These course have been compiled from student suggestions and searching the OWU Catalog for key terms (gender, sexuality, queer, etc).
CMLT 105. Rites of Passage (Livingston) This course will focus on one particular rite of passage: the coming of age. Through the literature of different time periods and cultures, we will examine the transition from adolescence to adulthood. Readings may include Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus; Chrétien de Troyes, Perceval; Rita Mae Brown, Rubyfruit Jungle; Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao; Duong Thu Huong, Paradise of the Blind; Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner; and the films Cinema Paradiso and Harold and Maude. (Group III)
CMLT 120. Love and Sexuality in Literature: The Western Tradition (Livingston) “Love is the answer; but while you’re waiting for the answer, sex raises some pretty good questions.” (Woody Allen) The emotion of love, the drive of sex: what is their relationship and how has culture constructed them? Must they go together? Is one necessarily better than the other? Do modern ideas of gender complicate or illuminate their relationship? In this course, we will investigate the literary, artistic, and musical manifestations of these two powerful forces from the Bible through contemporary times. Beginning with Genesis, we’ll read Plato’s Symposium and some of Sappho’s poems, look at two surprisingly progressive medieval texts (The Letters of Abelard and Heloise and The Romance of Silence), examine some of Shakespeare’s love sonnets, and enjoy Eliza Heywood’s seventeenth-century tale of Fantomina. As we move into the modern era, we’ll use various theoretical ideas (Freud, Foucault, Lacan) to understand literary texts such as Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Tolstoy’s “Kreutzer Sonata” (along with Beethoven’s work of the same name), and Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red. We’ll end the course with the film Jules et Jim, some episodes of Sex and the City, and our own selection of poems about love and/or sexuality. (Group III, Diversity)
CMLT 131. Love and Sexuality in the Literary Arts of East Asia (Sokolsky) This course will examine the words love and sexuality as depicted in East Asian (Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, and Korean) literature and film. By exploring the way love and sexuality get treated in the literature and films of cultures on the other side of the globe, we will consider whether there is a universal component to the ideas of love and sexuality, or do these ideas vary from culture and historical setting? Stereotypes of Asian culture in the media of the United States can vary. Images of the Asian man include effete asexual men, kung fu artists, or philandering perverts. Images of the Asian woman vary from the demure geisha to school-girl porn and evil dragon ladies. The goal of this course is to challenge these stereotypes of Asian sexual culture and to seriously examine the assumptions of what love and sexuality mean in East Asian culture as well as in our own. Topics will include: attitudes toward marriage, family, homosexuality, sexual violence, and recent trends in China and Japan’s underground youth culture regarding sex and drugs. (Group III, Diversity)
CMLT 280. The Tragic Vision (Livingston) In this course, we will read a wide range of literature that can broadly be called “tragic.” We will explore issues such as fate and free will, power dynamics, difficult choices, individual trauma, and suffering and redemption. Our texts will include the Oresteia trilogy, Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan, King Lear, Goethe’s Faust: Part I, Wuthering Heights, Hedda Gabler, Anna Karenina, Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly, and Jung Chang’s Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. (Group III, Writing Option)
CMLT 300.2. Literary Encounters in the Medieval Mediterranean (Livingston) In the Middle Ages, the Mediterranean was the site of cultural interaction between Western Europe, the Islamic world, and the Far East. Trade, including the lucrative Silk Road traffic, war, and the diffusion of scholarship all contributed to significant crossfertilization of ideas. This course will focus on literary texts that reflect the meeting of East, Middle East, and West in the years between 1000 and 1500. Reading will include both the Middle English and Persian versions of the Alexander romance, Floire and Blanchflor, Chrétien de Troyes, Cligès, selections from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim poetry, Aucassin and Nicolette, Marco Polo’s Travels, and stories from The 1001 Nights. (Group III, Writing Option)
CMLT 340. Medieval and Renaissance Thought (Livingston) This course offers an introduction to Western European thought and literature of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Along with a consideration of our historically and culturally conditioned designations of the time period in question, we shall examine the emergence of spiritual and cultural ideals, humanism, the roles of women, constructions of the “other,” and the attempts to synthesize classical and Christian traditions. Among the authors considered are Christine de Pizan, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, and Gaspara Stampa. (Group III, Writing Option)
CMLT 499B. Medieval Margins (Livingston) Michael Camille, in Image on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art, describes the ability of the sometimes outrageous drawings bordering medieval manuscripts “to gloss, parody, modernize, and problematize the text’s authority while never totally undermining it.” This course examines literary and cultural depictions of individuals, groups, fantastic creatures, and spaces that existed on the margins of medieval society. What kind of power did they have? What functions did they play in both challenging cultural norms and maintaining societal values? Readings include Marie de France’s Bisclavret, Miracles of Our Lady by Gonzalo de Berceo, The Travels of John Mandeville, Yde et Olive and the Roman de Troie, and The Trial of Joan of Arc. (Group III, Writing Option)
ENG 150: Introduction to Literary Studies (Butcher) Would you rather be a lover or creator of funhouses? This is the question John Barth asks in his short story collection, Lost in the Funhouse, but it’s a useful metaphor for our purposes in understanding the differences between reading a story and understanding the craft that went into one. After all, a funhouse—with its scares and amusements—is designed to thrill and excite those who pass through it; those who love funhouses don’t think about how it was designed and constructed to produce those excitements—if they did, the funhouse would have failed them. The formal study of literature produces much the same paradox. As readers of a story or an essay or a play or a poem, much of our pleasure is produced unconsciously; we read, in other words, as if in a dream or a pleasurable trance produced by the text and are thus not necessarily conscious of all the layered components that have gone into its production. But the study of literature demands that we wake from our dreams; it demands that we examine the mechanics that make the literary experience possible. Certainly some readers would prefer only to dream, and for them, the formal study of literature is acutely painful; others, tragically, become intoxicated with powers of criticism and never really return to their dreams. But the best readers are those who become something like lucid dreamers, able to indulge in the pleasures of reading, of loving literature, but also capable of speaking as creators and critics, calling upon more sophisticated explanations for the dreams of literature and their effects on readers and others in the world. To use Barth’s terminology, we must both love and work to understand our literature. This course is founded upon that goal, and similarly by the belief that literature offers a unique form of knowledge unobtainable by outside mediums. Thus, in this course, we will wake ourselves from dreams by developing a critical vocabulary that allows us to precisely describe the ways in which an author writes and a reader interprets a work of literature. We will immerse ourselves in four unique genres, develop a conscious grasp of form, and learn to read and discuss literature in an informed and critical manner. Above all, this course will emphasize the many ways in which developing critical reading skills immediately enriches the emotional and intellectual experience of a literary text. LGBTQIA+ texts include selected essays and poems. (Group III)
ENG 180: Narratives (The Short Story & Short Essay) (0.5 unit, Butcher) At its most basic, this course is designed to explore the influence and importance of storytelling, taking as its premise the idea that the art of storytelling extends beyond simple social behavior to instead create a mode of thoughtfully and intellectually engaging society and components of identity and culture. As such, students will read a variety of short stories and essays from both classic and contemporary writers, and together, we’ll discuss the ways in which their authors employ literary elements to evidence these historical, cultural, and social issues in an efficient and artful manner. In particular, we’ll ask of each text the following: how does the short story or essay transcend place and time to take on universal meaning, and what literary elements help shape it and, more importantly, help create meaning from art? In short: we’ll be trying to figure out how, exactly, short texts function and why, but it is my hope, more than anything, that you’ll use this class as an opportunity to consider, fight, and question the world around you. LGBTQIA+ texts include selected essays and poems.
ENG 182 Narratives (Longer Forms) (0.5 unit,Butcher) In this course, we’ll be deepening our understanding of the way narrative develops, functions and shapes fiction through a variety of longer form readings. More specifically, we’ll be analyzing and discussing four unique texts—by Philip Roth, James Baldwin, Albert Camus, and George Saunders—that each provide a different narrative structure and experiment in technique. As we encounter each of these texts, we’ll try to think as individuals and as a group the ways in which that particular narrative operates, any possible constraints or complications of a longer form, and the narrative possibilities that exist within the all-encompassing genre of fiction as a whole. This class is considered a reading-intensive course, which means that in lieu of any formal papers, I’m expecting you, instead, to spend ample time reading closely, engaging with the text on a line-by-line basis, and completing discussion-based assignments that perhaps more fully target the essential skills of close reading and critical response. LGBTQIA+ texts include James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room.
English 190: Queering the Canon: Global LGBTQ+ Literature (Comorau) First Year Honors Tutorial. While more universities are including classes in Queer or LGBT literature on their course rosters, most Queer Lit syllabuses feature works written by white Americans and Britons. This tutorial will explore a wider range of LGBTQ+ texts than the emerging Queer canon encompasses, reading texts from around the English-speaking world. We will read novels, plays, and poetry written by, for, and about members of the global LGBTQ+ community. In order to better understand the texts in the tutorial (and the world around us), we will also do some reading in Queer theory and sexuality studies. Students should come to this tutorial with open minds about all communities and voracious appetite for reading. WGS elective. (Group III)
ENG 226: Readings in Memoir (Butcher) Once upon a time, long before the Age of Oprah, writers who had lived through something fascinating or terrible or both would turn their experiences into fiction. Nowadays, however, these stories equally take the form of memoir—a sub-genre of the diverse and expansive genre we typically call creative nonfiction. Between the 1940s and 1990s, for example, the number of books published as memoir tripled; more recently, the Neilson Bookscan reports a recorded 400% increase in the number of memoirs published between 2004 and today, and many of these are soon thereafter developed into summer Blockbuster movies. What does this mean? It means, in part, that the form is increasingly considered both artful and necessary; experiences once deemed so humiliating or painful that people hid them are now so remunerative that some writers make them up. But what is a memoir, how does it function, and how is it differentiated from autobiography and simple recollection? In this class, we’ll study the form and read a wide variety of contemporary and popular examples and discuss the primary elements that comprise a memoir. But perhaps more importantly, we’ll work daily to engage and understand the idea that memoir is less interested in the past than it is the act of remembering and the ways past selves continue to inform who we are in the present. We will, in short, talk quite a bit about truth, identity, and veracity in art. LGBTQIA+ texts include Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. (Group III)
ENG 260: Writing Essays (Butcher) From its inception, the word “essay” implied a sense of experimentation, and in this course, that’s exactly what we’ll do: attempt, to the best of our abilities, to weave the abstract qualities of beauty and truth in an effort to construct artful narratives of our lives. Let it be understood that this course takes as its premise the idea that nonfiction writing and essays inherently move beyond personal experience to include and engage larger issues of identity, society, and culture; essays enlarge, inhabit, and assume positions that must necessarily resonate with readers unfamiliar to the writer and his or her world. Throughout the course of the semester, students will read and study a wide variety of essayists and essayistic forms—including personal essays, narrative essays, braided essays, lyric essays, experimental essays, and graphic and video essays, to name a few—and together, we’ll discuss the craft and formalistic guidelines inherent to each while simultaneously drafting our own through exercises that target point-of-view, form, voice, and structure. Students should expect to produce ample writing throughout the semester and to share this work with others regularly in a formal workshop environment. The course will culminate in a final portfolio comprised of original drafts and revised work as well as a thoughtful reflection. LGBTQIA+ texts including selected essays. It is strongly recommended that students complete ENG 150 before enrolling in ENG 260. (Group III)
English 354: Contemporary British Literature (Comorau) This course will survey British literature since WWII, examining the ways in which British writers have responded to the end of the Cold War, the decline of the British Empire, and the shifting identities of Britons in the face of major changes in the politics of gender, race, and class. We will read widely across a spectrum of contemporary British texts including fiction, poetry, drama, and film. We will interpret the term British broadly, including black British and postcolonial writers as we consider the (mostly) former British Empire and the relationships between writers inside and outside of the metropole. We will consider responses to earlier traditions of realism and modernism as well as the move toward postmodernism in the late twentieth century. Possible writers for study include Ted Hughes, Tom Stoppard, Jeannette Winterson, Salman Rushdie, Sam Selvon, Caryl Churchill, and A.S. Byatt. Assignments will include weekly reading journals, leading class discussion, and formal papers. LGBTQIA voices and issues are a key part of this course. Writing course, WGS elective. (Group III)
PG 260. Equality and American Politics (W. Franklin) An examination of the pursuit of political equality in the United States. The course focuses primarily upon the post- 1945 experiences of several groups: women, African Americans, Hispanics and, more recently, to a lesser extent upon the efforts by gays and lesbians, Asian Americans, and Native Americans. A thorough examination is undertaken of (a) the place of equality in the U.S. political ideology and beliefs; and (b) the various strategic environments and the choices made by these groups and their elites to obtain their respective objectives. F. (Group I, Diversity)
PG 352. Civil Rights and Liberties(Esler) The role of the law and courts in promoting freedom and equality. Initial focus on the meaning of and issues related to the values of freedom, equality, and democracy. The focus then shifts to the Supreme Court’s interpretation of selected provisions of the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment. Specific topics include the incorporation doctrine, freedom of speech and religion, privacy, racial equality, gender equality, political and economic equality, and criminal defendant rights. Legal and political dimensions of these decisions will be given special attention. Prerequisite: PG 110, PG 111 or permission of the instructor. PG 351 is recommended as a prerequisite. S. (Group I)
PSYC 284. Psychological Adjustment (Henderson) The study of the psychological process of adapting to, coping with, and managing the problems, challenges, and demands of everyday life. This course is about adjusting to challenges as one gets on with the business of living: building relationships, becoming educated, establishing careers, getting older. Adjustment involves understanding the nature of personality, interpersonal relationships, stress, work, love, aging, gender, sexuality, and physical and mental health. Prerequisite: C- or better in PSYC 110. Tier 2 course. F, S. (Group I)
PSYC 300.14. Psychology of Women and Gender(Henderson) This course provides a broad, introductory survey of psychological science on women, men and gender, addressing such topics as gender stereotypes, gender socialization, love relationships, sexuality, pregnancy and parenthood, women and work, and violence against women. This course will focus on the lived experiences of women and themes will include the social construction of gender, the gendered nature of social institutions, and the way that gender intersects with race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, social class, and other social categories. Throughout, we will learn how all of these things relate to women’s mental health and wellbeing. We will also take a developmental perspective on these issues to understand how they unfold across the lifespan. By the end of the term, students should have a good understanding of what it means to be female in North America. Prerequisite: C- or better in PSYC 110. Tier 2 course. F. (Group I).
PSYC 321. Personality and Assessment(Henderson) This course is an introduction to the study and science of personality psychology – consistencies in qualities, traits, thoughts/ feelings, and behaviors that characterize a person’s individuality. The course provides a picture of the diversity of modern theories of human personality, the empirical research they consider, and the procedures they use for systematically gaining information about the personality of individuals. Course topics will include personality development and assessment; biological and situational influences on personality; emotion and motivation; identity and the self; and gender and culture. Prerequisites: C- or better in PSYC 110 and two Tier 2 courses. Tier 3 course. F, S. (Group I)
SOAN 348. Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective(Howard) Women’s and men’s experience is examined from a cross-cultural and cross-class perspective. The social relations of power, individual and collective identity, and the fabric of meaning and value in society are analyzed through a focus on gender. Ethnocentrism and the intertwining of Western racial and gender biases in the descriptions and analysis of non-European cultures are also considered. Special attention will be given to women’s roles in the agricultural and development process. Fills core requirement for Women’s and Gender Studies major and minor. Prerequisite: SOAN 111. (Group I, Diversity)
SOAN 349. Gender in Contemporary Society (Cohen) A critical examination of the sources and consequences of gender role differences and gender inequality. Particular attention will be paid to men’s and women’s experiences in families and in educational, political, and economic contexts. Possibilities for changing gender roles and eliminating some of the inequities between men and women will be considered, as well as the cultural and structural obstacles that impede such change. Prerequisite: SOAN 110 or SOAN 111 or permission of instructor. S. (Group I)
WGS 110. Introduction to Women’s & Gender Studies(Schrock) This is an introductory survey course that exposes students to the current scholarship within Women’s and Gender Studies. WGS 110 specifically focuses on the diversity among women and pays particular attention to the ways race, class, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and nationality affect women’s lives. Our topics of study include: a history of feminist movements and study of current feminist movements; violence against women; women and work; gender socialization; public policy; immigration; and global issues affecting women. (Group III, Diversity)
WGS 250. Gender and Identity (Sokolsky, Stone-Mediatore) What do the words “male,” “female,” “man,” and “woman” mean? Are “man” and “woman” simply nouns or (as eminent feminist theorist Judith Butler argues) are they also verbs, implying a performance of gender? Growing awareness of transgendered identities complicates simple binaries such as “man” and “woman” even further. Do these words refer to any natural bodily reality, or are they socially-constructed concepts? And what is “identity” anyway? Is it possible to “know thyself,” as the ancient Greeks exhorted us? Does a “true self ” even exist, or is the self, too, a social construction? In this class we will explore such challenging questions via the study of literature, theory, film, and other art forms from around the world, and we will examine how conceptions of gender and identity have changed over time and place. This course counts for the Women and Gender Studies major/minor. (Group III, Diversity) Also listed as CMLT 250.
WGS 300.1. Gender & Race in the Sciences(Richards, Tuhela-Reuning) We hope the science student who has not necessarily been exposed to women’s studies, the women’s studies student who does not really think of her/himself as a scientist, and any student interested in the ways that gender, race, and the physical sciences intersect and affect our daily lives, will find these readings as enlightening as we have. Historically, students have been taught that science is free of the subjective, that proper use of the scientific method ensures a degree of objectivity. In the 1970s (and even earlier as our case study will reveal) feminist philosophers and academicians turned their gaze toward this assumption in a two-pronged approach. Part of their, and our, project involves examining the difficulties women and people of color have had in the professional science fields and to call attention to those who have been active but not adequately acknowledged. Another aspect of concern to us, like the feminists, is scientific study itself and the ways that gender and race bias can influence the interpretation of such “objective” practice. We have designed this course to be fully interactive; we want to foster a classroom atmosphere that is honest and respectful and that facilitates open discussion among students and instructors from diverse personal and academic backgrounds. No prerequisite.
WGS 300.3. Sexuality Studies(Schrock) When and how did people get something called sexual identity? Why does sexuality, the regulation of erotic desires, and the criminalization of sexual practices carry so much importance in modern societies? In what way does the management of these rules relate to interconnected identities of gender, race, class, and citizenship? What is the relationship between sexual identity and power? The course will explore these questions by examining the literature in the emerging field of sexuality and queer studies. In particular we will study the making of identities, sexualities, communities, and practices that are variously referred to as: queer, gay, heterosexual, heteronormative, intersexed, lesbian, transgendered, transsexual, butch/femme, two-spirit, third sex, tomboys, homosexual, sissies, and genderqueer. Specific topics/ debates that will be examined include: the history of sexuality; sexuality-focused liberation movements; the impact of 19th and 20th century sexology; the construction of heterosexuality; laws and policies of nation-states on sexuality; and the queering of American popular culture. The emphasis in this course is on providing students with the conceptual apparatus and historical framework to approach research topics and projects on crosscultural sexuality and gender. (Group I, Diversity)
WGS 499A. Feminist Literary Theory (Staff) The last 30 years of feminist literary studies, working historically through the development of an array of theoretical perspectives and conflicts, and addressing issues such as: challenges to the canon; the intersections and collisions between race, class, and gender; Anglo-American and French feminisms; theories of reading; the gaze; queer theory; and masculinity. The course is designed for students with substantial experience in English and/or women’s studies who are prepared to devote in-depth attention to complex and dense material. (Group III)
WGS 499C. Feminist Anthropology (Howard) This course considers recent theoretical issues regarding constructions of gender within the United States and around the world. We focus on power and the conditions in various gender systems that result in power and powerlessness, both personally and collectively. We examine a diversity of perspectives on gender and the experiences of people across rigid social boundaries (such as class, race, ethnicity, sexual identity and ability/disability) in search of a more humane, inclusive social change. Also listed as SOAN 375. (Group I)
WGS 499D. Feminist Theory(Schrock) This course will provide an overview of some of the major strains, issues, and debates within contemporary U.S. feminist thought. Often U.S. contemporary feminist theory is characterized as a typology of theories (sometimes assumed to be distinct and separate from each other) that follows a linear chronology such as: liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, socialist feminism, radical feminist, ecofeminism, queer feminism, postcolonial/ global feminism, postmodern/poststructuralist feminism, feminist ethnography, and critical race or “woman of color” feminism (or as first, second, and third wave feminisms). (Group III, Diversity)