This course introduces students to feminist theory and scholarship and to methodologies commonly employed in the interdisciplinary field of Women’s and Gender Studies. Attention is focused on how gender—along with class, race, religion, age, and sexual orientation—shapes institutions, cultural ideologies, public policy, and the lives and experiences of individual women and men.
This course merges key insights of environmental studies/activism (which focus on relationships between living beings and their environment) and feminism (which focuses on systemic, hierarchical power structures organized by gender difference) and investigates questions of power and knowledge at the intersection of ideas about gender and the environment/nature. We explore forms of environmental activism(s) relative to gender and gender difference (particularly as intersecting with race, class, and sexuality), and reflect on popular attitudes toward environmental issues.
This course explores Biblical ideas, values, and practices concerning sexuality and love. The problems of infertility, adultery, prostitution, incest, and rape are at the heart of many Biblical tales. Through attention to gender construction and relationships, the course will expose the central place of sex and love in the religious world of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. In addition, we will explore early Jewish and Christian reception of Biblical texts and contemporary feminist appropriations.
This course examines scholarship on factors that affect the physical and emotional well-being of girls and women, with particular attention to the ways in which gender intersects with issues of race and class. Also central to this course is a feminist analysis of the degree to which public policies effectively address the health concerns and experiences of females.
This course examines how different economic outcomes across gender are both significant and persistent. It takes an interdisciplinary perspective, exploring economic decisions that individuals make regarding marriage, children, education and employment and examines how those decisions are shaped by gender. Also central to this course is a close look at gender-related economic outcomes over time and across racial and ethnic groups, as well as government policies that have differential economic effects across gender.
This course examines from a transnational perspective the ways in which race, class, and gender have influenced black women’s lives. Discussion topics include familial roles of indigenous African women, institutional oppression (including slavery), male/female relationships, the U.S. Civil Rights movement, women’s liberation struggles nationally and internationally, and coalition-building with women of non-African descent.
This course engages students in critical analysis of the criminal justice system and of significant innovations and proposals for reform of policies, programs, and practices. This seminar will introduce the student to the history of women in prison, the profile of women prisoners, operational and security challenges for prison administrators, and a review of the special needs for rehabilitation among women prisoners. The service learning component of this seminar is an opportunity for a small group of students from Lafayette College and a group of residents of the Northampton County Correctional Facility (NCP) to exchange ideas and perceptions about crime and justice, the criminal justice system, corrections, and imprisonment.
This course is an interdisciplinary study of the relation between gender and science. Social expectations regarding women’s abilities, women’s roles, and the nature of science are discussed. The effects of gender science as a field of intellectual endeavor and as a profession are explored through discussion, readings, and class assignments that involve observing, analyzing, and interacting with specific scientific communities.
This course explores how systemic social hierarchies of dis/advantage-principally those organized around gender and racial/ethnic identity–are articulated through the environment and how the environment is in turn shaped by social dynamics of gender/race inequalities. Additional analytical lenses such as sexuality, socio-economic class, and global/transnational position are used to form conceptual frameworks through which we can better understand the critical role of “environmental justice” for environmental studies, gender studies, and the study of social inequality.
This non-production course examines the work of women filmmakers and how women have historically been constructed (and not constructed) in cinema. We will examine issues of gender, spectatorship, sexuality, race, representation and authorship as they intersect with images of women such as savior, victim, femme fatale, mother, and artist.
Prerequisite: FAMS 101: Introduction to Film & Media Studies, or WGS 101: Introduction to Women’s & Gender Studies
Using the lenses of race, culture, and gender, this course will examine historical and contemporary representations of women and men of African descent in the various mediums of “popular culture” (television, cinema, music, advertising, fashion, etc.). We will explore the historical relationship of people of African descent to mainstream culture through an examination of “popular” representations of “Blackness,” including representations of the “Black masculine” and “Black feminine.”
What is work? Who does it and in what capacity? And how does gender influence ideas about and practices of women’s and men’s labor? In this course we will analyze these questions in specific contexts across the Americas from Argentina to the United States. We will study women’s productive and reproductive labor from an intersectional perspective that take into account not only gender but also class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, life stage, and migration status.
These interdisciplinary courses explore from the perspective of feminist and gender theory issues of special interest to WGS faculty and students. Previous courses have focused on such topics as Engendering “Black” Popular Culture, Gender and American Material Culture, Women and Work, Human Sexuality, and Women and Judaism.
Feminist Theory explores the various intellectual traditions that structure ideas about gender/gender identity and sexuality/sexual identity. This course considers how social, historical, and ideological forces, organized by the intertwined concepts of gender and sexuality, shape different feminist traditions (both intellectual and activist). Special attention will be paid to how race/ethnicity, transnational issues, and class factors determine and are determined by different formulations for feminist thought and action.
This seminar addresses the theoretical contributions of “Black” (Continental, Diasporan, and American African) feminists working from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Viewing “Black” women as producers of knowledge and as transforming agents, we will outline principles and practices of “Black” Feminisms. We also will examine the interrelationship among life, theory, and praxis, as well as the various ways in which these three are imagined and realized by “Black” feminist writers.
Prerequisite: WGS 101 or two cross-listed courses or permission of the WGS Program Chair.
This course examines the various cultural and social regimes that create and organize ideas about sexuality, addresses the “invention” of homo/heterosexuality, and examines the social, legal, representational, and political systems that define sexual (ab)normality. Topics include contemporary issues of sexual orientation, sexuality in relation to gender, race and class, pornography, intersex issues, drag, and Queer culture.
Prerequisite: WGS 101 or two cross-listed courses or permission of the WGS Program Chair.
This course examines the cultural ideologies, institutions, and public policies that affect single women’s experience of motherhood, with particular attention to the challenges faced by teenage and low-income single mothers. This is a community-based learning and research seminar; outside of class time, students will interact regularly with local teen moms, families living in transitional housing shelters, and/or non-profit agencies that support these women and their children—then engage in collaborative research or activist projects designed to support these members of the Easton community.
Prerequisite: at least one WGS course or WGS elective, or permission of the instructor.
These advanced interdisciplinary seminars explore issues of special interest to WGS faculty and students.
This course gives students the opportunity to apply scholarship in the field of feminist and gender studies to complex problems in the local community. Students work 8-10 hours at their placement (newspapers, hospitals, teen centers, shelters, etc.), regularly submit reflective journals to the supervising WGS faculty member, and write a final paper in which they analyze and assess the semester’s work.
Prerequisites: Two WGS or cross-listed courses or permission of the WGS Program Chair.
This course provides an opportunity for students to explore a topic in depth through the lens of feminist and gender theory. The student meets regularly with the supervising WGS faculty member to select and discuss relevant readings and to design an ambitious research project, generally one that culminates in a carefully researched paper.
Guided by faculty affiliated with Women’s and Gender Studies Program, the student writes a thesis in a specialized aspect of the interdiscipline. If the student’s project is deemed to be of sufficient quality at the end of the first semester (WGS 495), the student may complete honors in WGS (WGS 496) in the second semester. [W]
Prerequisite: Open to qualified students by permission of program chair