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CMS 4810: Women & the Arts

Instructor:    Dr. Virginia Bonner  
Messages:    vbonner@clayton.edu / 678-466-4713 / 678-466-4769 fax  
Semester:       Spring 2011
Credit:            3-0-3 credit hours
Prerequisites: ENGL 1102 with a minimum US grade of C
                  and FILM 2100 or ART 2302 or PHIL 2401 or THEA 1100 or
                        WST 2500 with a minimum US grade of C
Meetings:      MWF 11:00-11:50am in UC 272 (CRN 25464)
Office hrs:     Scheduled via AdvisorTrac and by appt. via email
Office:           Music Building, room 105
Web Address: http://www.virginiabonner.com/vbonner

Teaching Intern:
Ms. Fallon Guess
Office hours in UC 272 W 12:00-3:00pm and by appointment

Course Description & Goals

In this course, we will explore the role of women as artists, spectators, and representations in the visual, literary, and performing arts. Our primary category of analysis in Women & the Arts is gender, the socially constructed and historically variable understanding of what it means to be a woman or a man. Likewise, a central idea in our class is that knowledge and images conveyed through artistic texts are not neutral; rather, the arts socialize and discipline us even as it entertain and enlighten us.

Thus, our course will closely analyze artworks by and about women. We will discuss how these texts in fact give rise to and/or interrogate closely held beliefs about women’s roles. We will also examine the construction of gender as it interacts with other seemingly self-evident categories such as race, class, and sexuality within these cultural texts. Throughout our course we will study how works of art can serve to both create and challenge social meanings, and how we can become more critical thinkers of those messages.

Required Texts

The following texts may be purchased in the campus bookstore or through online vendors like Amazon.com:

Course Format & Participation

The format of this class is largely discussion-based (class and small group), with some lecture, in-class assignments, and out-of-class assignments including many out-of-class film screenings. I believe that the most productive teaching/learning experience results from an interactive process. Ultimately, this is your class; each of you will contribute to this learning experience through active contemplation and discussion. Though I will lecture on occasion, I will not be reading you facts that you will then regurgitate by rote. Instead, we will explore topics together; we will all challenge ourselves to think critically about these ideas, and to make connections among these diverse artworks and concepts, readings and screenings.

Note: If you have added this course at the end of the schedule change period and/or were not present for the syllabus review the first day of class, you are required to meet with me the following week to review course requirements and policies.