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Course Descriptions for Spring 2015

WSGS 132 / UCOR 132-08: Basic Philosophical Questions: A Feminist Critique

MWF 1:00-1:50 (J. Konig)

Feminist philosophy is both a style of critical questioning that takes gendered experience seriously and a body of thought with its own unique philosophical contributions. As a Basic Philosophical Questions course, we will be examining major works within the history of philosophy, coupled with feminist responses to these works. Many, if not all, the traditional areas of philosophical inquiry have a body of feminist critique that applies to them. As such, we will not only explore the traditional philosophical canon and prominent feminist critiques of it, but we will also seek to understand new concepts and ideas that feminist philosophers have contributed to the discipline. The course will be broadly organize into four main themes: love and sex; epistemology; ethics; and political philosophy.

WSGS 203 / THEO 202: Christianity and Violence (Service Learning)

TR 1:40-2:55 p.m. (E. Vasko)

The course examines the research, writings, and experiences of women and men in the Christian tradition. Particular attention will be paid to religious justifications for violence and discrimination; and the role that theology and faith communities have played in both condoning and resisting such violence in the US. As such, the material for this course sits at the intersection of theology and ethics. One of the primary intellectual challenges of this course is for students to develop an understanding that violence is often culturally constructed, condoned, and sometimes even supported. A good portion of our efforts in the class will be placed on untangling the ways in which race, class, gender, and imperialism work together to perpetrate violence against marginalized persons and communities. Such an investigation necessitates a careful consideration of the dynamics of power and privilege operative in society, which is accompanied by a critical awareness of our own place within the existing racial, economic, gender, and ethnic hierarchy in the United States.
**We will be partnering with the organization Women Against Abusive Relationships during the Spring Semester.
***Note this course also fulfills the SJ theme area requirement

WSGS 207 / ENGL 201-02: Literature for Children and Young Adults

MWF 10:00-10:50 a.m. (J. McCort)

This course will introduce students to literature written for and read by children and young adults. We will study the history of each genre's development and examine the outstanding characteristics of foundational and popular texts. Throughout the course, students will be asked to engage in critical thinking, analytical reading, and discussion. The reading list will include selections from Grimm's and Andersen's fairy tales, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, The Wizard of Oz, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Briar Rose, Coraline, and The Hunger Games, as well as selections from the Norton Anthology of Children's Literature. We will focus extensively on gender roles, gender politics, and the formation of gendered identities throughout the course of the semester.

WSGS 220W / CLSX 220W: The Ancient Novel

TR 1:40-2:55 p.m. (S. Miller)

An exploration of Greek and Roman novels written between the 1st and 3rd centuries CE. In this course, we examine the features of the genre, its cultural context, and its recurring themes of romance and adventure. We focus largely on representations of love, sex, the body, and physical suffering in order to analyze how Greek and Roman prose fiction fashioned femininity and masculinity, heteroerotic and homoerotic love, pederasty, class, and race. Among the novels we read are: Ephesian Tale (Xenophon of Ephesus), Leucippe and Clitophon (Achilles Tatius), An Ethiopian Romance (Heliodorus), Daphnis and Chloe (Longus), Satyricon (Petronius) and The Golden Ass (Apuleius).

WSGS 364 / HIST 364: History of Sexuality in the United States

TR 12:15-1:30 p.m. (E. Parsons)

This course will explore the history of how people in the United States identified themselves sexually and engaged in sexual behavior from the early nineteenth century to the end of the twentieth century. We will focus on representations of sexuality in popular texts ranging from sensational fiction to sermons, from advice manuals to advertisements and twentieth-century sex-ed films. We will consider issues such as the emergence of a gay identity in the late nineteenth century, changes in reproductive technologies, sexual violence, prostitution, male and female body ideals, marriage, courtship and dating culture, and many other related topics.

WSGS 448W / ENGL 449W-02: Black Autobiography

MWF 12:00-12:50 p.m. (K. Glass)

Examining black autobiography from the eighteenth century to the present, this course examines the vibrant tradition of African American storytelling. Students will read slave narratives, as well as post-Emancipation and contemporary works. Tracing the evolution of the autobiographical genre, the course highlights writings by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Maya Angelou, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, President Barak Obama, and many others.

WSGS 453 / PSYC 453: Psychology of Gender

T 6:00-8:40 p.m. (J. Arroyo)

In this course we will explore what it might mean to be a woman, a man, or something in between or outside of those possibilities. We will consider gender from a variety of vantage points, including those of biology, culture, race, psychoanalysis, psychopathology, and mythology. Goals for the course include rich conversation about the varieties of our gendered world and the further development of our individual perspectives on what it means to be a gendered subjectivity.