Laurie Finke joined the Kenyon faculty in 1992 as its first tenure-track director of women's and gender studies. She previously taught English literature and feminist theory at Lewis & Clark College.

She has published seven books, the most recent of which, “Cinematic Illuminations: The Middle Ages on Film,” was published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2010. Her articles have appeared in Women's Studies, Studies in Medievalism, Theatre Survey, Signs, Theatre Journal, Exemplaria, Arthuriana and other journals. She is currently an editor of the Norton Anthology of Criticism and Theory.

Besides teaching the introductory course and senior colloquium in women's and gender studies, she teaches feminist theory, masculinities, gender and film and queer studies.

Areas of Expertise

Feminist theory, literary theory, medieval studies

Education

1980 — Doctor of Philosophy from University of Pennsylvania

1976 — Master of Arts from University of Pennsylvania

1974 — Bachelor of Arts from Lake Forest College, Phi Beta Kappa

Courses Recently Taught

This course provide students with critical frameworks for thinking about the social construction of gender at the personal and institutional levels. Emphasis will be placed on diverse women’s significant contributions to knowledge and culture; to other areas of gender studies, including men’s studies, family studies and the study of sexuality; and to the intersections of various forms of oppression both within and outside of the U.S. The course will include both scholarly as well as personal texts, visual as well as written text. This counts toward the introductory requirement for the major. This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. Offered every semester.

Through focus on a specific topic, this course will explore how men’s lives are shaped by and shape the gendered social order. Macro and micro perspectives will guide discussions focusing on how men behave in particular contexts and how they perceive themselves, other men and women in diverse situations. Specific topics investigating the production of masculinities will take into account the interplay among the cultural, interpersonal and individual layers of social life while considering how men’s efforts are enabled or constrained by key socially relevant characteristics (primarily age, race/ethnicity, class and sexual orientation) through investigations, for instance, of particular sites (e.g., playgrounds, work space, home, schools, athletic venues, prisons). This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. No prerequisite. Offered occasionally.

In this course, we will read both historical and contemporary feminist theory with the goal of understanding the multiplicity of feminist approaches to women’s experiences, the representation of women and women’s relative positions in societies. Theoretical positions that will be represented include liberal, cultural, psychoanalytic, socialist and poststructuralist feminism. We will explore the relationship of these theories to issues of race, class, sexual preference and ethnicity through an examination of the theoretical writings of women of color and non-Western women. This counts towards the concentration and the mid-level requirement for the major. This course paired with any other .50 unit WGS course counts toward the social science diversification requirement. Prerequisite: any WGS course, approved departmental course or permission of instructor. Offered every other year.

The major who wishes to participate in the honors program must have an overall GPA of 3.33 and a GPA of 3.5 in the major. The candidate in honors will complete all requirements for the major, the Senior Capstone, two semesters of independent study and will design and complete a research project. This project should integrate feminist theory and methodologies as well as the student’s chosen disciplinary or interdisciplinary cluster. Each honors student will prepare an annotated bibliography on her or his chosen project midway through the fall semester. After approval, the senior honors project will be undertaken in consultation with a project advisor. Students are encouraged to think boldly and innovatively about the kinds of projects they undertake and about how those projects interact with and benefit their communities. Senior honors projects might include gender-focused sociological or historical studies undertaken locally; exhibitions, productions or installations of gender-exploratory art, music or theater; or political, social and/or environmental service-oriented or activist work. Students will be closely mentored throughout their projects and, in the spring, will be evaluated by an external evaluator and by faculty in the program and in relevant disciplines. The evaluators will assess the strength of the students’ overall work, as well as the strength of their self-designed, project-appropriate public presentations of that work. Permission of instructor and department chair required.

The major who wishes to participate in the honors program must have an overall GPA of 3.33 and a GPA of 3.5 in the major. The candidate in honors will complete all requirements for the major, the Senior Capstone, two semesters of independent study and will design and complete a research project. This project should integrate feminist theory and methodologies as well as the student’s chosen disciplinary or interdisciplinary cluster. Each honors student will prepare an annotated bibliography on her or his chosen project midway through the fall semester. After approval, the senior honors project will be undertaken in consultation with a project advisor. Students are encouraged to think boldly and innovatively about the kinds of projects they undertake and about how those projects interact with and benefit their communities. Senior honors projects might include gender-focused sociological or historical studies undertaken locally; exhibitions, productions or installations of gender-exploratory art, music or theater; or political, social and/or environmental service-oriented or activist work. Students will be closely mentored throughout their projects and, in the spring, will be evaluated by an external evaluator and by faculty in the program and in relevant disciplines. The evaluators will assess the strength of the students’ overall work, as well as the strength of their self-designed, project-appropriate public presentations of that work. Permission of instructor and department chair required.