Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies
Contact
Department Chair:
Carol Lasser

Administrative Assistant:
Linda Pardee

Department Email:


Phone: (440) 775-8907
Fax: (440) 775-6698

Location:
Rice Hall 117
10 N. Professor St.
Oberlin, OH, 44074

GSFS Courses 2013-2014

GSFS Courses 2013-2014
 

FALL 2013

Gateway Courses

GSFS courses designated as “gateway” are also “electives.”

  • CAST 100 - Introduction to Comparative American Studies
    The course will introduce students to the complexity of American social and cultural formations, with particular emphases on sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and gender, and to various methodologies of comparative analysis. Instructor: W. Kozol
  • CAST 286 - Latina Feminisms
    This course examines the heterogeneous experiences of U.S. Latinas across space and time. We will explore how, and under what circumstances, Latina feminism has emerged. Historically as well as epistemologically, we will discuss central concepts and examine what constitutes Latina feminism in its multiple forms. We will also discuss how Latina feminists have made important historical, academic, cultural, and political contributions and have inspired change and activism in innovative ways. Instructor: M. García
  • CAST 240 - How to Win a Beauty Pageant: Race, Gender, Culture, and U.S. National Identity
    This course examines US beauty pageants from the 1920s to the present. Our aim will be to analyze pageantry as a unique site for the interplay of race, gender, class, sexuality, and nation. We will learn about cultural studies methodology, including close reading, cultural history, critical discourse analysis, and ethnography, and use those methods to understand the changing identity of the US over time. This course includes a field visit to a pageant in Ohio. Instructor: A. Ofori-Mensa
  • ENGL 265 - Anglophone Postcolonial Literatures
    An introduction to Anglophone literatures of Africa, South Asia and their diasporas, this course addresses (and historicizes) the politics of their production and reception, focusing particularly on their engagement with the politics of (i) gender and sexuality; (ii) regional and national socio-cultural formations and their ideologies; (iii) resistance and/or conformity with western canons of taste, styles/genres. Postcolonial and feminist theories regarding ‘marginality’/ ‘location,’ ‘identity’/ ‘experience,’ and ‘alterity’/ ‘difference’ constitute important analytic lenses for examining these literatures.  Diversity, Post-1900. Instructor: A. Needham
  • SOCI 227 - Sociology of Gender
    In this course we will analyze how gender organizes and shapes our everyday lives. Drawing from classical and contemporary works, we will examine a range of theoretical approaches to studying our gendered world from a sociological perspective. Analysis of masculinities and femininities will figure prominantly, as well as contemporary issues such as the gender pay gap, queer families, and challenges to the gender binary. Instructor: J. Keller

    Feminist Research Methodologies

    Feminist Research Methodologies also counts as an elective course.

    • GSFS 305. Feminist Research Methodologies
      This course traces the historical and dialectical impact of feminist epistemologies on disciplines of the social sciences and humanities. We will explore feminist approaches to research practices including oral history, case studies, archival research, visual and literary criticism, survey/content analysis, and fieldwork. Throughout the semester, each student works on an individual research proposal that incorporates interdisciplinary methods and includes a literature review. Instructor: M. Kamitsuka

    Capstone Courses

    GSFS courses designated as “capstone” are also “electives.”

    • HIST 312 - Seminar: Gender and Sexuality in Modern South Asia
      This seminar investigates constructions of gender, sexual relations as power relations, and perceptions of sexuality from ancient India to the modern period, as they were influenced by political, social, and economic developments. It will use a vast array of historical and literary primary source materials, and films and documentaries, to examine themes such as: conceptions of family, politics of intimacy, ideas of the sexed body, same-sex desire, women and law, and movements for women’s rights. Instructor: S. Waheed
    • HIST 398 - Seminar: Archiving Sex: Researching America's Sexual Pasts
      The main goal of this course is to produce a 20-25 page research paper on some aspect of the history of American sexualities. Students will identify a paper topic, survey relevant secondary material, and conduct basic primary research. The course will emphasize research methods, effective writing strategies for long papers, peer critique and support, and oral presentations skills. Instructor: P. Mitchell

    Elective Courses

    • AAST 101 - Introduction to the Black Experience
      An interdisciplinary exploration of key aspects of Black history, culture, and life in Africa and the Americas. The course attempts to provide students with a fundamental intellectual understanding of the universal Black experience as it has been described and interpreted by humanists and social scientists. Included in the course will be such topics as: the Africana Studies movement, the African heritage of Afro-Americans, Pan-African relations, racism and sexism, the family, the role of religion in Black life, class structure and class relations, the political economy of African American life, and Black political power. Instructor: C. Jackson-Smith

    • ANTH 101 - Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
      An introduction to cultural anthropology through an examination of basic concepts, methods, and theories that anthropologists employ in order to understand the unity and diversity of human thought and action cross-culturally. Language and culture, kinship and the family, politics and conflict, religion and belief, and the impact of social change and globalization on traditional institutions are some of the topics to be considered in a range of ethnographic contexts.  Instructor: ONLY THE SESSION TAUGHT BY C. BIRUK

    • CAST 201 - Latinas/os in Comparative Perspective
      This course analyzes the varied experiences of Latinas/os in the United States. Using ethnography, literature, film, and history, this course will explore questions of immigration/transnationalism; culture and political economy; racial, ethnic, gender, and sexual identities among Latinas/os; the struggle for place in American cities; as well as the intersections of gender, work and family. Instructor: Staff

    • CAST 260 - Asian American History
      This course is an introduction to the history of peoples of Asian ancestry in the United States and the construction of an Asian American collectivity. Major themes will include the place of Asian Americans in the American imagination, migrations, labor, communities, and responses to social and legal discrimination. The categories of race, ethnicity, gender, class and sexuality will figure prominently as we explore similarities and differences among Asian American experiences. Instructor: Staff
    • CAST 342 - Race, Gender & American Social Movement
      This course examines social movements in the U.S. in the second half of the twentieth century, particularly those addressing racial and gender inequalities in American society. Thinking comparatively, the course includes study of the black freedom struggle, American Indian Movement, and the “Yellow Power” and “Brown Power” movements. We also consider struggles that cross (and complicate) ethno-racial identity such as feminism, gay rights, worker rights, and third world liberation. Instructor: M. Garcia

    • DANC 214 - Moving into Community
      What does it mean to engage one’s citizenship as a dancer? This course will introduce students to a variety of movement projects within the Oberlin community. We will look at both historical precedents and contemporary examples of choreographers such as David Dorfman, Liz Lerman, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar of Urban Bush Women in order to explore the issues of social power and cultural work involved in community-based teaching and performance. Instructor: A. Albright, H. Handman - Lopez

    • ENGL 267 - Ethnic American Literature
      This course will cover a survey of contemporary American literature addressing questions of race and ethnicity. What aesthetic strategies have writers used to think about and intervene in different cultural, political, and historical contexts? Within what conditions do these narratives emerge, and what do they (seek to) accomplish? Possible authors include Toni Morrison, Salvador Plascencia, Junot Diaz, Justin Torres, Jessica Hagedorn, Maxine Hong Kingston, Ralph Ellison, William Gay, and Colson Whitehead. American, Diversity, Post-1900. Instructor: H. Suarez

    • ENGL 358 - Women Writing Modernism: Modernism "When Women are Alone"
      In A Room of One’s Own, Virginia Woolf imagined a novelist exploring the ‘unrecorded gestures’ and unexpected ‘sequences’ that emerge ‘when women are alone.’ This course will consider how ‘Modernism’ looks and sounds differently ‘when women are alone’ in its construction. We will read fiction by Woolf, Wharton, Stein, Rhys, Bowen, Barnes, West, Cather, Hurston, and Mansfield as well as poems by H.D. and Gwendolyn Brooks. Diversity, Post-1900. Instructor: J. Emery-Peck

    • GERM 350 - Gender and German Cinema
      This course examines the gender politics of German cinema from the early days of silent film to the present. Focusing on a variety of theoretical issues raised by pioneering and current works on feminist theory and psychoanalytical film criticism, we will explore the cultural and ideological dimensions involved in the production and reception of films by, for, and about women. Topics include the representation of women, cinematic desire, scopophilic identification, voyeurism, subjectivity, autobiography, and the imaginary. Instructor: Staff

    • HIST 270 – Latina/o History
      What historical forces have brought together diverse groups including Chicanos from Los Angeles, Cubans from Miami, and Dominicans and Puerto Ricans from New York City? From the 16th century to the present, we map the varied terrains of Latina/o history. Major themes include: conquest and resistance, immigration, work, and the creation of racial and sexual differences within and between Latino/a communities. We survey Latina/o writers from Cabeza de Vaca to Jose Marti to Gloria Anzaldua. Instructor: P. Mitchell

    • JWST/HIST 237 - Gender & Sexuality in Jewish Society, Antiquity to Modernity
      Topics in Jewish women’s history and the construction of gender in Jewish society from Graeco-Roman antiquity to the present. Studies `normative’ constructions of women’s roles, idealized constructions of Jewish maleness and femaleness, and realities of gendered behavior. Using rabbinic and communal materials, women’s letters, memoirs and rituals, explores family and power relations between women and men; women’s economic functions and power; gender and religion; transformation of roles in modernity; gendered responses to persecution: Jewish feminism. Instructor: S. Magnus

    • HIST 444 - Colloquium: Gender, Marriage, and Kinship in China
      A colloquium exploring the construction of gender, varieties of marriage, and conceptions of family in China from imperial times to the present. Special attention will be paid to the state’s attempts to shape ideals and enforce norms in these areas, along with the response of various groups in the society to those efforts. Instructor: D. Kelley

    • POLT 132 - Explaining Social Power: Classical and Contemporary Theories
      Politics is about power. However, there is no consensus as to what power is, or about how power operates in society. Drawing on economic, sociological, psychological and feminist approaches, as well as on works of classical and contemporary political theory, the class will discuss the questions: ‘what are the bases of social power’ and ‘how does power operate in society.’ Readings will be drawn from Machiavelli, Hobbes, Marx, Weber, Freud, Foucault and recent feminist work. Instructor: S. Kruks

    • RELG 250 - Introduction to Judaism
      A theoretical introduction to Judaism as a religious system. Special attention will be paid to the historical development of the religion through interpretation of traditional texts and ritual practices. Instructor: R. Wollenberg only

    • RELG 258 - Introduction to the Talmud
      The Talmud is a sprawling multi-volume compendium of rigorous legal argument, ingenious and fanciful biblical interpretations, rabbinic anecdotes, jokes and deep moral and theological investigations. Compiled between 200 and 600 CE, it has been the most important generative force in Jewish religion and culture for the following two millennia. Exemplary texts will be studied (in English translation) with an emphasis on developing students’ skills in close reading and critical discussion. Instructor: R. Wollenberg

    • RELG 262 - Religious Identity in Multicultural Perspective
      How do factors such as sexuality, gender, race and nationality affect religious identity? This course investigates answers to that question by contemporary scholars from multiple religious traditions (Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Native American), especially in light of sexism, racism, heterosexism and colonialism. Students will gain familiarity with how current critical theories (standpoint, poststructuralist, feminist, queer, postcolonial) are employed to help articulate religious identity in an increasingly complex, globalized world. Instructor: T. Swan Tuite only

    • RELG 307 - Interpreting the Bible from the Margins
      A seminar in biblical hermeneutics, this course discusses biblical texts, methods and theories of interpretation, and revisionist readings from the perspective of feminist, womanist, mujerista, postcolonial, and queer scholars including: Judith Plaskow, Kwok Pui-Lan, Renita Weems, Ivone Gebara, Theodore Jennings, and Catherine Keller. Instructor: T. Swan Tuite

    • SOCI 275 - Enacting the Law  
      Where does law come from? Law and society studies how law is the product of cultural meanings rather than merely their cause. Using examples from sociology, political science, anthropology and history, we study how everyday understandings underpin and conflict with legal institutions when defining crime, marriage and law itself. Assignments include conducting interviews about disputes, analyzing legal changes, and observing legal proceedings: the formal and informal ways law gets enacted every day.  Instructor: G. Mattson

    • SOCI 338 - Prostitution and Social Control: Governing Loose Women
      Prostitution is a site of easy truths and inevitable conflict because of cultural ambiguities about sexuality, gender, ethnicity and citizenship. We probe these intersecting meanings by reviewing the wide range of empirical meanings attributed to prostitution and the ways modern forces have transformed them, especially the state. Taking cues from Michel Foucault, we analyze why recent legal solutions cannot fulfill expectations and discuss how the social control of prostitution might actually cause it. Prerequisite & Notes: Restrictions: Closed to first year students. Fulfills requirements for Law & Society, GSFS, and Sociology majors. Instructor: G. Mattson

    SPRING 2014

    Gateway Courses

    GSFS courses designated as “gateway” are also “electives.”

    • CAST 100 - Intro. to Comparative American Studies
      The course will introduce students to the complexity of American social and cultural formations, with particular emphases on sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and gender, and to various methodologies of comparative analysis. Instructor: P. Mitchell
    • CAST 211 - Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Identities
      This course examines the production of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer identities in the United States as they intersect with important social markers such as race, class, gender, and nation. Situating specific case studies in historical, social, and comparative context, we explore issues such as the intersection of racial and sexual sciences, processes of community formation, the politics of embodiment, social justice movements and queer cultural productions. Instructor: E. Heiliger
    • CAST 340 - Queer Money Matters: The Costs of Being LGBTQI in America
      Advanced interdisciplinary course integrates seminar discussion of theories, methodologies, policy reports, and popular culture to explore economic concerns of LGBTQI populations in/of the US. We ask: how would we fare as trans*women, single bisexual men, queer immigrant youth, intersex adults, or as latina lesbian parents? Seminars focus on synthesizing weekly readings and discussing field-specific writing techniques. Each student designs an individual research project proposal to investigate a specific economic aspect of American LGBTQI life.  Instructor: E. Heiliger 
    • SOCI 203 – Desire to be Modern: Sociology of Sexuality
      Sociologists study the social origins of sexuality: how shared beliefs shape what we desire, what is taboo or what shames us. Historical and cross-cultural research illuminates the way modern sexuality transformed systems of dating, marriage, homosexuality, government, economics and racial classification. Following Freud, Foucault, feminist and queer theorists, learn why sociologists are skeptical of essentialist explanations that rely on biology and favor theories that recognize sexuality as a diverse, ever-changing function of cultural institutions. Instructor: G. Mattson
    • SOCI 227 - Sociology of Gender
      In this course we will analyze how gender organizes and shapes our everyday lives. Drawing from classical and contemporary works, we will examine a range of theoretical approaches to studying our gendered world from a sociological perspective. Analysis of masculinities and femininities will figure prominantly, as well as contemporary issues such as the gender pay gap, queer families, and challenges to the gender binary. Instructor: J. Keller

    Capstone Courses

    GSFS courses designated as “capstone” are also “electives.”

    • AAST 321 - Seminar: Black Feminist Thought: A Historical Perspective
      This seminar course will explore and analyze the evolution of intellectual discourse among African-American women from slavery to the present. Particular attention will be given to the interplay of ideas about race and gender and the social and economic position of black women at various time periods. Sources will include autobiographies, novels, historical documents, sociological studies and modern feminist social critiques. Instructor: P. Brooks
    • HIST 427 - Colloquium: Borderlands
      The US-Mexico border region is a political, economic, and cultural crossroads. The course investigates interactions between Native Americans and Spanish colonists beginning in the 16th century, emerging United States economic and political control during the 19th century, and immigration, community building, and civil rights movements in the 20th century. We also discuss la frontera as a literary and symbolic concept. Instructor: P. Mitchell
    • HIST 456 - The Politics of Gender in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
      This colloquium has a two aims: to examine how medieval and early modern Europeans constructed and performed conceptual binaries such as male/female and mind/body, and also to consider the ways in which gender studies have transformed the doing of history. To this end we will analyze historians, work on the topics of sexuality, spirituality, the family, political authority, economic production and scientific enquiry for the period ranging from 1000 to 1700. Instructor: E. Wurtzel
    • RELG 367 - Theologies of Abortion
      This seminar explores a spectrum of theological approaches on abortion from Roe v. Wade to today. Topics to be studied include: the role of extremist religious groups in abortion clinic violence; how Protestant and Catholic pro-life theologies clash over issues of sex and gendered sexuality; debates about the question of when life begins and ‘fetal personhood’; how race shapes pro-choice and pro-life positions in relation to the bodies of religious women of color. Instructor: M. Kamitsuka

    Elective Courses

    • AAST 101 - Intro to the Black Experience
      An interdisciplinary exploration of key aspects of Black history, culture, and life in Africa and the Americas. The course attempts to provide students with a fundamental intellectual understanding of the universal Black experience as it has been described and interpreted by humanists and social scientists. Included in the course will be such topics as: the Africana Studies movement, the African heritage of Afro-Americans, Pan-African relations, racism and sexism, the family, the role of religion in Black life, class structure and class relations, the political economy of African American life, and Black political power. Instructor: C. Jackson-Smith
    • ANTH 101 - Intro to Cultural Anthropology
      An introduction to cultural anthropology through an examination of basic concepts, methods, and theories that anthropologists employ in order to understand the unity and diversity of human thought and action cross-culturally. Language and culture, kinship and the family, politics and conflict, religion and belief, and the impact of social change and globalization on traditional institutions are some of the topics to be considered in a range of ethnographic contexts. INSTRUCTOR: C. BIRUK ONLY
    • ANTH 227 - Medical Anthropology
      This course will cultivate an anthropological understanding of the intersections between disease, health, society, the body, culture, and global political economy. Drawing on accounts from across the globe, our topics will include: comparative study of health systems; cross-cultural definitions and understandings of disease, illness, and health; bodies, medicine, and the media; maladies from chronic pain to AIDS to cholera; health, ethics, and morality; health inequalities; and global health. Instructor: C. Biruk
    • CAST 267 - The Nature of Sexualized Identities: Gender, Race, Queerness, and Environmental Justice  
      Interdisciplinary seminar re-examines nature, gender, race, queerness, and sexualized identities as they shape, and are shaped by, sustainability, health, and environmental justice concerns. Working from the premise that sexual(ized) identities are at least partially socially constructed, course also interrogates ways that sexual identities and ideas about nature have co-evolved through science and media. Theories, methodologies and case studies primarily from the Americas. All students welcome. Instructor: V. Heiliger
    • ENGL 242 - Asian American Literature at the Crossroads
      A critical mass of Asian American literature has arrived; that presence, while valuable, also comes with many responsibilities. How does Asian American literature represent its increasingly global constituencies? What narrative forms and literary devices do writers and artists use to give figure to culture? This course explores the aesthetics, theories, and politics of Asian American literature and culture. It will focus especially on questions of diaspora, gender and sexuality, and cultural critique. American, Diversity, Post-1900. Instructor: H. Suarez
    • ENGL 290 - Shakespearean Comedy
      A study of many of Shakespeare’s comedies, from the cross-dressed and festive to the darkly ironic. Themes include love, sex, gender, friendship, marriage, family, magic, transformation, transgression, ingenuity, cruelty, forgiveness, coming of age, and a good dose of wit. Probable plays: Comedy of Errors, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Twelfth Night, All’s Well That Ends Well, Pericles, The Winter’s Tale. British, Pre-1700. Instructor: W. Hyman
    • ENGL 360 - Globalization and Diaspora
      This course will develop critical frameworks for reading and writing about globalization and diaspora in literature. How do writers, artists, and filmmakers conceptualize global capitalism, and how do these aesthetic projects coincide or diverge from economic and scientific narratives? What does it mean to migrate within the global economy? What relation do diasporic texts have with their homeland? Possible authors include JM Coetzee, Jessica Hagedorn, Karen Tei Yamashita, Richard Flanagan, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Shani Mootoo. American, Diversity, Post-1900. Instructor: H. Suarez
    • ENGL 388 - Selected Authors: Salman Rushdie
      Focusing on Salman Rushdie’s oeuvre, this course examines the history, politics, society and cultures of South Asia – his oeuvre’s primary investment – as they are distilled through his perspective as a diasporic writer. The course contextualizes Rushdie’s work through theoretical/cultural concepts – hybridity, cosmopolitanism, national allegory – deriving from postcolonial studies with which his work is associated; and it examines gender ideologies that underwrite Rushdie’s representation of dominant or oppositional worldviews in the cultures he writes about. British, Diversity, Post-1900. Instructor: A. Needham
    • HIST 227 - The History and Practice of Whiteness in the United States
      This course explores the creation of white racial identity in the 18th century, its evolution since its invention, and the policing and privileging of whiteness over the course of U.S. history. Themes include the role of law and science in defining white racial identity; how immigrants and other groups have sought to “become white” or have challenged the boundaries of whiteness; and how the state has granted economic and political privilege to those deemed white. Instructor: R. Romano
    • HIST 334 - African Women in Comparative Perspective
      In this course we will widen our appreciation of African Women’s experiences, including history, legal and socio-economic status, religious and political roles, productive and reproductive roles, and the impact of colonialism and post-independence development and representation issues.  The course will move across time and space to examine the aforementioned in pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial Africa.  We will begin with the question: What common beliefs/images about African women did/do Euro-Americans share? Instructor: H. Ballah
    • HIST 403 - Colloquium: History of Indian Cinema
      This colloquium studies twentieth century Indian history through its cinema, examining pleasure, consumption, and censorship over time. Why is there no kissing in Indian movies? Why do movies contain song and dance numbers? Why do the police always arrive late? We will watch Bollywood movies, as well as art house cinema, examining national, transnational, and urban forms of belonging and codes of morality, through genres such as historical films, film noir, and family dramas.  Instructor: S. Waheed
    • POLT 271 - Gender, Sexuality and the Law
      This course will consider some of the historical, theoretical, and doctrinal issues surrounding sexuality and gender in American law. A previous course on constitutional law is helpful but not required. Topics include sexual privacy, military exclusions and the construction of manhood, gender and sexuality in the workplace and in education, sexual consent, and various topics in family law. Class participation is essential and is a component of each student’s grade. Instructor: H. Hirsch
    • RELG 232 - Ethnography, Religion, and Gender in Southeast Asia
      This course examines religion and gender in Southeast Asia while introducing students to ethnography as a method for the study of religion. Course content examines, among other topics, Islam and masculinity in Indonesia and Malaysia, gendered aspects of Dayak shamanism, religious fashion and capitalism, Filipino Marianism, sexuality and the “Islamic revival,” and Thai Buddhist life cycles. Course includes two ethnographic workshops and the option to complete a mini-ethnographic research project on religion or gender. Field trips required.  Instructor: D. Birchok
    • SOCI 214 - Social Movements  
      Social movements are collective attempts to change the way people live their lives, how governments govern, and how economic systems produce and distribute goods. This class focuses on theoretical domains in the sociological study of social movements and general social processes rather than on specific movements. Substantive work on specific movements is used to explain issues such as mobilization, tactics, ideology, as well as how the social context in which a movement takes place matters. Instructor: A. Howell
    • SOCI 314 - Unequal Educations
      This course focuses on education as a social institution and the inequalities structured within it. Using theory and empirical evidence, education in the United States will be examined from pre-school through post-secondary levels. The intersections of education and other institutions, (e.g. political, economic and familial) are analyzed and include discussions of race/ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality. Further, the role of education in social reproduction and social control will be examined. Instructor: D. John
    • SOCI 414 - Seminar in Rural Sociology: “Rednecks”, Cowboys, and Country Queers  
      This seminar examines rural American life using a cultural lens. How are symbolic boundaries drawn, reinforced, or dissolved in response to identities and practices in rural places? Drawing from the interdisciplinary field of rural studies, this course investigates the cultural meanings of community, isolation, and exclusion in rural America. Topics include: rural “others,” queers in the countryside, urban readings of the rural, “rural chic” trends, and deconstructing “white trash.” Open to sociology and non-sociology majors. Fieldtrip required. Instructor: J. Keller