Explores the historic roles of women in scientific and engineering endeavors. Examines what sociocultural obstacles women in these disciplines have faced, and how their challenges and successes have changed over time. The course provides a basic overview of the history of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Students will learn about specific contributions of women across a variety of disciplines and will gain a broad perspective on how these contributions played a larger role in the advancement of human knowledge and technological achievement. The class will also grapple with how both historic and modern biases within the STEM disciplines, as well as in representations of women and girls in media and popular culture, can affect outcomes in these areas.
Drawing on multiple disciplines - such as literature, history, economics, psychology, philosophy, political science, anthropology, media studies and the arts - to examine cultural assumptions about sex, gender, and sexuality. Integrates analysis of current events through student presentations, aiming to increase awareness of contemporary and historical experiences of women, and of the ways sex and gender interact with race, class, nationality, and other social identities. Students are introduced to recent scholarship on gender and its implications for traditional disciplines.
Provides an introduction to the history of gender, sex, and sexuality in the modern United States, from the end of the 19th century to the present. Surveys historical approaches to the field, emphasizing the changing nature of sexual and gender identities over time. Traces attempts to control, construct, and contain sexual and gender identities. Examines the efforts of those who worked to resist, reject, and reform institutionalized heterosexuality and mainstream configurations of gendered power.
Examines representations of race, gender, and sexual identity in the media. Considers issues of authorship, spectatorship, and the ways in which various media (film, television, print journalism, advertising) enable, facilitate, and challenge these social constructions in society. Studies the impact of new media and digital media through analysis of gendered and racialized language and embodiment online in blogs and vlogs, avatars, and in the construction of cyberidentities. Provides introduction to feminist approaches to media studies by drawing from work in feminist film theory, cultural studies, gender and politics, and cyberfeminism.
Examines the social, cultural, economic, and political aspects of digital games. Topics include the culture of gameplay, gaming styles, communities, spectatorship and performance, gender and race within digital gaming, and the politics and economics of production processes, including co-creation and intellectual property. Students taking graduate version complete additional readings and assignments.
Examines the cultural paradoxes of contemporary globalization. Studies the cultural, artistic, social and political impact of globalization across international borders. Students analyze contending definitions of globalization and principal agents of change, and why some of them engender backlash; identify the agents, costs and benefits of global networks; and explore how world citizens preserve cultural specificity. Case studies on global health, human trafficking and labor migration illuminate the shaping influence of contemporary globalization on gender, race, ethnicity, and class. Develops cultural literacy through analysis of fiction and film. Enrollment limited.
Connects the consequences of power, inequality, and belief systems on sexual health and personal well-being in the US and non-western countries. Focuses on how "subordinate" groups contend with dominant domestic and international pressures to conform to narratives and expectations predicated on inequalities. Conducted in seminar format with discussions on uncovering the dynamics and dimensions of inequality. Examines major historical cross-cultural events impacting attitudes on sexual behaviors and sexualities.
Cross-cultural case studies introduce students to the anthropological study of the social institutions and symbolic meanings of family, gender, and sexuality. Investigates the different forms families and households take and considers their social, emotional, and economic dynamics. Analyzes how various expectations for, and experiences of, family life are rooted in or challenged by particular conceptions of gender and sexuality. Addresses questions surrounding what it means to be a "man" or a "woman," as well as a family member, in different social contexts.
Analyzes mainstream, popular films produced in the post-WWII 20th century US as cultural texts that shed light on ongoing historical struggles over gender identity and appropriate sexual behaviors. Traces the history of LGBTQ/queer film through the 20th and into the 21st century. Examines the effect of the Hollywood Production Code and censorship of sexual themes and content, and the subsequent subversion of queer cultural production in embedded codes and metaphors. Also considers the significance of these films as artifacts and examples of various aspects of queer theory.
Examines women's experiences during and after war and genocide, covering the first half of the 20th century in Europe and the Middle East. Addresses ways in which women's wartime suffering has been used to further a variety of political and social agendas. Discussions focus on a different topic each week, such as sexual violence, women survivors, female perpetrators of genocide, nurses, children of genocidal rape, and the memory of war.
Explores the politics of reproductive health care delivery in the United States, with a particular focus on how clinical care is shaped by--and, in turn, shapes--social inequality along axes of race and gender. Considers a variety of reproductive health issues from multiple perspectives, drawing on readings from the fields of history, anthropology, sociology, medicine, epidemiology, and law. Develops skills to interrogate how each field conceptualizes and values reproductive health, both explicitly and implicitly. Introduces major conceptual issues foundational to understanding the politics of reproduction. Goes on to cover topics such as the human biofemale reproductive lifecycle and social movements explicitly organized around reproductive health. Limited to 40.
Examines the influence of social and cultural determinants (colonialism, nationalism, class, and gender) on modern science and technology. Discusses the relationship of scientific progress to colonial expansions and nationalist aspirations. Explores the nature of scientific institutions within a social, cultural, and political context, and how science and technology have impacted developing societies
Examines evidence (and lack thereof) regarding when and how an individual's thoughts, feelings, and actions are affected by sex and gender. Using a biopsychosocial model, reviews the following topics: gender identity development across the lifespan, implicit and explicit bias, achievement, stereotypes, physical and mental health, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, work, and violence. Limited to 20.
The issue of race and racial identity have preoccupied many writers throughout the history of the US. Students read Jessica Abel, Diana Abu-Jaber, Lynda Barry, Felicia Luna Lemus, James McBride, Sigrid Nunez, Ruth Ozeki, Danzy Senna, Gloria Anzaldua, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Carmit Delman, Stefanie Dunning, Cherrie Moraga, Hiram Perez and others, and consider the story of race in its peculiarly American dimensions. The reading, along with the writing of members of the class, is the focus of class discussions. Oral presentations on subjects of individual interest are also part of the class activities. Students explore race and ethnicity in personal essays, pieces of cultural criticism or analysis, or (with permission of instructor) fiction. All written work is read and responded to in class workshops and subsequently revised. Enrollment limited.
Examines traditional forms of East Asian culture (including literature, art, performance, food, and religion) as well as contemporary forms of popular culture (film, pop music, karaoke, and manga). Covers China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, with an emphasis on China. Considers women's culture, as well as the influence and presence of Asian cultural expressions in the US. Uses resources in the Boston area, including the MFA, the Children's Museum, and the Sackler collection at Harvard. Taught in English.