How does the body determine identity? How are bodies gendered? How do different disciplines address the problem of gender? Led by Professor Laura McClure, the Bodies & Society Constellation invites students to investigate the various ways in which “body image” has been formed, reinforced, and represented across time and through various media. The core humanities course for this Constellation focuses on Greek and Roman conceptions of women and genders found in literary texts, historical documents, and material culture. Contemporary sociological, anthropological, and feminist theories provide a framework for understanding these representations. In comparing past concepts of sexuality and the body alongside modern notions of gender and identity, students will learn how ideas surrounding the body have changed and persevered across societies and time periods.  By bringing multiple approaches into dialogue with one another, the constellation will not only frame contemporary debates about gender and sexuality but also inform students’ sense of themselves as individuals in society. 


Constellations and the Gender & Women's Studies Certificate are two separate, but highly-related programs: the Bodies & Society Constellation can be an on-ramp to the GWS Certificate. Students who complete the Bodies & Society Constellations earn 6 credits toward the total 15 credits needed to complete the certificate, including:

3 Humanities credits and 3 Natural or Biological science credits toward the GEN&WS certificate requirements.

Laura McClure is a Mellon-Morgridge Professor of the Humanities and an internationally-recognized scholar of gender and women in the ancient world. She teaches in the department of Classical and Near Eastern Studies and the ILS program. Dr. McClure's Bodies & Society Constellation builds on her signature course, Classics 351: Gender and Sexuality in the Classical World, which integrates her own research to demonstrate the importance of humanistic inquiry in fostering the integration of different types of knowledge. Dr. McClure is the author of Girls, Wives, Mothers: Women in the Ancient World (forthcoming), Spoken Like a Woman: Speech and Gender in Athenian Drama, and Courtesans at Table: Gender and Greek Literary Culture in Athenaeus.

The Constellation: Connected Classes

CLASSICS 351: GENDER & SEXUALITY IN THE CLASSICAL WORLD This class anchors the Bodies & Society Constellation through an exploration of ancient Greek and Roman conceptions of women and gender as found in literary texts, historical documents, and material culture.

+ BIOLOGY/BOTANY/ZOOLOGY 152: Introductory Biology 152 This foundational biology course addresses evolution and diversity of organisms and is one of the most in-demand options for fulfilling introductory biology requirements. 

+ GEN&WS 103: Women & Their Bodies In Health and Disease This highly-regarded class pays close attention to how bodies are located in social contexts that influence health and illness. It also explores the roles that female-assigned and women-identified people play as patients, practitioners, and activists. A class for every-body!