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GAS Works

General Studies 290

Interdisciplinary Perspectives 
on Gender And Sexuality

Core Course for the

Program in Gender and Sexuality

Bryn Mawr College,
Fall 2009
Anne Dalke and Kristin Lindgren

Course Forum
Class Notes

Web Papers
#5: Where Has the Study of Sex
and Gender Taken Us?

#4:Proposing a Final Project

#3: Examining the Intersections
of Disability, Sex and Gender

#2: Designing an Interdisciplinary
Syllabus about Sex and Gender

#1: Describing Ourselves,
Imagining Our Educations

Photo Archive
Seeds of Your Essays
Final Performances


This “core” course for the program in Gender and Sexuality Studies @ Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges is designed as a junior seminar using contemporary feminist and queer scholarship to examine gender and sexuality as marks of social and cultural difference. We will work our way through a series of experiences, essays,  fictions and films,  as we explore key questions that animate the multi-disciplinary  study of gender and sexuality. Our focus will be on examining how gender and sexuality are represented, performed, reified, and resisted.

Day One: Getting Started
Tues, Sept. 1
Who Are We?
What Do/Don't We Know?
What Do We Want to Know?
How Are We Going to Learn It?

To get acquainted: a wagon wheel

To discuss: Mark C. Taylor, End the University as We Know It

My Starting Points:
Our differences matter, to one another and to our shared course of study.
We will use our time together not to showcase what we already know,
but to explore together what we don’t.

We will do this in public:
keeping one another company and learning by the mistakes we are making.
We will also experiment with forms of presentation,
using images, sound, and less linear structures…

Our shared working assumptions?

Day Two: Shaping Our Education, and Our Disciplines
Thurs, Sept. 3

Jacques Derrida, Women in the Beehive
Peggy McIntosh, Interactive Phases of Curricular Revision
(if you are a Haverford or Swarthmore student, enter your own library's website, wherefrom you can access these texts...)

By 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 6:
post on-line @ least one image (or sound?) to evoke your generation’s/your own version of McIntosh’s story, and then a short informal paper--abt. 3 pp. of explanation or exploration about what you mean it to evoke. (Some story starters to get you going on a first draft:) What kind of person are you? What literary character are you? What sort of education have you had? How has it been organized? What has been the relation between your life, your gender, your education? What do you want the relationship to be between your life, your gender, and what you are learning? What sort of education are you seeking? What has the role of activism in (your) education been? What might/should it be?

Days 3-4-5: Science--Diversity of Sex and Gender
T, Sept. 8
Paul Grobstein, Diversity and Deviance: A Biological Perspective

Joan Roughgarden. Introduction and Part One: "Animal Rainbows." Evolution's Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004. 1-181.
(The whole of Evolution's Rainbow is available on-line through the tri-co library's ebrary.)

We'll have a guest: Paul Grobstein, Professor of Biology @ Bryn Mawr

Th, Sept. 10
Joan Roughgarden. Part Two: "Human Rainbows." Evolution's Rainbow. 185-326.

T, Sept. 15
Joan Roughgarden. Part Three: "Cultural Rainbows" and Appendix: "Policy Recommendations." Evolution's Rainbow. 329-407.

Days 6-7-8: Social Science--Diversity of Culture and Location
Th, Sept. 17
Sherry Ortner.  "Is Female to Nature as Male is to Culture," "So, IS Female to Nature as Male is to Culture?" and "The Problem of Women as Analytic Category." Making Gender: The Politics and Erotics of Culture.  Boston, Mass.: Beacon Press, 1996. 21-42,173-180, 116-138.

4 p.m. Mon, Sept. 21: Sherry Ortner's public talk on "INDIE PRODUCERS: CLASS AND THE PRODUCTION OF 
VALUE IN RECENT INDEPENDENT CINEMA." Dalton 300, with a reception afterwards in the Anthro Lab.

T, Sept. 22
Sherry Ortner. "Borderland Politics and Erotics." Making Gender. 181-212.
two additional essays available on-line:
go to /~adalke/gasworks
type in this passwd: ****** and download the essays:
Sherry Ortner. "Reading America: Preliminary Notes on Class and Culture" and "Power and Projects: Reflection on Agency." Anthropology and Social Theory: Culture, Power, and the Acting Subject. Duke University Press, 2006. 19-41, 129-153.

We'll have a guest: Sherry Ortner, Professor of Anthropology @ UCLA

Th, Sept. 24
Continuing our discussion of Ortner's texts and talks....

7:30, Th, Sept. 24 in Carpenter B21: Filmmaker Sarah Schenck ’87 will give a public screening and
respond to audience questions about Slippery Slope, her comedy about feminism and pornography.

7, M, Sept. 28 also in Carpenter B21: Screening of "Pray the Devil Back to Hell,"
followed by a panel-led discussion of women, war and peacebuilding.

Days 9-10: Humanities--Diversity of Representation
T, Sept. 29 and Th, Oct. 1
Kathy Acker. "Seeing Gender." Critical Quarterly (Winter 1995)--available @ /~adalke/gasworks
Neil Gaiman, The Doll's House. The Sandman, Volume 2. New York: DC Comics, 1999.

5 p.m. on Sunday, 10/4: post on-line a 6-pp. paper  in which you propose a design for the remainder of the syllabus (days 16-26). Frame the essay with McIntosh's essay or your own first paper; give an account of the work you have already done in (=what you already "know" about) gender and sexuality; continue that account with a response to (@ least) one of the 3 (science, social science or humanities) texts we've read together--how did that expand or challenge what you already knew? Then propose a plan for completing the semester, one that will take you into areas you do not know, and draws on and recommends (@ least) three outside texts, images or sounds to articulate the philosophy and the praxis you'd like to see us explore together. The paper should include a pedagogical, a curricular and a philosophical dimension.

Days 11-12: Designing the remainder of the semester together
T, Oct. 6 & Th, Oct. 8
(redux:)  Who Are We?
What Do/Don't We Know?
What Do We Want to Know?
How Are We Going to Learn It?

What have you said in your papers, and how can
we bring those claims together collaboratively?
How can we enlarge our spheres of study--and action?

Oct. 15-17 Fall Break

Days 13-14-15: Disability, Sex and  Gender
T, Oct. 20
Lennard Davis. "Constructing Normalcy: The Bell Curve, the Novel, and the Invention of the Disabled Body in the Nineteenth Century."  Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body. New York: Verso, 1995. 23-49.

7:30, T, Oct. 20: Suzan-Lori Parks reading in Goodhart Theater

Th Oct. 22 
Nancy Mairs, Waist-High in the World: A Life Among the Non-Disabled. Boston, MA: Beacon, 1997.

T, Oct. 27
Rosemarie Garland Thomson, "Seeing the Disabled: Visual Rhetorics of Disability in Popular Photography." The New Disability History: American Perspectives. Ed. Paul K. Longmore and Lauri Umansky. New York: New York University Press,  2001. 335-374.

These 3 classes will be conducted by the "partial co-teacher" of this class,
Kristin Lindgren of Haverford College's Writing Center.

Th Oct. 22, Fri Oct. 23 & Sat. Oct. 24:
Symposium @ HC: Comics and the Art of Social Transformation

Th Oct. 22 filmmaker and writer Margie Strosser @ Haverford:
1 - 2:30: story workshop (Stokes 119)
7- 9: Screening and discussion (Hilles 109)

7:30 pm,  T, Oct. 27, in Ely Room, Wyndham: Carol Rogers,
"On the Front Lines:  A Career in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health"
Carol has been a member of the Philadelphia Women's Health Collective, the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), the Philadelphia Reproductive Rights Organization, Women Against Sterilization Abuse, and has served on the boards of the Greater Philadelphia Women's Medical Fund, the Elizabeth Blackwell Health Center for Women, AFSCME Local 2187 Executive Board, and the Maternity Care Coalition.

4:30 pm, W, Oct. 28, in Thomas 224: Frances Negrón-Muntaner,
"'Mariconerias' of State: Mariela Castro, Homosexuals, and Cuban Politics":
"homophobia has now given away to the result of a process of
political 'transformism' through which the Cuban state attempts to modernize itself"

Days 16-17-18: Transcending Gender
Th, Oct. 29-Th, Nov. 3
Gender Outlaw: On Men, Women and the Rest of Us. New York: Vintage, 1995.
My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You,
or Something Else
Entirely. New York: Routledge, 1997.
Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks and Other Outlaws. New York: Seven Stories Press, 2006.

4:30, Th, Oct. 29: Lynn Morgan's talk in Chase 104, HC: "Reproductive Rights and Wrongs in Contemporary Latin America"

5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1 [NOTE EXTENSION!!]: post on-line a 6-pp. paper on questions of sex, gender and disability,
using the texts we've read in class, and one or more others. Kristin will be available for conferences
if you'd like to meet w/ her before or after the paper is due.

Th, Nov. 5:

Kate Bornstein's visit to the area, 
sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia Women's Studies Consortium

10-11:30: Informal Conversation in Quita Woodward Room
"Big performance" @ Villanova

Th, Nov. 5: filmmaker and activist Tina Morton @ Haverford
1 - 2:30: Editing workshop (Roberts 11)
7-9: Public Screening (Chase Auditorium)

Days 19-20-21: Masculinity
T, Nov. 10
We'll have a guest in class, post-doctoral fellow Howard Glasser.

Michael Kimmel, “Masculinity as Homophobia: Fear, Shame and Silence in the Construction of Gender Identity." Privilege: A Reader. Ed. Michael Kimmel and Abby Ferber. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2003. 51-74.

Men's Group: Movie Review

International Men's Day: November 19.

Chris Ware. Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. New York: Pantheon, 2000.

Th, Nov. 12 
Jimmy Corrigan, continued....

T, Nov. 17
Felice Picano, Art and Sex in Greenwich Village: A Memoir of Gay Literary Life After Stonewall. New York: Basic Books, 2007.
(for more on Felice Picano, see Bold Strokes...Writing Outside the Boxwikipedia;
The Violet Hour: The Violet Quill and the Making of Gay Culture; and Contemporary Authors: Biography)
We'll have a guest in class, the writer Felice Picano.
4 p.m.: Picano's public talk about his memoir.

Days 22-23: Sex Work in the U.S. and elsewhere
Th, Nov. 19
Kamala Kempadoo, "Women of Color and the Global Sex Trade: Transnational Feminist Perspectives." Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism (1, 2: Spring 2001): 28-51.

Born into Brothels
(Video). Dir. Ross Kauffman & Zana Briski. Red Light Films, 2005 (83 min).

T, Nov. 24
Live Nude Girls Unite! (Video). Dir. Julia Query and Vicky Funari. First Run/Icarus Films, 2000 (70 min.)

Days 24-25: Experimenting with language and storytelling
T, Dec 1- Th, Dec. 3
Lynda Barry, What It Is. Montréal, Québec: Drawn and Quarterly, 2008.

5 p.m. Fri, Dec. 4: post on-line a 3-pp. paper proposal, including 3-item annotated bibliography

Days 26-27
T, Dec. 8 -Th, Dec. 10: Final Performances

Final 6-pp. paper, checklist and portfolio due by 12:30pm, Fri, Dec. 18


Attend class regularly (don't miss more than two sessions)
Attend three outside talks (by Ortner, Negrón-Muntaner, and Picano--or find alternatives)
Contribute regularly (=weekly) to class discussions
Post a weekly paragraph of your thinking out loud on the course website
Post 5 papers (2 3-pp, 3 6-pp) on-line, on-time
Meet twice with Anne
Present a 10-15 minute in-class reflection on your experiences over the semester
Evaluate your semester's course work

* Understand the range of scientific, social-scientific and literary work being done in the field of gender and sexuality studies.
* Listen carefully to what both assigned authors and your classmates have to say on these topics.
* Contribute yourself to the expansion and deepening of this range,  both by
** articulating your questions so others can hear them, and
** finding a public way to pursue some answers.