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Women's Studies - Spring 2017

Chinese Women Writers: Ancient and Modern
4 credits
Chan, Shelley
Prerequisites: None. Taught in English.
Chinese women have been known as the suppressed sex for thousands of years.  Nevertheless, women's writing has always been an important part of Chinese literature.  Whereas the long history of pre-modern China produced a rather large number of women writers, the concept of “women's literature” emerged only in the early twentieth century when enormous changes in Chinese women's social status occurred after the May Fourth Movement of 1919. Moreover, since 1949 Communist China has witnessed further rapid changes as far as women's writing is concerned.

This course is a general introduction to Chinese women writers in different historical periods, namely, pre-modern, modern, and contemporary. To help students understand the gender issue, it provides them with a cultural background from the Confucian patriarchy to the Maoist “equality” between the sexes, as well as a background on cultural norms for Chinese women. It discovers women's voice in a traditionally male-centered society and literature, examines the feminine/masculine opposition, studies how Chinese women writers have not only formed their own voice, but also often led the way in the literary development of the post-Mao period. The readings, including poetry, prose and fiction, will be buttressed by films. All readings, discussions and lectures will be in English. The films will have English subtitles.

Cutting Sleeve and Sharing Peach: Literature and Film of Homosexuality in China
4 credits
Chan, Shelley
Prerequisites: None. Taught in English.
“Homosexuality” came to China as a scientific and sexual education term in 1925, but homosexual culture has been documented since ancient times. According to scholarly studies, many emperors in pre-modern China had one or more male sex partners. Idioms and expressions signifying homosexuality exist in Chinese language, such as “Cutting Sleeve and Sharing Peach.” At the same time, however, opposition to homosexuality has also been strong among Chinese people, especially in the late Qing Dynasty and most of the 20th Century. Homosexual or LGBT activities remain largely underground due to the pressure from family and society. Not until 2001 was homosexuality removed from the official list of mental illness in The People’s Republic of China.

This course explores homosexuality in China in the context from Confucianism to the rapidly changing post-Mao society. Course materials include films, fiction and nonfiction from Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. While similarities and differences of homosexual culture in these three regions will be examined, changes in society and people’s attitude toward LGBT will also be discussed. Students will have an opportunity to understand homosexuality from an artistic point of view. A comparison between the Chinese cultural and western culture will sharpen students’ cultural sensitivity. Scholarly research on this topic will be studied as a theoretical support to the other course materials. All readings, discussions and lectures will be in English. The films will have English subtitles.

COMM 325
Relational Communication
4 credits
Warber, Katie
Pre-requisites: COMM 200 and COMM 270S; or permission of instructor

This course is intended to expose students to advanced research trends and theory in the social scientific study of close relationships. Specifically, the course will focus on issues related to the nature of intimate relationships, processes, functioning, relationship issues, and communication. Topics will include mate selection, love, friendship, power, conflict, and relationship dissolution. Research on attraction, nonverbal communication, stress, sexuality, and violence will be examined. We will also focus on the nature of relationship interaction as it is associated with relationship satisfaction, distress, and mental health.

Making Romance
4 credits
Richards, Cynthia
Prerequisite:  English 101E

A love story, the oldest story—yet the least understood? What are the narratives of love? Their conventions, structures and familiar gestures? Their deep underlying meanings? Their psychological ramifications? And how do these stories vary according to the one telling the story? In particular, how does the gender of the author influence the nature of these narratives and, in turn, how do these narratives influence our understanding of gender and the roles we play as men and women?

This course will provide a historical overview of the Romance, beginning with the highly-scripted “luf-talking” of the Arthurian Romance and progressing to the fragmentary forays into love found in the postmodern novel. The course will pair male and female authors, continually asking how these gendered narratives both differ and concur. We will read such authors as Chretien de Troyes, Marie de France, William Shakespeare, Mary Wroth, Aphra Behn, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zora Neale Hurston, and Chuck Palahniuk. Along the way, we will also explore the primary poetic device for declaring one’s love, the sonnet, and the ubiquitous prosaic one for realizing love’s happy ending, the fairy tale. The course is writing intensive and discussion based. The course includes three papers and a take-home final exam.  

American Literary Themes and Traditions: American Gothic
4 credits
Hinson, Scot
Prerequisite: ENGL 180A or ENGL 190A/C or ENGL 270A

Through an examination of the American Gothic, its origins and its contemporary manifestations, we will explore the difficult, bloody, and painful birth of American literature as well as its continued fascination with and terror of what Melville called the “power of blackness” and the sublime mixture of terror and beauty. This course is driven by America’s fascination with Gothic literature, and with what can accurately be described as a Gothic revival in American culture. What is it about the shadowy, diseased, the grotesque, and sublime that so attracts us? What scares us and what spectral shapes do those fears inhabit in our literature? This course in the American Gothic is definitely not for the squeamish and requires frequent reading quizzes, one short and one longer researched essay, a midterm and a final, and a group presentation and bibliography.

Medieval Europe
4 credits
Livingstone, Amy

Prerequisite:  None
Knights in shining armor, peasants toiling in the fields, damsels in distress, castles, cathedrals, crusades…these are some of the enduring images of the medieval world. This course will explore the social, cultural, and economic changes that made up the dynamic period we call the middle ages. Through lectures, discussion, films, debates and readings, the important developments, accomplishments and failings of the medieval centuries will be brought to life. Students will be evaluated through three essay exams, quizzes, and class participation. This course counts toward the PAST and WMST minor.

MUSI 187
Wittenberg Singers
0 – 1 credits
Zinter, Erik

Prerequisites: None
Wittenberg Singers is an SSAA women’s choir that performs both sacred and secular music representative of a wide spectrum of choral literature. They perform in major university events and present a concert each semester. Rehearsals T & TH - 6:15 - 7:20 pm, Krieg 300. Conductor Dr. Erik Zinter. To join, contact the conductor via e-mail.

Topic: Global Health Justice

4 credits
McHugh, Nancy
Prerequisite: None.
In Global Health Justice we will be studying the role of justice in its relationship to health issues in the developing world and in the U.S.. The goals of the course are: 1. To critically interrogate theories of justice and their applicability to health and medicine. 2. To develop a cross-cultural and intercultural examination of health, medicine and the effects of development, globalization, poverty and affluence on health. 

This course will be taught as an Inside-Out class. Inside-Out classes consist typically of 12-15 outside students, college students living on the outside, and 12-15 inside students, college students who are incarcerated and living on the inside of a prison. Inside and outside students sit side by side in a circle in the classroom, engaged in all of the same readings, all of the same papers, all equally graded. This is the sixth Inside-Out course at Wittenberg. Each one has been a fantastic learning experience for the students and me. We will travel as a group weekly to have class at London Correctional Institute.

By the end of the semester students should be able to:

  1. Critically assess, appreciate and understand a variety of theories of justice and their relationship to each other and to global health.
  2. Understand and apply theories of justice to address and respond to global, national and local instances of health injustice.
  3. Recognize and assess the ways in which humans are immersed in social systems and the ways these facilitate or diminish opportunities for health justice.
  4. Develop an understanding of cultural differences in health needs.
  5. Understand the impact of globalization on the health of people in developing countries, with a focus on countries in Africa and South East Asia, as well as countries that fall in the liminal space between what we label the developing world and the developed world.
  6. Understand the impacts of poverty and class on the health of people in the “developed” world.
  7. Argue a philosophical point effectively and with confidence.
  8. Apply case-based reasoning to study specific instances of health justice.

Students will be assessed through weekly reaction papers that ask them to focus on different aspects of argumentation, such as identifying theses, premises, developing counter arguments. Students will also complete a project on health needs in their community and a project on global health needs with the goal of identifying needs and developing recommendations.

POLI 315
Feminist and Postmodern Political Thought

4 credits
Wright, Heather
Prerequisites: Jr class standing and POLI 211R, 212R, 215R or 216R, or permission of instructor
An exploration of the major figures, schools of thought, and concepts in Feminist and Postmodern political thought, culminating in an examination of the often uneasy relationship between feminism and postmodernism. Readings include Nietzsche, Heidegger, Derrida, Foucault, Wollstonecraft, Goldman, MacKinnon, Elshtain, and Irigaray, among others.  Evaluation will be based on in-class presentations, an analytical paper, midterm and final essay examinations, and class preparation and participation. Writing intensive.

PSYC 280
Topic: Psychology of Gender
4 credits
Anes, Michael

Prerequisite: None.
A major – even fundamental – aspect of the human experience is that we are gendered. Your biological sex and the cultural construction of your gender powerfully influence your mental life and behavior. This is a course where we address in a detailed way the influence of gender on psychological functioning. We are reminded of the tools of the scientific method and use these tools to understand the influence of gender in all phases of development and in many different contexts such as the family, the workplace and social groups. The philosophical and political implications of gender research are discussed throughout the course and students learn about gender differences in privilege and gender-based inequalities. Specific areas of coverage include different conceptions of sex and gender, the possible existence of sex differences, cross-cultural differences in ideas about gender, gender roles and attitudes, gender role attitudes in western societies, achievement and communication differences, the role of gender in physical health, mental health, and in various kinds of relationships.

SOCI 301
Women and Poverty
4 credits
Rowell, Katherine

Prerequisite: None
This course will use the sociological approach to explore and analyze the feminization and racialization of poverty in the United States and the world. Specific attention will be given to understanding both the structural forces that continue to cause and exacerbate poverty and to the individual lived experiences of women in children living in poverty.  The importance of public sociology as well as social activism will be explored as tools to reducing and solving poverty.

SOCI 312
Purity, Porn and Perverts: Construction and Control of Sexuality

4 credits
Wagner, Brooke

Prerequisite: None
Within the last several decades, the sociology of sexualities has experienced tremendous growth as well as attention. In this class we will sample from the rich and diverse research and literature that has come to characterize this sub-discipline, and will introduce students to some of the more important and interesting contributions that have shaped the sociology of sexuality to date. We begin with an understanding of sexuality as an aspect of social life that is worthy of sociological inquiry, and one that it is impossible to understand in isolation from other aspects of social experience including gender, social class, race/ethnicity including other social relationships of power.

In this course we will explore how sexuality has been conceptualized in the West over time. We will examine some of the foundational contributions to the social and scientific study of sexuality, focusing on a range of theoretical and empirical approaches. Some of the topics we will address in this course include: early sexology and the construction of sexual deviance, hetero, homo and bisexual experience and identity, transsexuality and transgenderism, homosexuality and the religious right in the US, pornography and contemporary sexual practices.

To reflect and engage with feminist/sociological methods, students are expected to participate actively in class discussions, write short reflections over the readings, and complete a research project where they are required to analyze data.

Dance in the 20th Century
4 credits
Li-Chang, Shih-Ming

Prerequisite:  None.
This course studies the significant developments in dance during the 20th century with an emphasis on ballet and modern dance. Writing intensive.

Women, Culture, Politics, and Society: An Introduction to Women's Studies
4 credits
Wright, Heather

Prerequisite: None
This course is an introduction to Women's Studies and serves as the foundational course for the Women's Studies minor.  Over the course of the semester we will 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.  Surveying 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, our work will also highlight several special topics: representation, the “new domesticity,” women’s rights as human rights, women in conflict zones, and girlhood and “girl power” media culture.

WMST 490
Independent Study
1 – 4 credits
Wright, Heather

WMST 491
2 – 4 credits
Wright, Heather


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