Women's and Gender Studies
Courses and Requirements
The goal of Hamilton's Women and Gender Studies Program is to encourage students to connect ideas, knowledge and modes of thought across traditional academic disciplinary boundaries as they analyze the interconnections of gender to social categories such as ability, age, class, ethnicity, nation, race and sexual orientation.
The concentration in women’s studies consists of nine courses: 101, 201, 301 and 550; two courses selected from among 314, 327, 401, 402 and 405; and three electives. With the approval of the concentrator’s advisor, one course focused on women or gender that is not cross-listed with women's studies may be counted toward the electives required for the concentration.
The Senior Program (550) is an interdisciplinary project culminating in a thesis or performance. Students who have an average of at least 3.5 (90) in the concentration may receive honors through distinguished work in 550. A complete description of the Senior Program is available from the program director.
A minor in women’s studies consists of 101, 201, 301, one course selected from 314, 327, 401, 402 or 405, and one elective.
Students without prior courses in the program may enroll in courses above the 100 level with permission of the instructor.
101F,S Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies.
An interdisciplinary investigation of past and present views of women and their roles, treatment and experiences in institutions such as the family, the state, the work force, language and sexuality. The diversity of women’s experiences across age, class, ethnic, sexual, racial and national lines introduced, and theories of feminism and of women’s studies discussed. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) One proseminar section in the spring. Maximum enrollment, 20. Jones, Barry and Lacsamana.
Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World.
An introduction to the roles of women in the ancient world through various sources: history, art and archaeology, law, literature and medicine. Covers the period from Egypt to early and classical Greece and down to the Roman empire, and traces the shifts in attitudes during these periods. (Same as Classics 140.)
Women and Madness.
Examination of historical, cultural, literary, artistic and psychological constructions and representations of women as “mad.” Uses feminist sociopolitical perspectives to explore how these representations are connected to topics such as anger, violence, sexuality, race, class, conformity and resistance to female roles, and the psychiatric and psychological communities.
201S Introduction to Feminist Thought.
An interdisciplinary examination of the history and contemporary practice of feminist thought. Topics include the history of feminist thought in Western culture, the broadening and complication of that canon to include examinations of race, class, gender, sexuality, ableism and ageism, and the implications of global feminist thought. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 101 or consent of instructor. (Same as Government 201 and Government 201.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Lacsamana.
Introduction to LGBTQ Studies.
In this introductory-level writing-intensive course, students will explore sexuality through writing as not just a personal identity, but also a category of analysis that intersects with gender, race, class, nationality, and religion. Through films such as For the Bible Tells Me So, But I'm a Cheerleader, Southern Comfort as well as texts such as Vicki Eaklor's Queer America and Susan Stryker's Transgender History, you will learn to interrogate prevailing normative assumptions, social and cultural institutions, your own life, Hamilton College, and the wider community. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Women and War: Feminism, Militarism and Nationalism.
Examines the ways war and processes of militarization impact women in developed and so-called developing countries. Accompanying this discussion will be an analysis of women's relationship to the "state" and "nation" during periods of warfare. Readings range from personal narratives written by women who have experienced war first-hand to those actively engaged in revolutionaly anti-imperialist struggles. These narratives will be grounded by theoretical readings that explore the ongoing debates and tensions among feminists regarding nationalism, violence, war and militarization. Prerequisite, 101 or consent of the instructor.
205 Performing Women.
This course examines historical and contemporary performances of women on stage in the US. Using current feminist performance theory the course provides tools for students analysis of text and performance. At the end of the course students move from analysis of text/performance to creation of their own solo performance pieces. (Writing-intensive.) (Proseminar.) Prerequisite, Theatre 100. (Same as Theatre 205.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Jeanne Willcoxon.
Women, Gender and Popular Culture.
Interdisciplinary investigation of how popular culture reproduces gendered identities and racialized differences. Feminist theories of popular culture will inform examinations of racial stereotypes and heterosexist conventions in diverse forms of popular culture (films, fiction, non-fiction, television, music, the internet) from 1980-present in both mainstream and sub-cultural contexts. Analysis of popular culture's commodification of contradictory versions of "womanhood," as well as how women's self-representations pose complex questions of agency and resistance in the culture industry. Prerequisite, one course in women's studies or consent of instructor.
Introduction to US Latino/a Literatures.
Examination of cultural production of representative U.S. Latino/a writers, filmmakers and visual artists from the civil rights movement to present. Focuses on the rewriting of contextual history of Latinos within the United States through interdisciplinary texts. Emphasis placed on literary, cultural and historical/political analysis, feminist criticism and anti-racist pedagogies. Prerequisite, HSPST 200. Taught in Spanish. (Same as Hispanic Studies 217.) Maximum enrollment, 16.
214F Queer Literature and Film.
Examination of the historical and theoretical constructions of sexual and gender identities through the literature and film of the late 19th c – present. The course will explore a range of issues including the emergence, normalization and regulation of heterosexuality and “homosexuality” as categories of identity; intersections with race, class and queerness; transgender identity and subjectivity; constructions of the “family” among others. Our analyses of LGBT literature and film will be grounded by contemporary debates in feminist, gender, and queer studies. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in women's studies or consent of instructor. (Same as American Studies 214.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Lacsamana and Barry.
222F Race, Gender and Culture.
A critical philosophical examination of the normative categories of race, gender and culture. Topics include the origin, character and function of racial, gender and social identities. Analysis will focus on questions concerning the malleability of these identities, as well as questions concerning their psychological and social significance. (Writing-intensive.) Open only to 1st and 2nd year students. (Same as Philosophy 222 and Africana Studies 222.) Maximum enrollment, 20. Franklin.
223S Critical Intersectionality: Re-Inserting a Power Analysis.
The concept of “intersectionality” and its political and theoretical foundations are arguably one of the most important contributions by women of color feminist scholars and activists to the social sciences and to practice arenas such as diversity education and organization development. Since its popularization, the meaning of the concept has been diluted, too often used only to identify and acknowledge multiple identities, thus leading to cultural relativist perspectives on social justice struggles. This course will trace the origins of the concept, delineate the structural features that give significance to an individual’s multiples identities and complicate collective identities, and identify various ways in which a critical intersectional analysis can provide fuller understandings of individual experiences and subjectivities, organizational policies and practices, and the social, economic, and political forces that shape them, often in contradictory ways. Prerequisite, 101 or consent of the instructor. Margo Okazawa-Rey.
Gender, Space and Identity in the African Diaspora.
This course examines how racialized and gendered identities are made in relation to space. How does gender intersect with race, class and other power relations embedded in the places we live? How do women and men come to occupy different places in the world – literally and figuratively – or occupy the same places in different ways? Case studies focus on identity making in relation to the body, in diverse contexts such as homes, public and national spaces, across the African Diaspora. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Africana Studies 224.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Women, Law, Public Policy and Activism in the Contemporary United States.
An examination of feminist analysis of legislation and legal theory; public, educational and social policy; and legal/policy activism in the U.S. Opportunity for law or public policy research and/or internship in area. (Writing-intensive.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
233F Geographies of Race and Gender.
Examines how “natural” differences of gender and race are created through discourses, images and everyday practices in particular spatial contexts. Using historical and fictional texts, ethnographies, theoretical discussions and films the course explores the production of racial and gender differences in European development and imperialist expansion. Focuses on three historical periods in the production of racialized and gendered geographies: plantation/slave societies in the Americas, African Colonialism, contemporary globalization and ethnic diversity in Europe. (Same as Africana Studies 233.) Merrill.
235F Women in Modern Asia.
Key dimensions of women’s relationships to colonial and national states in Asia during the 20th century. Introduction to distinct cultural systems in Asia with emphasis on how religion, ethnicity and class shape lives of women in Asian societies. Roles of women in politics, economics and social reform under both colonial and national states. Extensive use of biography, autobiography and memoir. (Same as History 235.) Trivedi.
247S Religion and Gender in American History.
In this course students examine the ways in which religious ideas have shaped Americans’ conceptions and performances of femininity and masculinity, and vice versa. Using case studies from the colonial period through contemporary times, we will explore the ways in which religion both constrained the performance of gender and the ways women and men found (and, sometimes, created) liberating resources within religious traditions. We will pay particular attention to the intersection of religion and gender with race, class, and sexuality. (Same as Religious Studies 247.) Newell.
Gender and Environment.
The theoretical, historical and material links between gender and the natural world. We explore how the social category of gender relates to environmental issues, but also focus on how other human differences based on race, class, sexuality and nation connect to the so-called "non-human environment.” The course begins with feminist historical and theoretical analysis of the links between gender and environment, including examinations of Ecofeminism and Deep Ecology. Building on this foundation, we then explore Health and Technology, Environmental Justice, and Global Climate Change. (Writing-intensive.) (Same as Environmental Studies 255.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Language, Gender and Sexuality.
Stresses special lessons that anthropology has to teach about the gendered facets of linguistic expression, including the necessity of an approach that is both empirical, including moments of interaction, and critical, exploring issues of power and agency. Considers conceptual benefits and limitations to using gendered difference as a model for sexual difference in the study of linguistic expression. Prerequisite, one course in anthropology or consent of instructor. (Same as Anthropology 257 and Linguistics 257.)
278S The Straight Story?: Rethinking the Romance.
A study of the ways in which various forms of sexual desire (overt or closeted) drive the plot of literary works. How is desire constructed? How have authors used, manipulated and resisted the marriage plot for aesthetic and political ends? Special attention to works by gay and lesbian authors. Readings, which include works of theory as well as imaginative texts, to include such authors as Austen, Diderot, Balzac, Zola, Wilde, Baldwin. (Theme or Identity and Difference) (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 278.) N Rabinowitz.
301F Feminist Methodological Perspectives.
An interdisciplinary exploration of feminist methods of social analysis. Emphasis on how feminist inquiry has transformed how we think about and study gender in the sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, 101 or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 20. Barry.
Representing Gender in Latin America.
Approaches gender studies through critical analysis of Latin American literature, film and social movements. We study representations of femininity and masculinity in Latin American culture and their historical roots, considering traditional gender roles and more contemporary attempts to break with social expectations linked to sex and gender, as well as the complex interactions of gender with nationality, class and sexual orientation. Discussions center in issues of representation, identity and “equality.” Readings include both literary texts as well as gender theory. Prerequisite, Two 200-level courses in Hispanic studies above 200 or 201, or consent of instructor. Taught in Spanish. (Same as Hispanic Studies 303/403.) Maximum enrollment, 16.
314F Seminar: Feminist Perspectives of Class in the United States.
Examines class and class struggle as it is associated with ethnicity, nation, race, gender and sexuality in the United States. Uses representations of class and class struggle in history and in contemporary literary, cinematic, social change movement and academic texts. Prerequisite, one course in women’s studies, sociology, economics or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. Adair.
322S Men On Stage: Masculinity and Desire in Physical Performance.
An interdisciplinary exploration of masculinity through the analysis of male performers from concert dance to pop culture. Students will examine how the male body onstage has constructed traditional or non-conventional notions of masculinity, sexuality, and desire across time and space. Themes include male performers in hip-hop, drag, ballet, modern dance, theatre, musical, cross-dressing, and pop music videos from early modern to contemporary era. The class will consist of lectures, discussions, student presentations, and creative responses and activities. No prior performance experience is necessary. (Same as Theatre 322 and Dance and Movement Studies 322.) Oh, Chuyun.
Gender, Health and Technology.
This course is an interdisciplinary, cultural studies examination of the intersections between gender, health and technology from a global perspective. This course explores the ways in which social identities of gender, race, class, sexuality, nationality, ability and so forth are relevant to studies of health and technology. The course will be theoretically and historically grounded by feminist critiques of science and technology, and explore the following topics: sexual and reproductive technologies, body modifications, and environmental toxicity and human health. Prerequisite, Any Women's Studies course or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
325S Sexuality and Gender in Greece and Rome.
This course examines issues of sex, sexuality, and gender in the ancient societies of Greece and Rome through the study of literature, art, sociology, and science. We will investigate the representation of gender cross-culturally over time to learn what we know, and what we can’t know, about the lives of ancient men and women, their interaction, communication and their roles in culture and society. Particular attention will be given to the lives of women, whose voices are often underrepresented in Greek and Roman literature and historical records. Prerequisite, 1 course in Classics or Women's Studies. (Same as Classics 325.) Jesse Weiner.
Seminar on Women and Aging.
Focuses on women’s experiences of aging across the lifespan with attention to midlife and beyond. Examines images of aging women in literature and the media; ageism and the impact of race, class and sexual identity on aging; aging women’s experiences of the body, reproduction, health, economic issues and social and familial relationships. Considers how changing age distributions in the United States will influence intergenerational relationships and social policy. Prerequisite, one course in women’s studies or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
329F Seminar on Gender and Disability.
This seminar examines how disability operates as a category of analysis. Focusing on how disability intersects with gender, race, class, sexuality, religion, and nationality, particular attention will be given to feminist disability theorizing. We will also examine the ways in which the production of knowledge relies on able-bodied norms. We will think through the implications of traditional classroom arrangements and modify traditional means of teaching and learning as need be. Projects will address representations of disability broadly, including Hamilton's campus and the local community. Prerequisite, 101 or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. Cara Jones.
Kitchen Culture: Women, Gender and the Politics of Food.
A cultural studies examination of women’s long-standing association with the private space of the home, in particular the kitchen, and the production and consumption of food. Grounded by feminist theoretical discussions of domesticity, the class analyzes how notions of family, community and cultural practices connected to food are differentiated by race, class, ethnicity and nationality. Prerequisite, 101 or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
343S Seminar: Women Writing Against the Grain.
A comparative investigation of U.S. women writing their own stories through the genre of autobiography in the 19th and 20th centuries. Attention to theoretical and practical questions of ideology, genre, language, audience and reception. Particular focus on women's self-representation as hegemonic transgression at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, nationality and ableism. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, One course in Women's Studies and some coursework in comparative literature or literary theory or consent of the instructor. (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 343.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Jones, Cara.
Cleopatra was a witness to and a shaper of the history of ancient Egypt and the late Roman Republic. To posterity the historical Cleopatra is an enigma, but her image in film, literature, art and popular culture is ever present. Through authors such as Horace, Plutarch, Shakespeare and George Bernard Shaw and through cinematic treatments from the 1940s-1970s, explores how the historical figure of Cleopatra became both the signifier and embodiment of sexual and racial politics across historical periods. (Writing-intensive.) Prerequisite, one course in classical studies or Africana studies. (Same as Classics 372 and Africana Studies 372.) Maximum enrollment, 20.
Latino/a Experiences in the United States.
Rigorous examination and historico-political analisis of U.S. Latina literary production and poetics with focus on short story and drama (including performance art). Examination of construction and critiques of self, gender, society and political and sexual identities. Course analysis framed by feminists literary theories and criticism, and anti-racist pedagogy. Authors will include Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Cherríe Moraga, M. H. Viramontes, Nicolasa Mohr, Migdalia Cruz, Marga Gómez. Prerequisite, two 200-level courses in literature or consent of instructor. No knowledge of Spanish required. Taught in English. (Same as Hispanic Studies 377.)
Queer/Feminist Literary Theory.
Contemporary feminist and queer theories have a close connection to literature; they emerged from and later transformed literary studies. We will discuss selected theoretical writing, as well as creative texts from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth century: fiction, plays, and films. Conversations will center around questions of identity and performativity, and the intersections of gender, sexuality, race and class. Readings to be drawn from the following: Oscar Wilde, Radclyffe Hall, James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, E. M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Tony Kushner, Cherrie Moraga. Prerequisite, At least one course in Literature and/or Women's Studies, or consent of instructor. (Theory or Identity and Difference) (Same as Cp Lit 391 and Women's Studies 391) (Same as Literature and Creative Writing 391.)
401S Seminar: Theories of Sexuality.
Analysis of contemporary theories of sexual development, identity and practice through a feminist/critical theory lens. Topics include theories of gender and sexuality, constructions and practices of masculinity and femininity, historical, geographical and cultural constructions of heterosexuality and homosexuality, lesbian/gay/bi/trans sexuality and gender identity, sexual objectification and commodification, reproduction, sexual politics, sexual/social violence and resistance and sexuality as mitigated by codes of race, class, gender and age. Prerequisite, one course in women’s studies or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. Jones, Cara.
402S Seminar on Global Feminisms.
Comprehensive examination of global feminism, focusing on the rise of women’s movements for economic and social justice. Attention to the role of socio-cultural constructions of femininity and masculinity; issues of violence against women and children; poverty; economic, sexual and civil rights; immigration and citizenship; global migration; and the construction of identity by dismantling national and transnational relations of exploitative power regimes. Prerequisite, one course in women’s studies or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. OKazawa-Rey.
405F Seminar: Black Feminist Thought.
Interdisciplinary examination of the tradition of black feminist thought as it spans African and African-American heritages. Exploration of how black women are not simply victims of oppression but visionary agents of change. Areas examined include history, literature, music, art, education, sociology and film. Prerequisite, one course in women's studies or consent of instructor. (Same as Africana Studies 405.) Maximum enrollment, 12. Haley.
Seminar: Feminist Epistemologies and Decolonizing Knowledges.
How do we know what we know? What is “real” and “true”? How are feminist epistemologies distinct from other taken-for-granted ways of knowing? How has “knowledge” and knowledge-production been central to colonial and imperial projects of the 19th and 20th centuries and what are their present-day influences? What would it take and what would it mean to “decolonize” knowledge? These and other important questions will guide the critical exploration from feminist perspectives. Prerequisite, 101 and another course in Women's Studies or consent of the instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12.
550F,S Senior Program.
A project or thesis on a topic in women’s studies. Limited to senior concentrators and interdisciplinary concentrators with a focus on women’s studies. The Department.
(from the Hamilton Course Catalogue)