General Programs 290
Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges
Fall 2004
Knowing the Body:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Sex and Gender

Anne Dalke (English House, BMC,
Gus Stadler (Woodside Cottage, HC,
TTh 2:30-4, Chase 101

Images in this syllabus were created by
Sharon Burgmayer, Chemistry Department, Bryn Mawr College

gender, n. [a. OF. gen(d)re (F. genre) = Sp. and Pg. genero, It. genere, ad. L. gener- stem form of genus race, kind = Gr. , Skr. janas:OAryan *genes-, f. root - to produce; cf. KIN.]
1. Kind, sort, class; also, genus as opposed to species. the general gender: the common sort (of people). Obs.
2. In mod. (esp. feminist) use, a euphemism for the sex of a human being, often intended to emphasize the social and cultural, as opposed to the biological, distinctions between the sexes. Freq. attrib.

sex, n. [ad. L. sexus (u-stem), whence also F. sexe (12th c.), Sp., Pg. sexo, It. sesso. Latin had also a form secus neut. (indeclinable).]
1.Either of the two divisions of organic beings distinguished as male and female respectively; the males or the females (of a species, etc., esp. of the human race) viewed collectively.

"sex is good for thinking....Levi-Strauss argues that many people do not think in the manner of philosophers, by manipulating abstractions. Instead,they think w/. . . concrete things from everyday life . . . some things are especially good to think about. They can be arranged in patterns, which bring out unsuspected relationships and define unclear boundaries. Sex, I submit, is one of them. As carnal knowledge works its way into cultural patterns, it supplies endless material for thought, especially when it appears in narratives--dirty jokes, male braggadocio, female gossip, bawdy songs, and erotic novels. In all these forms, sex is not simply a subject but also a tool used to pry the top off things and explore their inner works. It does for ordinary people what logic does for philosophers; it helps make sense of things."
Robert Darnton, "Sex for Thought." Sexualities in History: A Reader

"There are times in life when the question of knowing if one can think differently than one thinks, and perceive differently than one sees, is absolutely necessary if one is to go on looking and reflecting at all."
Michel Foucault, The Uses of Pleasure

Week One
T, 8/31: Category-Making
What categories do each of us occupy?
Is that occupation willing or unwilling? Natural or imposed?
What do the categories "male" and "female," "man" and "woman," "gender and sexuality" signify to us?
What does the category "student" look and sound like to each of us?
What categories matter most to us, when we discuss our own identities and those of others?

Th, 9/2: Pedagogy: Witnessing and Testifying
Hannah Chang. "Thinking Aloud." English 308: The Feminist Difference in Literary Theory. Bryn Mawr College. Fall 2001.

bell hooks. "Engaged Pedagogy," "Confronting Class in the Classroom," and "Eros, Eroticism, and the Pedagogical Process." Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994. 13-22, 177-189, 191-199.

Anne Dalke and Abby Reed. "'Shuddering without End': Class As Dinner Party." Teaching to Learn/Learning to Teach: Meditations on the Classroom. New York: Peter Lang, 2002. 69-93.

Week Two
Writing: The Personal and the Political
T, 9/7:
Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas. 1938; rpt. New York: Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich, 1966.

Th, 9/9: Cherrie Moraga. "The Breakdown of the Bicultural Mind." Names We Call Home: Autobiography on Racial Identity. Becky Thompson and Sangeeta Tyagi, eds. New York & London: Routledge, 1996. 230-239.

Michael Warner. "Tongues Untied: Memoirs of a Pentecostal Boyhood." The Material Queer : A LesBiGay Cultural Studies Reader. Ed. Donald Morton. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1996.

Week Three
T, 9/14: Making the World Knowable

Michel Foucault. Preface and Forward. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. 1966; rpt. and trans.New York: Vintage, 1973. ix-xxiv.

George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Philosophy in the Flesh: The Embodied Mind and Its Challenge to Western Thought. New York: Basic Books, 1999, 3-44.

Th, 9/16: Making the Body Knowable I
Joan Wallach Scott. "Gender: A Useful Category of Historical Analysis." Feminism and History. Ed. Joan Wallach Scott. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 152-180.

Thomas Laqueur. "Of Language and the Flesh." Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1990. 3-24.

Week Four
T, 9/21: Making the Body Knowable II

Michel Foucault. "Scientia Sexualis." The History of Sexuality, Volume I: An Introduction.

Gail Rubin. "Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality." American Feminist Thought at Century's End : A Reader. Ed. Linda S. Kauffman Cambridge, Ma : Blackwell, 1993. 3-64.

Th, 9/23: Unsettling the Categories I--Turning the Inside Out
Diana Fuss. "Inside/Out." Critical Encounters: Reference and Responsibility in Deconstructive Writing. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1995. 233-240.

Samuel Delany. "Aversion/Perversion/Diversion." Longer Views: Extended Essays. Hanover, New Hampshire: University Press of New England, 1996. 119-143.

Week Five: Unsettling the Categories II--Bodies in Motion/Performance
T, 9/28:
Paris Is Burning. Dir. Jennie Livingston. Videocassette. Miramax, 1992. 76 minutes.

Judith Butler. "Gender is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion." Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex." New York: Routledge, 1993. 121-140.

bell hooks. "Is Paris Burning?" Black Looks: Race and Representation. Boston: South End, 1992. 145-156.

Th, 9/30:
Judith Butler. "Critically Queer." Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex." New York: Routledge, 1993.

Sandra Bernhard. Without You I'm Nothing. Dir. John Boskovich. Videocassette. M.C.E.G., 1992. 90 minutes.

Week Six: Papers Posted and Performed
T, 10/5-Th, 10/7
What have you learned so far? What questions do you have now? How can you begin finding answers to them?

Write 5-pp. papers addressing these queries. Post to web. Present and discuss papers in class.

10/12-10/14: FALL BREAK

Week Seven: Does Biology Have Anything to Contribute to Thinking About Sex and Gender?
T, 10/19-Th 10/21

Paul Grobstein (BMC Biology Department and Director, Center for Science in Society)

Diversity and Deviance: A Biological Perspective. Bryn Mawr Alumnae Bulletin (Spring 1989).

"Biology of Sex and Gender." Rediscovering Biology: Molecular to Global Perspectives. (1997-2003).

Simon LeVay. The Biology of Sexual Orientation. (2003).

Weeks Eight and Nine: Literary Case Study
T, 10/26-Th 10/28
Th, 11/2-Th 11/4
Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002.

Week Ten--Sex, Gender, and Politics: Marriage
T, 11/9:

Laura Kipnis. "Adultery." Critical Inquiry 24 (Winter 1998): 289-327.

Articles from The Nation?

Th, 11/11:
Michael Warner, from The Trouble with Normal

Andrew Sullivan or Michelangelo Signorile

Week Eleven--Sex, Gender, Politics: The Categories of War-Making
T, 11/16
Paul Grobstein. "I Believe ..." Its Significance and Limitations for Individuals, Science, and Politics (2003).

Paul Grobstein. Language/Science/Politics 101: War Is a Bad Metaphor. (2003).

Gus Stadler. Info on the Iraq War: A Site Under Construction about a War Under Construction . (2003).

Cynthia Enloe. Making Sense of the Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in an American Election Year: What Does a Feminist Curiosity Have to Offer? (2004)

Anne Dalke. Finding the Language of Peace. (2004).

Th, 11/18
Robert Scholes. "The Left Hand of Difference." Textual Power. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985. 111-128.

Elaine Scarry. "The Structure of War." The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World. New York: Oxford University Press, 1987.

Week Twelve: Papers Posted and Performed
T, 11/23
Given what we have read and talked about so far: What aspect of current gender politics most interests you now? What is your understanding of its current state? How can you imagine an alternative to what now exists? How might you act, or encourage others to act, to alter the current state of things?

Write and post 5-pp. paper on-line; perform it in-class.


Week Thirteen: Category-Making/War-Making II
T, 11/30
Th: 12/2

Week Fourteen: Performances of Final Projects
T, 12/7
Th, 12/9


Course Requirements:
Weekly web postings
2 5-pp. papers posted on-line (1presented/performed)
15-p final project/performance
One individual conference on each paper

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