2017-2018 Academic Catalog 
    Aug 07, 2020  
2017-2018 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

HIST 353 - Beauty, Gender, and Power around the World, 1800 to the Present

The costs of beauty are enormous.  We alter our physical appearance to be perceived beautiful.  We invest considerable resources to acquire objects and services that make us feel beautiful, often harming ourselves to reach unattainable ideals.  And, undoubtedly, we suffer emotionally from these desires and efforts.  Yet, we seldom ask ourselves how beauty norms and practices are constructed or why we chose to sacrifice so much to achieve them.

This course examines changing and multifaceted beauty standards around the world (Asia, Europe, America, Africa, and Oceania) with the aim of deconstructing them in order to understand the power dynamics embedded in ideal appearances.  Positioning beauty at the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality, we will examine its construction through political and cultured readings on the meanings of body parts and body languages (i.e. hair, face, teeth, skin, smile, and feet).  This course encourages students to problematize contemporary beauty templates in various countries and cultures.  We will also use our examination of beauty as a way to further develop student’s skills in historical research, reasoning, and writing.

Anticipated Terms Offered: Annually