Course Descriptions for Fall 2013
Sex, Myth, and Media: WSGS 521 / JMA 521
This course will examine the role of mass media in reinforcing or challenging common cultural definitions of masculinity and femininity and power relationships between the sexes. In analyzing various mass media-including print, television, Internet publishing, electronic games, and film-we will apply gender theory and connect these artifacts to their historical moment. Students' own experiences, insights, questions, and ideas are a key part of this course. Throughout the term, we will consider not only what is in terms of gender roles but also what might be.
Feminist Theory: WSGS 568 / ENGL 568
This course will introduce students to feminist methodologies and offer students an opportunity to explore how these methodologies might be useful to the reading and analysis of literary texts. The course will begin with a brief historical survey of primarily Anglo-American feminist thought since the Enlightenment and trace various strains or traditions such as cultural, Marxist, Existential, Freudian, and radical feminisms. The early feminist texts will establish the historical and intellectual context within which second wave feminist theory has been produced during the past forty years. Although the course will focus on Anglo-American feminist theory (because of time and availability of texts), some attention will be given to French feminist theory and postcolonial theory since it has had a great impact on all feminist theory. Essays published during the last forty years will be organized around major issues in contemporary feminism. The class' exploration of feminist theory is intended to enhance the students' experience and skills of critical reading and writing about literature. Class meetings will be spent discussing critical/theoretical essays, seminar style, and will require active intellectual engagement and exchange among all participants.