This course revolves around the short, creative life of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, one of the most prominent figures in art history, as a window to the cultural and political revolution that shaped Mexico's identity in the twentieth century and continues to influence Latinos today. Through Frida's life and artwork, we see how two international influences in Mexico's cultural and political life—Soviet politics and French surrealism—merged with national agendas that sought to redefine Mexico's identity through the integration of their indigenous heritage. The result was a time of booming creativity in the arts, radical expansion of educational and political agendas, as well as a redefinition of women's identity, sexuality, and the Mexican family. We trace her romantic and artistic relationship with Diego Rivera and explore her impact on the intensely creative social circle that included composer Carlos Chávez, photographers Lola Álvarez Bravo and Manual Álvarez Bravo as well as Tina Modotiti. Finally, the course includes a visit to the Fogg Museum for local students to see some of the Mexican muralist art work on display, and also a visit to the Museum of Fine Arts to see the painting by Frida Kahlo, Dos mujeres. (Salvadora y Herminia).
This workshop offers the student hands-on experience in analyzing, evaluating, and creating legal policy on a range of issues related to gender violence. The three main areas of concentration are campus sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and sex trafficking and prostitution. We advise government officials (local, state and federal); national, international, and local advocacy groups working to stop gender violence; and individuals needing assistance in knowing their rights or accessing services. Recent activities include submitting comments to the White House Task Force on Protecting Students from Sexual Assault; helping an advocacy organization on preventing domestic violence homicide; and preparing a training for Middlesex County Police Chiefs on investigating sex trafficking rings. ... Read more about Gender Violence Legal Policy Workshop
This course focuses on the growth and methodological richness of women’s and gender history in American Catholic Studies. It is designed to highlight histories of both lay and religious women, and to introduce students to a diversity of approaches—including visual and material culture studies, queer studies, African American and Latinx studies, childhood studies, biography, and oral history.... Read more about Women and Gender in U.S. Catholicism
This course explores the work religious leaders of nonviolent social movements who utilize religion or spirituality as a basis for justice. We will investigate women of color activists from Arab Spring, the Occupy movement, Standing Rock, and Black Lives Matters movements paying attention to the importance of religion in their activism. ... Read more about Leadership and Womanist Moral Traditions
This course, which is equally important for women and men, examines leadership and management from a gender-based perspective. Issues covered include leadership styles and their impact, understanding of power, conflict management, ethical decision making, workplace stereotypes, impact on policy making, differences in communication, and approaches to teamwork.
The relation between sex equality under law and sex and gender inequality in society is interrogated in theory and practice in the context of relevant social science, history, and international and comparative law. Mainstream equality doctrine is probed on its own terms and through an alternative. Cases largely on U.S. law focusing on concrete issues--including work, family, rape, sexual harassment, lesbian and gay rights, abortion, prostitution, pornography--structure the inquiry. Race, economic class, and transsexuality are mainstreamed. The purpose of the course is to understand, criticize, and expand the law toward sex and gender equality, including between women and men, as well as to expand the equality paradigm.
From participation in the military to hormone coverage for transgender youth, transgender issues cut to the heart of some of the hardest questions we face today about the relationship between law, politics, science, medicine, public opinion, and identity. This course examines this complex and novel area of law in the context of a changing judicial and political landscape. Students will be encouraged to consider all points of view and delve into the strongest arguments for and against efforts to expand legal protections for transgender people. Taught by a leading practitioner in the field, this course emphasizes the legal tools and decision-making processes involved in doing pathbreaking civil rights work. Students will gain an insight into the strategic and ethical tradeoffs involved in using the legal and political system to enact societal change. Topics covered include: overview of gender identity and the development of transgender rights; constitutional and statutory frameworks for legal recognition of gender identity; access to sex-segregated spaces and activities; religion-, speech-, and ethics-based objections; access to health care and reproductive technology; non-binary and intersex identities; race and transgender experience; and unique considerations in military, family, and prison litigation. Class materials include: case law, case documents, legislative materials, regulatory materials, press accounts, legal scholarship, and sources from other academic disciplines.... Read more about Gender Identity and the Law
It is no mystery that men and women are biologically and behaviorally different, but the way these differences impact mental health has often gone unrecognized. Sex and gender have both been increasingly identified as significant factors in disease prevalence, expression of symptoms, and responses to treatment. As such, it is critical that we understand the influence of sex differences and the consequences of adopting a "one size fits all" approach to health care. Unfortunately, this understanding has historically been difficult, if not impossible, to achieve because most of the knowledge we have in this area is based on research conducted exclusively in males. This disproportionate focus on male data is slowly beginning to change, but there are still those who doubt whether the presence/impact of sex differences is significant enough to warrant further investigation. In this course, we explore this debate, focusing on the neurobiology, methodology, significant findings, and future implications of research on sex differences.
Both demographic and cultural reproduction pose critical challenges to minority religions, placing pressure on personal decisions, group dynamics, religious practices, and intergroup relations. This course follows the navigation of these pressures by American Jews, and the explores formations of gender and sexuality that result. Topics include marriage, dating and family formation, synagogue life and Jewish ritual, as well as social and political movements that have become vehicles of American Jewish identity: civil rights, second-wave feminism, and Zionism. Readings include works by Riv-Ellen Prell, Lynn Davidman, Joyce Antler and Sarah Imhoff as well as fiction by Philip Roth and Anita Diamant. ... Read more about Gender and Judaism in Modern America
How does being a woman affect our behavior, our evaluations of ourselves, and our interactions with others? This course examines psychological science on women and girls in western industrialized societies, addressing such topics as gender stereotypes, girlhood, women and work, relationships, pregnancy and motherhood, mental health, violence against women, and women in later adulthood. We will consider these topics through an understanding of gender as a social construction, being mindful of the intersections of gender, sexuality, class, and race. Although focused on women’s lives and experiences, this course is highly relevant to people of all genders.... Read more about Race, Gender, and Sexuality in American Popular Music
This course explores both the role of gender and sexuality in shaping young peoples' schooling experiences, opportunities, and outcomes, and the role of schooling experiences in shaping young people's notions of gender and sexuality. In many ways, the course is about the "hidden curriculum" of heteronormativity, or the subtle practices in schools that privilege heterosexual, gendered identities and ways of being. As such, students in the course will apply the concept of the hidden curriculum to the study of gender and schooling in order to understand why and how children and youth with different gender identities experience schooling differently and why and how heteronormative schooling detrimentally impacts all students. By the end of the course, students should be able to: (1) identify specific strategies that educators at various levels might use to support students in negotiating gender and sexuality norms; (2) identify tools that schools can use to build positive, nurturing environments, which open up possibilities for complex gender and sexual identity development; and (3) analyze and evaluate a variety of school practices, curricula, policies, and programs that seek to support healthy gender and sexual identity development for U.S. children and adolescents. The course will provide opportunities to consider the ways in which other elements of identity (e.g., race, culture, socio-economic status, age, geography, etc.) intersect with gender and sexuality in the process of identity development. Although schools will be the central setting examined, course materials are also applicable to community-based settings.... Read more about Establishing Loving Spaces for Learning: Nurturing Gender & Sexual Identity Development in US Schools
At the intersection of debates about religion, private morality and public policy, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are lightning rods of controversy in most societies. Political polarization has been particularly pronounced with regard to abortion rights, but is also evident in an array of other SRHR issues. Drawing on examples from constitutional and high courts in Latin America and Africa, as well as cases in various regional and international supra-national human rights forums, the course will explore: the historical origins of asserting international legal claims to SRHR; challenges and benefits of turning toward domestic courts and international forums to advance sexual and reproductive health; evolving narratives of women’s agency and state obligations; and power dynamics/conflicts within global SRHR advocacy. We will discuss the limitations of the autonomy narrative and adoption of “reproductive justice” paradigm in the US, and compare that with evolutions of SRHR in other national contexts, as well as in international law. Some of the topics to be covered include: gender-based violence; involuntary sterilization; abortion; access to care (obstetric care/LGBTQ access to care); disrespect and abuse/obstetric violence; SRHR of persons with disabilities; assisted reproductive technologies; and SRHR in an era of conservative populism and backlash against so-called “gender ideology.” Issues of SRHR present an opportunity to extend thinking on judicial review across contexts of varying levels of democratic consolidation, as well as to critically examine the effectiveness of international human rights law in changing “lived realities.” On the one hand, the marginalization of claimants suggests a place for counter-majoritarian rights protection. Similarly, advocates have sought to set standards in international human rights forums, as these spaces have been perceived as less “tainted” by the political power structures that inflect domestic law and institutions. On the other hand, the morally contested nature of SRHR norms often complicates the claims of courts and supra-national forums to special competence, limits their ability to catalyze the politics of implementation (including within health systems), and inspires backlash. We will explore lessons with respect to how engaging with different SRHR issues can affect the sociological legitimacy of tribunals at domestic and international levels, as well as public attitudes and the dynamics of social conflict.... Read more about Contested Domains: Comparative and International Legal Struggles over Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
This reading group explores American law related to and affecting transgender, genderfluid, nonbinary, agender, and gender-nonconforming people. We will discuss contemporary cases involving transgender rights, as well as historical cases where the rights of transgender litigants were directly or indirectly contested. Readings will incorporate case law, sociological perspectives, and direct first-person narratives. By looking at law through the lens of transgender experiences, the class will critique legal assumptions about gender and reflect upon how law as a whole could be made less cis-normative.
Title IX of the Civil Rights Act promises equal access to educational opportunities. This has been one of the most dynamic areas of civil rights jurisprudence in the recent past, and promises to remain so in the future. While the Obama Administration prioritized the protection of students from sexual assault, the current Department of Education has retreated significantly from this position. This leads us to question various aspects of administrative rulemaking, law enforcement and social policy. What is the role of an administrative agency in enforcing civil rights? What power does the public have to compel enforcement? What other avenues are available to achieve sex equality at schools? How do we formulate policy that provides fairness to both sides of case while preserving the integrity of the purpose of Title IX? Issues surrounding Title IX include rights to sexual autonomy, bodily integrity, gender expression and the right to be free from sex discrimination in an educational environment. This intensive course offers the opportunity to delve deeply into these critical issues of gender equality.... Read more about Title IX: Sex and Equality on Campus
This course offers an in-depth examination of the phenomenon of gender-motivated violence. Following a consideration of the prevalence and variation of types of sexual violence and coercion around the world, we consider questions such as: How, if at all, is violence against women different from other types of violence? How effective have legal strategies to address violence against women been, and what shifts in thinking about gender-motivated violence would be necessary finally to eradicate it? How has the #MeToo movement reshaped the possibility of legal reform? How does the toleration of sexual violence shape people’s expectations and sense of entitlements? What are the implications of gender-based violence for the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws? Does equal protection itself have a gendered meaning and reality? Among the types of violence against women we will consider are: intimate-partner violence; domestic homicide; prostitution; rape; sex trafficking of women and children; and violence against women facilitated by the Internet. The readings consist of primary and secondary materials drawn from several disciplines: law, social science, political science, public health, psychology, evolutionary biology and women and gender studies. ... Read more about Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice
This course will examine and compare eight major strands of contemporary North Atlantic feminism: liberal feminism, dominance feminism, cultural feminism, socialist/materialist feminism, economic feminism in a liberal market frame, critical race feminism, postmodern feminism, and the relations between feminism and conservatism. We will read classics in feminist legal theory and case studies allowing us to examine and compare the ways in which various strands of feminism have engaged law and law reform. The goals of this course is to enable each student to make informed decisions about which strands of feminist legal theory work best for them and to give all students a strong understanding of how past stages in the development of feminist legal theory and law reform help to shape contemporary expressions of feminism. ... Read more about Feminist Legal Theory
This course engages with critical issues in gender and emotions at the intersection of Muslim identity and culture. It brings to the fore interdisciplinary scholarship – spanning media studies, anthropology and sociology – that corrects Orientalist imaginings of the ‘Muslim woman’ as silent and passive. ... Read more about Intimacy and Emotion in the Lives of Muslim Women
The seminar will engage in a feminist reading of Scripture Stories about wo/men in order to trace the cultural imprint of these stories and assess whether they are “good news” for wo/men. Special attention will be given to feminist interpretation, and political-cultural imagination. Discussion will focus on the significance of social location, critical methods, and religious imagination for the interpretation and teaching of these stories about biblical wo/men and their cultural-theological significance for contemporary religious education and ministerial praxis. ... Read more about Scripture Stories of Women