Courses in Women's Studies (Division 497)

110. Practical Feminism. (1). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit.

The course relates personal feminine power experiences and perceptions to the cultural and societal structures that helped to formulate them. The course is designed to expand students perceptions of personal power and to increase their understanding and competency at succeeding against imposed unbalanced power relationships. The course will address: definition of personal power; societal and cultural restrictions; identifying power abuses and abusers; violence against women; assault prevention; women and self-defense; utilizing power structures. (Krohn/Williams)

112. Issues for Women of Color. (1). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit.

This course will discuss women of color, their historical background, the ways in which they differ from Caucasian women, and treatment accorded them in society. We will investigate how women of ethnic minorities function in family and kinship systems including mother-centered (or matrifocal) system among African Americans and Asian Americans. Another important theme of this class will be the relationship between the third world women and developed countries. This issue includes problems of factory workers, prostitutes and marriage business, etc. The main themes of this course, then, are the differences in the function of women in developed countries, the comparison between the image of women in Western culture and non-Western culture, and investigation of how the image and the function of women of color has been changing or has been distorted. Students will be required to do case studies in different ethnic groups. Course meets for 7 weeks, March 7 April 18. (Miyake)

220/Nursing 220. Perspectives in Women's Health. (3). (Excl).

This course is for all students, especially women, who are interested in gaining a perspective of issues surrounding women's health from a feminist perspective. Both non-health related students as well as students in health related fields are encouraged to enroll. This course will help empower women to gain control over their health in addition to gaining a wider view of issues affecting women's health. Various health issues, such as PMS, eating disorders, mental health, breast cancer and AIDS, will be studied from a socio-cultural perspective as well as from a physiologic perspective. Alternative therapies, including acupuncture, homeopathy and chiropractic, will be discussed within the context of women's health. This course will be conducted in a discussion format with guest speakers and films. Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, a midterm exam, and a final paper. Cost:2 WL:4 (Mahler)

230. The Contemporary Women's Movement. (3). (SS).

In this course we will examine the history, ideas, and activities of contemporary women's movements in the United States and the Third World (particularly Latin America). In order to gain a better understanding of the origins of these movements, we will begin with a brief study of the feminist movement of the 19th century and the theoretical bases of current movements. Most of the course will be devoted to an analysis of the differing goals of the various women's movements, their methods in achieving these goals, the ways in which each has transformed society, and the ways these movements have transformed the women activists. One of the overall aims of this course is to help students gain a good understanding of the strengths and possible weaknesses of women's movements in the past and today in order to construct their own ideas on the future course which the women's movement and feminism should take. This will be primarily a discussion course and a considerable part of the final grade will depend upon the student's participation. Short weekly papers and two longer papers will also be required. Cost:2 WL:4 (Bayard de Volo)

240/Amer. Cult. 240. Introduction to Women's Studies. Open to all undergraduates. (4). (HU).

Designed as an introduction to the new, feminist scholarship on women, Women's Studies 240 is an interdisciplinary course which acquaints students with key concepts and theoretical frameworks to analyze women's condition. We will explore how women's status has changed over time and across cultures, but we will concentrate on the situation of contemporary American women. Topics will include: violence against women, discrimination in the workplace, the feminization of poverty, and sexuality. Students will also examine how capitalism, racism, imperialism, and heterosexism affect women's lives. The course will not only provide students with an analysis of women's oppression, but will suggest strategies for ending sexual inequality. The course is structured around weekly lectures, readings, films, and discussion sections. Students are encouraged to participate fully in discussion and to assume responsibility for sharing their knowledge and experience. The course grade is based upon written assignments, an action project, examination and participation in discussion. Cost:3 WL:4

270. Women and the Law. (3). (SS).

"Women and the Law" covers selected topics in American constitutional and statutory law which have a special effect on women. Because the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, especially the Equal Protection Clause, has become crucial to many current sex discrimination cases, it is discussed in some detail. Other legal issues such as family law, rape, spousal assault, women in poverty, employment discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, and affirmative action are also analyzed from a legal standpoint. Required: midterm exam, final exam, 8-12 pages of writing assignments, and class participation in discussion would be helpful. Strongly recommended: some understanding of the histories of women of color in the U.S., Introductory government course. Cost:2 WL:4 (students not attending the first week of classes will be dropped).

310. Women Writing. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course will connect critical thinking and writing by focusing on women writing. We will emphasize writing as a process of discovering and testing meaning by requiring reading and writing in many genres. Journals, essays, short fiction, and one novel will provide access to the experience of women past and present defining their relation to their worlds in writing. The purpose of such reading is to discover the relationship between women's writing and the literary and cultural traditions which shape it. One mode of analysis will be rhetorical: how women write to persuade themselves and others of the value of their experiences, feelings, and observations. Issues of authorial voice, audience, narrative structure, evidence, and assumptions will be considered as the tools of understanding the writing process. Another mode of analysis will be to examine the social, political, and psychological contexts which will lead to the interpretation of the symbol systems and rhetorical strategies of women writers. The questions raised by these critical modes will be applied to the primary focus of the course: student writing. Students will test their responses to the readings, to the issues they raise and to their own writing through composing in several genres and academic modes. They will keep journals and write essays. They will revise as they discover new meaning to their experiences in class and write different perspectives. (Lassner)

315/English 315. Women and Literature. (3). (HU). May be repeated for a total of 6 credits with department permission.

See English 315.

320. Seminar in Group Process and Gender. Women's Studies 100, 240, another Women's Studies course, and permission of instructor. (4). (Excl).

A seminar for facilitators of Women's Studies 100. Students facilitate a small discussion group on women's issues (see WS 100 for description). A weekly seminar provides training in group process skills and an opportunity to explore women's issues in further depth. Students play an active role in planning and facilitating this seminar. Facilitators gain additional group experience through participation in support and task-oriented committees. Women's Studies 320 encourages all interested women and men to apply for this unique experiential learning opportunity. Enrollment in the course is determined by application and an interview process held on "applicant day" during the Winter Term. If you are interested in facilitating WS 100, please contact the Women's Studies Program (763-2047) for more information. Students must attend applicant day. Date to be announced. (Larimore, Stewart)

325/Class. Civ. 325. Women in Classical Athens. (2). (HU).

See Classical Civilization 325. (Scodel)

336/CAAS 336. Black Women in America. (3). (Excl).

See Afroamerican and African Studies 336 (Frazier-Kouassi)

341. Gender and the Individual: Transmission and Function of Sex/Gender Systems. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

Section 001 SEX CHANGES. This course will examine "sex changes" in the form of cross-dressing, impersonation, "passing," tranvestism and transsexualism as both a putting into question of theoretical paradigms such as the sex-gender system and as an aesthetic convention used to represent cultural contradictions involving gender, race, class, sexual orientation, religion and colonialism. It will be organized chronologically, focusing on Greece and Rome, the English Renaissance, 19th century France, and London and Harlem in the 1920's. In the twentieth century a further consideration of the sex change as narrative device in the contemporary novel, drama and film will be supplemented by anthropological (Native American berache), sociological (transvestism) and medical (transsexualism) approaches to the question of whether gender is nothing more than a learned performance. Texts will include: AS YOU LIKE IT, Woolf's ORLANDO, Hwang's M. BUTTERFLY, LIQUID SKY, Ben Jelloun's THE SAND CHILD, Williams' THE SPIRIT AND THE FLESH, Woodhouse's FANTASTIC WOMEN. Requirements include active class participation as well as a series of diverse writing assignments culminating in a portfolio. Cost:4 WL:1 (Herrmann)

342. Gender and Society: Hierarchies in Social Organization. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

In this course we try to develop explanations for the persistence and intensification of gender hierarchy within public institutions. The course may have several foci. In all cases, analyses will focus both on structural barriers to women, and on the psychological mechanisms that maintain cultural dominance and asymmetrical power relations. In order to understand cultural dominance, students will need to examine the processes by which power imbalances are transformed into social expectations and assumptions of inherent worth. For example, how do kinship in the private sphere inform the impersonal, formalized social relations of macro institutions? Within this context, the course may focus on gender hierarchies in specific institutions, e.g., educational or governmental. Here one might inquire how gender asymmetry is used for other hierarchies. Within this conceptual area we also offer courses on political economy: the relation of gender to production, and the economic exploitation of women. Regardless of focus, students explore a variety of explanations for the existence of gender hierarchies in the public sphere. These range from cultural vs. economic explanations to theories that insist on an interaction of the two. Requirements will include at least two written assignments and an exam. (Douvan)

343. Gender Consciousness and Social Change. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

GENDER CONSCIOUSNESS IN ORAL HISTORY. In this course we will try to decipher aspects of the process by which women become conscious of themselves as "the Other," using evidence to be found in their own words. How women see themselves and how they confront oppression in the context of their own societies has not always been very well-understood. To this end, we will read and analyze the oral histories of women in a variety of western and non-western settings. The class will be conducted according to a seminar/discussion rather than a lecture format, and as such will require the active participation of all members. There will be a final oral history project based on original research. In addition to extensive reading of primary source material, students will learn to isolate a topic, prepare a bibliography and list of interview questions, and to solicit structured testimonies. Selections from recent methodological texts about oral history and life-course analysis will be available in a course-pack to help with conceptual and practical aspects of completing oral historical research. Requirements: Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. Cost:2 WL:1 (Hart)

344. Women in Literature and the Arts. Women's Studies 240 or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

Section 002 TOPICS IN MUSIC; "WOMEN IN MUSIC." This course will explore the experiences of women in music both past and present, and encourage an appreciation of music created by women, and develop an understanding of the effect of social and historical context on the creative process. The first half of the course will focus on a number of historical figures, including Hildegard von Bingen Medieval composer/abbess/mystic, Renaissance patron Isabella d'Este, 17thc. virtuoso singers/composers Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi, and 19thc. composers/pianists Clara Schumann and Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel. The second half of the course will be devoted to women in music in the 20th century. Topics covered will include blues and jazz singers, women composers in the "art" music world and the debates aroused by their presence (Why aren't there any 'great' women composers? Feminine vs. Masculine music.), and issues in popular music 1960- 1990 (e.g., packaging of women performers, development of "girl groups," singers vs. instrumentalists, androgyny, "women's music" movement). Texts: WOMEN IN MUSIC, Carol Neuls-Bates, ed.; WOMEN MAKING MUSIC, Jane Bowers and Judith Tick eds.; FEMININE ENDINGS, Susan McClary; Selections from journals and other sources. No knowledge of music required. (Frascarelli)

347. Feminist Perspectives on Lesbian Studies. Women's Studies 240. (3). (Excl).

This term's lesbian studies course offers students a historical approach to lesbianism. Focusing on the period from the mid-19thC to the present, we will explore the ways in which lesbians have organized, constructed and represented their sexuality, and the mechanisms used to repress lesbian desire. Although lesbianism will be the focus of this course, we will examine the ways its history is related to the histories of the sexual majority and other sexual dissidents. Students will become acquainted with both social constructionist and essentialist understandings of sexuality, and the major theoretical approaches to lesbian history which have merged in the last fifteen years. Topics include: women's romantic friendships; the early 20thC medical discourses on lesbianism and male homosexuality and their appropriation and transformation by lesbians and gay men; changing representations of lesbianism in literature and film; the role of gender in affecting the distinct but related histories of lesbians and gay men; the various ways class and race affect lesbian identity and experience; the convergence of lesbianism and feminism in the 1970's. Course materials will include historical, fictional, and autobiographical accounts of lesbianism, as well as films and videos. Three short, synthetic papers will be required, as well as a 10-15 page research paper. This version of the course will be organized primarily around discussion. Cost:3 WL:4 (Echols)

351. Women and the Community II. Women's Studies 350 and permission of instructor. (2). (Excl). (EXPERIENTIAL).

Continues placements for students from WS 350. The course uses a supervised independent study, contract system which includes directed reading and a term paper. Cost:1 WL:3 (Carlier)

371/History 371. Women in American History Since 1870. (4). (Excl).

See History 371. (Echols)

385. Directed Reading. Women's Studies 100 or 240, one 300-level Women's Studies course, and permission of instructor. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

Offers advanced Women's Studies students an opportunity to purpose independent, interdisciplinary projects.

386. Directed Reading. Women's Studies 385. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

Offers advanced Women's Studies students an opportunity to purpose independent, interdisciplinary projects.

387. Directed Reading. Women's Studies 386. (1-3). (Excl). (INDEPENDENT).

Offers advanced Women's Studies students an opportunity to purpose independent, interdisciplinary projects.

394(294)/Great Books 394. Great Books by Women Writers. Open to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. (4). (HU).

See Great Books 394. (Herrmann)

440. Issues and Controversies in the New Scholarship on Women. Women's Studies 240, one 340-level course or permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

This course assumes the value of a comparative perspective in defining what is a significant feminist issue in the first place. Feminism is not a unitary system of values. It has changed time, and it also varies in different contexts today. The course will cover a range of contexts within which feminist issues are currently being proposed and debated: within academic (in this case anthropological) feminism; within middle class, Black, and third world women. In each case one or two issues of contemporary debate will be explored. For example, for many middle class activist feminists, various aspects of "sexuality" including erotic object choice, rape, pornography, etc., seem to be at the top of the agenda. For many third world feminists, on the other hand, such issues seem irrelevant in the face of problems of poverty, excessive child-bearing, and the like. These sorts of differences in defining feminist issues, as well as the issues themselves, will be explored. Required for Women's Studies majors. Open to others who have had Women's Studies 240 and one 340 level course, or by P.I. (Ortner)

441. Honors Research Tutorial. Women's Studies 240, junior Women's Studies concentrators. (1). (Excl). (TUTORIAL).

Prepares second term junior Women's Studies concentrators to write an Honors thesis. Students choose a thesis topic before beginning this tutorial. They then work independently with an appropriate faculty member to develop the research skills specific to their topics (e.g., analytic, library, or computer skills). By the end of the term students should have a well-defined research design and the skills to carry it out. Requirement: a short written thesis prospectus.

468/Anthro. 468/Psych. 468. Behavioral Biology of Women. Introductory psychology or anthropology. (4). (Excl).

See Psychology 468. (Smuts)

480. Special Topics. Permission of instructor. (3). (Excl).

Section 001 WOMEN IN PRISON: THE LIFE OF BLACK AND LATINO WOMEN SERVING TIME IN PRISON. "Yet it is clear to see that for many of the women in prison, going to prison was just a traumatic transition from one society that was confining and oppressive to another." (Burkhart) In this course readings and discussion will focus on understanding which women go to prison in Latin American and American prisons. The course will attempt to analyze how the criminal system perpetuates the oppression of Latino and Black women in society. I also will attempt to bring the fact of the existence of this oppression, to the attention of those fortunate enough to live on the outside. We know nothing of these inmates whose lives and activities are limited by the cold, gray stone walls of their prison cells. We will also learn what happens to the children of those women that go to prison. On the average, 70 to 80 percent of the inmates in a woman's prison are single mothers, and two thirds of their children are under the ages of ten. (Jose-Kampfner)

Section 002 LA LATINA. For Winter Term, 1991, this section is jointly offered with American Culture 410.001. (Moya-Raggio)

Section 003 BLACK FEMINIST THOUGHT. Although there is great deal of feminist writing by Black women and women of color, these writings are used primarily to describe the views and realities of Black women and women of color. The work however is more than descriptive commentaries or documents. Together they make up a body of thought that demarcates a feminist point of view. The work is so voluminous and so old that they make up a body of work that can be called Black Feminist Thought. From the earliest writing of the literate slave Harriet Jacobs to the works of Paula Giddings, Bell Hooks, Alice Walker, Cherrie Morarga and Janice Mirikitani, Black women and women of color have been engaged in feminist struggles and discourse although they have not often been named as such. The objectives of this course are: To establish the tradition of Black feminist thought through the current and historic feminist writing of women of color and African American women. To examine the issues of feminism as they emerge from these writings. To compare the feminism of Afro-American women and women of color through their feminist writings and identify the similarities and differences in these feminisms. (Haniff)

Section 004. METHODOLOGICAL ISSUES IN SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH: EXAMPLES FROM THE FEMINIST LITERATURE. The course offers the student an overview of methodological and procedural problems and controversies discussed in the social science literature. The course is appropriate for both students who have already taken research courses and those who have not, the student who has some understanding of or familiarity with research methods will be in a better position to absorb the material covered in class. Selected topics to be covered include but are not limited to: the power of research, dangers and benefited; overview of various research procedures; feminist criticism of traditional methods; value and appropriate uses of qualitative and quantitative methodologies; research and social policy. Students will be required to write two 8-10 page papers and present a media evaluation project to the class. (Jayaratne)

lsa logo

University of Michigan | College of LS&A | Student Academic Affairs | LS&A Bulletin Index

This page maintained by LS&A Academic Information and Publications, 1228 Angell Hall

The Regents of the University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA +1 734 764-1817

Trademarks of the University of Michigan may not be electronically or otherwise altered or separated from this document or used for any non-University purpose.