LIT 131

 Women & Leadership

Deirdre d'Albertis

  F     10:00 am-12:00 pm

RKC 200



2 credits   It is 2016.  Why aren’t there more women in leadership positions?  According to a 2014 Pew Research Center report, the majority of American men and women acknowledge the capacity of women to lead. Yet in certain domains—most notably politics and business—women continue to be under-represented at the top.  This year’s Presidential race will certainly polarize the electorate around constructions of gender in particularly dramatic ways.  If we are living in a post-feminist society (as some claim), why do these questions and conflicts continue to arise? Identity is an urgent conversation in 21st-century politics and everyday life, and this includes awareness of how intersectionality shapes gendered experiences. What are the stories that we tell ourselves and each other about equality, representation, privilege, freedom, authority, and success? How do these inflect real-world outcomes for individuals and societies?  In this two-credit course we will explore some of the stories that circulate in our culture around women and power, both from an academic and from a practical, real-world perspective.  What does it mean to lead?   How do we use a language of empowerment?  Why has the United States embraced certain narratives of gender equity and success as opposed to those being created in other countries and cultures?  We will focus on learning from women who are committed to making a difference in the world through their personal and professional choices, hearing their stories, and reading texts that have been particularly important to them in their lives and work.  So too, we will engage with stories from the past (archival research), from across disciplines (the military, higher education, STEM, the arts, media) and from a wide range of perspectives.  As an Engaged Liberal Arts and Sciences course, this seminar will provide students with the unique opportunity to bring theory and practice together in a very immediate sense: by the end of the term you will have identified a story only you can tell, whether it is based in political activism, community engagement, or work experience.  Drawing on the rich resources here in Annandale as well as through Bard’s other campuses, we will reach out to groups and organizations with a shared focus on gender.  Network building is something we will explicitly address.  This course is open to all first-year students, but enrollment is limited.