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Spring 2016 Course Offerings

Courses in the Curriculum 

WGS 200: Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies
Section 0001 | Mary Thompson | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm
Section 0002 | Dawn Goode | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Cross disciplinary introduction to theories and scholarship in Women’s and Gender Studies. Examines the social construction of gender, how gender affects access to opportunity, and the experiences and contributions of women. Provides a foundation for subsequent work in the Women’s and Gender Studies minor.

WGS 300: Special Topics: Feminist Ethics
Section 0001 | Pia Antolic-Piper | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Since its beginnings in the 1970s, feminist ethics has been among the most advanced fields within feminist philosophy. In general, feminist ethics addresses issues in ethical practice – roughly, lived challenges and experiences of women as they occur within different contexts like the home, the public sphere or the workplace such as such oppression, sexism, inequality, or sexual assault.  In addition to reflecting on ethical practice, feminist ethics also deals with the approaches, themes, and theories that characterize traditional ethical theory and their shortcomings in the form of male bias, or misogyny. The goal of this course is to explore questions about feminism in ethical theory and practice such as What could a feminist ethics look like?, Does traditional ethics speak to the experience of all human beings regardless of gender or race?, or Is there such a thing as a distinctively feminine ethical experience  or sensibility like ‘care’? In addition to these questions, this course will also address recent feminist analysis and criticism of the domination and oppression governing women’s current social reality, including sexual violence, the ethics and politics of family and work, and global justice.. Meets with / equivalent to PHIL 390.

WGS 302: Third Wave Ecofeminism
Section 0001 | Alison Bodkin | TuTh 9:30-10:45pm

This course explores the association between women and nature that exists in ecofeminist rhetorics--from the image of Mother Earth, to the critiques of our culture shown in the exploitation of women and of the earth itself. Religious, historical and scientific rhetorics of ecofeminism will be examined, along with alternative models of power and responsibility. Cross-listed with SCOM 302.

WGS 337: Sociology of Gender
Section 0001 | Matt Ezzell | TuTh 3:30–4:45pm

Examination of theories of sex role development, the roles of men and women in society and gender as a social construction. Cross-listed with SOCI 337.

WGS 348: Communication and Gender
Section 0001 | Sharon Mazzarella | TuTh 11:00am–12:15pm
Section 0002 | Staff | MW 2:30–3:45pm

Studies of theories and research regarding the influence of gender in various human communication contexts, both public and private.  Emphasis on the critical analysis of existing theory and empirical research and the potential competent uses of communication for social change. Prerequisite: Any 100-level GCOM course. Cross-listed with SCOM 348.

WGS 355: American Women at War
Section 0001 | Amelia Underwood | M 4:40–6:35pm

This course invites students to engage a series of issues about the role of women in the US military. This course will examine the contributions & experiences of women who served during the American Revolution, the U.S. Civil War, WW I & II, Korea, Vietnam and the Persian Gulf War(s). Also included in this course is an examination of how women in military service both past and present are an instrument for societal change in America specifically in promoting the cause of women’s rights. Cross-listed with MSCI 350.

WGS 368: Women’s Literature: Women and the Kunstlerroman
Section 0001 | Mary Thompson | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm

This course explores women’s literature through a focus on the Kunstlerroman or artist’s novel. By comparing these texts to the traditional Bildungsroman and drawing on relevant feminist literary criticism, we will identify the characteristics of “women’s art,” its suppression and expression, and its relationship to the unique experiences of women within patriarchal societies. We will also examine the politics of canon formation and consider the construction of women’s identities across issues of race/ethnicity, immigration, social class, sexuality, and place. Cross-listed with ENG 368.

WGS 383: Women and Politics in Comparative Perspective
Section 0101 | Kristin Wylie | MW 10:10am–12:40pm
First block course meeting January 11–March 1

A study of the causes and consequences of women’s political marginalization in the United States and abroad. The course examines socioeconomic and political dimensions of gender inequality, exploring how women have worked through social movements, electoral politics, and public policy initiatives to overcome obstacles to their political empowerment. Cross-listed with POSC 383.

WGS 420: Feminist Rhetorics
Section 0001 | Alison Bodkin | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm

Surveys key women figures in classical and contemporary rhetorical traditions and challenges the strategies used to historicize this tradition from feminist perspectives. Explores diverse feminist rhetorical discourses informed by race, sexual orientation, ethnicity and social class. Cross-listed with SCOM 420 and WRTC 420.

WGS 485: Gender Issues in Science
Section 0001 | Louise Temple-Rosebrook & Rhonda Zingraff | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm

An interdisciplinary course that looks at the scientific process, science practitioners and science students through the lens of gender analysis. Students read literature, lead discussions, perform experiments and analyze both data and processes to address the effects of educational systems on the preparation and careers of scientists, the influence of politics and culture on scientific inquiry, and the effects of critiques grounded in gender analyses on understanding the scientific process. Cross-listed with ISAT 485.

WGS 492: Internship in Women's and Gender Studies
Section 0001 | Alison Bodkin and Christina Saindon | TBD

This course is open to Women's and Gender Studies minors who have completed nine hours in the minor or received permission from the instructor. The goal of this project is to work in a feminist collective to write daily blog posts for the blog “Shout Out! JMU: Your Source for Feminist Discourse.” Students taking the directed project will organize the blog, research and write blog posts, publicize the blog, and create dialogue by commenting on one another’s blog posts as a means of consciousness raising. Meets with / equivalent to SCOM 318. The application may be found here.

HIST 321: European Women’s History
Section 0001 | Jessica Davidson | MWF 1:25–2:15pm

A survey of women’s history from the Elightenment to the Modern Era. Attention will focus on women in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain as well as the former Soviet Union.  The course traces the birth of modern feminism in the European context and explores gender expectations, paying particular attention to women’s entrance into the public, political world.

HIST 449: Women and Fascism 
Section 0001 | Jessica Davidson | MWF 10:10am–12:05pm
Second block course meeting March 14–May 5

This course offers a comparative understanding of fascism and women with a focus on Europe, including Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Francoist Spain. We will also discuss fascist movements and right-wing women in other European countries and in Latin America. The course will uncover the origins of fascism and the rise of the fascist party and the women’s branch.

HIST 466: The Family, 1400-1800
Section 0001 | Michael Galgano | TuTh 3:30–4:45pm

An examination of the bibliography, methods and substance of family history in Europe and America. Emphasis will be on sources, structure, patterns of change and continuity, and stages of family life to the Industrial Revolution.

SOCI 336: Race and Ethnicity
Section 0001 | Bethany Bryson | Online

This course examines the social construction of race and ethnicity around the world and how they influence social processes, institutions, change and ideology. The course will include discussions concerning the intersection of race and ethnicity with other aspects of social inequality such as class, gender, sexuality and nationality in contemporary society.

SPAN 455: Women in Hispanic Literatures
Section 0001 | Lucy Morris | TuTh 11:00am–12:15pm

Study of women in literature in the Hispanic world.  Focus on women authors, female characters in literature or both. The course may include works from Spain or Latin America from any time period. Examination of feminist literary criticism, canon formation and other critical topics. Emphasis may vary according to the instructor. Instruction is in Spanish. Prerequisite: SPAN 335

Courses that will Receive Substitute Credit

ENG 222: Genre(s)
Topic: Gender & the Short Story
Section 0005 | Dawn Goode | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm

This course will focus on the short story genre as it developed from the nineteenth century to the present. We will approach this diverse form of prose fiction from various angles, exploring literary elements, individual authorial styles, historical periods, and thematic comparisons across texts. We will explore 19th-century European continental, British, and American short stories, and then examine the modern and contemporary short story across an international spectrum. Such an exploration will give us the opportunity to understand the ways in which ideas about the short story have changed from era to era and from country to country. In addition to charting the development of the short story genre, we will also use close-readings to excavate how our reading experience is shaped and guided by the creative choices of authors. This is not a “how-to-write-a-short story” course, but the aim of the course is to help illuminate how good stories are works of deliberate craftsmanship. Finally, our reading of these texts will be focalized through the lens of gender and sexuality studies. Like the form of the short story itself, our concepts about gender and sexuality have evolved and continue to do so. We will explore how our texts reveal this evolution. We will also identify how our texts reveal the intersection of gender and sexuality with other identity classifications such as race, nationality, ethnicity, class, and age.

ENG 302: Special Topics in Literature and Language
Topic: Mothers, Mothering, and Motherhood in African American Women’s Writing
Section 0004 | Mary Thompson | TuTh 3:30-4:45pm

This course explores motherhood, mothers, and mothering in the slave narrative and in the literary works of contemporary African American women writers. Using black feminist maternal theory (Audre Lorde, Patricia Hill-Collins, Dorothy Roberts, Alice Walker, bell hooks, and others) and the tools of literary analysis, we will explore how authors engage with motherhood as a product of biopower as well as a site for fashioning feminist identities. We will examine the social construction of motherhood and maternal identity across lines of class, culture, and race by drawing from women’s fiction, poetry, memoir, and blog writing. Texts will include: Jacobs, Incidents in the Life (1861); Morrison, Beloved (1987); Jones, Corregidora (1975); Kincaid, The Autobiography of My Mother (1996); Danticat, Breath, Eyes, Memory (1994); Sapphire, PUSH (1996); Ward, Salvage the Bones (2011); R. Walker, Baby Love (2007); A. Walker, Chicken Chronicles (2011).

ENG 410: Advanced Studies in Author
Topic: Harriet Beecher Stowe
Section 0003 | Laura Henigman | TuTh 2:00-3:15pm

Study of the works of one (or two) British, American, or Anglophone writer. May be repeated for credit when course content changes.

ENG 410: Advanced Studies in Author
Topic: Virginia Woolf, The Bloomsbury Group and Feminism (White)
Section 0004 | Siân White | TuTh 11:00am-12:15pm

In keeping with the rigor expected of a 400-level, this course looks closely and in depth at the work and life of Virginia Woolf, and is designed for students who are reading, thinking, and writing at an advanced level. Students can expect to read widely from among Woolf’s novels, essays and diaries, as well as engage with related literary and social criticism, emphasizing feminism, aesthetics, and her association with the Bloomsbury Group. In addition to engaged reading and discussion, students will be expected to read and present on critical articles, contribute to the development of a collective digital project on Virginia Woolf, and, as a final project, to write a 12-15 page research and literary analysis paper about some aspect of Woolf’s work.

WRTC 458: Scientific and Medical Communication
Section 0001 | Michael Klein | TuTh 12:30-1:45pm

The theme of the course is representations of the (re)productive body in modern culture. We will examine the medicalization and commodification of pregnancy as a condition necessitating intervention by health professionals. We will also study ways in which technology has contributed to the way women and fetuses have been represented. Finally, we will consider the way the pregnancy has been politicized by participants in debates over the right to choose.