Masculinity and Men's Studies Courses

Spring 2015

INDS 285: Masculinities in Context  
Prof. Yamashita

Masculinities in Context is an interdisciplinary course designed to introduce students to vocabulary, scholarship, and theory related to the broader field of men's studies. Drawing on the expertise of faculty and staff from across the college, the course will offer contexts for thinking about masculinity from multiple perspectives, such as history, literature, popular culture, biology, gender studies, and art. As students reference different aspects of their liberal studies education, they will be encouraged to think about their own development as men at the college and in their lives. 

Assignments for the class will include analytical writing, personal reflection, and designing (alone or with others) a co-curricular project for the college community. 3 credit hours; Tuesdays from 6:30-9:00 p.m.     

HIST 185: The Other U.S. War Hero: The Construction of a Heroic Ideal  in the Modern Era   
Prof. Yamashita

In the history of the United States, military heroism has become a key component in constructing a national narrative of victory and patriotism, often strengthening what it means to be a U.S. citizen both historically and contemporarily.  Through the lens of "hero-making," this course will investigate the different experiences of "other" groups-gendered, sexual, and racial minorities-and their contributions in U.S. wars in the 20th and 21st centuries.  As we will see, these minorities have critiqued, resisted, and expanded U.S. notions of heroism and militarism.  This course will explore the politics surrounding hero-making, challenge some conventional wisdom on war heroes, and question notions of citizenship that might be grounded in a "citizen-soldier" framework.  Ultimately, this course presents an alternative view of the U.S. war hero, which speaks to the growing changes in the demographics of the U.S. armed forces and larger U.S. nation. 

Students will be expected to complete short reading assignments and to engage a variety of cultural texts, ranging from popular film to the evolution of G. I. Joe dolls to military recruitment materials. Students will also work in groups and will present their findings in late February/early March. This course is linked to the QEP symposium in February, and enrolled students should plan to attend all symposium events. This one-hour course will meet on Wednesday nights for the first half of the semester and will end in mid-March. 1 credit hour; Wednesdays 7-9   

SBC Gender Studies 2xx: A College of Their Own 
Prof. Tony Lilly, Sweet Briar College and Prof. Nick Deifel, H-SC  

This course will examine the character and value of a single-sex college experience in the twenty-first century from multiple disciplinary points of view. Students will investigate the changing role of single-sex colleges in America. They will examine educational and social aspects of the single-sex model, such as how the single-sex environment affects learning, sports, traditions and rituals, dating, finding work, and other cultural practices, as well as how these norms and practices differ at women's and men's colleges. Students will investigate how the single-sex college experience contributes to students' understanding of their own sex and gender and to their understanding of other sexes and genders. Finally, students will examine current challenges and issues in single-sex education, such as adequate preparation for the mixed-gender workforce and the inclusion of transgender and gender queer students in the student body.  

Class will meet on both the Sweet Briar and the Hampden-Sydney campuses as well as in online spaces. Seven spots are reserved for H-SC students who have been granted permission from the professors. Interested students should contact the instructors for registration details. 3 credit hours; Thursdays 7-9:30pm

Spring 2014

Sociology 285: That’s Not Natural: Masculinity, Nature and the Rural
Prof. Michael Lecker

Often societies use nature as a way to justify cultural beliefs and social hierarchies. What is not often considered is that a culture interprets and creates its own version of nature (including genetics, ecology, and evolution). To counter this, students will critically engage with U.S. masculinity and the constructions of nature and the rural (a civilized, yet natural space) that underpins it. Asking themselves repeatedly what assumptions they draw upon when they label phenomena natural and unnatural. Topics that will be explored include the intersection of gender and sexuality studies with popular culture and popular science discourse, the American Frontier, settler colonialism, and separatist movements. Texts that may be used include The Trouble with Nature, Deliverance, Wrong Turn 2, The Last American Man, Green Porno, March of the Penguins, and Ceremony.

Fall 2013

History 285: Historical Methods: Masculinity in Modern Germany
Prof. James Frusetta
This section of historical methods focuses on masculinity in modern Germany. How did German society “define” what it meant to be a proper (and improper) man? In the course, we will explore the ways in which masculinity was culturally specific to Germany, and how the idea of “manliness” changed under the pressures of modernization, war, democratization, inclusivity and Nazism. Texts include The Image of Man and German History in Modern Times, as well as articles by Bryan Ganaway, Marcus Funck, Jason Crouthamel, Christopher Dillon, and Tim Pursell.

History 499: Senior Colloquium: Pirates
Prof. Nicole Greenspan

Sociology 185: Men on the Hill: An Introduction to Ethnography
Prof. Michael Lecker
This course introduces students to various qualitative methods often used in the social sciences, including observation, oral history, participant observation, and interviewing. Students will learn these methods by applying them as they study groups on the Hampden-Sydney campus. They will interview men who currently live on campus and alumni who once did, examine different subcultures existing on campus, and study the construction and use of campus space in order to understand how time, place, context, and generation affect gender performance and one’s understanding of gender. Students will also consider how multiple masculinities surface when they attend a party, a family function, a class meeting, or a sporting event. Possible texts include Space, Place, and Gender; Inside Greek U; Dude, You’re A Fag; Ethnography: Step-by-Step; and Qualitative Research Methods for the Social Sciences.

Sociology 285: Superheroes and Psychos: Masculinity in the Media
Prof. Michael Lecker
This course investigates masculinity as depicted in the masculine-oriented superhero and horror genres. By examining idealized (superhero) and repulsive (horror) depictions of men, students will gain an understanding of the complex and contradictory beliefs that exist about masculinity in the U.S. Related topics that will be considered include nationalism, power, violence, race, sexuality, and the urban/rural divide. Possible texts include Blade 3, X2, Comic Book Nation, Captain America: Man Out of Time; Men, Women, and Chainsaws; and The Dread of Difference, along with various other graphic novels, films (viewings outside class time), television shows, and theoretical gender and genre texts. Students will be assessed mainly through essays and classroom discussion.