Examines in detail the works of several American authors. Through close readings of poetry, novels, or plays, subject addresses such issues as literary influence, cultural diversity, and the writer's career. Topic: American Women Authors. This subject, crosslisted in Literature and Women's Studies, examines a range of American women authors from the seventeenth century to the present. It aims to introduce a number of literary genres and styles- the captivity narrative, slave novel, sensational, sentimental, realistic, and postmodern fiction- and also to address significant historical events in American women's history: Puritanism, the American Revolution, industrialization and urbanization in the nineteenth century, the Harlem Renaissance, World War II, the 60s civil rights movements. A primary focus will be themes studied and understood through the lens of gender: war, violence, and sexual exploitation (Keller, Rowlandson, Rowson); the relationship between women and religion (Rowlandson, Rowson, Stowe); labor, poverty, and working conditions for women (Fern, Davis, Wharton); captivity and slavery (Rowlandson, Jacobs); class struggle (Fern, Davis, Wharton, Larsen); race and identity (Keller, Jacobs, Larsen, Morrison); feminist revisions of history (Stowe, Morrison, Keller); and the myth of the fallen woman (take your pick). Essays and inclass reports will focus more particularly on specific writers and themes and will stress the skills of close reading, annotation, research, and uses of multimedia where appropriate. A classroom electronic archive has been developed for this course and will be available as a resource for images and other media materials.
Studies the relation between imaginative texts and the culture surrounding them. Emphasizes ways in which imaginative works absorb, reflect, and conflict with reigning attitudes and world views. Instruction and practice in oral and written communication. Topic for Fall: Ethical Interpretation. Topic for Spring: Women Reading, Women Writing. The course examines the earliest emergence of stories about King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table in the context of the first wave of British Imperialism and the expanded powers of the Catholic Church during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The morphology of Arthurian romance will be set off against original historical documents and chronicle sources for the English conquests in Brittany, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland to understand the ways in which these new attitudes towards Empire were being mythologized. Authors will include Bede, Geoffrey of Monmouth, ChrĚŠtien de Troyes, Marie de France, Gerald of Wales, together with some lesser known works like the Perilous Graveyard, the Knight with the Sword, and Perlesvaus, or the High History of the Holy Graal. Special attention will be paid to how the narrative material of the story gets transformed according to the particular religious and political agendas of each new author.
The role of the family in human evolution, and as a symbol in our own social and political lives. Topics include: sex, marriage, and parenting; the labor market; class, race, and ethnicity; and the family's probable future. We begin by considering briefly the evolution of the family, its cross-cultural variability, and its history in the West. We next examine how the family is currently defined in the U.S., discussing different views about what families should look like. Class and ethnic variability and the effects of changing gender roles are discussed in this section. We next look at sexuality, traditional and non-traditional marriage, parenting, divorce, family violence, family economics, poverty, and family policy. Controversial issues dealt with include day care, welfare policy, and the "Family Values" debate.
An introduction to the cross-cultural study of ethnic and national identity. We examine the concept of social identity, and consider the ways in which gendered, linguistic, religious, and ethno-racial identity components interact. We explore the history of nationalism, including the emergence of the idea of the nation-state, as well as ethnic conflict, globalization, identity politics, and human rights.
" This course explores the foundations of policy making in developing countries. The goal is to spell out various policy options and to quantify the trade-offs between them. We will study the different facets of human development: education, health, gender, the family, land relations, risk, informal and formal norms and institutions. This is an empirical class. For each topic, we will study several concrete examples chosen from around the world. While studying each of these topics, we will ask: What determines the decisions of poor households in developing countries? What constraints are they subject to? Is there a scope for policy (by government, international organizations, or non-governmental organizations (NGOs))? What policies have been tried out? Have they been successful?"
This course draws on different disciplines, conceptual frameworks, and methodological approaches to examine gender in relation to health, including public health practice, epidemiologic research, health policy, and clinical application. It discusses a variety of health-related issues that illustrate global, international, domestic, and historical perspectives, while considering other social determinants of health as well, including social class and race.
Does it matter in education whether or not you've got a Y chromosome? You bet it does. In this discussion-based seminar, we will explore why males vastly outrank females in math and science and career advancements (particularly in academia), and why girls get better grades and go to college more often than boys. Do the sexes have different learning styles? Are women denied advanced opportunities in academia and the workforce? How do family life and family decisions affect careers for both men and women?
The course will focus primarily on contemporary discourses concerning gender inequality. Most of the readings assigned will be recent articles published in U.S. and British media capturing the latest thinking and research on gender inequality in the workplace. The class will be highly interactive combining case studies, videos, debates, guest speakers, and in-class simulations.
This course includes an introduction to the anthropological study of human sexuality, gender constructs, and the sociocultural systems that these are embedded in. Examines current critiques of Western philosophical and psychological traditions, and cross-cultural variability and universals of gender and sexuality.
Using their new skills in deconstructing advertisements, students will look at advertisements through the lens of gender. Students will be encouraged to critically analyze the cultural stereotypes for men and women. Students will deconstruct advertisements based on gender representation.Rationale: Students will begin to see how believing in stereotypes can lead towards a negative self image for men and women. This is Part 4 of a 5 part Unit: Media Manipulation: What Are They Really Saying?
This course explores stereotypes associated with Asian women in colonial, nationalist, state-authoritarian, and global/diasporic narratives about gender and power. Students will read ethnography, cultural studies, and history, and view films to examine the politics and circumstances that create and perpetuate the representation of Asian women as dragon ladies, lotus blossoms, despotic tyrants, desexualized servants, and docile subordinates. Students are introduced to the debates about Orientalism, gender, and power.
This subject explores the legal history of the United States as a gendered system. It examines how women have shaped the meanings of American citizenship through pursuit of political rights such as suffrage, jury duty, and military service, how those political struggles have varied for across race, religion, and class, as well as how the legal system has shaped gender relations for both women and men through regulation of such issues as marriage, divorce, work, reproduction, and the family. The course readings will draw from primary and secondary materials in American history, as well as some court cases. However, the focus of the class is on the broader relationship between law and society, and no technical legal knowledge is required or assumed.
Global Womens Issues and the Beijing Platform for Action. This book is based on the 12 critical areas of concern identified at the Beijing Conference: 1 The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women 2 Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to education and training 3 Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to health care and related services 4 Violence against women 5 The effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation 6 Inequality in economic structures and policies, in all forms of productive activities and in access to resources 7 Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision- making at all levels 8 Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women 9 Lack of respect for and inadequate promotion and protection of the human rights of women 10 Stereotyping of women and inequality in womens access to and participation in all communication systems, especially in the media 11 Gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment 12 Persistent discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl child
This course explores how identities, whether of individuals or groups, are produced, maintained, and transformed. Students will be introduced to various theoretical perspectives that deal with identity formation, including constructions of "the normal." We will explore the utility of these perspectives for understanding identity components such as gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, language, social class, and bodily difference. By semester's end students will understand better how an individual can be at once cause and consequence of society, a unique agent of social action as well as a social product.
International Women's Voices has several objectives. It introduces students to a variety of works by contemporary women writers from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and North America. The emphasis is on non-western writers. The readings are chosen to encourage students to think about how each author's work reflects a distinct cultural heritage and to what extent, if any, we can identify a female voice that transcends national cultures. In lectures and readings distributed in class, students learn about the history and culture of each of the countries these authors represent. The way in which colonialism, religion, nation formation and language influence each writer is a major concern of this course. In addition, students examine the patterns of socialization of women in patriarchal cultures, and how, in the imaginary world, authors resolve or understand the relationship of the characters to love, work, identity, sex roles, marriage and politics.This class is a communication intensive course. In addition to becoming more thoughtful readers, students are expected to become a more able and more confident writers. Assignments are designed to allow for revision of each paper. The class will also offer opportunities for speaking and debating so that students can build oral presentation skills that are essential for success once they leave MIT. The class is limited to 25 students and there is substantial classroom discussion.
This course offers an introduction to Women's and Gender Studies, an interdisciplinary field that asks critical questions about the meanings of sex and gender in society. The primary goal of this course is to familiarize students with key issues, questions and debates in Women's and Gender Studies, both historical and contemporary. Gender studies scholarship critically analyzes themes of gendered performance and power in a range of social spheres, such as education, law, culture, work, medicine and the family. WGS. 101 draws on multiple disciplines--such as literature, history, economics, psychology, sociology, philosophy, political science, anthropology and media studies-- to examine cultural assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality. This course integrates analysis of current events through student presentations, aiming to increase awareness of contemporary and historical experiences of women, and of the multiple ways that sex and gender interact with race, class, nationality and other social identities.
In the decades following the Second World War, a cluster of extraordinary French thinkers were widely translated and read in American universities. Their works were soon labeled as "French Theory." Why would sharing the same nationality make authors such as Lacan, Cixous, Derrida, Foucault or Debord, ambassadors of a specifically "French" theory? The course will explore the maze of transatlantic intellectual debates since 1945 and the heyday of French existentialism. We will study the debates on communism, decolonization, neo_liberalism, gender, youth culture and mass media. This course is taught in English.
This subject investigates the special relation of women to several musical folk traditions in the British Isles and North America. Throughout, we will be examining the implications of gender in the creation, transmission, and performance of music. Because virtually all societies operate to some extent on a gendered division of labor (and of expressive roles) the music of these societies is marked by the gendering of musical repertoires, traditions of instrumentation, performance settings, and styles. This seminar will examine the gendered dimensions of the music -- the song texts, the performance styles, processes of dissemination (collection, literary representation) and issues of historiography -- with respect to selected traditions within the folk musics of North America and the British Isles, with the aim of analyzing the special contributions of women to these traditions. In addition to telling stories about women's musical lives, and studying elements of female identity and subjectivity in song texts and music, we will investigate the ways in which women's work and women's cultural roles have affected the folk traditions of these several countries.
This course studies the interaction between law, courts, and social movements in shaping domestic and global public policy. Examines how groups mobilize to use law to affect change and why they succeed and fail. The class uses case studies to explore the interplay between law, social movements, and public policy in current areas such as gender, race, labor, trade, environment, and human rights. Finally, it introduces the theories of public policy, social movements, law and society, and transnational studies.
Graduate Women at MIT (GWAMIT) is an institute-wide, student-led group founded in 2009. Its mission is to promote the personal and professional development of MIT's graduate women. GWAMIT welcomes all members of the MIT community, including men. This OCW site features selected videos from the two conferences GWAMIT runs each academic year: a Leadership Conference in the fall and an Empowerment Conference in the spring. It also provides a list of related readings and other resources.