University Bulletin 2002-03
An interdepartmental program
Women's Studies

Courses of Study:
Master of Arts (Joint)
Program website:


Undergraduate Program

Women's studies is an interdisciplinary field drawing on the sciences, social sciences, humanities, and the arts, that promotes the study of women and gender across the curriculum. In addition to exploring women's experiences in different time periods and places, courses offer opportunities to examine feminist theory and to explore cultural, racial, and socioeconomic issues in an interdisciplinary framework. We seek to create a community that offers intellectual stimulation at Brandeis by sponsoring internships, readings, lectures, and conferences, providing student prizes and research opportunities, and supporting other gender-related activities and initiatives.

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 (Minor)

Students register for the minor by meeting with the women's studies program coordinator or the undergraduate advising head. Students should enroll in WMNS 5a (Women in Culture and Society), offered every fall, as early as possible in their career at Brandeis. Because the program requirements offer great flexibility in designing a course of study, each student should work with a 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 major. Students who wish to pursue an independent major in women’s studies should meet with the undergraduate advising head or with the program chair. Independent majors must be approved by a faculty committee and interested students should also consult the Office of Undergraduate Academic Affairs about the correct procedure for declaring an independent major.

How to Be Admitted to the Graduate Program

The joint master's degree in women's studies and a discipline may be pursued independently or in conjunction with a Ph.D. in one of several fields.

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, or sociology. Students may elect the joint master's degree with the approval of their advisor and 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. Students pursuing the joint M.A. are encouraged to enroll in courses offered by the Graduate Consortium in Women's Studies at Radcliffe.


Susan Lanser, Chair
(English and Comparative Literature)

Pamela Allara, Undergraduate Advising Head
(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, M.A. Advisor, English
(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, M.A. Advisor, NEJS
(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Dian Fox
(Romance and Comparative Literature)

ChaeRan Freeze
(Near Eastern and Judaic Studies)

Janet Giele, M.A. Advisor, The Heller School
(The Heller School / Sociology)

David Gil
(The Heller School)

Laura Goldin
(American Studies)

Jane Hale
(Romance and Comparative Literature)

Karen Hansen, M.A. Advisor, Sociology

Erica Harth
(Romance and Comparative Literature)

Anita Hill
(The Heller School / Women's Studies)

Linda Hirshman
(Philosophy / Women's Studies)

Deirdre Hunter
(Women's Studies)

Sherry Israel
(Jewish Communal Service)

Jacqueline Jones, M.A. Advisor, American History

Hilda Kahne
(The Heller School)

Jane Kamensky

Thomas King
(English and American Literature)

Alice Kelikian, M.A. Advisor, Comparative History

Jytte Klausen

Ann Koloski-Ostrow
(Classical Studies)

Sarah Lamb, M.A, Advisor, Anthropology

James Mandrell
(Romance and Comparative Literature)

Robin Feuer Miller, Graduate Advising Head
(Germanic and Slavic Languages)

Phyllis Mutschler
(The Heller School)

Jessie Ann Owens, M.A. Advisor, Music
(Dean of Arts and Sciences; Music)

Angela María Pérez
(Romance and Comparative Literature)

Shulamit Reinharz

Michal Regunberg
(Public Affairs)

Nancy Scott
(Fine Arts)

Aurora Sherman, M.A. Advisor, Psychology

Marion Smiley

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

Jacqueline Taylor

Judith Tsipis

Sabine von Mering
(Germanic and Slavic Languages)

Constance Williams
(The Heller School)

Dessima Williams

Leslie Zebrowitz

Requirements for the Minor

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 select courses that address women’s racial, ethnic, national, regional, economic, and sexual diversity.

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 and ANTH 193b.

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.

Ms. Lanser

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 Project

Signature of the instructor required.

Independent research and writing under faculty direction, for the purpose of completion of the women’s studies senior research project. Completion of the senior project is required to complete the women’s studies minor. 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 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, the Environment, and Social 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

ANTH 127a
Medicine, Body, and Culture

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

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

BIOL 160b
Human Reproductive and Developmental Biology

CLAS 145b
Topics in Greek and Roman Art and Archaeology

COML 160b
Narrative in Literature and Film

COML 195a
Feminism and Film

COML 198a
Feminist Texts, Feminist Theory

ENG 46
Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers

ENG 114b
Gender and the Rise of the Novel in England and France

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 230b
Feminist Theory

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 173a
Georgia O'Keeffe and Stieglitz Circle

FREN 190b
Advanced Seminar

GECS 150a
From Rapunzel to Riefenstahl: Real and Imaginary Women in German Culture

HIST 55b
The History of the 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, and Individual and Social Development

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 129b
Jewish Women in Eastern Europe: Tradition and Transformation

NEJS 135b
Men and Women 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 172a
Women in American Jewish Literature

NEJS 174b
Changing Roles of Women in American Jewish Societies

NEJS 176a
Seminar in American Jewish Fiction: Philip Roth and Cynthia Ozick

NEJS 196a
Marriage, Divorce, and Sexual Ethics in Islamic Law

NEJS 237b
Gender and Jewish Studies

PHIL 28a
Western Philosophical Tradition: Feminist Perspectives

PHIL 121a
Politics, Philosophy, and the Legal 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
Women in 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 164b
Studies in Latin American Literature

SPAN 168b
Latin America through the Eyes of Women

SPAN 192a
Women's Fiction in Translation