Human Rights and Sexual Violence

Psychology of Women

Semester: 

N/A

Offered: 

2020

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.
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"Unwelcome": Addressing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace and on Campus

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

This module will focus on the challenging legal, policy and organizational issues ingrained in various approaches to the pressing public problem of sexual harassment in the workplace and on campus, including examination of  the structures and interventions – successful and not - that organizations have developed to respond to that policy environment in practice. The goal is to provide students with an understanding of what  is considered “sexual harassment” in the law , what are the actual experiences and career effects on those who have experienced it, what ...

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Violence, Gender, and Global Politics

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

In this course, we will consider the international dimensions of gender, sex and violence, largely within the context of war and conflict. Both academic scholarship and current policy debates are informed by powerful—and often unquestioned—assumptions about sex, gender and violence. Recent research has started to challenge some of these ideas, and policymakers are responding with calls for better data, increased attention to long-hidden problems, and new strategies to confront these difficult problems. In the course, we begin with a review of theoretical constructs, then turn to a series of policy relevant questions on the politics of sex, gender, and violence. Topics that we will cover include gendered causes and consequences of war (e.g., Does gender inequality cause conflict? Are women leaders more peaceful? What are the consequences of war for people of different genders?); gendered motivations for political violence; the regulation of sex and gender within armed groups, including the military, insurgencies and terrorist organizations; and wartime sexual violence. The course will include discussions of research design and implementation, as well as the implications of research on policy responses and interventions.

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Solidarity: Transnational Women's Rights from Suffrage to NGOs

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

“Solidarity” takes an intersectional approach to the study of women’s and sexual rights in transnational perspective from the late nineteenth century until today. In this course, we will explore how American feminism, particularly through the fight for women’s suffrage, set the agenda for issues of equality and sexual rights around the world, often in complex and contradictory ways. Through a semester-long engagement with Schlesinger Library collections on transnational feminist and women of color feminisms, we will investigate feminist links to and critiques of the imperial project – from anti-trafficking campaigns in colonial and postcolonial India, to transnational feminist labor movements in the Philippines and Bangladesh, to the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Together, we will think about the complex relationship of feminism and war, the place of feminist thought in debates about incarceration and immigration, and the contradictory role of feminism in global movements for rights. 


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Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

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.
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Gender Violence Legal Policy Workshop

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

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.
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Black Womens Voices in the #MeToo Era

Semester: 

N/A

Offered: 

2019

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. Through extensive reading and tough discussion this class examines the current discourse around sexual harassment and assault from the #MeToo movement through the informed lens of Harriet Jacobs’s slave narrative Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Both “texts” involve navigating spaces of subjugation and supremacy and yet one voice has remained steadily ignored in mainstream audiences. We will also look at the intersection of race and gender that Incidents reveals and trace how these remain intact or not through today.

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Experiments in Justice, Gender, and Genre: Introduction to 19th - 21st Century French Literature

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2019

Gender identity and expectations; prison reform and the death penalty; personal accountability and protest; new media and modes of expression.  Writers in the 19th and 20th centuries grappled with these questions as we do today.  How do their sometimes revolutionary, sometimes surprisingly familiar approaches overlap with movements like Romanticism, Realism, Existentialism, and other new forms of fiction?  We will explore short works by Sand, Hugo, Balzac, and Zola; poetry by Baudelaire; drama by Camus; a novel by Colette; a graphic novel by Fres; and films by Berri and Tavernier.

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