Women, Gender and Representation
July 19–August 1, 2020
Formerly known as the Discovering Women’s History program, this newly expanded two-week residential program offers you the chance to explore your interests in women in politics and history, gender and race in film, intersectional feminism and queer movements.
Accepting young women entering grades 9, 10, 11, 12 in fall 2020.
Courses in this program include discussions of non-binary and transgender embodiment and grapple with the production of gender and its relationship with racialization, gender oppression, queer resistance and structural violence. All of the courses in this program give attention to historical context and use an intersectional analytical framework.
Jina B. Kim
In her oft-cited poem “A Litany for Survival,” Audre Lorde affirms the urgency of literary and cultural expression for the nation’s most vulnerable: “So it is better to speak/ remembering/ we were never meant to survive.” Following Lorde’s poetic intervention into systematized death, this course is organized around U.S. women and queers of color and their intellectual, creative and political struggles for survival. We will examine the cultural and scholarly production of women and queers of color across a range of genres: theoretical writing, personal essays, autobiography, poetry, film, performance and visual art. In so doing, we will familiarize ourselves with the histories, knowledges, experiences and complexities of African-, Asian-, Latinx-, and Native American women and queers in a variety of social, cultural, political and economic contexts. Central to our inquiry are the primary threats to survival endured by women and queers of color, such as welfare reform, the prison-industrial complex, forced sterilization, and anti-immigration policy, as well as the community, culture and moments of pleasure cultivated in spite of these threats.
Smith College and the surrounding area are home to unparalleled archival collections and cultural heritage institutions that offer an immersive experience in women’s history. During your time at Smith, we will explore women’s lives through archival research, visits to local museums and tours of historic sites. With a focus on women and social change, you will be introduced to women who have altered the course of American history through reform, mobilization, cultural interventions and outright rebellion. We’ll gather insights about women who’ve made a difference—what inspired their passion and dedication to women’s equality, and how their words and actions changed the possibilities for women. You'll get a chance to play historian, discover a new role model or two, and find out more about what matters to you and what you can do about it.
Through field trips, films and work with historical materials, in this class we’ll explore women’s efforts to participate in and exercise power through politics—from the historical struggle for suffrage through modern day fights for increased representation and women’s political leadership. We’ll think about gender roles and stereotypes that frame and shape women’s participation in politics—as women run for office, exercise the franchise, fight for rights and shape public agendas through activism. Through an exploration of women’s activism in such areas as reproductive rights, labor and workplace equality, and poverty prevention, we’ll ask the question of what makes something “a women’s issue”—and interrogate the possibilities and limitations that this framework opens up for women in politics.
In this course we will examine the production of gender, the formation of race and the politics of visibility as they are represented in short and feature length films, visual art forms and performance. We will take time to understand how systems of gender and race have been used to solidify meaning and assign value to bodies, lives and creative expression. We will screen films, visit local art museums and galleries, and study impactful performances to help us think about the ways that the meanings of gender, race and the body are produced, contested and explored through each medium. This course will bring queer theory, women of color feminist analysis and performance theory together to support our discussions of film, visual art and performance. With a focus on contemporary art, this course will consider the ways that resistance to racial and gender oppression operates through the visual and the performative.
Kelly Anderson is a faculty member in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender and director of the Archives Concentration at Smith College. She teaches classes in women’s history, queer studies and oral history, and she is passionate about including untold stories in our archives and our histories.
Jennifer DeClue is assistant professor in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College and the academic director of the Women, Gender and Representation summer program. She teaches queer studies courses that examine popular culture, racial formation and class structures. Her research interests include archival study, black feminist thought, avant-garde film, popular culture and performance theory. She earned her doctorate in American studies and ethnicity from the University of Southern California and has been teaching at Smith since 2015.
Jina B. Kim
Jina B. Kim is assistant professor of English and of the study of women and gender at Smith College. Her research and teaching interests emerge from the intersection between critical disability studies, feminist- and queer-of-color critique and contemporary ethnic U.S. literature. Her manuscript in progress examines the discourse of dependency in the literary cultural afterlife of 1996 U.S. welfare reform.
Erin Pineda is assistant professor of government at Smith College. She studies the politics of protest and social movement activism, particularly focused around racial justice activism in the 20th-century United States. Before moving to western Massachusetts in 2017, she earned her doctorate in political science from Yale University in 2015 and spent two years at the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago.
|Sunday, July 19, 2020|
|5-6 p.m.||Parent Q&A|
|Monday, July 20, 2020|
|9 a.m.||Classes begin|
|Saturday, August 1, 2020|
|9-11:45 a.m.||Morning classes or an off-campus field trip|
|1-4 p.m.||Afternoon classes or an off-campus field trip|
|7-10 p.m.||Fun house activities that change daily|
|11 p.m.||Quiet hours|