Women's Studies

Vivyan Adair
Joyce Barry
Margaret Gentry
Cara Jones
Anne Lacsamana, chair
Margo Okazawa-Rey

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 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.) (Oral Presentations.) (Proseminar.) Maximum enrollment, 16. Adair, Barry and Lacsamana.

[132F] Law in Literature and Film From a Raced and Gendered Perspective.
The chief goal of the course is to encourage a reading of law that explores the literary meanings and lessons of legal or law-like texts from a raced and gendered perspective. The class begins by addressing law as literature and includes readings of statutory provisions and cases. The course then considers law in literature, and offers insights or criticisms about written fictional depictions of the practice of law and law’s effects upon various individuals or social groups, especially women of color. A third portion of the class is devoted to selected themes concerning law in film.

[190] 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.

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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. Maximum enrollment, 20. Lacsamana.

202F 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. Cara Jones.

[203F] 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.

[211F] 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.

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. Maximum enrollment, 20. Lacsamana and Barry.

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.

[225S] 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. 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.

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.

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.

323F 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. Jones C.

[327S] 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.

334S 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. Barry.

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. Maximum enrollment, 12. Vivyan Adair.

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, two courses in women’s studies or consent of instructor. Maximum enrollment, 12. Adair.

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. Maximum enrollment, 12. Haley.

[412S] 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.