Honors | Male & Female in Contemporary American Culture
H203 | 0012 | Hedin
4:00P-5:15P TR WH202
This section meets with Honors H227.
This section fulfills the COAS Topics requirement.
This course will consider the new and not-so-new gender definitions
suggested in the last few decades of American culture. What is it to be
female today? What is it to be male? What has changed in these gender
definitions and why? What has not changed - and why not? This course is
based on the premise that the answers to these questions can be found on
two levels: in the theoretical and polemical writings that focus directly
on gender on the one hand and in popular or at least accessible forms of
cultural expression - films, works of fiction, autobiography, music,
advertisements - that both shape and reflect
operating gender assumptions on the other. So we will consider both levels
here, with an eye toward seeing if those two levels are consistent with
one another: are the "theories" of gender reflected in cultural
expressions of gender? And what do we make of the inconsistencies, if
there are any? This course is also based on the assumption that there is
no way to understand notions of the "female" without understanding notions
"male" at the same time, and vice versa; so we will look at both,
separately at times but finally in tandem, to see if we can understand the
way these changing - and not changing - definitions illuminate one
Students will write two 6-8 page essays, plus a midterm, and a final exam.
Short, weekly assignments or quizzes will also be given.
The following list of films and readings is partial and tentative; feel
free to contact me later in the spring (email firstname.lastname@example.org) for a
final list. We will consider, on the average, a book a week (or a film
and a shorter reading).
Becoming a Man, Monette
Going to Meet the Man, Baldwin
Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen, Schulman
In a Different Voice, Gilligan (selections)
You Just Don't Understand, Tannen (selections)
The Hearts of Men, Ehrenreich
Thelma and Louise