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Women’s Studies

(For 2015–2016 academic year)

Professors Grapard, Wider
Associate Professors Julien, Loe (Director)
Assistant Professors Serna, Simonson

Advisory Committee Baldwin, Benson, Buell, Cardelús , Chun, Cushing, Germain, Guglieri, Grapard, Guglieri, Harsh, Harsin, Julien, Keen, Knuth Klenck, LaFrance, Loe (Director), Page, Rajasingham, Ríos-Rojas, Rugg, Serna, Simonson, Spring, Thomson, Wider

The Women’s Studies Program is built on the understanding that gender is a crucial category of human knowledge and action. Women’s studies recognizes the complexity of human lives as gender interconnects with sexuality, race, class, ability, nationality, ethnicity, religion, and age in the constitution of experience and identities. It thus seeks to provide insights which lead one beyond older and more exclusionary theories and practices.

The program is at its core interdisciplinary, integrating knowledge from different disciplines to encourage critical engagement with all forms of experience from a feminist standpoint. Interdisciplinary study leads students to question frameworks, concepts, and methods, enabling them to understand better both the past and the contemporary world, while envisioning a future beyond traditional roles and inequities. By emphasizing interdisciplinarity, the program seeks to help students acquire the tools to analyze critically the societal, cultural, global, and personal issues that shape their lives and challenge them to look at these issues from multiple perspectives. It also encourages them to reflect on the ways in which knowledge is produced within different and oftentimes unrecognized systems of oppression, and to examine categories that are presented as natural and permanent in their cultural and historical context. Finally, the program strives to help students acquire the skills of critical analysis and imagine alternatives that challenge the naturalizing of inequalities.

Consonant with the goal of promoting new theoretical frameworks, the related and emerging field of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies provides the basis for an independent minor affiliated with the Women’s Studies Program. It is described below.

Major Program

  1. A minimum of eight courses, three of which are required as follows:
    1. WMST 202, Women’s Lives: An Introduction to Women’s Studies. A student must receive a minimum grade of C in WMST 202 in order to be admitted to the major program.
    2. WMST 490, Senior Seminar 
    3. A course in feminist theory such as ANTH 221, Kinship and Marriage
      ANTH 315, Gender and Culture
      EDUC 303, Gender, Education, and International Development
      EDUC 312, Women and Education
      EDUC 316, Moral Development and Education
      ENGL 341, Critical Theory: History, Sexuality, and Queer Time
      PCON 260, Gender in Conflict and Peace
      PHIL 360, Philosophy and Feminisms
      SPAN 477, Women Writing in Latin America
      WMST 301, Feminist Methodologies
      WRIT 242, Stand and Speak: Feminist Rhetorics and Social Change
      WRIT 347, Language and Gender
    At least five more courses from the following list, taken from at least two of the divisions:
    1. FMST 350, Hollywood and the World: Performing Gender and Sexuality Onscreen
      LGBT 303, Queer Identities and Global Discourses
      LGBT 350, Sexuality, Gender, and the Law
      PCON 260, Gender in Conflict and Peace
      WMST 302, Women’s Lives in Biographyand Autobiography
      WRIT 242, Stand and Speak: Feminist Rhetorics and Social Change
      WRIT 347, Language and Gender
    2. ANTH 221, Kinship and Marriage
      ANTH 315, Gender and Culture
      ANTH 371, Gender and Society in Africa
      ECON 234, Gender in the Economy
      EDUC 312, Women and Education
      EDUC 316, Moral Development and Education
      GEOG 321, Gender, Justice, and Environmental Change
      HIST 311, Women’s Rights and Women’s Suffrage in U.S. History
      HIST 348, History of Women in Europe in Modern Times
      POSC 364, Politics of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan
      SOCI 220, Gender, Sexuality, and Society
      SOCI 306, Sociology of the Family
      SOCI 367, Sociology of Gender
      SOCI 369, Women, Health, and Medicine
    3. CLAS 232, Sexuality and Gender in Classical Antiquity
      ENGL 202, Justice and Power in Postcolonial Literatures
      ENGL 204, Native American Writers (when focused on writings of women)
      ENGL 207, New Immigrant Voices
      ENGL 208, Introduction to Literary Study: Sex and the Global City
      ENGL 306, Antebellum American Literature
      ENGL 333, African/Diaspora Women’s Narrative
      ENGL 341, Critical Theory: History, Sexuality, and Queer Time
      ENGL 405, The Brontës
      ENGL 408, Medieval Identities
      ENGL 412, Jane Austen and the Rise of the Woman Novelist
      ENGL 433, Caribbean Literature (when focused on writings of women)
      ENGL 460, Studies in the Middle Ages (the literature of medieval women)
      FREN 445, 20th-Century French Autobiography
      FREN 453, 20th-Century French Literature II
      FREN 455, Francophone Voices from North Africa
      PHIL 360, Philosophy and Feminisms
      RELG/JWST 213, The Bible as/and Literature
      RELG 234, Women and Religious Traditions
      RELG 253, Sex, Love, and God: Religion and Queer Studies
      RELG/JWST 343, Gender and Judaism
      SPAN 226, Latin American Women Writers
      SPAN 474, Contemporary Spanish Theater
      SPAN 477, Women Writing in Latin America
  2. Other courses may be counted toward a women’s studies major or minor, depending on the orientation of the course, and/or the direction of the readings and student projects during a particular year. Such courses need the approval of the instructor and the women’s studies director to be counted toward a women’s studies major or minor. These courses include
    ARTS 484, Seminar on Topical Theme in Art
    CORE 151, Legacies of the Ancient World
    CORE 166C, India
    CORE 171C, Mexico
    EDUC 204, Child and Adolescent Development
    EDUC 310, Politics in Education
    ENGL 208, Introduction to Literary Study: Sex and the Global City
    ENGL 336, Native American Literature
    ENGL 346, Victorian Poets and Essayists
    ENGL 363, Contemporary Fiction
    ENGL 461, Studies in the Renaissance
    HIST 480, Seminar on Problems in Latin American History (Gender and the State)
    LGBT 220, Lives, Communities, and Modes of Critical Inquiry: An Exploration into LGBTQ Studies
    PHIL 417, Advanced Topics (Patriarchy)
    POSC 317, Identity Politics
    PSYC 300, Topics in Psychology (Psychology of Gender)
    RELG/JWST 208, The Hebrew Bible in America
    RELG 282, Experiencing Islam
    SOCI 312, Social Inequality
    SOCI 333, Sociology of the Life Course
    WMST 291, 391, 491, Independent Study
    WMST 499, Honors in Women’s Studies
  3. Students’ relationships with their advisers are a critical part of the women’s studies program. Following admission to the program, students, in consultation with their advisers, may develop a sequence of required and elective courses related to a particular topic. Some suggested topics are family studies; women in the United States; global perspectives on women; women, work, and family; women and social change; women and religion; and women, knowledge, and text.

Minor Program:

  1. A minimum of five courses, two of which are required as follows:
    1. WMST 202, Women’s Lives: An Introduction to Women’s Studies
    2. WMST 490, Senior Seminar 
  2. At least three courses from the list approved for the major. These are taken in at least two different departments and are chosen in consultation with an adviser selected from the Women’s Studies Program staff.

Honors and High Honors

Students who qualify and choose to work toward honors in women’s studies should announce their intention to do so by submitting proposals preceding their final term of study at Colgate. A proposal requires the sponsorship and direction of a women’s studies faculty member and approval of the director. The Women’s Studies Advisory Committee will be notified of this proposal prior to the final term of study. During the final term, honors candidates register for WMST 499 and carry out individual research projects related to their central topics of study. Honors in women’s studies may be awarded to majors who have a GPA of at least 3.20 in all women’s studies courses, who have completed an approved women’s studies honors project, and whose projects have been approved by faculty sponsors and by the women’s studies director. High honors in women’s studies may be awarded to successful honors candidates who have been invited to present the results of their written projects in oral form to the women’s studies faculty. Approval for high honors will be based on an evaluation of the quality of the project, as well as of the candidate’s ability to communicate across disciplines in the oral examination.

Awards

See “Honors and Awards: Women’s Studies” in Chapter VI.

Course Offerings

Courses unique to the Women’s Studies Program are described below. Descriptions of other courses noted above may be found under appropriate departments.

202  Women’s Lives: An Introduction to Women’s Studies
H. Julien, M. Loe, C. Serna, M. Simonson, S. Wider
This interdisciplinary course explores women’s past and present circumstances and envisions future possibilities. Through a variety of materials and methodologies, issues of gender are analyzed in their intersections with such factors as class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and historical-cultural location. Students also are introduced to the various “waves” of “the women’s movement/s,” as well as to different feminist frameworks for understanding the world.

301  Feminist Methodologies
Staff
Is there a distinct feminist method of carrying out research? How do feminist methodologies challenge — or complement — conventional methodologies? This course provides a framework for thinking about methods and methodologies from a feminist perspective. The course examines how feminist scholars challenge dominant theories of knowledge through a lens that recognizes multiple, interrelated axes of inequality. Readings ask how feminist epistemologies (theories of knowledge) shape research questions and how feminist methodologies (the theory and analysis of how research should proceed) shape research methods and relationships between researchers and research participants. Prerequisite: WMST 202 or permission of instructor.

302  Women’s Lives in Biography and Autobiography
Staff
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The World would split open.” So wrote the poet Muriel Rukeyser. In this seminar students read autobiography and biography in order to understand the woman and her culture. The course balances a study of the lives of prominent, exceptional women with study of the ordinary lives of ordinary people.

490  Seminar
Staff
The course is taught by the members of the women’s studies faculty, and the content of the course takes a different shape depending on the instructor. There are common elements that define the way the seminar is structured and taught. The content of the course is interdisciplinary; the course is rooted in and utilizes feminist theory; students complete major research projects; and, where appropriate, students engage in some form of praxis in the process of understanding the connection between the classroom and the world in which we live. Preference given to senior majors and minors; other students with background in women’s studies must have permission of instructor. Although juniors may take the course with permission of instructor, majors and minors are still required to take it in the spring semester of their senior year.

291, 391, 491  Independent Study

499  Honors Studies


Affiliated Minor in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Studies

Professor Valente

Advisory Committee Julien, Kemp-DeLisser, Loe, Maitra, Rowe, Rugg, Serna, Simonson, Spring (Director), Stern, Valente, Wooley

The affiliated minor in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer studies (LGBT) examines the lives and representations of individuals and groups considered sexual minorities, as well as the various forces that have affected them across cultures and throughout time. Sexuality offers a critical lens to analyze communities, cultures, and subcultures; institutions, discourses, and literatures; economic and political movements; the social construction of power, status, and hierarchies; and identity categories configured on the basis of age, ability, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and religion. Moreover, sexuality is considered as the subject of biological, medical, and psychological research. LGBT studies is an interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary minor that emphasizes the application of new theories and methodologies (e.g., queer, feminist, critical race, and multicultural theories) to established disciplines as it promotes the generation of new knowledge within traditional fields. Through the minor, students gain critical understandings of normative categorization, query unspoken assumptions, examine social stratification and distributions of power, and explore the diversity of forms that sexuality has taken historically and in contemporary contexts.

Minor Program:

  1. A minimum of five courses, of which:
    1. At least three courses should be at the 300 or 400 level
    2. No more than two courses should come from a single department or program other than LGBT
    3. No more than one course should earn credit for an LGBT minor and the student’s major
  2. One course must be taken from the following list and completed prior to declaring the minor: LGBT 220, Lives, Communities, and Modes of Critical Inquiry: An Exploration into LGBTQ Studies
    LGBT/EDUC 241, Queering Education
    SOCI 220, Gender, Sexuality, and Society
  3. At least four additional courses chosen from the following lists and in consultation with an adviser typically selected from the LGBT Advisory Committee:
    1. CLAS 232, Sexuality and Gender in Classical Antiquity
      ENGL 341, Critical Theory: History, Sexuality, and Queer Time
      LGBT 220, Lives, Communities, and Modes of Critical Inquiry: An Exploration into LGBTQ Studies
      LGBT/EDUC 241, Queering Education
      LGBT 303, Queer Identities and Global Discourses
      LGBT 350, Sexuality, Gender, and the Law
      POSC 415, Seminar: Social Justice Politics and Policy
      SOCI 220, Gender, Sexuality, and Society
    2. Other courses may be counted toward an LGBT minor, depending on the orientation of the course and/or the direction of the readings and student projects during a particular year. Such courses need the approval of the instructor and the LGBT director to be counted toward an LGBT minor. These courses include, but are not necessarily limited to, the following:
      ANTH 301, Kinship and Marriage
      ANTH 315, Gender and Culture
      ANTH 371, Gender and Society in Africa
      EDUC 204, Child and Adolescent Development
      ENGL 340, Critical Theory: Language, Semiotics, and Form
      ENGL 363, Contemporary Fiction
      FMST 350, Hollywood and the World: Performing Gender and Sexuality Onscreen
      FREN 445, 20th-Century French Autobiography
      FREN 450, 20th-Century French Literature I
      LGBT 391, 491, Independent Study
      WMST 202, Women’s Lives: An Introduction to Women’s Studies
  4. Completing the minor requires students to work closely with their course instructors, their advisers, and the LGBT director. Students are encouraged to incorporate a capstone experience, such as pursuing an independent study or undertaking a thesis within one’s department that meaningfully incorporates LGBTQ-related scholarship.

Course Offerings
Courses unique to the LGBT minor are described below. Descriptions of other courses noted above may be found under appropriate departments.

220  Lives, Communities, and Modes of Critical Inquiry: An Exploration into LGBTQ Studies.
K. Valente
The course explores the lives, experiences, and representations of LGBTQ persons, those who identify or are identified as transgressive in terms of their sexuality and/or gender expression. Particular emphases may vary, but topics typically explore LGBTQ communities and families, cultures, and subcultures; histories, institutions, and literatures; and/or economic and political lives. Selected topics serve to expose complex cultural forces that continue to shape sexuality and regulate its various expressions. The course promotes the examination of new theories and methodologies in relation to established disciplines as it underscores the generation of new knowledge within traditional fields of scholarship. By examining sexualities, students gain an understanding of and respect for other differences in human lives such as age, ability, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and religion. This course counts toward the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents area of inquiry requirement.

241  Queering Education
This course is crosslisted as EDUC 241. For course description, see “Educational Studies: Course Offerings.”

303  Queer Identities and Global Discourses
K. Valente
Queer identities are — and have long been — enmeshed within large-scale circuits of exchange engendered by the movement of people, ideologies, markets, and capital. This course considers transnational conceptualizations and circulations associated with gender or sexual nonconformity. In doing so, it emphasizes ways of interrogating queer citizenship that purposefully attend to dynamics exemplifying complex interactions on global and local scales. Rather than assuming a particular narrative, the course examines the way by which queer identities are variously constructed and contested.

350  Sexuality, Gender, and the Law
Staff
The course examines the effects of the U.S. legal system on the lives of the LGBTQ communities; the influence of religion, science, and culture on the laws affecting LGBTQ individuals; and the processes by which LGBTQ citizens may advance their legal rights. Constitutional theories such as equal protection, privacy, due process, liberty interests, and states’ rights are applied to issues such as consensual sodomy, same-sex marriage, LGBTQ parenting, employment rights, military policy, and freedoms of public school students. The power of the U.S. Supreme Court to shape laws concerning LGBTQ issues not only for the present society but for future generations is also examined. Cases studied are supplemented with secondary works. These works include writings by traditional legal scholars as well as works by feminists, race-based scholars, and queer theorists to create a fuller perspective. Through this exploration into the legal reality of a marginalized group, students see how the U.S. legal system continues to evolve in its struggle to provide equality for all of its citizens. This course counts toward the Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents area of inquiry requirement.

291, 391, 491  Independent Study