AAS 101

Introduction to Africana Studies


This course will provide an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of major themes and topics in Africana Studies. It will familiarize students with some of the central debates and problems within the field: Is there such a thing as a "Black" experience? How African is African American culture? What kinds of theories can we advance to explain the relationship between race and range of social and economic indicators? How have scholars traditionally understood the connections between Africa, the Caribbean, and the Americas? How do issues of gender affect issues of race? What new insights do postmodern and postcolonial theories offer on all of these subjects?


In addition, AAS 101 will draw on the instructor's scholarly orientations; topics of study will include African American economic, political, and social institutions and their developments over time; artistic, intellectual, and social movements and their contributions to African American cultural history; and issues of identity in relation to changing social and cultural structures. Students will read major interdisciplinary works in historical and cultural studies and critical race theory. Students will explore influential theories and research methods in African American studies as well as the basic methods of interdisciplinary analysis and interpretation.

Meets general academic requirement DE.


AAS 201

Black Feminist/Queer Studies


This course is designed to introduce students to the theoretical contributions of Black feminist and Black queer artists, activities and scholars working in a variety of disciplinary fields. Special consideration is given to the interactions amongst Black Women's cultural production and activism; Black Feminist Theory; its concept of intersectionality; and its subsequent spawning of Black Queer Studies and queer of color critique. The course addresses foundational concerns of Black feminist and Black queer practitioners (i.e. reproductive health; sexual violence; homophobia and heteronormativity; the subordination of Black women; and the effects of racism and colonialism on Black communiites) through the critical examination of a wide range of source material from literature to cultural criticism and visual art to sociopolitical analysis. In addition to building theoretical acumen and analytical skills, the course emphasizes the need to understand the historical and political experiences of the sexual and gender alterity of all black-raced bodies. As an introduction, the course is hyper-focused upon the political and artistic activism of Black feminist and Black queer practitioners during the 1970s and 1980s and its reverberating effect upon socio-historical analysis and cultural criticism.

Meets general academic requirement DE.

ATH 250 Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality


This course introduces students to core concepts and topics in the anthropological study of gender and sexuality. Particular attention will be paid to bodily experiences of gender and sexuality as complex, contested, and changing fields of experience and expression that are related to other fields of power including race, ethnicity, religion, and class. Topics to be studied may include gender and sexuality as bio- cultural phenomena; the sex and gender distinction; gender and the division of labor; gender stratification and male dominance; men and masculinities; feminist, postmodern, and queer theories; LGBTIQ cultures and societies; and the globalization of gender and sexuality.

ATH 282 Anthropology of China


This course encourages students to think critically about many of the major developments in Chinese culture and society that have occurred during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with an emphasis on understanding both cultural change and continuity in China. Drawing on ethnographic material and case studies from rural and urban China over the traditional, revolutionary, and reform periods, we will examine a number of topics in the anthropological study of China, including family and kinship; marriage, reproduction, and death; popular religion; women and gender; the Cultural Revolution; social and economic reforms; gift exchange and guanxi networks; changing perceptions of space and place; globalization and modernity.


ARH 225

Women & Art


This course will investigate the role of women artists in the major movements in Western art from Impressionism to Postmodernism. The course will analyze questions that feminist art historians have posed: Have there been great women artists? How has “women’s work,” such as the decorative arts and crafts, been evaluated? Does art by women have common style or iconography? The intersection of art and gender will be examined in the careers of women artists from the well-known (Mary Cassatt and Georgia O’Keeffe) to the less-familiar (Gabriele Münter and Harmony Hammond).

Meets general academic requirement HU.



COM 224

Feminist Media Studies


Feminist scholars have long studied the relationship between gender and media. This course will explore how television, film, popular music, and cyber culture play a central role in representing, defining, circulating, and constructing gender. This class takes a multi-media approach; for example, we will study how cultural forms depict different gendered characters on TV shows like Sex and the City and Modern Family, how certain genres are particularly open to queer interpretations like the musical, and how teen girls appropriate the magazine format to produce and circulate their own stories. This course will be oriented historically to examine how gender roles are constructed by media in specific historical contexts, and then how those representations change (or do not change) over time. Since much research on gender and the media has historically focused on femininity, this course will likewise focus on femininity, but we will also study the relationship between media and masculinity and sexuality, as well as how gendered identities are always also informed by other relations of power, such as race, class, ethnicity, and age.

Meets general academic requirement SL.


COM 316

Propaganda & Promotional Cultures


Examines the historical development, social roles, communicative techniques, and media of propaganda. Thematic emphasis varies from semester to semester with case studies drawn from war-time propaganda, political campaigns, advertising, and public relations.

Meets general academic requirement SL.


COM 372 or 373

Race & Representation


Explores the social construction of the concept of race and barriers to communication erected by prejudice, discrimination, and marginalization of minority voices. Examines topics in multicultural, cross-cultural, and interpersonal communication as well as analysis of documents, personal narratives, and media images. Primary emphasis is placed upon African American experience in the U.S.

Meets general academic requirement DE (and W when offered as 373).


COM 374

Gender, Communication, & Culture


This course explores how culture establishes, maintains, and cultivates gender through forms of social movements, communication, and institutional structures, particularly commercialized media. Students will examine how youth and adults are socialized to think, talk, and make sense in American culture; the implications of these differences for the construction of gendered identities (e.g., masculinity, femininity, transsexuality), communication, and relationships; and the construction of gender in media, including digital and print advertising, television programs, the Internet, books, magazines, video games, and the cinema.


Prerequisite: COM 201 Media & Society.



DNC 201

Dance History


A lecture/discussion course devoted to the study of nineteenth and twentieth century dance in its social-political and cultural context. Focus on American theatrical dance forms (ballet, modern, jazz) and their origins in French, Russian, German, and African societies. Films, video, and field trips will be used to supplement class discussion.

Meets general academic requirement HU and W.


Prerequisite: DNC 170 Dance & Society.



ECN 247 or 248

Economics of Men & Women at Work


An examination and comparison of the behavior and problems of men and women in the economy as workers, consumers, and household members. Economic institutions and outcomes will be analyzed using neoclassical or mainstream economic theories contrasted with newly emerging feminist economic research and theoretical perspectives. Offered in fall semesters of odd numbered years.

Meets general academic requirement W when offered as 248.


Prerequisite: ECN 101 Principles of Macroeconomics or ECN 102 Principles of Microeconomics. 



ENG 202

Reading Emily Dickinson


Emily Dickinson’s life, letters, and poems have attracted an unusually diverse set of “labels.” She is variously described as Romantic, Modern, Post-Modern, Puritan, anti-Puritan, feminist, anti-feminist, a victim of psychological disorders (agoraphobia, anorexia, depression), a victim of patriarchal oppression, a genius, a great ironist, and more. So Dickinson’s poetry offers us much to negotiate in the course, ways of reading as well as readings of individual poems. We will also study poems by two twentieth century women writers, Elizabeth Bishop and Adrienne Rich, in light of Dickinson’s legacy, and try to trace Dickinson’s particular kind of “nature” poetry back to a seventeenth-century religious tradition she admired.


ENG 206

Reading Austen


This course explores the novels of Jane Austen and their contemporary revisions. Roughly half of the course consists of an intensive and historically-contextualized study of four of Austen's novels along with a reading of a biography of Austen. The other half consists of a cultural materialist study of the revisions, sequels, and film adaptations of Austen produced predominantly in the 1990s and 2000s. In this way, we explore the continuing importance of Austen to contemporary readers as well as the structure and significance of fan culture. In addition to several of Austen's original novels, texts and films may include Jon Spence, Becoming Jane Austen; Linda Berdoll, Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife; Pamela Aidan, An Assembly Such as This: Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman, Part 1; BBC Mimi-Series, Pride and Prejudice (1995); Clueless (1995); Joan Aiken, Jane Fairfax: The Secret Story of the Second Heroine in Jane Austen's Emma.



ENG 267 or 268

Literature & Sexuality


An exploration of the way literature reflects and shapes understandings, attitudes toward, and representations of sexual identities and practices.



ENG 329 or 330

Nineteenth Century British Fiction: The Marriage Plot


This course will examine how novels in Britain represent and are constructed around the so-called marriage plot: the progression from courtship, through obstacles, to arrive at the altar - or not! This plot has always been popular for providing a scaffold for novels - witness the proliferation of shoddy romance novels on the shelves of supermarkets today. In this course, we will concentrate on how the marriage plot is figured during the nineteenth century in Britain, commonly thought of as the great age of the novel. We will be assuming that marriage is an institution that not only legitimizes and controls heterosexual desire but also guarantees the smooth transference of property and wealth from one generation to the next, the very cornerstone of patriarchal continuity. Texts may include Austen, Pride and Prejudice; Bronte, Villette; Dickens, Great Expectations; Elloit, Mill on the Floss; Hardy, Jude the Obscure; and a range of secondary readings by Mary Poovey, Nancy Armstrong, David Lodge, Eve Kosofsky Sedgewick, and others.



ENG 397

Gender, Sensation, & the Novel


A study of sensational novels from the early gothic and Victorian crime fiction through twentieth century romantic fantasy. We will pay special attention to how such texts work on the body of the reader, even as they contribute to social constructions of the body, gender, and sexuality. Readings include novels by Ann Radcliffe, Jane Austen, Wilkie Collins, Mary Elizabeth Braddon, and Georgette Heyer.



FRN 343

Family, Sexuality and Gender


This course will trace the evolution of family formations in France, Quebec, francophone Africa, and the French Caribbean from the 1950s to the present day through the study of French-language films. In particular, we will be looking at the definition of what a family is as intricately linked to the larger socio-historical context within which distinct gender and sexuality identities are articulated and performed. We will be reading a number of authentic cultural documents (newspaper articles, excerpts from memoirs, interviews, poetry, narrative, essays etc.) that will help us better contextualize our understanding of the films viewed. Taught in French.


Prerequisite: FRN 204 Intermediate French II



HST 327 or 328

Women's America


Women, whether as daughters, wives, mothers, workers, scholars, or political activists, have played pivotal roles in American history. This course, an overview of American women’s history from colonial times to the present, examines the variety of women’s experiences through time by analyzing the myriad roles they played in the family, society, economy, and national politics. Specifically, using gender as its primary lens of analysis, this course seeks to uncover the broader contexts of American women’s experience by examining the dynamic interplay of women and men, values and culture, and discussing how structures of power linked especially to gender, but also to class and race, shaped women’s lives and mediated their experiences in the private and public worlds of America.


HST 365 or 366

The African American Experience I: to 1896


This course examines the history of African Americans from colonial times until 1896, the year the Supreme Court sanctioned the notion of “separate but equal.” Specifically, it uses the writings of African Americans and other primary sources critical to their history to examine how events (such as the rise of slavery, the push for abolition, the Civil War, the start of Jim Crow) and cultural influences (such as race, class, gender, the law, Christianity, and family life) shaped African American lives and experiences until the end of the nineteenth century.


HST 367 or 368

The African American Experience II: since 1896


This course examines the history of African Americans from 1896, the year the Supreme Court sanctioned the notion of “separate but equal,” to the present. Specifically, it uses the writings of African Americans and other primary and secondary sources to examine how events (such as the rural exodus to urban centers after Plessy vs. Ferguson; the origins, progress, protest, and organizations of the modern civil and human rights movements; and urban renewal programs) and cultural influences (such as race, class, gender, the arts, the law, and the Church) shaped African American lives and experiences in the twentieth century.



HST 382

Gender and Sex in European History


In the past six hundred years, the definitions of the male and female genders have changed remarkably. This course explores the changing nature of men's and women's identities, conditions, social status, and thought, as well as the development of their political, social, and cultural powers from the 15th century to our day. Special emphasis is placed on the history of gender in France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Russia. The course examines gender as an analytical category, distinguishes gender from sex, raises our consciousness of gender's variability, and studies the forces that have acted upon gender in the past.



HST 397

Women in the Middle East


This course surveys the history of women in the Middle East from the advent of Islam in the seventh century to the present. We will investigate the role of women in Islam as a religion and examine the range of women's experiences in different periods and places in the Islamic Middle East. Topics may include the role of women in pre-Islamic Arabia, family law in Islam, the status of women in Islamic societies, Muslim women, and the effects of secularism, nationalism, socialism, and fundamentalism in modern period.


MUS 215

Women in Music


This course is an interdisciplinary survey of the history of women in music. From Sappho in ancient Greece to today’s pop divas, women have been active as composers, performers, patrons, teachers, and scholars. As the subject of musical works, women have been alternately deified, as in opera, and vilified, as in Eminem’s rap songs. As we study the roles of women in music, we will investigate the origins of feminist music criticism and consider the future of feminist thought in music.



PHL 227

Philosophy of Feminism


Examination of the historical development and current state of feminist theory as both a critical perspective and an area of systematic inquiry. The course will include feminist epistemologies, political theory, and ethics.



PSC 201

Political Ideologies


An examination of the philosophical and historical foundations of major political ideologies of the modern era. Students will investigate how ideologies make claims about human nature, history, and the state; how they attempt to understand the relationship between socio-economic conditions and the state; how they envision a just political order; and how they prescribe and justify programs of action. Among the ideologies examined: liberalism, civic republicanism, conservatism, socialism, communism, anarchism, nationalism, fascism, Nazism, fundamentalism, and feminism.

Intended for those planning to major or minor in political science.



PSC 242

Introduction to Peace & Conflict Studies


This is an introductory course in the interdisciplinary field of conflict and pease studies which examines different approaches to conflict definition, management, and resolution. Fundamental issues of peace, war, conflict, and violence are discussed from a variety of perspectives within the political science and international studies paradigms.



PSC 303

Gender, Politics, & Policy


Gender both shapes and is shaped by politics. This course explores this fundamental proposition in the context of several primary themes, including feminist political activism in historical perspective; women in American electoral politics (both mass politics and as political elites); globalization and gender equity; and gender and public policy. A major portion of the course is devoted to considering contemporary public policy issues through the lens of gender—as it intersects with race, class, and other social divisions—focusing on policies such as welfare, sexual harassment, reproduction and women’s health, and gender discrimination in sports, education, and the military.


Prerequisite: PSC 101 or WST 202 or permission of instructor.



PSY 221

Multicultural Psychology


This course will examine marginalized groups within the United States and will address the role of race, ethnicity, gender, class, disability status, and sexual orientation in psychological discourse. Psychological theory and research will serve as a basis to explore topics such as identity development, acculturation, and world views. This course also aims to examine privilege and the way various -isms (e.g. sexism, racism, heterosexism, classism, ableism) and their intersections inform psychological theory, research, and practice.


Prerequisite: PSY 101 Introductory Psychology



PSY 322

Psychology of Women


This course will examine theory and research on gender differences, specifically female gender development, taking into consideration biological, cognitive, behavioral, and social influences. Emphasis will be placed on a critical analysis of the assumptions about human behavior and the methods used to test these ideas. Topics include gender-role development, achievement motivation, women and work, sexuality and health, and violence against women. Taught in alternate years.


Prerequisite: PSY 101 Introductory Psychology and PSY 103 Psychological Statistics or WST 202 Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies



REL 104

Sex, Gender, & Religion


Gender and sexuality as fundamental aspects of human experience play important roles in all major religious systems, whether explicit and positive or suppressed and denigrated. In this course we will explore how the varied understandings of gender and sexuality in different cultures and at different times have influenced religious practice and belief, and how, in turn, religions have affected these understandings. We will also consider how this interaction between gender and sexuality and religion has affected the status of men and women in their various roles and orientations.



REL 353

Gender & Sexuality in Judaism


In this course we will examine how issues relating to gender and sexuality have influenced Jewish experience. We will discuss a wide range of Jewish history and literature, extending from the Bible to contemporary Jewish culture, in order to gain a broad perspective on how gender and sexuality have played a role in Jewish life and thought over time. We will consider how gender and sexuality relate to questions of power and authority, and we will discuss the ways that bodies, both gendered and sexual, become meaningful in different Jewish contexts.



REL 365

Gender & Sexuality in Islam


Islam presents a particular challenge for Women's and Gender Studies. A submissive, veiled woman is often the first image that comes to mind when Westerners think of Islam. Paradoxically, the oppressed Muslim women has become for non-Muslims a primary symbol of the perceived dangers of Islam, even as that image is used to represent disempowerment. Yet Islam is a major world religion with over 1.6 billion adherents, approximately half of whom are women, and all of whom are sexual beings whose religious positioning intersects with their gender and sexuality in myriad ways. So what do Muslims really believe about gender and sexuality? And what do they do? In this course, we will examine constructions of gender and sexuality in Islam by investigating both traditional sources such as the Qur'an, Hadith, and Islamic Law; and also by considering how Muslim women today are challenging the patriarchal structures of authority, while at the same time critiquing Western feminism.



SOC 243

Sexuality & Gender


In this case we will use sociological perspectives to explore sex, sexuality, and gender.  We will examine the mechanisms of power that construct and regulate our identities, behaviors, and very bodies.  In particular we will look at how sex, sexuality, and gender are shaped by law, research, medicine, - sexperts, the media, and our family and friends.  We will also look at how sex, sexuality, and gender permeate our daily lives, often in ways we do not even see.


Prerequisite: SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology



SOC 335

Inequality & Power


A sociological examination of the various factors underlying differences in wealth, power, and prestige in contemporary urban industrial societies, with emphasis on the dynamics of class, ethnic, racial, and gender stratification. Taught every other year.


Prerequisite: SOC 101 Introduction to Sociology



THR 301 or 302

Theories of the Theatre: Feminist Theories


This course introduces students to the intellectual viewpoints, critiques, and new questions (and the new objects of study to match the new questions) that have arisen in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries feminist theories of the theatre. In order to move through the theoretical models employed by feminist critics in the theatre, we will begin with those key essays in film theory, semiotics, and materialist analysis that contributed to the current body of theoretical feminist material. Reading theories of reception and representation, of race and whiteness, and of unmaking mimesis, students will become familiar with analyses articulated by contemporary


Prerequisite: THR 100 Theatre & Society: An Historical Introduction or permission of instructor



WST 202

Topics in Women's & Gender Studies


Topics in Women’s & Gender Studies introduces students to basic issues, ideas, and approaches in women’s and gender studies and allows students to improve their ability to think critically and write analytically. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of women’s and gender studies, the course also emphasizes library research methods so that students learn to find and use sources and materials from a variety of academic disciplines. Basic issues, concepts, and approaches in women’s studies are introduced by focusing on a specific topic, such as motherhood or women and paid work, and approaching that topic from a variety of perspectives. Throughout the semester, students work on a research paper whose topic is related to the course topic, approaching their specific topic from a variety of perspectives. The course includes interactive pedagogies, such as small group work, so that students learn the interdisciplinary methods of women’s and gender studies by engaging in interdisciplinary research themselves and by considering the research and writing of other students.



WST 960

Women's & Gender Studies Internship


Supervised work and/or community service, arranged in consultation with the Director of Women’s & Gender Studies.



Francesca Coppa

Director of Women's & Gender Studies
Address Muhlenberg College English 2400 Chew Street Allentown, PA 18104