Women and Gender Studies Program

Course List

Spring 2013 Women & Gender Studies Courses

WST 101: Introduction of Women & Gender Studies
Gorham M/W 12:30-1:45PM Prof. Sarah Lockridge
Gorham M/W 11:00AM-12:15PM Prof. Sarah Lockridge                                                           
Portland T/TH 1:15-2:30PM Prof. Kim Simmons                                               
Portland M/W 10:15-11:30AM Prof. Lorrayne Carroll                                                       
Online Prof. Desi Larson

This course explores from a variety of perspectives the following inter-related themes and topics: the economic, political, and social status of women as a group and in discrete cultural contexts; the politics of representation, or how ideas about femininity and feminism are promoted throughout the media and other vehicles of culture; the construction of “consciousness,” both through the media and through feminist tactics; women and collective action in the past, present, and future. Students are expected to practice their writing skills through formal essays. 3 credits. Satisfies core requirement for socio-cultural analysis.

WST 201: Women, Knowledge & Power 
Portland T 4:10-6:40PM
Prof. Susan Feiner

This course examines the ways in which the politics of knowledge production shape culture and gender relations. It explores the ways women have historically resisted, subverted, appropriated and reformed traditional bodies of thought. Prerequisites: WST 101I, EYE 109 or permission of instructor. 3 credits. Satisfies core requirement for cultural interpretations.

WST 245/PHI 220: Philosophy of Art               
Online Prof. Kate Wininger
Portland TH 4:10-6:40PM Prof. Kate Wininger

What makes a person creative? What do artists think about their art? How do critics evaluate a work? If art is created for a cultural ritual or healing, is it to be understood differently? How do the circumstances of a work’s creation and reception effect its evaluation? How does a person’s class, ethnicity, or gender influence art work and its reception? Philosophers in the field of Aesthetics attempt to answer questions which artists, art historians, anthropologists, and critics ask about art. The works of art and philosophy considered will be draw from a wide variety of cultural contexts. 3 credits

WST 320/342 ENG: Recent Theories on Gender & Sexuality
Portland T/TH 11:45AM-1:00PM
Prof. Shelton Waldrep

We will examine some of the major theories and controversies that dominate ideas about sexuality on the current scene.  Topics that we will attempt to trace in varying degrees of detail include the institutional history of lesbian and gay studies; the relationship of feminism to sexuality; the application of theories of sexuality to literary and/or cultural analysis; the effect of post-structuralism on gender/sexuality theory; the impact of AIDS; the complexity of race and postcoloniality as they relate to sexuality; the place of queer theory in cultural studies; the emergence of both visual culture and pop culture studies as well as anti-presentist historiographies within queer studies; and the possible future of the discipline or sub-specialty within the academy and without.  Our approach will mainly be of a materialist nature.  Particular attention will be paid to the emergence of Deleuzian patterns within the work of several major theorists of sexuality such as Wittig, Hocquenghem, and Butler. 3 credits

WST 335/Soc 316:  Sociology of the Body 
Portland M 4:10-6:40PM
Prof. Wendy Chapkis                            

This course examines the body as a text marked by, and rendered meaningful through, such social categories as race, gender, class, sexuality, disability, and disease.  Course materials include social theory, autobiography, and fiction to explore how hierarchical distinctions are written on the body and, in turn, how such “natural” differences are then used to explain and to justify social inequalities.  This writing- and reading-intensive course discusses both social constructionist and biological determinist perspectives on embodied difference. 3 credits

WST 335/ENG 319: Species, Sex, Gender and Science Fiction 
Portland TH 4:10-6:40PM
Prof. Lucinda Cole                                             

This course explores the intersections between gender studies and science fiction by focusing specifically on the problem of species, beginning with early modern natural philosophy, and ending with twenty‐first century feminist science studies. At the heart of this course are fundamental questions in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences: What does it mean to be human? How does the category of gender relate to that of species, or biological kind? How has science as a discipline contributed to, or undermined, presumably natural differences? How are feminists working within science studies bringing a new materiality to bear on poststructuralist models of understanding? The course will emphasize the contribution that women writers have made to speculative fiction, particularly in their explorations in the late twentieth and early twenty‐first centuries of gender, species, and reproduction. We will be drawing on recent scholarship in human‐animal studies, science studies, and feminist studies. Creative and theoretical material will be supplemented by film. 3 credits

WST 345/ENG 353: Medieval Women Writers
*Pre-1800 Requirement  
Portland M/W 1:15 - 2:30PM
Prof. Kathleen Ashley                                                             

The traditional canon of medieval literature rarely includes many women writers of the period. The focus of this course will be on medieval ideologies of gender as they affect social production and reception of texts. What it means to be “literate” as well as “literary” will be examined, and the intersection of gender, genre, and class at different periods will be a central recurring topic. Writers include literate nuns of the high Middle Ages, female courtly love lyricists, laywomen mystics like Margery Kempe, the first professional writer, Christine de Pizan, and women dramatists of the Netherlands. There will also be readings from social texts essential to understanding gender and writing in context. These primary cultural texts will be accompanied by occasional reading in secondary literature and theory, including interpretations by feminist medievalists. 

WST 345/ENG 379: Earlier Women Writers
*Pre-1800 Requirement     
Portland M 4:10-6:40PM
Prof. Lorrayne Carroll                                          

This course examines the work of several Early American women writers from the 17th through the early 19th centuries. These women wrote and, sometimes, published their writing within the complex contexts of colonialism, revolution, and nation building. Students will pursue several critical strands regarding women's writing, including an inquiry into conditions of female authorship (such as pseudonymy and collective production), the relationship between private composition and publication, claims and counterclaims about gender-specific topics, intersections of sexuality, race formations, economic status, religious influences, and questions of subjectivity and citizenship. The course includes a research project conducted with materials from USM Special Collections.

Theatre 451: Butches, Bitches, & Buggers:
An Exploration of Twentieth-Century Queer Drama
Gorham T/TH 11:00 - 12:15pm
Prof.M. Brodie                                                                     

This seminar will explore provocative portraits of queer life in 20th century drama including the evolution, reclamation, and employment of gender- and sexuality-specific language and stereotypes within and outside of lgbt communities.  The course will investigate the following questions:  How does the socio-historical environment in which a queer play is written inform its content and reception?  Are plays about or written by gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgendered individuals necessarily political?  If so, in what way are such plays political?  Does queer theatre intervene in culture differently from the manner in which other theatre does?  And, of course, we will examine a broad range of butches, bitches, and buggers in queer drama.  Students will read a variety of queer theory alongside work by dramatists including: Lillian Hellman, Holly Hughes, Moises Kaufman, Tony Kushner, John Cameron Mitchell, Martin Sherman, Diana Son, and Doug Wright, among others, in an effort to recognize the presence and force of contemporary queer drama. 3 credits

WST 345/ENG 326: Arab Women Writers
*Non-Western Requirement
Portland M/W 11:45AM-1:00PM
Prof. Deepika Marya

In this course we will discuss the framework of Arab feminism through an examination of literature written by Arab women in the 20th century. These authors explore cross-cultural and cross-historical connections between Arab and Western women to sharpen our evaluation of cultural perspectives of Arab women. This class will examine issues of gender, class, religion and nationalism to unfold their unique perspective. Although our focus will be literary texts, to develop a better understanding of the themes and issues presented, additional readings in theory, criticism and history will be necessary. Some of the texts we will read in this class are; Pillars of Salt by Fadia Faqir, Baghdad Diaries by Nuha Al-Radi, Border Passages by Leila Ahmed, Dreams of Trespass by Fatims Mernissi. Assessment based on three papers and class discussions. 3 credits

WST 445/CMS 486: Women in Film    
Portland W 4:10-6:40PM
Prof. Rebecca Lockridge

This course is designed to introduce students to a variety of critical approaches applied to the issue of women in cinema.  Based on the assumption that women and men are constituted through social practices in culture (including performance of gender roles), we will examine media messages that help shape the myth of womanhood (thereby acting as a source of motives for behavior). Films will be studies, which reflect the evolution of stereotypic roles of women in the decades of the 20th century. We will discuss these in relation to readings from popular culture sources, such as newspapers and magazines, as a context for understanding subjective knowledge that might guide the expectations of audiences in each decade.  3 credits

WST 465/GEO 450: Gender, Race, Class and the City   
Portland M 4:10-6:40PM
Prof. Lydia Savage

This course will focus on the relationships among gender, “race,” class and urban spaces in twentieth century U.S. cities. The course will explore how urban spaces reflect and perpetuate different relations of power, inequality, and identity. How does urban space reflect and reinforce unequal power relations? How do multiple and contradictory identities shape one’s experience of the city? How are economic, social, and political processes interacting with public policy (or the lack thereof) the mechanisms by which resources and power are unequally distributed? How are contemporary debates about the city imbued with racialized, gendered, and classed meanings? First, we explore how different frameworks for urban analysis help to explain the social and spatial organization of US cities. We will develop a framework for urban analysis that integrates race, class, and gender, and draws upon the geographic concepts of place and scale. Second, we will apply our integrated framework to contemporary metropolitan processes and problems. In particular, we will focus on the interconnections among globalization and welfare state restructuring, migration and immigration, urban labor markets, and poverty and welfare reform. This course is writing intensive. Therefore, we will spend a considerable amount of time learning how to write an effective essay in the fields of geography, urban studies and women’s studies. 3 credits

WST 470: Independent Study 
Prof. Wendy Chapkis                                                                             

This course provides junior and senior students with the opportunity to pursue a project independently, concentrate on a particular subject of concern, or conduct individually arranged reading or research studies under the advice and direction of a faculty member. Prerequisite:  junior or senior standing and permission of the director.  1-4 credits

WST 485: Internship 
Portland T 4:10-6:40PM
Prof. Luisa Deprez                                                                      

Students will have the opportunity to do an internship or a thesis. The internship requires students to work closely with a group, business, or organization for one semester, after which they will report to the Women & Gender Studies Council. Prerequisites: senior standing and Women & Gender Studies major or minor. Offered in the spring semester only. 4-6 credits

WST 486: Thesis
Prof. Wendy Chapkis

Students will have the opportunity to do a thesis or an internship. The thesis allows students to pursue guided research on a topic of their choosing. The minimum length for a thesis is 30 pages, and it should include a substantial bibliography. Thesis students should choose three readers, including an advisor whose interests and scholarship are in line with their own. Prerequisites: senior standing and Women & Gender Studies major or minor. Offered in the spring semester only. 4 credits

WST 490: Capstone Experience 
Portland T/TH 1:15-2:30PM
Prof. Wendy Chapkis

 All majors are required to select a capstone experience, with the guidance of their advisor, from the following two options: WST 485 or WST 486. Students enrolled in either option are required to participate in a bi-weekly seminar. Students are expected to co-enroll in WST 490 and WST 485 or 486. Offered in the spring semester only. 2 credits


Complete List of WGS Approved Electives