Skip to main content

Secondary navigation:

Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Fall 2016 Approved Courses

women's and gender studies program

Below are course titles, numbers, and descriptions for approved Fall 2016 courses.


Required Courses for Minors

Department Title Course Code Professor Meeting Time
Cross-Listed Introduction to Feminisms SOCY222501  (COMM222501/ENGL2125/HIST250201) OWENS
M W 3-4:15
Description: This course is taught by Women's Studies faculty to acquaint students with a large range of academic and life experience topics that have been affected by Women's Studies scholarship. After a preliminary meeting, the class divides into 12-14 person seminars that meet once per week to discuss and study such issues as women's history, feminist theory, sex roles, socialization, gender and health, religion, work, and literature and essays by and about women. The course emphasizes participation and collective work on projects and usually includes a continuing personal and readings-oriented journal.
Cross-Listed Introduction to Feminisms SOCY222502 (COMM222502/HIST250202/ENGL212502) OWENS M W 4:30-5:45
Description: This course is taught by Women's Studies faculty to acquaint students with a large range of academic and life experience topics that have been affected by Women's Studies scholarship. After a preliminary meeting, the class divides into 12-14 person seminars that meet once per week to discuss and study such issues as women's history, feminist theory, sex roles, socialization, gender and health, religion, work, and literature and essays by and about women. The course emphasizes participation and collective work on projects and usually includes a continuing personal and readings-oriented journal.

Elective Courses

Department Title Course Code Professor Meeting Time
African and African Diaspora Studies
Black Feminisms 101: Harriet Tubman to Beyonce
T TH 10:30-11:45AM

Black feminists have long explored the question of race versus gender in their politics, theories, and writing. This class takes a closer look at the intersection of race and gender by using Black feminist thought as a lens to examine literature and popular culture. We will read writers and theorists from Africa and the diaspora to provide definitions of Black feminism. We consider how race and gender have been thought about over time.

African and African Diaspora Studies Race, Class, and Gender
M W 3-4:15PM
Cross-listed with Sociology (SOCY1038). Viewing race, class, gender, sexuality, and other identities as inseparable from discussions of inequality and power, this course will begin by discussing the social construction of these categories and how they are connected. We will then look at how these social identities shape and are also shaped by four general subject areas: (1) wealth and poverty, (2) education, (3) family, and (4) crime, law, and social policy. Although this course is separated into subject areas, we shall see that these areas greatly overlap and are mutually influenced by one other.
Gender and Media
T TH 3-4:15PM
This course will explore the ways gender factors into media production, representation, and audiences. In particular, it will focus on gender across multiple media contexts, including sport, advertising, magazines, news coverage, fiction, film, documentary, television programming, online communities, social media, and popular music. It also will consider gender within both mainstream and independent media production. Further, it will explore how gender is used to study, construct, and address media audiences. Overall, this class will address how gender becomes a tool of social and cultural power and how its use both empowers and disempowers various cultural groups.
Gender Roles and Communication
This course is both a writing-intensive seminar and a Women's and Gender Studies minor course. Focus is on the social construction of gender through communication. The early section of the course compares historical and theoretical approaches to representations of gender in communication texts. Then, building on these comparisons, students read about, examine, and analyze texts, focusing particularly on television programming and advertising. Major Restricted
Cultural Diversity in the Media
M W 3-4:15PM
Description: Satisfies one of three elective courses required within the Communication major
In an age where the world's political borders are changing rapidly, cultural artifacts found in mass communication become increasingly important. This course examines the relationship of culture and the mass media in creating a new concept of America, based on race, ethnicity and gender. From this exploration, students will be able to critique the impact of television, radio, film, cartoons, newspapers, magazines, books and the music industry on cultural perception.
Love, Gender, & Marriage: Writing and Rewriting Tradition
MWF 12-12:50PM
Description: Core Renewal Course:Enduring Questions
This section of First-Year Writing Seminar is paired with Professor Mormondo's literature core class on ?Love, Gender and Marriage.? As in all sections of the writing core, this one is intended to prepare students for writing at the college level, in a variety of genres and across disciplines. In this section, the subject of our inquiry will be how historical constructions of romantic love, gender and marriage are reflected in our popular culture, legal and political spheres. Assignments will include rhetorical analyses, personal editorials, event reflections, and a longer research project with a multimedia component.
English Versions in Black: Genres of Black Women's Writing
The phrase "Black Women's Writing" suggests that such writing is a fixed or homogeneous body of work that can be neatly defined and represented. Our course constitutes itself against this idea. By re-thinking these works, we also re-examine notions of literary canon, race, gender, sexuality, community, and history. Significantly, we "de-construct" common notions of Black Women's Writing by examining the varied genres these writers use to express their imaginings. Required readings come from the fields of science fiction (Octavia Butler), prose/experimental (Gayl Jones and Martha Southgate) novels, drama (Suzan-Lori Parks), poetry (Elizabeth Alexander), and autobiography/memoir (Toi Derricotte).
English Topics in Theory
In this course we will wander into the high altitudes of contemporary theory, exploring some key texts that have been particularly influential on literary studies. Such topics as ?Theorizing Culture,? ?Theorizing the Subject,? ?Theorizing the Visual,? ?Theorizing Sex, Gender and Race,? ?Theorizing Representation,? will be approached from multiple perspectives including, but not limited to, deconstruction, gender theory, queer theory, psychoanalysis, and cultural studies. Readings will likely include texts by Derrida, Lacan, Kristeva, Irigaray, Barthes, Bal, Hooks and others.
English The Single Girl in the 19th Century
ENGL3359 WILWERDING T TH 10:30-11:45 AM
This course will approach nineteenth-century literature and culture through the lens of one figure: the unmarried woman. By considering major works ? fiction and non-fiction ? that feature all types of single ladies, from fallen women to eligible bachelorettes, career girls to widows and old maids, this course will address questions of gender and occupation in both literature and history. Texts range from novels by George Eliot and Charles Dickens to poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, as well as relevant criticism and theory.
English Contemporary American Women Writers
ENGL5510 TANNER T TH 10:30-11:45 AM
Focusing on literature written by American women from 1980 to the present, this course will explore issues of space, family dynamics, immigration, power, race, violence, grief, and embodiment, as well as gender. We will ask questions such as: How do these writers define space, and use literature to claim a space of their own? What is the relationship between gender and race or ethnicity, in a given text and in contemporary American culture? How do women writers represent the intangible dynamics of emotional connection and loss? How does fiction represent changing experiences of embodiment, including pregnancy, obesity, illness, and aging?
French Contemporary Francophone Women Writers
This course explores the specificity of francophone women's writing in a contemporary context, examining narratives from a wide variety of geographic locations including the Caribbean, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The question of genealogy is central to this course as we attempt to delineate a matrilineal francophone literary tradition. As such we will also consider these narratives in relation to feminist theory, history, socio-cultural politics, culture and ethnicity. Some of the themes we will study include silence and voice, the female body, mother-daughter relationships, migration and immigration, and canon formation.
History Latin American Women Represent Themselves
After reading one general history of women and gender in Latin America, students will read testimonies by Latin American women. We will deal with the problem of the structure women give to their own lives in their narratives, as well as with more straightforward issues such as the sexual division of labor, and the nature of family and of gender relations in Latin America. The testimonies will be used as windows into objective and subjective history and the ways in which these two intersect.
History Contested Cities: Race, Class, and Sexuality
JOHNSON TH 4:30-6:50PM
This course will explore how racial and ethnic newcomers encountered the American city in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Looking at various groups - older European and Asian immigrants, black migrants from the South, sexual minorities, and recent arrivals from Latin America and the Caribbean - we?ll look at how these newcomers worked, played, organized, and claimed space in the city. We?ll pay particular attention to social and political struggles over urban spaces including neighborhoods, commercial districts, amusement areas, and public parks. Students will conduct research on migrant communities in Boston and collaborate in the production of digital public history projects.
History Early American Women
This lecture-discussion course explores American women from European contact to the Civil War. Themes include the diversity of women's experience, views of women, the family, social movements, work and the law.
Honors Program
Do the Virtues Have Gender?
HONR4940 BAYLES M 6:30-9PM
Also offered as POLI1249. The question of virtue lies at the heart of every civilization. So does the question of gender. Historically in the West, some virtues, such as bodily strength, courage in battle, self-control, rational intellect, and leadership, have been seen as masculine and superior to other virtues seen as feminine, such as modesty, industry, frugality, nurturing, and obedience. Is this view natural, rooted in biological sex; or is it conventional, part of a socially constructed system of gender roles? Further, how does the Western debate over these questions compare with the one currently raging in the Islamic world? These questions will be addressed through a wide range of readings, as well as films and other media, from both traditions.
Interpersonal Violence
This course will review research, assessment, treatment, and current controversies in the area of family violence, focusing on child sexual abuse, child physical abuse, and spousal abuse. The course will consist of a combination of a lecture and class discussion of the issues, including those related to memories of abuse, identification of abuse, and the legal, psychological, and social ramifications of extracting women and children from abusive homes.
Slavic & Eastern Languages
Women and Gender in Chinese Literature
More information coming soon.
Sociology Studies in Crime and Social Justice
SOCY3310 HEDGES M 4:30-6:50PM
Crime and social justice are considered not as distinct, but indivisible constructs produced through specific knowable institutional/personal practices. Course allows students to analyze perspectives on the process through which laws and criminal justice institutions have been/continue to be constructed; situate crime study within a "power reflexive" framework, while being attentive to the operation of race, class, and gender as features of contemporary social relations/institutions; discuss contemporary intellectual and practical efforts challenging existing conceptual and political structures relating to crime and social justice; and imagine/articulate institutions paralleling the vision of social justice developed throughout the course.
Inequality in America
This course examines class inequity in American society. It not only describes how the rich, the poor, and the middle classes live, but also how they relate to one another. Topics include the strategies used by the rich for maintaining the status quo, the hopes cherished by the middle class for improving their position, and the obstacles that keep the poor in their place. Students can choose between readings that emphasize the dynamics of inequality as they are enacted by men or women, and by people of color or Caucasians.
Theology Spirituality and Sexuality
How does our experience of ourselves as sexual beings open us to the experience of the holy, and conversely, how might our desire for God be intimately related to our sexual desire and longings? These are the questions that will be the focus of our work. Not a course on sexual ethics, this course is an exploration of the complex interrelationship of sexual and spiritual desire as both are reflected upon in the Christian spiritual tradition.
HIV/AIDS and Ethics
HEYER T TH 9-10:15AM
This course looks at how we can understand a bit better the ethics of public health through the lens of HIV/AIDS. There besides studying the virus itself, we examine the varied related ethical issues regarding stigma, prevention, research, gender inequity, economic disparities, local culture, religion, funding, and access.