — inform the literary representation of gender and sexuality? What are the anatomies and economies of the body, the circuits of physical pleasure, and the disciplines of the self that characterize human sexuality? Students have the opportunity to study romances, saints' lives, mystical writings, diaries, plays, sex guides, novels and scientific treatises. By learning how to "read sex" in premodern literature, students acquire a broad cultural and historical understanding of English sexualities before the descent of modern sensibilities.
Same as L14 E Lit 369
L77 WGSS 3725 Topics in Renaissance Literature
Same as L14 E Lit 3725
L77 WGSS 373A Issues in Theater and Performance Studies
Explores a variety of special interest topics in theater and performance studies. Consult the Course Listings.
Same as L15 Drama 373
L77 WGSS 3751 Topics in Women's History: Women, Gender and Sexuality in Postwar America
We explore the history of the United States since 1945 by focusing on the ways that gender and sexuality have shaped the lives of Americans, particularly the diverse group of women who make up more than half the nation's population. Topics include: domesticity and the culture of the 1950s; gendering the cold war; the gender politics of racial liberation; the sexual revolution; second-wave feminism and the transformation of American culture; the new right's gender politics; and the impact of new conceptions of sexual and gender identity at century's end. Course texts include scholarly literature, memoirs, novels and film.
Same as L22 History 3751
L77 WGSS 383 Topics in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies: Spectacular Blackness, Race Gender & Visual Culture
Topic varies. Consult semester Course Listings for current offering.
L77 WGSS 384 Gender & Consumer Culture in U.S. Fiction of the Late 19th and Early 20th Century
The decades between the end of the Civil War and the 1930s saw the rise of a mass consumer culture that would dramatically reshape America. The fiction writers of this period, keen to capture the spirit of the age, helped to create the enduring idea that consumerism and an orientation toward material acquisition are at the heart of gendered concepts of American identity. Their stories documented, and sometimes celebrated, the emergence of recognizable "types" of American womanhood and manhood — such as self-made millionaires, ambitious "working girls," bargain-hunting middle-class housewives, and the commercially minded women and men of the social and intellectual elite. At the same time, their stories articulated anxieties about U.S. consumer culture and its impact on the world. Students in this course will read, discuss and write about novels and short stories by writers such as Henry James, Mary Wilkins Freeman, Kate Chopin, Theodore Dreiser, Edith Wharton, Nella Larsen, Langston Hughes, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Students in the course will also examine primary materials such as magazine advertisements, and will read and respond to relevant scholarship on the period. Writing Intensive course.
L77 WGSS 385A Topics in Jewish Studies: Jewish Sexual Ethics
Consult Course Listings for current topics. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.
Same as L75 JINE 385
L77 WGSS 3884 Regulating Reproduction: Morality, Politics and (In)justice
This course centers on the burgeoning corpus of anthropological scholarship on reproduction, with special attention to the regulation of reproductive behaviors and population management in cross-cultural perspective. Anthropologists and feminist scholars have shown how reproduction — which links individual bodies to the body politic — is a privileged site for processes of governance. Scholars have also shown how seemingly personal reproductive choices made in the micro units of families are always bound up with broader, if obscured, economic, national and political projects. In this course, we will cover how diverse entities, including the state, the Church, NGOs and feminist groups, seek to manage reproductive behaviors and politics across the world. We will discuss population control campaigns (such as China's notorious one-child policy) and pronatalist population policies (like those seen in Israel) in order to underscore how the management of fertility becomes a crucial site for nationalist and state-building projects. In this course we examine processes of "reproductive governance" around topics including pregnancy and birth, family planning, abortion and adoption. We also examine how the global proliferation of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (such as in vitro, sonogram, abortifacient pills, amniocentesis) intersects with efforts to govern reproduction. Crucially, we take class and race as key axes through which reproduction is experienced and stratified in diverse contexts. At the end of this course students should have a solid grasp of key topics and themes in the anthropology of reproductive governance, as well as more in-depth knowledge of a particular controversial reproductive issue that they choose to focus on for their final research paper.
Same as L48 Anthro 3884
L77 WGSS 38A8 Women, Men and Gender in Africa
This seminar explores the ways in which gender relations have been produced, reproduced and transformed through the everyday actions of women and men in Africa. The focus is both on agency and on structures of power, as we move from a consideration of gender relations during the 19th-century jihads in West Africa to problems of love, sexuality and marriage in contemporary South Africa.
Same as L22 History 38A8
L77 WGSS 393 Gender Violence
This course explores the issue of violence against women within families, by strangers in the workplace, and within the context of international and domestic political activity. In each area, issues of race, class, culture and sexuality are examined as well as legal, medical and sociological responses. Readings cover current statistical data, research and theory as well as information on the history of the battered women's movement, the rape crisis center movement, violent repression of women's political expressions internationally, and the effect of violence on immigrant and indigenous women in the United States and abroad. Not open to students who have taken U92 (UCollege) WGSS 363.
L77 WGSS 3942 Service Learning: Projects in Domestic Violence
In this course, we explore the links between the theories and practices of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies through a combination of research and direct community engagement. Course readings focus on the ways that poverty and violence, along with race and gender expectations, shape the lives of women. A required community service project for this course asks students to examine the relationship between the course readings and the lives of actual women in St. Louis. Over the course of the semester, students design and execute programming for women at a local community agency. This is a writing-intensive course. Students must contact instructor for permission to enroll. CET course.
L77 WGSS 3943 Violence Against Women Court Project
The seminar explores the links between the theories and practices of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies through a combination of readings, discussion and direct community engagement. Readings focus on the legal system and the ways domestic violence is confronted and how criminal justice interventions have responded to new theories and research about the nature of intimate partner violence. Particular attention is directed to the ways that issues of race, poverty, parenthood and sexual orientation influence the criminal justice response and shape the lives of abused women. Students participate in a court advocacy program to investigate the important discrepancies between theory and practice in the field. Students are required to take L77 WGSS 393 or have taken L77 WGSS 393 to enroll in the seminar.
L77 WGSS 396 Gender and Social Class
This course examines the intersection of class and gender from the late 19th century to the present. It begins by asking how a focus on women challenges conventional notions of class. Some of the topics covered include women, race and class; class and family formation; women, class and globalization; class and feminist politics; women and work; class and domestic labor; women and unionization; and class and sexual identity. The emphasis is on women and class in the U.S. but includes analysis of women and class in a broader, global context. This course examines these topics using nonfictional and fictional texts. Prerequisites: one 100- or 200-level Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course or permission of instructor. Students who have taken L77 WGSS 3561 Women and Social Class can not take this class.
L77 WGSS 399 Undergraduate Work in Women's Studies
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L77 WGSS 3991 Undergraduate Teaching Assistant
In this course, an advanced undergraduate can assist a faculty member in the teaching of an introductory-level WGSS course.
Credit variable, maximum 3 units.
L77 WGSS 39F8 Gender and Sexuality in 1950s America: Writing Intensive Seminar
Historians have recently begun to reconsider the dominant view of the 1950s as an era characterized by complacency and conformity. In this writing intensive seminar we will use the prism of gender history to gain a more complex understanding of the intricate relationship between conformity and crisis, domesticity and dissent that characterized the 1950s for both women and men.
Same as L22 History 39F8
L77 WGSS 39SC Imperialism and Sexuality: India, South Asia, and the World: Writing-Intensive Seminar
What is the connection between the appropriation of other people's resources and the obsession with sex? Why is "race" essential to the sexual imperatives of imperialism? How has the nexus between "race," sexuality, and imperial entitlement reproduced itself despite the end of formal colonialism? By studying a variety of colonial documents, memoirs produced by colonized subjects, novels, films and scholarship on imperialism, we will seek to understand the history of imperialism's sexual desires and its continuation in our world today.
Same as L22 History 39SC
L77 WGSS 4012 Advanced Queer Theory: The Intimacy of Precarity
This seminar uses precarity to produce a map of some trends in queer theory today in order to outline the stakes of this current intellectual work and ask how we can use this work to rethink sexuality. In outlining the current stakes of precarity, this seminar focuses on two main threads of queer theory — queer of color critique and public feelings — because both of these spaces have enabled complex theoretical and political discussions centered around precarity and both also introduce historical framings of queer theory. By orienting their contributions to queer studies around precarity, these scholars are asking both how one lives with this condition and what formations of knowledge have produced these conditions of liminality and vulnerability. Overall, this emphasis on precarity has made certain tensions surrounding the place of difference within queer theory visible and highlighted the role of structures, particularly neoliberalism, which is a particular nexus of collusion between the state and formations of capital, over the individual.
L77 WGSS 4013 Queer of Color Critique: Sense and Sexuality
That sensation produces surplus, often uncontainable knowledge, is something that is beginning to be explored in various arenas of queer theory as an important component of queer of color critique. This seminar will explore different sensational arenas, the different possible critiques that they produce, and what this means for thinking about sexuality, gender and queer theory. Throughout the course of the semester, we will explore sensation in multiple ways: 1) as a diagnostic tool for understanding some of the different ways that race, gender and sexuality intersect; 2) as a way to trouble the dichotomy between interiority and exteriority to understand the ways in which orders of knowledge become imprinted on the body; 3) as a mode of producing alternate forms of knowledge about gender, race and sexuality. In addition to reading about different sensations and their relationships to politics and sexuality, this course will require students to think creatively as they attempt to write about sensation, sexuality and politics. Ultimately, the purpose of this class is to examine sexuality and sensation as collections of embodied and politicized experiences. Prerequisite: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (L77 100B) or permission of instructor.
L77 WGSS 401A Transnational Queer Activism
This course explores the recent emergence of visible movements for sexual and gender minorities across the globe. The course begins with an overview of theories of collective action, putting canonical texts in social movement studies in conversation with postcolonial, queer, and transnational feminist approaches to activism and resistance. The aim is to lay a theoretical foundation for transnational analysis that does not center Western experience. The second part of the course moves through some key issues in LGBTI organizing that are overlooked when focusing on Euro-America, including: the importance of democratic transition for social movements; the prevalence of human rights as frames for sexual rights in the global South; limitations of the term "homophobia" when conceiving of hostility toward sexual minorities cross-culturally; and the role of colonialism and neo-colonialism in the globalization of LGBTI identities. Students will read texts attentive to the specificities of activism and resistance in the global South such as Out in Africa: LGBT Organizing in Namibia and South Africa, Queer Activism in India, and Mobilizing Gay Singapore: Rights and Resistance in an Authoritarian State. Course materials will also include primary source material from translated interviews with Argentine transgender activists the months before the passage of the "Gender Identity Law." Oral presentations will compare a case of LGBTI activism discussed in class to the work done by a St. Louis-based organization. By the end of the course, the students will be able to explain the important ways global Southern LGBTI movements differ from their Northern counterparts, contextualize news reports of events like the passage of the anti-homosexuality bill in Uganda, and craft research contributions based on global Southern case studies. Prerequisite: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (L77 100B) or permission of instructor.
L77 WGSS 402 Transnational Reproductive Health Issues: Meanings, Technologies, Practices
This course covers recent scholarship on gender and reproductive health, including such issues as reproduction and the disciplinary power of the state, contested reproductive relations within families and communities, and the implications of global flows of biotechnology, population and information for reproductive strategies at the local level. We also explore how transnational migration and globalization have shaped reproductive health, the diverse meanings associated with reproductive processes, and decisions concerning reproduction. Reproduction serves as a focus to illuminate the cultural politics of gender, power and sexuality.
Same as L48 Anthro 4022
L77 WGSS 403 Race, Sex and Sexuality: Concepts of Identity
This course examines changes in the meanings of three concepts of identity — race, sex and sexuality — from the early modern period to the present. The course begins by looking at early modern constructions of these concepts in Western Europe. We then focus on changes occurring during the course of the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe and the United States and at how such changes were similar and different among these three concepts. We then examine 20th-century challenges to 19th-century constructions. The course concludes by studying the relationship between these challenges and 20th-century identity political movements organized around these concepts. Prerequisite: completion of at least one WGSS course or permission of the instructor.
L77 WGSS 4031 Topics in Gender and Judaism: Gender and Sexuality in Judaism
A critical inquiry into the Jewish sociocultural construction of gender, past and present. Topics include the nature of the Jewish convenantal community and male circumcision as a sign of membership; the matrilineal principle of ancestry; genital emissions and purity; marriage and divorce; and male and female roles, including leadership roles. Documents by and about Jewish women, their daily lives and their sacral lives, are among the materials explored. JINE 208F is recommended.
Same as L75 JINE 403
Credit 3 units. A&S: TH, SD
L77 WGSS 406 Queering Theory: A Multidisciplinary Approach
This class aims to use theory to destabilize the concepts of race, sexuality, gender, disability and academic methodology. This class submerges students in some of the most influential texts in queer theory. The selected readings range across many disciplines, including biology, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, history and cultural studies. The core premise of this class is that to queer something is to destabilize it. Therefore, not all of the readings specifically are about gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender people. However, these readings help any scholar in their future work in queer theory. Prerequisite: any 300-level WGSS class or equivalent or permission from instructor.
L77 WGSS 408A Nuns
Nuns — women vowed to a shared life of poverty, chastity and obedience in a cloistered community — were central figures in medieval and early modern religion and society. This course explores life in the convent, with the distinctive culture that developed among communities of women, and the complex relations between the world of the cloister and the world outside the cloister. We look at how female celibacy served social and political, as well as religious, interests. We read works by nuns: both willing and unwilling; and works about nuns: nuns behaving well, and nuns behaving scandalously badly; nuns embracing their heavenly spouse, and nuns putting on plays; nuns possessed by the devil, and nuns managing their possessions; nuns as enraptured visionaries, and nuns grappling with the mundane realities of life in a cloistered community.
Same as L23 Re St 408
L77 WGSS 409 Gender, Sexuality and Change in Africa
This course considers histories and social constructions of gender and sexuality in sub-Saharan Africa during the colonial and contemporary periods. We will examine gender and sexuality both as sets of identities and practices and as part of wider questions of work, domesticity, social control, resistance and meaning. Course materials include ethnographic and historical materials and African novels and films. Prerequisite: graduate students or undergraduates with previous AFAS or upper-level anthropology course.
Same as L90 AFAS 409
L77 WGSS 4101 Medieval English Literature II
Topics course in Medieval English literature.
Same as L14 E Lit 4101
L77 WGSS 4106 Studies in Gender
Investigation of the constructions of gender in literary and other texts and their sociohistorical contexts. Particular attention to the gendered conditions of writing and reading, engendering of the subject, and indicators of gender. Topics and periods vary from semester to semester and include gender and genre, education, religion, politics, cultural and state institutions, science, sexuality, and human reproduction. Discussion, readings, and papers in German; some theoretical readings in English. May be repeated with different content. Prerequisite: Refer to German Majors section.
Same as L21 German 4106
L77 WGSS 4112 Body and Flesh: Theorizing Embodiment
This seminar explores a wide range of readings on "the body" as a site of theoretical analysis in social scientific and humanistic inquiry. Issues include: How do we think about the body as simultaneously material (flesh and bone) and constructed in and through social and political discourse? How do we think about the relationship between these contingent bodies and subjective experiences of "self" in various contexts? The course focuses upon the different ways in which these questions have been posed and engaged, and the implications of these formulations for the theorizing of human experience. Prerequisite: Anthro 3201 or permission of instructor.
Same as L48 Anthro 4112
L77 WGSS 4134 The AIDS Epidemic: Inequalities, Ethnography and Ethics
In the year 2000, HIV became the world's leading infectious cause of adult death, and in the next 10 years, AIDS was expected to kill more people than all wars of the 20th century combined. As the global epidemic rages on, our greatest enemy in combating HIV/AIDS is not lack of knowledge or resources, but global inequalities and the conceptual frameworks with which we understand health, human interaction and sexuality. This course emphasizes the ethnographic approach for cultural analysis of responses to HIV/AIDS. Students explore the relationship between local communities and wider historical and economic processes, and theoretical approaches to disease, the body, ethnicity/race, gender, sexuality, risk, addiction, power and culture. Other topics covered include the cultural construction of AIDS and risk, government responses to HIV/AIDS, origin and transmission debates; ethics and responsibilities; drug testing and marketing; the making of the AIDS industry and "risk" categories; prevention and education strategies; interaction between biomedicine and alternative healing systems; and medical advances and hopes.
Same as L48 Anthro 4134
L77 WGSS 414 Gender, Religion, Medicine and Science
Until recently the histories of science, medicine and religion were written by men and for men. These fields did not critically analyze gender or sexuality. Neither masculinity nor femininity were topics of interest in the studies of great scientists or famous theologians. Sexuality in scientific writing and religious thought barely received more than a sentence or two in the writings of historians. What changed? Feminist/Queer theory made us rethink the way we learn about the history of medicine, science and religion. Despite these great strides, we are only beginning to explore the interplay between these fields from a feminist/queer perspective. In other words, while feminist/queer scholars have deepened our understandings of both science and religion, they have only recently begun to examine the relationship between these two fields. This course explores how feminist research has broadened our understanding of the interplay between the authority of religion, science and medicine in historical and contemporary studies. Some of the topics we explore include: conception and gestation, birth control, birthing, sexuality and aging. Prerequisites: Introduction to Women and Gender Studies and at least one 300-level WGSS course that addresses feminist and/or queer theory such as: Masculinities, Making Sex and Gender, Transgender Studies.
L77 WGSS 416 The Politics of Pleasure
This 400-level seminar interrogates the concept of pleasure. Pleasure occupies a fraught space in feminist and queer theory. This course examines several ways that people have theorized pleasure as a space for politics, a space for conservatism, or a way to think about racialized difference. This course is not interested in defining what pleasure is, but it interrogates what the stakes of talking about pleasure have been within contemporary theory and culture. Beginning with an examination of pleasure in the context of early 20th-century sexology, this course looks at the sex wars of the 1970s, the turn toward pleasure as a space of protest, and ends by thinking of ways to imagine pleasure outside of current paradigms of sexuality. The course takes gender, race and sexuality as central analytic components to understand how pleasure is defined and who has access to it. Either Introduction to Sexuality Studies or Introduction to Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies are prerequisites.
L77 WGSS 417W Feminist Research Methodologies
Research is the foundation of academic knowledge and of much knowledge produced outside of the academy in think tanks, nonprofit organizations, social service agencies, corporations, and many other venues of economic and social activity. Informed by theory, and shaped by specific methods, research can and does help to frame problems, contribute to policymaking, and evaluate the effectiveness of policies and programs. Research is employed in a variety of ways in the different disciplines within the academy and within different practices outside of the academy. This course examines the different ways in which research is conducted and examines the reasons for these differences and the ways in which they contribute to or hamper feminist goals. The course also explores the ways in which some research methods are privileged over others in hegemonic understandings of what counts as "research" and of what counts as "knowledge." The course examines how gender theory and feminist politics shape the kinds of research questions researchers ask, the types of materials and other information researchers use, and the ways researchers define our relationships with our sources of data, evidence and other information. Students are expected to reflect on and engage with feminist approaches to research in this course in order to develop and complete a detailed research proposal. Prerequisite: At least two courses in WGSS, including Introduction to WGSS or Sexuality Studies at the 100 or 200 levels and one 300-level WGSS course, preferably in feminist or queer theory. This class is a writing-intensive course.
L77 WGSS 418C Gender and Sexuality in East Asian Religions
In this course we explore the role of women in the indigenous religious traditions of China, Japan and Korea (Confucianism, Daoism, Shamanism and Shinto), as well as Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. We begin by considering the images of women (whether mythical or historical) in traditional religious scriptures and historical or literary texts. We then focus on what we know of the actual experience and practice of various types of religious women — nuns and abbesses; shamans and mediums; hermits and recluses; and ordinary laywomen — both historically and in more recent times. Class materials include: literary and religious texts; historical and ethnological studies; biographies and memoirs; and occasional videos and films. Prerequisites: This class is conducted as a seminar, with minimal lectures; substantial reading and writing; and lots of class discussion. For this reason, students who are not either upper-level undergraduates or graduate students, or who have little or no background in East Asian religion or culture, need to obtain the instructor's permission before enrolling.
Same as L23 Re St 418
L77 WGSS 419 Feminist Literary and Cultural Theory
This course is intended to acquaint students with basic ideas and issues raised by a diversity of voices in contemporary feminist and cultural theory. Readings cover a wide range of approaches and tendencies within feminism, among them: French feminism, Foucauldian analyses of gender and sexuality, lesbian and queer theories, Third World/postcolonial feminism, and feminism by women of color. Given that feminist theories developed in response to and in dialogue with wider sociopolitical, cultural and philosophical currents, the course explores feminist literary and cultural theory in an interdisciplinary context. Note: this course is in the core curriculum for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies graduate certificate. Prerequisite: advanced course work in WGSS or in literary theory (300-level and above), or permission of the instructor required.
L77 WGSS 420 Contemporary Feminisms
The purpose of this course is to provide a framework, a map, within which students can locate feminist ideas. The course, which may be presented historically, explores and compares different types of feminism selected from, for example, the following feminisms: liberal, Marxist, socialist, radical, lesbian, black, existentialist, postmodern. The class considers how such feminisms analyze the nature and sources of women's oppressions, the worlds they envision, and the means they use to bring about change. Note: This course is in the core curriculum for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies graduate certificate. Permission of instructor required. Prerequisite: completion of at least one WGSS course or permission of the instructor.
L77 WGSS 4201 The Novel in the Feminine (Le Roman au feminin)
Informed through feminist criticism (Beauvoir, Cixous, Kristeva), this course examines the deconstruction of the novel as a traditional genre by 20th-century women writers such as Colette, Nathalie Sarraute, Marguerite Duras, Marguerite Yourcenar, Annie Ernaux and Mariama Bâ. We place special emphasis on the representation of the writing woman in the text itself and on the issue of "écriture féminine" in its sociocultural context. Prerequisites: French 325 and French 326 or one of these courses and the equivalent Washington University transfer literature course from Toulouse or Paris. One-hour preceptorial for undergraduates.
Same as L34 French 4201
L77 WGSS 421 From Mammy to the Welfare Queen: African-American Women Theorize Identity
How do representations of identity affect how we see ourselves and the world sees us? African-American women have been particularly concerned with this question, as the stories and pictures circulated about black female identity have had a profound impact on their understandings of themselves and political discourse. In this course we look at how black feminist theorists from a variety of intellectual traditions have explored the impact of theories of identity on our world. We look at their discussions of slavery, colonialism, sexuality, motherhood, citizenship, and what it means to be human.
L77 WGSS 4221 Topics in Women and French Literature
Prerequisites: French 325 and French 326 or one of these courses and the equivalent Washington University transfer literature course from Toulouse or Paris. One-hour preceptorial required for undergraduates.
Same as L34 French 4221
L77 WGSS 4231 Topics in American Literature I: White American Masculinities
Same as L14 E Lit 4231
L77 WGSS 424 Gender and Power in Religious Thought
Gender has often been posed as the fundamental distinction of the human condition, creating the original opportunity for relation across that distinction. In some strands of religious thought, this distinction comes second to the creation of the world distinct from the divine. Religious and secular thinkers have turned to ordinary experiences of interpersonal relations for insight into these purportedly more fundamental relations and the connection between them. This seminar examines the role of interpersonal relationships in recent religious, ethical, and political thought, with particular attention to the way they bring gender and sexual desire more centrally into view.
Same as L23 Re St 424
L77 WGSS 427 Technology and Feminist Practice: Gender Violence Prevention Tools
How can we best use technology, and the tools and insights of the Digital Humanities in particular, to promote effective approaches to addressing gender-based violence? What are the most effective ways to bridge the innovations of the research university with the everyday work of practitioners seeking to prevent violence or intervene in its aftermath? What are the ethics involved in constructing tools for public and professional use? Which interests should govern the choices in content, design and dissemination of information? This course will introduce students to the strategies and challenges of devising technological tools for violence prevention for use beyond the classroom. Class readings and discussions will be supplemented by hands-on project work with Washington University's Gender Violence Database and lab sessions that focus on skill-building in digital project construction. Prerequisite: For undergraduate students, L77 393 01 or previous work experience with the Gender Violence Database. Graduate students by permission of instructor.
Same as L93 IPH 427
L77 WGSS 430A Divergent Voices: Italian Women Writers
This course engages the fictional and political works of Italian women writers from the 17th century to the present day. We will read one of the acclaimed Neapolitan novels of Elena Ferrante, who is considered by many to be the most important Italian fiction writer of her generation. We will examine a cloistered Venetian nun's defiant 1654 indictment of the misogynist society that forced her into the convent. We will confront the reality of a woman writer who in 1901 was compelled to choose between her child and her literary career. Among other contemporary writers, we will study the humorous and radical feminist one-acts of playwright Franca Rame. Taught in English. No Final.
Same as L36 Ital 430
L77 WGSS 432 Women Writers of the 20th Century
This course examines select novels, poetry and political writings by such noted authors as Sibilla Aleramo, Dacia Maraini, Luisa Muraro and Anna Banti. Special attention is paid to the historical, political and cultural contexts that influenced authors and their work. Textual and critical analysis focuses on such issues as historical revisionism in women's writing, female subjectivity and the origins and development of contemporary Italian feminist thought and practice. Taught in English.
Same as L36 Ital 432
L77 WGSS 4333 Women of Letters
We investigate the representation of women in 18th-century texts. Why did the novel and epistolary fiction became so closely associated with women as writers, heroines and readers in the course of the century? Why were women considered exemplary and yet, at the same time, a threat? The 18th century saw the last of the salons led by women well-versed in philosophy, literature, art and politics. It saw the reinforcement of the opposition between the public and the private sphere. Woman was the incarnation of the ideal of liberty and yet excluded from the "rights of man." Rousseau praised women's role as nurturers and peacemakers but cast into doubt their capacity for genius. Literary texts that feature women became a sparring ground for two of the century's major literary trends: Sensibilite and Libertinage, for a woman's sensitivity was thought to contain the seeds of virtue and licentiousness. We investigate philosophical discourses on the senses and emotions and political discourses on republican responsibility. We read these texts in conjunction with the literary works of men and women authors, including Prévost, Marivaux, Graffigny, Riccoboni, Diderot, Rousseau, Charrière, Laclose, Sade and Staël. Prerequisites: French 325 and French 326 or one of these courses and the equivalent Washington University transfer literature course from Toulouse or Paris. One hour preceptorial required for undergraduates.
Same as L34 French 4331
L77 WGSS 436 Black Sexual Politics
Borrowing from Patricia Hill Collins' perspective in Black Sexual Politics, this seminar examines the historic and popular understandings of black sexuality and how they maintain color line, as well as threaten to spread what Hill Collins refers to as a "new brand of racism." Particularly, this course engages questions about sexuality that have only begun to be discussed with African-American Studies and the larger public sphere. Taking the intersections of identities very seriously, this course interrogates the ways in which these constructions have affected black women, while also being attentive to how "others" are implicated within discourses of black sexuality. Similarly, we will also engage the various distortions of black men — depictions of the black and masculine as almost always violent, sexually and socially irresponsible, brutish, questionable and unfaithful. Together we will use various critical texts and media to better understand the impact and the importance of visual and material images in the interplay of race, sex and politics in contemporary America.
L77 WGSS 437 Transnational Feminisms
This course engages contemporary feminist theories from diverse transnational contexts, as well as the social movements and local resistances they inspire. Through engagement with key works of feminist theory, political manifestos, and creative works of resistance, we will explore how transnational feminist alliances and coalitions have contested and responded to gendered and racialized forms of exploitation, navigating and reshaping territorial and social boundaries. We will engage with debates around the notion of a "global sisterhood"; tensions between universal and local feminist practice; the role of difference, nationality and culture in navigating the possibility of solidarity; the role of the internet in forging cross-border alliances; human rights-based activism; "women's" work; transgender inclusivity and transfeminisms. Part of our goal will be to ask how feminist theories from diverse geographical locations have influenced the politics of borders, movements for environmental justice, migrations and mobility, resistance to imperialism and the forging of alternative economies. We will also explore the gray areas existing in between binaries such as feminist/anti-feminist; local/global; home/away; global South/North; victim/agent; domination/dependency. Finally, we will ask how processes of knowledge-production take shape within different intellectual and political movements such as postcolonial feminism, decolonial and indigenous feminism, liberal and radical feminism, Marxist feminism and religiously-based feminisms.
L77 WGSS 440 Women in the History of Higher Education and Professions
An advanced seminar with readings exploring education, historical studies and feminist theory. Each student writes a paper, based on research in local archives and in other primary sources, on a topic related to women in higher education and/or professions. Prerequisites: junior standing or above; some background in American history.
Same as L12 Educ 440
Credit 3 units. A&S: TH, SD
L77 WGSS 4454 Irish Women Writers: 1800 to Present
Same as L14 E Lit 4454
L77 WGSS 445A Japanese Fiction
A study of the themes, styles, and genres of Japanese fiction as revealed in representative works of major authors such as Soseki, Tanizaki, and Kawabata. Topics include the question of the Japanese literary canon, the varieties of Japanese literary selfhood, literature by and about women, and tradition versus modernity. All works read in English translation. Prerequisites: junior standing and 6 units of literature.
Same as L05 Japan 445
L77 WGSS 4472 Spanish-American Women Writers II
A study of contemporary women's writing from 1970 to the present within a feminist theoretical framework. Topics include the construction of gender, female subjectivity, love and power, women and politics, literary strategies, etc. Prerequisites: Span 307D, Span 308E and at least two 300-level literature courses taught in Spanish. One-hour preceptorial for undergraduates only. In Spanish.
Same as L38 Span 4472
L77 WGSS 4479 Senior Seminar in Religious Studies: Contemporary Approaches to the Study of Women and Religion
The topic for this seminar differs every year. Previous topics include Saints and Society; Religion and the Secular: Struggles over Modernity; and Pilgrimage and Sacred Space in Antiquity. The seminar is offered every spring semester and is required of all religious studies majors, with the exception of those writing an honors thesis. The class is also open, with the permission of the instructor, to other advanced undergraduates with previous course work in Religious Studies.
Same as L23 Re St 479
L77 WGSS 4494 Modern Japanese Women Writers
Japanese women have been scripted by Western (male) imagination as gentle, self-effacing creatures. From their (re)emergence in the late 19th century to their dominance in the late 20th, Japanese women writers have presented an image of their countrywomen as anything but demure. Struggling to define their voices against ever-shifting expectations and social contexts, the women they create in their fiction are valiant, if not at times violent. This course examines the various manifestations of the female image in female-authored modern Japanese fiction. Writers to be considered are Higuchi Ichiyo, Hirabayashi Taiko, Uno Chiyo, Enchi Fumiko, Yamada Eimi, and others. A selection of novels and shorter fiction will be available in English translation, and students need not be familiar with Japanese. Prerequisites: 6 units of literature/women's studies and junior standing, or permission of the instructor. Writing Intensive course.
Same as L05 Japan 449
L77 WGSS 4496 Modern Japanese Women Writers
Japanese women have been scripted by Western (male) imagination as gentle, self-effacing creatures. From their (re)emergence in the late 19th century to their dominance in the late 20th, Japanese women writers have presented an image of their countrywomen as anything but demure. Struggling to define their voices against ever-shifting expectations and social contexts, the women they create in their fiction are valiant, if not at times violent. This course examines the various manifestations of the female image in female-authored modern Japanese fiction. Writers considered are Higuchi Ichiyo, Hirabayashi Taiko, Uno Chiyo, Enchi Fumiko, Yamada Eimi, and others. A selection of novels and shorter fiction are available in English translation, and students need not be familiar with Japanese. Prerequisites: 6 units of literature/women's studies and junior standing, or permission of the instructor.
Same as L05 Japan 4491
L77 WGSS 4502 Women and the Medieval French Literary Theory
The Middle Ages constitute a beginning — a period when new languages and literatures came into being, along with Romanesque book — illumination and stained glass, Gothic cathedrals, Gregorian chant, Troubadour song, Crusades for the Holy Land and quests for the Holy Grail. Medieval French Literature is therefore a new literature, defining itself against antique models and its own rich multilingual, highly visual and oral culture. This course provides an overview of this diverse and fascinating French literary tradition while focusing on the status of women in the literary production of the Middle Ages. Particular attention is given to women's role in the creation of texts as authors and patrons. We also examine how gender roles are constructed and challenged through the literary representation of female characters. Readings include examples from major genres: Marie de France's Lais, Chrétien de Troyes' Lancelot, Rutebeuf's Vie de Sainte Elysabel, the anonymous Aucassin et Nicolette, as well as Fabliaux, poetry of the Trouvères and Trobairitz, excerpts of the Roman de la Rose, and works by Christine de Pizan. All readings and discussions are in modern French. Prerequisites: French 325 and French 326 or one of these courses and the equivalent Washington University transfer literature course from Toulouse or Paris. One-hour preceptorial for required for undergraduates.
Same as L34 French 450
L77 WGSS 455 Topics in Korean Literature and Culture: Gender in Korean Literature and Film
Varied topics in Korean literature and culture. Subject matter varies by semester; refer to current semester listings for topic.
Same as L51 Korean 455
L77 WGSS 4581 Gender, Politics and Writing in Women's Fiction of the Post-Franco Era
This course focuses on the narrative fiction of Spanish women of the post-Franco era: those who began to publish shortly after Franco's death and continue to write into the new century (Esther Tusquets, Cristina Fernández Cubas, Rosa Montero, Carmen Riera and Adelaida García Morales), as well as the more recent crop of writers who emerged on the literary scene in the past decade (Nuria Amat, Lucía Etxebarria and Espido Freire). We consider the works of these women within their cultural, historical and political contexts, addressing issues such as the representation of gender and sexuality; the cultural impact of feminism, nationalism and globalization; and the influence of the publishing industry and the market on literary production. Whenever available, film adaptations of these literary works are used in conjunction with the readings. Prerequisites: Span 307D, Span 308E and at least two 300-level courses taught in Spanish. One hour preceptorial for undergraduates only. In Spanish.
Same as L38 Span 458
L77 WGSS 4601 Taboo: Contesting Race, Sexuality and Violence in American Cinema
Pushing the envelope or going too far? What is the boundary between films that challenge us and films that offend us? This is a course about films that crossed that boundary, most often by presenting images of race, sexuality and violence, images that could attract audiences as much as they offended moral guardians and courted legal sanctions. Because they were denied the First Amendment protection of free speech by a 1915 Supreme Court decision, movies more than any prior art form were repeatedly subject to various attempts at regulating content by government at federal, state, and even municipal levels. Trying to stave off government control, Hollywood instituted forms of self-regulation, first in a rigid regime of censorship and subsequently in the Ratings system still in use. Because taboo content often means commercial success, Hollywood could nonetheless produce films that pushed the envelope and occasionally crossed over into more transgressive territory. While control of content is a top-down attempt to impose moral norms and standards of behavior on a diverse audience, it also reflects changing standards of acceptable public discourse. That topics once barred from dramatic representation by the Production Code — miscegenation, homosexuality and "lower forms of sexuality," abortion, drug addiction — could eventually find a place in American movies speaks to changes in the culture at large. In trying to understand these cultural changes, this course explores films that challenged taboos, defied censorship, and caused outrage, ranging from films in the early 20th century that brought on the first attempts to control film content through to films released under the ratings system, which has exerted subtler forms of control. Required screenings.
Same as L53 Film 460
L77 WGSS 461A Topics in English Literature I
Studies in special subjects, e.g., allegory and symbolism in the medieval period, the sonnet in English literature, English poetry and politics. Consult Course Listings.
Same as L14 E Lit 461
L77 WGSS 4675 Beyond the Harem: Women, Gender, and Revolution in the Modern Middle East
This course examines the history and current situations of women in Middle Eastern societies. The first half of the course is devoted to studying historical changes in factors structuring women's status and their sociopolitical roles. The second half of the course will focus on several case studies of women's participation in broad anti-colonial social revolutions and how these revolutions affected the position of women in those societies.
Same as L22 History 4675
L77 WGSS 4711 Gender and Religion in China
In this course, we explore the images, roles and experience of women in Chinese religions: Confucianism, Daoism, Buddhism, and so-called "popular" religion. Topics discussed include: gender concepts, norms and roles in each religious tradition; notions of femininity and attitudes toward the female body; biographies of women in Confucian, Daoist, and Buddhist literature; female goddesses and deities; and the place of the Buddhist and Daoist nun and laywoman in Chinese society. All readings are in English or in English translation. Prerequisite: senior/graduate standing. Students with no previous background in Chinese religion, literature or culture need to obtain instructor's permission before enrolling.
Same as L23 Re St 4711
L77 WGSS 475 Reformers and Radicals:Feminist Thinking through History
We focus on feminist thought in Western culture but also examine non-Western ideas about feminisms. We trace the relationship among emergent feminist ideas and such developments as the rise of scientific methodology, Enlightenment thought, revolutionary movements and the gendering of the political subject, colonialism, romanticism, socialism, and global feminisms. Readings are drawn from both primary sources and recent feminist scholarship on the texts under consideration. Note: This course is in the core curriculum for the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies graduate certificate. Permission of instructor required. Prerequisite: completion of at least one Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course or permission of the instructor. Students who have taken L77 475 Intellectual History of Feminism can not take this class.
L77 WGSS 4755 Queering Sexual Cultures in Africa and the Diaspora
This course examines gender and sexuality in contemporary Africa and the diaspora. We will focus specifically on queerness as a category of analysis and will examine queer identities, practices, communities and cultures in Africa and the African diaspora. In recent years, many African countries have adopted harsh anti-homosexuality laws and much of the political and popular discourse frames expressions of same-sex desire as "un-African.'' However, there is a long history of non-normative sexualities in Africa, challenging the manner in which the continent is constructed as heterosexual by both local and global forces. Similarly, black communities across the African diaspora have relied on the regulation of gender and sexuality to demarcate the boundaries of blackness, and have traditionally sought belongingness to the nation through compulsory heterosexuality. Many scholars, artists and activists in the African diaspora continue to critique parochial definitions of Africanness and Blackness that rely on the exclusion of queer subjects. By drawing on historical, theoretical and visual texts, we will examine the debates concerning sexuality, citizenship and human rights on the African continent and the diaspora as well as their relationship to global issues around sexual citizenship and human rights. By focusing on the lived experiences of LGBTQ subjects in the African diaspora, we will interrogate the contested relationship between sexuality and politics. This reading-intensive, interdisciplinary course will familiarize students with the debates and issues of Queer African Studies, Black Queer Studies, and Black and African Feminist Thought.
Same as L90 AFAS 4755
L77 WGSS 480 Topics in Buddhist Traditions: Gender and Sexuality in Buddhism
The topic for this course varies.
Same as L23 Re St 480
L77 WGSS 481 Selected English Writers I
Concentrated study of one or two major English writers, e.g., Spenser, Dickens, Blake, Yeats. Consult Course Listings.
Same as L14 E Lit 481
L77 WGSS 482 Reading Seminar in Gender and Chinese Literature: Women in the Chinese Literary Tradition
A seminar on gender and Chinese literature with varying topics. Prerequisite: Chinese 341 or instructor's permission.
Same as L04 Chinese 482
L77 WGSS 483 Gender and Genre
A sampling of the diverse contributions made by French women to literary history, this course examines what prompted women to write in the 16th century; what they wrote about; which genres they chose; how these women were viewed by their contemporaries; etc. Prerequisites: French 325 or 326 or one of these courses and the equivalent Washington University transfer literature course from Toulouse or Paris. One-hour preceptorial required for undergraduates.
Same as L34 French 483
L77 WGSS 487A Discourses on Gender in 19th- and 20th-Century Spain
This course focuses on discourses on gender, from the late 19th century to the present in the context of feminism in Spain. We explore the social, political and cultural role of Spanish women (writers) within their specific historical contexts, with a special attention to their struggle to construct a new female subjectivity through their writings. To this end, their narrative fiction (novels, short stories) are read in conjunction with nonfiction writings (essays, journalism, etc.). Authors studied include 19th-century proto-feminists such as Emilia Pardo Bazán and Concepción Arenal; early 20th-century writers such as Carmen de Burgos, Margarita Nelken, and other female activists of the Republican period; and women writers of the post-War and post-Franco eras. Prerequisites: Span 307D, Span 308E and at least two 300-level courses taught in Spanish. One-hour preceptorial for undergraduate students. In Spanish.
Same as L38 Span 487
L77 WGSS 4908 Advanced Seminar: Women in American Society: Women in Social Movements
In this course we will examine U.S. women's participation in diverse movements during the 19th and 20th centuries, ranging from suffrage and feminism, to the labor movement, civil rights activism, and conservative and queer movements. Among our questions: How does the social position of different groups of women shape their participation in social movements? Why are certain social movements successful, and how do we define success? What does looking at women's experience in particular tell us about social movements in general?
Same as L22 History 4907
Credit 3 units. A&S: TH, SD
L77 WGSS 4918 Advanced Seminar: Sexuality in the United States
Does sex have a history, and if so, how can we study it? This seminar examines important themes in the history of sexuality: the relationship between sexual ideologies and practices; racial hierarchy and sexuality; the policing of sexuality; construction of sexual identities and communities; and sexual politics at the end of the century. Students will also spend time discussing theoretical approaches to the history of sexuality, as well as methodological issues, including problems of source and interpretation.
Same as L22 History 4918
L77 WGSS 4974 Advanced Seminar in History: Gender and Property Law
This course aims to explore the intersections of gender relations, work and property in law, custom and culture from the colonial period to the late 20th century. We will read a wide range of articles and books, all of which in some way address the relationships among gender ideologies, social practices, and property relations in American society.
Same as L22 History 4974
Credit 3 units. A&S: TH
L77 WGSS 498 Supervised Reading and Research
This course is designed for students who are pursuing an independent study project as part of the department Honors Program. Students must apply to the department. May be repeated once. Prerequisite: senior standing and permission of the department.
Credit 3 units.
L77 WGSS 4982 Advanced Seminar: Women and Confucian Culture in Early Modern East Asia
This course explores the lives of women in East Asia during a period when both local elites and central states sought to Confucianize society. We will focus on Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) China, but will also examine these issues in two other early modern East Asian societies: Yi/Choson (1329-1910) Korea and Tokugawa (1600-1868) Japan.
Same as L22 History 4982
Credit 3 units. A&S: TH
L77 WGSS 499 Honors Thesis: Research and Writing
Enrollment in this course is limited to students accepted into the Honors Program. Petition for permission to enroll is available in the Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Office, McMillan Hall, Room 210.
L77 WGSS 4990 Advanced Seminar: History of the Body
Do bodies have a history? Recent research suggests that they do. Historians have tapped a wide variety of sources — including vital statistics, paintings and photographs, hospital records, and sex manuals — to reconstruct changes in how humans have conceptualized and experienced their own bodies. We pay particular attention to the intersection of European cultural history and the history of medicine since 1500.
Same as L22 History 4990
L77 WGSS 4993 Advanced Seminar: Women and Religion in Medieval Europe
This course explores the religious experience of women in medieval Europe and attempts a gendered analysis of the Christian Middle Ages. In it, we will examine the religious experience of women in a variety of settings — from household to convent. In particular, we will try to understand how and why women came to assume public roles of unprecedented prominence in European religious culture between the 12th century and the 16th, even though the institutional church barred them from the priesthood and religious precepts remained a principal source of the ideology of female inferiority.
Same as L22 History 4993
L77 WGSS 49MB Advanced Seminar: Women and Gender in Modern Caribbean History
This course will highlight women in the "making" of Caribbean history, and it will consider how "men" and "women" were made in the English-speaking Caribbean from emancipation (1838) to the present. We will explore women and gender issues within the context of significant political shifts including the transition from slavery to wage and indentured labor, the labor rebellions of the 1930s, the rise of labor unions and political parties, anti-colonial activism, decolonization and nationalism. The course will also situate the Caribbean within an international context, paying attention to migration, black internationalism and the Third World movement.
Same as L22 History 49MB