Knowing the Body:
Interdisciplinary Perspectives
on Sex and Gender

Anne Dalke and Gus Stadler
TTh 2:30-4, Chase 101
Haverford College

Photograph by Simran Kaur, BMC '04

Welcome to the home page of the core course
for the Feminist and Gender Studies Program,
Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges (Fall 2004).


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

Students taking this course have the option of enrolling in a Praxis III internship, focused on an aspect of current gender politics and linked to the Gender and Sexuality class. Fieldsites will be selected based on student interest and might include the Women's Law Project, Planned Parenthood, Center for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights, American Friends Service Committee, N.O.W, Women Organized Against Rape, Kensington Welfare Rights Organization, or Project HOME. Anne Dalke will be the Advisor for the Praxis III component.

The Praxis III internship will function as an additional course for an additional credit. As with other Praxis III courses, students in these gender politics internships will work at a fieldsite for 8-10 hours per week for 10 weeks during the semester. Contact Nell Anderson Nell Anderson, PRAXIS Program Director (610 526-5031) for further information.

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