Classes

    Frida Kahlo's Mexico: Women, Arts, and Revolution

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    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).

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    Race, Gender, and Sexuality in American Popular Music

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2019

    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

    Girl Culture, Media, and Japan

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    In contemporary Japan, girls and girl culture are considered to be among the most significant sources of popular cultural trends. For instance, the girly aesthetics of “cute” (kawaii) has animated broad areas of Japanese culture since the 1980s and has become a global cultural idiom through the dissemination of Japanese entertainment medias and fashion products abroad. The course will explore a number of key questions about Japanese (and global) girl culture. How did the conceptualization of girlhood, girl culture, girl bodies, and girl affect transform in Japan from the early twentieth century to the present?  How did various medias and media consumption help shape these trends? What can the exploration of “girls’ question” tell us, not only about Japanese socio-cultural history, but also about the general conditions of youth, gender, and media culture in the world today (e.g., the sea of pink at Women’s March, 2016)? We will begin the semester by unpacking key terms such as “girl,” “girlhood,” and “girl culture” in relations to the modern and contemporary notions of gender, maturity, and majority.  The course materials include fiction, fashion magazines, teen films, manga, and animation.  No prior knowledge of Japanese language or history is expected. 

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    Black Masculinities

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2019

    With particular emphasis on mid-twentieth century American culture, this seminar will examine complex - and often contradictory - iterations of race and gender in works of literary and visual culture produced by and about African American men.  We will explore the work of: Shirely Clarke, Chester Himes, Iceberg Slim, Alice Walker, Melvin Van Peebles, Samuel Delany, James Baldwin, Robert Deane Pharr, Eldridge Cleaver, Amiri Baraka, and more.

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    Hysterical Women: A History

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2020

    What does it mean when contemporary media sources characterize celebrity figures, or frenzied consumers, as 'hysterical’? How are "hysteria" and "insanity" related, and what are the historical roots of these loaded concepts? This seminar addresses the complex history of hysteria by asking how this medicalized affliction has assumed a multiplicity of forms, especially on feminized and non-white bodies. As depicted through newspapers, multimedia sources, medical literature, sociological articles, and psychoanalytic texts, 'hysteria' affords a unique lens onto the social, cultural and medical history of mental and physical suffering. In a postcolonial world, the term has taken on even more complexity. As we compose a 'history of hysteria,' we will reflect on who gets to record history and whose narratives get left out.

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    Beyond the Sound Bite: Women, Gender, and Sexuality in The Daily News

    Semester: 

    Spring

    Offered: 

    2019

    We are bombarded by sound bites from all over the globe, moving at disorienting speeds, reorganizing our relationship to time and space with increasingly dystopic results. This course will focus on selected televisual and digital events in "real time" from September-December 2019. We will analyze the embedded bits of gender and sexuality always at work in the representations of those events. Topics include: politics, the environment, military adventures, and popular revolt in dialogue with important texts in WGS Studies.

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    Black Women's Voices in the #MeToo Era

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    When accepting the Oscar for Best Actress in 2015 Patricia Arquette said the following: 'The truth is, right under the surface, there are huge issues that are at play that do affect women, and it's time for all the women in America and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we all fought for to fight for us now.' This course examines why such statements are part of a larger and longer tradition of disappearing black women and why they are popular in the cultural zeitgeist.... Read more about Black Women's Voices in the #MeToo Era

    How Sweet is it to be Loved By You: Black Love and the Emotional Politics of Respect

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    The word 'love' is almost never used in any portrayal or description of the African American community's daily life in contemporary media and in the social sciences. But love, as a human experience, is central to our understanding of what it means to be a vital member of a culture and society and thus respected, nurtured, etc. This seminar examines the love that difference makes.... Read more about How Sweet is it to be Loved By You: Black Love and the Emotional Politics of Respect

    Affects, Bodies, Ecologies: Borders of Performance from Antiquity to the Early Modern World

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    Pandemics such as COVID-19 have revealed not only the fragility of the human body within an equally delicate environment, but also our deep connection and commitment to artistic performances-the latter were the first to be canceled due to the high risk of infection and will be the last to return. This course asks how performance in its manifold guises (theater, processions, auto da fés, carnivals, etc.) and the presence (or absence) of the human body in public, on stage, and in the audience was negotiated in the early modern period.... Read more about Affects, Bodies, Ecologies: Borders of Performance from Antiquity to the Early Modern World

    Queer/Medieval

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    The "/" in this course title can suggest slippage or interchangeability, opposition and polarization, or (in fanfiction tagging conventions) erotic or romantic friction between two entities. This course functions as an introduction to queer theory as an intellectual tool with which to read texts far removed from the modern political, cultural, and social discourses from which queer theory emerged.... Read more about Queer/Medieval

    Assertive Stitches: Domestic Arts and Public Conflict

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    In January 2017, the Pussyhat Project created an effective visual unity for the Women's March on Washington, although the pink hats were also criticized as vulgar, trivial and exclusionary. This is not that first time that needlework has played a central (and controversial) role in political protest: Its associations with femininity and family life have been used to underscore contrasts between domestic morality and public policy, as well as to subvert or confirm gendered notions of decorum and citizenship.... Read more about Assertive Stitches: Domestic Arts and Public Conflict

    The Music of Women Creators

    Semester: 

    Fall

    Offered: 

    2020

    In spite of significant gains in gender equality over the last half century, women creators remain dramatically underrepresented in the music world, in all genres of music and in all categories of musical production: as composers, improvisors, producers, conductors, and even as performers. The course is intended to celebrate and acknowledge the contributions of women creators to the history of music.... Read more about The Music of Women Creators

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