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.
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.
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 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).
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.
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.