News

The Path to Public Service at SEAS

News

Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum

News

Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President

News

Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study

News

Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

Students Like Ike and Love Lucy but Adore This Class

CHARTING THE COURSE (U)An occasional series on undergraduate classes

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The all-too-common conception of a women's studies class runs something like this: 20 or so men-hating women sitting around a table, complaining about oppression, and maybe watching the movie "Thelma and Louise."

But like all women's studies classes, the reality of Women's Studies 111, otherwise known as "I Like Ike but I Love Lucy: Women, Popular Culture, and the 1950's," defies the negative stereotype.

Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures Alice Jardine makes even the most intimidated of men feel welcome in her class.

When there appeared to be no empty seats left last Monday, an enthusiastic Jardine rushed into the doorway inviting lost-looking students into the room.

"The classes are intended for everybody. It's really a course offered to anyone who wants to take it," Jardine said, adding that all women's studies courses are open to everyone, not merely concentrators--or women.

The class is something different for Jardine, whose primary focus is post-World War II French literature. "It's new material," she said. "I have taken certain theoretical approaches on the post-war era, and focused them on the United States rather than on France."

Loving Lucy

"I Like Ike but I Love Lucy" is one of a few cultural studies courses offered by the University, and the approach and style of the course has convinced many students that more cross-disciplinary classes are needed.

The size of the class certainly attests to this. Although the course has only been offered once before, students have swarmed to it.

The class switched rooms early on to accomodate its high enrollment, and now meets in Sever 203.

Still, there is barely enough room to seat all of its 54 students.

Despite its size, Jardine still attempts to run the class like a seminar. Even though students are seated in a circle, numbers prohibit a completely discussion-oriented class.

Still, students praise her effort to move away from traditional lecture format.

"I think it's very relaxed, even though it's a very large class," said Melissa E. Swift '98.

Elvis Lives in Women's Studies 111

"It's a course in which we try to look at a whole range of questions using several different media," said Jardine.

As indicated by its title, the class explores race, gender and sexuality through the specific lens of the 1950s.

"[The class] sort of jumped out at me in the course catalog catalog because of the title," said Swift.

Beginning with a section on the "Representation of Others," including gays and lesbians, communists and people of color, Women's Studies 111 moves on to investigate film, love and immortality throughout the decade, ending with units on Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.

Jardine notes that the class focuses on a time period that has not been adequately theoretically approached before.

"For me, the 1950s are important because of the baby boomers," said Jardine. "The boomers are in power now, in the presidency, in the corporate world and in the media. What are the boomers up to, and how were their values formed?"

The students read Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man, and the recent anthology Secret Agents, which explores the Rosenberg trial.

Though the bulk of the course requirements lies in a final 20- or 25-page "semester project," it is not unlikely that students will do some of their homework on Saturday nights.

Movies like "Rebel Without a Cause," "The Incredible Shrinking Man," "Lassie," "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Jailhouse Rock" are all class requirements.

"Professor Jardine has done a good job in pulling in various media," said Orenstein.

Not in the Timing?

The class meets for two hours on Monday afternoons, and the extended time span permits the students to muscle down the material and occasionally partake in a special discussion.

This past Monday for example, students attentively listened to Robert Meeropol, son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, discuss his parents' trial and execution.

But with all the material covered by the class, it's difficult to jam-pack everything into one afternoon a week.

Still, students say Jardine does a wonderful job with the time she has.

"I really enjoy it," said Swift

As indicated by its title, the class explores race, gender and sexuality through the specific lens of the 1950s.

"[The class] sort of jumped out at me in the course catalog catalog because of the title," said Swift.

Beginning with a section on the "Representation of Others," including gays and lesbians, communists and people of color, Women's Studies 111 moves on to investigate film, love and immortality throughout the decade, ending with units on Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe.

Jardine notes that the class focuses on a time period that has not been adequately theoretically approached before.

"For me, the 1950s are important because of the baby boomers," said Jardine. "The boomers are in power now, in the presidency, in the corporate world and in the media. What are the boomers up to, and how were their values formed?"

The students read Jack Kerouac's On the Road, Ralph Ellison's The Invisible Man, and the recent anthology Secret Agents, which explores the Rosenberg trial.

Though the bulk of the course requirements lies in a final 20- or 25-page "semester project," it is not unlikely that students will do some of their homework on Saturday nights.

Movies like "Rebel Without a Cause," "The Incredible Shrinking Man," "Lassie," "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Jailhouse Rock" are all class requirements.

"Professor Jardine has done a good job in pulling in various media," said Orenstein.

Not in the Timing?

The class meets for two hours on Monday afternoons, and the extended time span permits the students to muscle down the material and occasionally partake in a special discussion.

This past Monday for example, students attentively listened to Robert Meeropol, son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, discuss his parents' trial and execution.

But with all the material covered by the class, it's difficult to jam-pack everything into one afternoon a week.

Still, students say Jardine does a wonderful job with the time she has.

"I really enjoy it," said Swift

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags