Courses taught include:
WGST 100 (First-Year Seminar). The Body: From Reproduction to Fashion
This course explores the ways in which the body, as a reflection and construction of the self, is tied to social and political relations. The body is also a surface upon which we inscribe cultural norms. Through this examination of the role that our bodies play in daily life we will delve into the study of gender, sexuality and power. We focus on three major areas: (1) the medicalization of bodies (such as contraception and abortion), (2) the discipline of bodies (cosmetic surgery, fitness) and (3) the use of the body as a vehicle for performance, self-expression and identity (drag queens, fashion, sports). Throughout the course we will look at how ideas about bodies are transported across national borders and social, sexual, racial and class hierarchies.
WGST 211/SOC205 American Family and Social Equality
American families are undergoing dramatic changes in social, political, and economic arenas: the rise of the dual-worker family, the increasing number of single mothers, the demands of family rights by gay and lesbian families, and the growing numbers of couples having children at older ages. The new economy poses real challenges for American parents as the social and economic gaps between families continues. As women dedicate a greater proportion of their time to the workplace, more children are cared for outside the home. How do children view parents’ employment? How do families function when they have only limited hours together? What does fatherhood mean in these families? Using a provocative blend of social science, novels, and memoirs, we will examine how gender, race, ethnicity, and social class shape the experience of family life in the contemporary United States.
WGST 306/SOC 306 Seminar. Women and Work
The biggest force for change in the U.S. economy has been the growing diversity of the American labor force. The first half of the course emphasizes the impact of gender and racial diversity on the nature of work in America. We will discuss four key aspects: (1) the dynamics of gender and race in the workplace; (2) the tensions between work/family and gender equity; (3) the struggle to integrate women into male-dominated occupations and professions; and (4) the challenges for women in leadership roles. The second half of the course will focus on women as critical to the ‘‘new’’ global workforce in selected regions. We will discuss: (1) women’s migration and domestic work; (2) the paradox of caring for others while leaving one’s children behind; (3) women in global factories; and (4) women’s activism in their home communities.
WGST 311/SOC 311 Seminar. Family and Gender Studies: The Family, the State, and Social Policy
Analysis of problems facing the contemporary U.S. family and potential policy directions for the new decade of this millennium. Discussion of the transformation of the American family including changing economic and social expectations for parents, including the impact of work on the family, equality between spouses, choices women make about children and employment, daycare and familial care giving, welfare, and the new American dreams will be explored. Expanding family forms (i.e. single mothers by choice, adoptive families and lesbian/gay families) and the confusion surrounding genetic and social kinship in the U.S.will be emphasized as examples of legislative reform. Finally, welfare and teen pregnancy will also be examined as part of government incentives and policy reform. Comparisons to other contemporary societies will serve as a foil for particular analyses. Students will learn several types of methodologies through course assignments. Student groups will also produce an original social policy case.