University Bulletin 2001-02
Women's Studies Program


Undergraduate Program

Women's studies is an interdisciplinary field that draws on the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts. The Women's Studies Program integrates the study of women's lives and of gender with the general curriculum. In addition to exploring women's experiences in different time periods and places, courses offer opportunities to examine feminist theory. Our goal is to provide a forum in which women's issues are discussed, debated, and studied. We welcome female and male students to address sexual, cultural, racial, and ethnic relations in an interdisciplinary framework. Finally, we seek to create a community that offers intellectual stimulation at Brandeis by hosting exhibits and scholars; sponsoring internships, concerts, readings, lectures, symposia, and conferences; publishing the Women's Studies Program newsletter, providing student prizes and research opportunities, and supporting other gender-related student organizations such as Women's Month and the Women's Resource Center.

Graduate Programs in Women's Studies

Interdisciplinary in design, the graduate programs aim to give students a solid grounding in their discipline-specific studies while offering them tools for incorporating women's studies into their research. Introducing students to the latest work in a variety of fields, women's studies offers the possibility of cross-disciplinary dialogue. This program enhances the ability of students to compete effectively for faculty openings in women's studies. A limited number of graduate teaching assistantships is available in the spring and fall semesters.

How to Become an Undergraduate Program Member

Students register for the program by visiting the Women's Studies Program office and being assigned a Women's Studies advisor. They are then invited to participate in all women's studies events. Students should enroll in WMNS 5a, offered every fall, as early as possible in their career at Brandeis. Because the program requirements, listed below, offer great flexibility in designing a course of study, each student should work with her or his women's studies faculty advisor to shape a program that addresses that student's interests. In the senior year, students complete a senior research paper on an approved topic that may also serve as a senior project or thesis in the student's concentration. It is possible to add this program to most concentrations.

How to Be Admitted to the Graduate Program

The joint master's degree in women's studies and a discipline has two options.

The first option is a joint terminal master's degree in women's studies and anthropology, women's studies and English and American literature, women's studies and Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, or women's studies and sociology. Except in rare circumstances, this option is available only at the time of admission. This degree option may require one or two calendar years, depending on requirements in the affiliating program.

The second option is available to Brandeis graduate students who are enrolled in Ph.D. programs in American history, anthropology, comparative history, English and American literature, the Heller Graduate School, music, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies, psychology, and sociology. Students may elect a joint master's degree in women's studies and their program, with their advisor's permission as well as the agreement of the Women's Studies Program. This degree option replaces a master's degree in the student's program and may be entered at any time during the student's graduate career.


Alicia Ostriker

American women's poetry. Midrash.


Chair, TBA

Pamela Allara

(Fine Arts)

Joyce Antler

(American Studies)

Silvia Arrom


Marc Brettler

(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Bernadette Brooten

(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Olga Broumas

(English and American Literature)

Mary Campbell

(English and American Literature)

Patricia Chu

(English and American Literature)

Olga Davidson

(Women's Studies)

Roxanne Dávila

(Romance and Comparative Literature)

Mary Davis

(American Studies)

Susan Dibble

(Theater Arts)

Sylvia Fishman

(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

ChaeRan Freeze

(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Janet Giele

(Heller School and Sociology)

David Gil

(Heller School)

Laura Goldin

(American Studies)

Jane Hale

(Romance and Comparative Literature)

Karen Hansen


Erica Harth

(Romance and Comparative Literature)

Anita Hill

(Heller School and Women's Studies)

Linda Hirshman

(Philosophy and Women's Studies)

Deirdre Hunter

(Women's Studies)

Sherry Israel

(Jewish Communal Service)

Jacqueline Jones


Hilda Kahne

(Heller School)

Jane Kamensky


Thomas King

(English and American Literature)

Alice Kelikian


Jytte Klausen


Karen Klein

(English and American Literature)

Ann Koloski-Ostrow

(Classical Studies)

Margie Lachman


Sarah Lamb


Marya Lowry

(Theater Arts)

Robin Feuer Miller

(Germanic and Slavic Languages)

Phyllis Mutschler

(Heller School)

Jessie Ann Owens

(Dean of Arts and Sciences)

Richard Parmentier


Angela María Pérez

(Romance and Comparative Literature)

Shulamit Reinharz


Michal Regunberg

(Public Affairs)

Amélie Oksenberg Rorty

(History of Ideas)

Nancy Scott

(Fine Arts)

Carmen Sirianni


Faith Smith

(African and Afro-American Studies/English and American Literature)

Judith Tsipis


Sabine von Mering


Constance Williams

(Heller School)

Dessima Williams


Leslie Zebrowitz


Graduate Faculty Advisory Committee

Patricia Chu

(English and American Literature)

Joseph Cunningham


Sylvia Barack Fishman

(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Janet Giele

(Heller School)

Jacqueline Jones

(History of American Civilization)

Alice Kelikian

(Comparative History)

Sarah Lamb


Jessie Ann Owens


Jo Anne Preston


Shulamit Reinharz


Requirements for the Undergraduate Program

A. Successful completion of WMNS 5a, preferably by the junior year. (Under certain circumstances, WMNS 105a may fulfill this requirement).

B. Four additional semester courses chosen from the list provided


C. A senior research paper on an approved topic. See Women's Studies Program Coordinator for details.

Students are urged to take at least one course that focuses on minority and/or Third World women or gender issues.

Requirements for the Joint Degree of Master of Arts in Anthropology and Women's Studies

Students who are candidates for the joint degree of Master of Arts in anthropology and women's studies must:

A. Complete WMNS 205a, the foundational course in women's studies. Under certain circumstances an alternative course can be taken instead of WMNS 205a. See advisor and Women's Studies Program Coordinator for approval.

B. Complete ANTH 144a (The Anthropology of Gender).

C. Complete two elective graduate courses in women's studies chosen from the list of courses in the Bulletin, at least one of which must be from a field other than anthropology.

D. Complete ANTH 190a ([formerly ANTH 200a] History of Anthropological Thought), and ANTH 193b ([formerly ANTH 203a] Contemporary Issues in Anthropological Theory).

E. Complete three additional elective graduate courses in anthropology, selected with the approval of their advisor.

F. Submit an acceptable master's research paper, dealing with a topic related to anthropology and to women's studies, approved by their advisor. The paper must be evaluated by their advisor and one additional faculty member.

G. Attendance at the year-long, noncredit, Women's Studies Colloquium Series.

There is a residence requirement of one full year of course-work. There is no language requirement for the joint master's degree in anthropology and women's studies. Students interested in the joint degree program should consult with the anthropology department women's studies liaison.

Requirements for the Joint Degree of Master of Arts in English and American Literature and Women's Studies

A. ENG 200a (Methods of Literary Study).

B. WMNS 205a, the foundational course in women studies. Under certain circumstances, an alternative course may be substituted for WMNS 205a. See advisor and Women's Studies Program Coordinator for approval.

C. Five additional courses in the English department selected from 100-level courses and graduate seminars (200-level courses). At least two of these courses must be at the 200 level. One of these five courses must be listed as an elective with the Women's Studies Program.

D. One women's studies course in a department other than the English department.

E. Attendance at the year-long, noncredit, Women's Studies Colloquium Series.

F. Language requirement: A reading knowledge of a major foreign language (normally modern European or classical Greek or Latin) must be demonstrated by passing a written translation examination. The completion of the language requirement at another university does not exempt the student from the Brandeis requirement.

G. First-year students must present a paper at the First Year Symposium in the spring term.

H. Thesis requirement: This project must be 25 to 35 pages long. Papers written for course work, papers presented at conferences, and papers written specifically for the M.A. degree are all acceptable. The paper must engage a feminist perspective or deal with literary subjects appropriate to women's studies. The paper must satisfy the reader's standards for excellence in M.A. degree level work. Each paper will be evaluated by a reader for whom the paper was not originally written. For further information, contact the women's studies advisor in the English department.

Requirements for the Joint Degree of Master of Arts in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies and Women's Studies

Students interested in the joint two-year terminal M.A. degree program must first be admitted to the M.A. degree program in NEJS in the regular manner.

Program of Study

Courses must include a designated foundational course in women's studies, one women's studies course in NEJS, one women's studies course outside of NEJS, and the year-long, noncredit, Women's Studies Colloquium Series. The remaining courses must be jointly approved by each student's NEJS advisor and by the NEJS women's studies advisor.

Residence Requirements

Ordinarily, two years of full-time residence are required at the normal course rate of seven courses each academic year. Students who enter with graduate credit from other recognized institutions may apply for transfer credit for up to four courses, or, with prior approval of the M.A. advisor, candidates may receive transfer credit for up to four courses for study at a university abroad.

Language Requirement

All candidates are required to demonstrate proficiency in biblical or modern Hebrew or in Arabic.

Comprehensive Examination

All candidates for the Master of Arts degree are required to pass a comprehensive examination.


In areas of NEJS that do not require an M.A. thesis, students receiving a joint M.A. degree in women's studies and NEJS must complete a research project on an issue connected to women's studies.

Research Project

This project must be at least 25 pages long, in a format suitable for submission to a specific journal or for presentation at a professional conference. It may be a revision of a paper previously completed while enrolled in the M.A. degree program at Brandeis. It must concern a topic relevant to NEJS and women's studies. The project is read by two faculty members within NEJS and by an additional member of the Women's Studies Program Committee. It must be defended before that three-person committee by the first week of May of the year in which the candidate intends to receive the degree. (Check the date with the Office of the University Registrar. It may vary with the academic calendar.) Once the project is found to be of acceptable M.A. degree quality, one copy of the project should be submitted to the women's studies office, and an additional copy should be deposited in the Brandeis Library.

Requirements for the Joint Degree of Master of Arts in Sociology and Women's Studies

Program of Study

The joint Master of Arts degree in sociology and women's studies is a one-year (12-month) program. Requirements include the completion of seven courses to be distributed as follows: the foundational course in women's studies (WMNS 205a); one graduate course outside sociology listed as an elective in women's studies; one graduate sociology course listed as an elective in women's studies; plus three other regular graduate sociology courses (one methods, one theory, and one outside the area of gender). Also required are a directed study focused on student research, year-long attendance in the Women's Studies Colloquium Series (noncredit), and submission of two substantial M.A. papers or a thesis.

Residence Requirement

One year.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for the joint master's degree.

Requirements for the Joint Degree of Master of Arts in Conjunction with Doctoral Programs for Brandeis Ph.D. Students Only

The length of time and the number of courses required varies since programs have their own requirements for a master's degree. Each program has a women's studies advisor who works with students to develop their course of study. Students are thus able to take full advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of women's studies by designing an individualized program that cuts across several fields.

WMNS 205a Graduate Foundational Course in Women's Studies

An examination of major issues in Women's Studies and feminist theory, issues that cross traditional disciplinary boundaries and open up new areas of inquiry. Conducted in a seminar format with active student participation. Students identify problems relevant to their own fields for individual or collaborative research projects.

Additional Courses

Two courses cross-listed with women's studies (one inside the student's program and one outside) and two or more additional courses that can be non-women's studies courses in the student's program.

Colloquium Series

Provides an opportunity for students to hear a wide range of feminist scholars speak about their work. Students are encouraged to participate in selecting speakers whom they wish to hear.


The thesis must have a women's studies focus and be approved by the student's program and the Women's Studies Graduate Committee.

Additional Requirements

Students should consult the women's studies advisor from their program to ensure that all master's degree requirements in their program are satisfied.

Courses of Instruction

(1-99) Primarily for Undergraduate Students

WMNS 5a Women in Culture and Society: A Multidisciplinary Perspective

[ ss ]

Enrollment limited to 50.

This introductory, interdisciplinary course explores women's experiences in the United States and other societies, focusing on the diversity of women's lives. Basic social science assumptions and new feminist perspectives are used to examine a broad range of topics, fields, and issues. Usually offered every fall.


WMNS 92a Internship in Women's Studies: Prevention of Violence Against Women and Children

Prerequisite: WMNS 5a. Enrollment limited to 10.

This course combines fieldwork in violence prevention programs with a weekly seminar concerning violence against women and children. The seminar examines the tensions and commonalities between "family violence" and "feminist" approaches, with an emphasis on feminist scholarship. Usually offered every fall.

Ms. Hunter

WMNS 98a Independent Study

Signature of the instructor required.

Independent readings, research, and writing on a subject of the student's interest under the direction of a faculty advisor. Usually offered every year.


WMNS 98b Independent Study

See WMNS 98a for special notes and course description. Usually offered every year.


WMNS 99a Senior Research

Signature of the instructor required.

Independent research and writing under faculty direction, for the purpose of completion of the senior research paper. Usually offered every year.


WMNS 99b Senior Research

See WMNS 99a for special notes and course description. Usually offered every year.


(100-199) For Both Undergraduate and Graduate Students

WMNS 105a Feminism for the Year 2000 and Beyond

[ ss ]

Prerequisite: WMNS 5a or another WMNS course. Signature of the instructor required.

Topics for discussion include, but are not limited to the politics of gender and culture; essentialism and anti-essentialism; interconnections and disconnections between racism and sexism; motherhood, career, and the time bind; and the current, backlash against feminism. Usually offered every year.


WMNS 106b Women in the Health Care System

[ ss ]

Enrollment limited to 20.

Explores the position and roles of women in the U.S. health care system and how it defines and meets women's health needs. The implications for health care providers, health care management, and health policy are discussed. Usually offered every year.

Ms. Arndt

WMNS 180a Reading and Writing Autobiography

[ ss ]

Prerequisite: WMNS 5a. Signature of the instructor required.

Explores the ways lives are embedded within their social and cultural contexts, how these contexts change over time, and the ways men and women construct their lives. Particular focus will be on the impact of sexuality, race, and religion, with attention also given to class, gender, and ethnicity. Usually offered every year.


WMNS 185a Blacks and Jews, Women and Men

[ ss ]

Prerequisite: AAAS 5a or WMNS 5a. Signature of the instructor required.

An interdisciplinary seminar including material drawn from disciplines in the arts, humanities, and popular culture. Discusses specific historical events in which Blacks and Jews with an added emphasis on the role of women as leaders or players. Usually offered every year.


WMNS 195b The Woman's Voice in the Muslim World

(Formerly NEJS 195b)

[ nw hum ]

This course may not be repeated for credit by students who have taken NEJS 195b in previous years.

Study of the writings of women and the writings expressing the woman's voice, starting with pre-Islamic lamentation poetry and extending all the way to modern literature. There will be special focus on literary genres in which women's viewpoints and traditions are articulated. Usually offered every second year.

Ms. Davidson

(200 and above) Primarily for Graduate Students

WMNS 205a Graduate Foundational Course in Women's Studies

An interdisciplinary course offered through the Women's Studies Program. Includes presentation of feminist material in various fields. Specific themes vary from year to year.


WMNS 299a Directed Readings in Women's Studies

Usually offered every year.


WMNS 299b Directed Readings in Women's Studies

Usually offered every year.


Elective Courses

The following courses are approved for the program. Not all are given in any one year. Please consult the Course Schedule each semester.

AAAS 133b

The Literature of the Caribbean

AMST 102a

Women and the Environment and Environmental Justice

AMST 118a

Gender and the Professions

AMST 121a

The American Jewish Woman: 1890-1990s

AMST 123b

Women in American History: 1865 to the Present

AMST 124b

American Love and Marriage

AMST 139b

Reporting on Gender, Race, and Culture

AMST 150b

The Family in the United States

ANTH 141b Engendering Archaeology: Exploring Women's and Men's Lives in the Past

ANTH 142a

AIDS in the Third World

ANTH 144a

The Anthropology of Gender

ANTH 145a

Anthropology of the Body

ANTH 151b

Folk Religion and Women's Lives


Human Reproduction, Population Explosion, Global Consequences

COML 160b

Women, Literature, and Film

COML 195a

Feminism and Film

COML 198a

Feminist Theory in Literary and Cultural Studies

ENG 46a

Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers

ENG 105a

Women of Letters: The Nineteenth Century

ENG 116b

Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Afro-American Literature

ENG 131b

Feminist Theory

ENG 134a

The Woman of Letters, 1600-1800

ENG 144b

The Body as Text: Castiglione to Locke

ENG 151a

Lesbian and Gay Studies: Desire, Identity, and Representation

ENG 157b

American Women Poets

ENG 181a

Making Sex, Performing Gender

ENG 234a

Feminist Criticism and Women's Writing, 1660-1800

ENG 240a

Sex and Culture

FA 19b

Lives of the Artists

FA 61b

Inventing Tradition: Women as Artists, Women as Art

FA 131b

Center Stage: Women in Contemporary American Art

FA 173a

Georgia O'Keeffe and Stieglitz Circle

FREN 190b

Advanced Seminar

GECS 130b

Jewish German Women Writers

HIST 55b

The History of the Family

HIST 139a

Women, Gender, and Family

HIST 153a

Americans at Home: Families and Domestic Environment, 1600 to the Present

HIST 154b

Women in American History: A Survey, 1600-1865

HIST 173b

Latin American Women: Historical Perspectives

HIST 187a

Problems in American Women's History

HS 319a

Work, Individual and Social Development, and Social Welfare

HS 515a

Race, Ethnicity, and Gender in Health Care

HS 527b

Law and Society: Gender Equality

HS 540b

Families, Work, and the Changing Economy

HS 549a

Family Policy

LGLS 120a

Sex Discrimination and the Law

LGLS 126b

Marriage, Divorce, and Parenthood

LGLS 127b

Law and Letters in American Culture

MUS 58b

Construction of Gender in Opera

MUS 150a

Women and Music, Past and Present: Style, Identity, Culture

MUS 222a

Singing Bodies in Early Modern Europe

NEJS 115b

Women and the Bible

NEJS 135b

The Construction of Gender in Modern Hebrew and Yiddish Literature

NEJS 148b

Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Jews and Christians: Sources and Interpretations

NEJS 153b

History of Jewish and Christian Women in the Roman Empire

NEJS 154b

Image, Role, and the Status of Women in Jewish Law and Tradition

NEJS 157b

The Political and Social Study of Women in Israel

NEJS 172a

Women in American Jewish Literature

NEJS 174b

Changing Roles of Women in American Jewish Life

NEJS 176a

Seminar in American Jewish Fiction: Literary Readings: Roth and Ozick

NEJS 237b

Gender and Jewish Studies

NEJS 240a

Jewish Women in Medieval and Early Modern Times

PHIL 28a

Western Philosophical Traditions Including Men and Women

PHIL 121a

After Vice: Politics, Philosophy, and the Regulation of Sexuality

POL 125a

Women in American Politics

POL 159a

Seminar: The Politics of the Modern Welfare State: Women, Workers, and Social Citizenship

PSYC 160b

Seminar on Sex Differences

RECS 137a

The Heroine in Nineteenth-Century Russian Literature

SOC 105a

Feminist Critiques of American Society

SOC 112a

Topics on Women and Development

SOC 117a

Sociology of Work

SOC 130a


SOC 131b

Women's Biography and Society

SOC 134a

Women and Intellectual Work

SOC 138b

Seminar: Gender and the Life Course

SOC 169b

Issues in Sexuality

SOC 171a

Women Leaders and Transformation in Developing Countries

SOC 206b

Advanced Topics in Family Studies

SOC 207a

Feminist Theory

SPAN 125b

Literary Women in Early Modern Spain

SPAN 168b

Latin America Through the Eyes of Women

SPAN 192a

Contemporary Hispanic Women's Fiction in Translation