This course satisfies the American Cultures Requirement.
This course explores fundamental issues in the historical development of ideals of manhood and womanhood and the lived experience of men and women in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the present. Gender will be broached as both an analytical category and a facet of identity that is operative in every domain of human existence – economic, political, social, cultural, and psychological, among others – and, as such, is deeply implicated in the structures of power that have in various ways defined relations between the sexes. Reflecting the complexity of this landscape, our inquiry will be inclusive and comparative, not only with respect to gender, but also race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality, encompassing populations of Anglo, African, Mexican, and Asian descent in heterosexual and LGBT communities. Major topics include the gendered politics of progressive reform; contestations over normative and deviant sexual behaviors and practices; the strategic use of law as a means of effecting social change; reactions against challenges to prevailing gender norms; the implications of broad female participation in the paid labor force for family dynamics; and the differential aims and impacts of mass consumption on men and women across the century. We will pose myriad theoretical, methodological, and interpretative questions in grappling with events in each of these domains. What, for instance, does it mean to consider historical events through the lens of gender? Are some problems intrinsically better suited to this approach than others? How have idealized forms of masculinity and femininity changed over time? To what forces have they been responsive? In what ways have notions of masculinity and femininity been shaped by race and class? And how have they been manifest in real-world hierarchical arrangements and aspirations for equality?
3229 Dwinelle Hall • Berkeley, CA 94720-2550 • ph (510) 642-1971 • fax (510) 643-5323 • email@example.com