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Women's Studies - Spring 2014

COMM 350 – Feminist Theory on Film and Television
4 semester hours
Cunningham, Sheryl
 

Prerequisite:  COMM 200 or CINE 200 or WMST 100 or COMM 290, or permission.
This advanced course begins with a brief overview of basic terms from film studies (mise en scene, camera shots, diegesis, etc.) as well as a review of feminist movements, particularly 2nd wave feminism and its link to the development of film criticism in the 1970s and early 80s. The main focus of the course will be reading feminist theory and utilizing concepts and ideas developed by theorists to analyze contemporary films and television. We will focus most of our analysis on films and television series that are gendered in their targeting of either men or women as audiences. Students will demonstrate their learning through written assignments, exams, and presentations. 

 

COMM 361 – Gender and Communication
4 semester hours
Waggoner, Catherine

Prerequisites: COMM 200 and 270S, 280, or 290S; or permission of instructor.
This course considers public understandings of gender and sexuality in America and the way in which they are represented in popular discourse. In particular, the focus is on cases of “gender trouble” or gender ambiguity, in which dominant cultural assumptions of gender and sexuality are challenged (e.g., drag performances, female masculinity, metrosexuality). Our goal is to discover how those challenges to gender norms are rhetorically configured, and if/how they are disciplined or realigned in the support of dominant gender norms, or if/how they constitute acts of resistance to such norms.  Experience in rhetorical criticism (i.e., COMM 301) is preferred, but not required. While the course is not writing intensive in that there will not be instruction in writing per se, there is an assumption that students are skilled in writing analyses. Assignments include exams, discussion leadership, and a final project.

 

ENGL 180A – Film Noir
4 semester hours
Hinson, Scot

Prerequisite: ENGL 101E
Film noir, or “black film,” has been variously labeled as a period in film history, a style of film, and as a separate film genre with its own themes and conventions.  No matter how you define it, films labeled as film noir are “deeply unromantic” films that “take a sneaking delight in their displays of passion gone wrong and of murderous calculation confounded.”  This course will examine the distinctive “noir” visual style and the characteristic “noir” thematics of lives ruled by an unkind fate.  We will also trace the history of film noir from its origins in German expressionism and postwar nihilism, to its golden period in the 1940's and 1950's, and to its persistence through the rest of the 20th century in neo-noir and retro-noir.  We will also look at the debt that these films owe to what the French called “serie noir,” the searing crime and detective fiction of the 1930's, 40's, and 50's.  We will examine particularly closely the cultural work of these films and the questions film noir raises about the nature of masculinity, femininity, and homosexuality and their representations in film noir.  Writing intensive. Cross-listed with Women’s Studies.

 

ENGL 180A – Vampires in Fiction and Film
4 semester hours
Hinson, Scot

Prerequisite: ENGL 101E
For millennia, creatures of the night have descended upon us to drink our blood, drain the life from us, and ignite our imaginations.  Succubi, lamiae, great white worms, and debonair counts all want one thing and one thing only--blood, for "the blood is the life."  Vampires have fascinated us from their first appearances as creatures of our nightmares, to their manifestations as the undead, swollen with grave gases, to the reluctant, beautiful, and sensitive outcasts we find in today's vampire novels and films.  This course will study vampires across time and cultures in fiction and film with a special emphasis on understanding what our obsessions with vampires can tell us about our cultures and ourselves.  What explains our obsession with vampires?  Why are we seeing an epidemic of vampire stories and movies?   And what explains the evolution of the vampire from a bloated, soulless corpse to a brooding, romantic hero?  Writing intensive.  Cross-listed with Women’s Studies.

 

ENGL 180A – Chick Flicks: From Melodrama to Rom-Com
4 semester hours
Inboden, Robin

Prerequisite:  ENGL 101E
From Bette Davis’ eyes and Joan Crawford’s shoulders to Rita Hayworth’s legs and Judy Garland’s ruby slippers, classic Hollywood stars defined, for better or worse, American ideas of modern womanhood.  But how much has really changed? This course will interrogate women’s changing roles as stars, as filmmakers, and as audience members. We will begin by learning some basic terminology and approaches to analyzing film as an art form.  Centering on the Classical Hollywood Cinema (1930-1960), with comparisons to contemporary films, we will then turn to a thematic and historical consideration of the various kinds of roles assigned to women in different films and film genres, from classic melodrama, screwball comedy, and film noir to today’s rom-com.  We will see how many classical Hollywood movies have created conformist role models for women even while subverting them.  Short readings may include work by Jeanine Basinger, Molly Haskell, Laura Mulvey, Mary Anne Doane, and Mick LaSalle, among others. The graded work of the course will consist of a shot-by-shot analysis, several short papers, and a final exam.  Writing Intensive.  Counts towards Cinema Studies minor and Women’s Studies minor.

 

ENGL 180A – Gender Trouble
4 semester hours
Incorvati, Rick

Prerequisite:  ENGL 101E
In reading Shakespeare’s As You Like It, we come across the famous lines “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players.”  The idea here sounds simple enough, but it can get complicated when men and women don’t always stick to their roles.  In fact, in the same play where we find these lines, we watch the heroine, Rosalind, conceal her true identity under the dress of a man, a masking that becomes all the more complicated when she finds herself/himself in the company of Orlando, the man she loves.  Plays, novels, poems, and films frequently revel in the dramatic potential of such gender play, and in this course we will undertake a survey of such works.  In addition to the role swapping found in As You Like It and in films like Boys Don’t Cry, we will consider stories in which characters actually shift from one sex to another, as in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, and stories in which desire deviates significantly from convention, as in films like Brokeback Mountain and in James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.  The course will also consider what some influential theorists, from Plato on up to contemporary critics, have had to say about gender and sexuality.  This writing intensive course will involve several interpretive papers and several exams. Cross-listed with Women’s Studies.

 

ENGL 290A – American Literary Traditions: Money, Debt and American Dreaming
4 semester hours
Askeland, Lori

Prerequisite:  ENGL 170H, 180A or 190A/C
The average college student leaves four years of college with more than $25,250 in debt. The average new car purchase, on the other hand, is done today with a slightly larger $30,738 loan—and that on a consumer item that loses value the minute we drive it off the lot. Those educations and cars are both supposed to do the same thing, in a way: move us to where we want to go. We beg them: “Take us to freedom and happiness. Take us away from a nightmare vision of poverty, repetitive work and drudgery to a life of middle management success, 2.5 kids and a picket fence!” Car commercials and college brochures promise us open roads and smiling futures; they are a great, open space for American dreaming. And the dream and the debt seem to go hand in hand: the dream makes the taking on of debt feel easy and smart.  It's often only when it's time to pay that the shine can come off—and sometimes a nightmare begins. America has been a land of false advertisements, or at least wildly exaggerated claims, from the start. And it has been a place where, in the pursuit of dreams, debts have piled high. From John Smith's portrait of the US as a place flowing with opportunity and ease, and Mary Rowlandson’s negotiations with her native captors, to Thomas Jefferson’s debt-funded Monticello dreams and Ben Franklin’s ironic frugality, from Thoreau’s cry of “enough!” at Walden Pond and Mark Twain's con men to John Steinbeck’s Okies watching their farms plowed over at the behest of faceless banking conglomerates, Americans have been buying and selling the American dream--or being sold by it, as we'll hear from Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs,  Edgar Allan Poe, Lorraine Hansberry, and more. Writing Intensive. CLAC opportunities available. Cross-listed with Women’s Studies.

 

ENGL 309 – Victorian Secrets: Mystery, Crime, and Scandal in Victorian Literature
4 semester hours
Inboden, Robin

Prerequisites: ENGL 200 and ENGL 280A
Common misperceptions (or partial perceptions) of Victorian literature imagine ladies in hoopskirts and gentlemen with bizarre facial hair enjoying a cup of tea and a lot of repression. But in the atmosphere of burgeoning experience of the world and a rising popular press, Victorians became avid consumers of true crime and scandal—almost as avid as we ourselves are. From body-snatchers to unconsummated marriages to Jack the Ripper, criminal and sexual scandals became subjects of shared obsession among Victorians of every class. We will look at how the rise of the city, the empire, and the popular press brought to the forefront of the Victorian imagination the threat of chaos just underneath the surface of daily life—and the restoration of order. We will read authors such as Dickens, Collins, Eliot, Tennyson, Browning, and Conan Doyle. Written work will include two shorter assignments, quizzes, and a long researched critical argument. Writing intensive. Cross-listed with Women’s Studies.

 

ENGL 315 – Harlem Renaissance
4 semester hours
Wilkerson, Carmiele

Prerequisites:  ENGL 200 and 290A
The core ideals of the Harlem Renaissance fueled an ideological movement brought about by a keen political awareness of the oppression and inequity that Blacks faced in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century.  Writers of the Harlem Renaissance used this awareness as a tool to reach a large audience of Black and white Americans.  The Harlem Renaissance was an era of enormous literary production written by and about Black Americans. By the end of this course, students will:
(1) recognize major writers of the period
(2) develop an understanding of how race informs literary identity
(3) be acquainted with a selection of women writers of the period
(4) have further advanced skills in critical reading, thinking and writing

 

HIST 202H – Children of the Past
4 semester hours
Livingstone, Amy

Prerequisites:  ENGL 101E and Sophomore standing.  
What was it like growing up in the past? Did pre modern people have a “childhood?” Historians have recently turned their attention to investigating the private lives of medieval and early modern people. In this class we will explore what historians have uncovered about growing up in the past. We will examine the experiences of children in medieval London and Florence, Reformation Germany and sixteenth-century France.  This course will also examine how historians “do” history. What methods, theories, philosophies inform how historians have approached examining the history of childhood? What are the issues that confront historians in regard to the use of primary sources and historiographic traditions? Should historians be objective? Can they be objective? Each of those questions is fundamental to the task, vocation and obligation of the historian. To address such issues, students will read, analyze and critique primary sources. The “history” of historical interpretation, or historiography, will also be explored through a series of monographs and articles. Students will write several short analytical essays, as well as a longer historiographical paper, and participate in discussion and debate.  This course counts toward the PAST minor.  Writing intensive. 

 

HIST 240H – Medieval England through Novels and Films
4 semester hours
Livingstone, Amy

From the grubby peasant to men in tights to corpulent kings, images of “Merrie Olde England” abound in popular culture. This course will examine the history of England from the time of King Arthur through the fourteenth century (roughly 500-1400 AD) through novels and film. These modern interpretations will provide entry into the history of these centuries and will be paired with medieval sources to examine the authenticity of their depiction of England’s medieval centuries. Students will be expected to master the history of medieval England, but also to sharpen and develop their critical thinking skills as they interact with popular depictions, the interpretations of scholars and the voices of medieval people. This course counts toward the PAST minor. 

 

HONR 300H – Orphans!: Adoption and Foster Care in History, Literature, Law and Public Policy.
4 semester hours
Askeland, Lori

Prerequisite: Permission of instructor required
Secrecy and privacy, shame and joy.  Adoption and foster care are institutions grounded in complex emotions and complex realities—in both loss and love.  As institutions, they purport to be “in the best interest of the child,” but of course that means that they always address adult needs and desires as well.  Especially when large sums of money are involved, e.g., as adoptive parents pay for adoption services, some would in fact say that the whole enterprise inevitably serves adoptive parents’ needs first, as the paying consumers.  That, these critics say, gravely risks turning children into commodities—and potential victims of kidnapping and human trafficking. In this course, we will focus on the stories Americans of a variety of ethnicities have told about abandoned, orphaned, displaced, indentured, adopted and/or abducted children throughout U.S. history, and the way such stories have helped shape, and have themselves been influenced by laws, and public policies.  This course is deliberately designed as a service-learning course, and will require all students to directly engage with child-services in Clark County that are particularly concerned with adoption, foster care, or otherwise supporting children at risk of displacement from their families (15 hours over the course of the semester, in lieu of one paper).  We will ultimately attend to current controversies in adoption and foster care, particularly as related to international and transracial adoption, open adoption, abortion and assisted reproduction technologies, and adoption and fostering by gay and lesbian couples.  Writing Intensive.  Cross-listed with Women’s Studies.  CLAC opportunities available. 

 

MUSI 187 – Wittenberg Singers
0 – 1 semester Hours
Shepherd, Jimmy

 

POLI 216R – Family Values: The Politics of Virtue, Care, and Equality
4 semester hours
Wright, Heather

This course examines the theoretical underpinnings of the contemporary debate over family values.  We will “begin at the beginning,” studying the ancient and modern political philosophers and their profoundly influential conceptions of the proper relationship between the family and public life.  Once we grasp the philosophical foundation, we will move into the contemporary “house.”  We will encounter thoughtful and profound analyses of the conflict of rights involved in these debates over the family. What is the proper relationship between biology and society?  Should the family be regulated, or is it beyond the reach of public political scrutiny?  How does emerging reproductive technology enter into the mix?  Whose side should the state take when the conflict over abortion is represented as a contest between the rights of the fetus and the rights of the mother?  Should we allow genetic manipulation of embryos?  How have adoption, surrogate motherhood, and step-parenting redefined the traditional family?  Is that redefinition reflected in contemporary family law?  How will we care for our children and for our parents in an age in which most everyone, male and female, works outside the home?  Do we need a new family politics? Having completed our consideration of the American debate, we will turn to an illuminating comparative case study: Poland.  The addition of perspectives grounded in a radically different political history, and cultural and religious traditions, will throw the American political landscape into sharp relief.

 

SOCI 210S – Sociology of Family
4 Credits
Pankhurst, Jerry

This course explores the ways in which social, economic, political and cultural forces shape the family.  During the semester we will review sociological literature on the family, reflect on our own experiences, analyze the social problems families face, investigate social policies surrounding the family, and seek to understand the interconnection between the family and the other institutions that constitute society.
The class is designed to address the wide diversity in family forms, practices and experiences, and to acknowledge the link between societal changes and changes in family patterns.  With this emphasis on diversity and change, course materials will continuously address the intersection of race and ethnicity, class, and gender on experiences in the family and family structure.

 

SOCI 301 – Juvenile Delinquency
4 Semester Hours
Wagner, Brooke

Prerequisite: Completion of one SOCI, CRCJ or WMST course required
This course will examine the history and legal framework of the juvenile justice system in America. Juvenile delinquency will be compared to adult criminal behavior; students will gain an understanding of the main theoretical perspectives used by researchers to study juvenile delinquency. Students will review landmark juvenile court cases and the leading trends shaping the juvenile justice system today. A wide range of juvenile delinquency will be explored, from status offenses to youth-gangs. Additionally, we explore the influence that gender, race, and social class have on deviant behavior and justice. This is a witt@home course which requires students to complete much of the class work online, while meeting with the instructor every other week. Additionally, during the semester students will be required to visit and interact with youth held at the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center. Cross-listed with CRCJ and WMST.

 

THDN 313H – Dance in the Twentieth Century
4 semester Hours
Li-Chang, Shih-Ming

 

WMST 100L – Women, Culture, Politics, and Society: An Introduction to Women’s Studies
4 semester hours
Wright, Heather

This course is an introduction to Women's Studies and serves as the foundational course for the Women's Studies minor.  This course will be of interest to students who wish to explore how gender and sex have shaped and continue to shape the lived experiences of men and women.  Women's Studies as an academic discipline, is deeply connected to feminist movements in which issues of power and gender identity were and are central.  Introductory survey of major issues in women’s studies, including feminist theory, literature and history of women, and lived experiences of women in the United States and globally. No prerequisites.

 

WMST 490 – Independent Study
1 – 4 semester hours
Wright, Heather

 

WMST 491 – Internship
1 – 8 semester hours
Staff

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