Middlebury

 

Laurie Essig

Associate Professor of Sociology and Women's and Gender Studies

Email: 
Phone: work802.443.5355
Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:00-3:00, Thursdays 9:30-10:30 and by appointment, 202 Chellis House
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Laurie Essig teaches in the Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies program as well as the sociology/anthropology department at Middlebury College. Her research interests are the structuring of the body through the economy, culture, history and nation. She teaches courses in theory (social, feminist and queer) as well as popular culture, sexualities, gender and critical race studies.

Her first book Queer in Russia, explored how sexual otherness was thought about in Soviet and post-Soviet Russia. Her second book, American Plastic: Boob Jobs, Credit Cards and Our Quest for Perfection argued that the explosion of cosmetic surgery was the subprime mortgage crisis of the body, brought about by neoliberal economic policies that simultaneously increased economic insecurity for most Americans while simultaneously opening up access to debt. Her next book, Love, Inc., explores how capitalism and romance work together to produce feelings of well-being and happiness for some Americans even as they produce feelings of failure and longing in most. Laurie has written for the popular press for two decades now, including Salon and the Washington Post. She has blogged at a variety of places including True/Slant and Forbes and now at Psychology Today.

 

 

Courses

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

GSFS 0191 / SOAN 0191 / WAGS 0191 - Intro to Sociology of Gender      

Introduction to Sociology of Gender
What is gender and what would a sociology of it look like? When did gender become a category of inquiry and more importantly why? We will look at how the meaning and performance of gender changed over time, from Classical Greece to Victorian England, to the contemporary U.S. We will also look at how gender changes depending on one’s position in social space, e.g. one’s race, class, sexuality, and nationality. Finally, we will consider how the need to look at gender is the result of a variety of discourses, from psychoanalysis to capitalism to movements of liberation such as feminism. 3 hrs. lect.

CMP SOC

Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013, Fall 2014

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GSFS 0315 - Sociology of Freakishness      

Sociology of Freakishness
P.T. Barnum taught us that freaks are always made, not born. A freak is a performance of otherness for fun and profit. In this course we will explore how the freak show gave birth to American culture and how American culture continues to organize itself around the display of freakishness. We will ask what configurations of power are at play in the performance of freaks. How do gender, race, nation, sexuality, and class come into play, and how are those forms of power translated into a performance of otherness that forces us to watch it over and over again? 3 hrs. lect. (Sociology)

NOR SOC

Fall 2014

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GSFS 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
(Approval required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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GSFS 0700 - Senior Essay      

Senior Essay
(Approval required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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GSFS 0710 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
(Approval required)

Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Spring 2015

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SOAN 0305 - Topics in Sociological Theory      

Topics in Sociological Theory
This course provides an overview of major lines of development in 20th century social theory relevant to the field of sociology, focusing on how various theorists have grappled with the basic issues that have dominated 20th century social thought. Particular attention will be given to the questions arising from the conceptual distinctions between structure and action, on the one hand, and identity and culture, on the other. How is social order possible? How autonomous are human agents? How do we explain the persistence of observed patterns of human interaction and social practice? How do we analyze relations between the world of everyday life and the large-scale development of social systems? How does social change take place? (SOAN 0103 or SOAN 0105) 3 hrs. lect. (Sociology)

SOC

Fall 2010, Fall 2011, Fall 2012, Fall 2013

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SOAN 0314 / GSFS 0314 / WAGS 0314 - Sociology of Heterosexuality      

Sociology of Heterosexuality
Most people believe that heterosexuality is natural or rooted in biology and so never look very closely at it as a product of culture. In this course we will examine the artifacts, institutions, rituals, and ideologies that construct heterosexuality and the heterosexual person in American culture. We will also pay close attention to how heterosexuality works alongside other forms of social power, especially gender, race, and class. (SOAN 0105 or SOAN 0191) 3 hrs. lect. (Sociology)

NOR SOC

Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

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SOAN 0315 - Sociology of Freakishness      

Sociology of Freakishness
P.T. Barnum taught us that freaks are always made, not born. A freak is a performance of otherness for fun and profit. In this course we will explore how the freak show gave birth to American culture and how American culture continues to organize itself around the display of freakishness. We will ask what configurations of power are at play in the performance of freaks. How do gender, race, nation, sexuality, and class come into play, and how are those forms of power translated into a performance of otherness that forces us to watch it over and over again? 3 hrs. lect. (Sociology)

NOR SOC

Spring 2011, Fall 2014

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SOAN 0413 / FYSE 1357 / GSFS 0413 / WAGS 0413 - White People      

White People
White people are often invisible when it comes to having a race. In this course we will begin by considering the formation of whiteness in post Civil War America. We will read histories of whiteness, such as Grace Elizabeth Hale's Making Whiteness, as well as consider important milestones in whiteness, from the films Birth of a Nation and Gone With The Wind to the blog "What White People Like." Finally we will use essays, blogs, photographs, and videos to make white people at Middlebury visible by documenting how they represent themselves through language, dress, and rituals. (Not open to students who have taken FYSE 1357) 3 hrs. sem. (Sociology)

NOR SOC

Spring 2012, Spring 2013, Spring 2014

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SOAN 0500 - Advanced Individual Study      

Prior to registering for SOAN 0500, a student must enlist the support of a faculty advisor from the Department of Sociology/Anthropology. (Open to Majors only) (Approval Required) (Sociology or Anthropology)

Fall 2010, Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Spring 2015

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SOAN 0700 - One-Semester Senior Project      

One-Semester Senior Project
Under the guidance of a faculty member, a student will carry out an independent, one-semester research project, often based on original data. The student must also participate in a senior seminar that begins the first week of fall semester and meets as necessary during the rest of the year. The final product must be presented in a written report of 25-40 pages, due the last day of classes. (Sociology or Anthropology)

Fall 2010, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

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SOAN 0710 - Multi-Semester Senior Project      

Multi-Semester Senior Project
Under the guidance of a faculty member, a senior will carry out an independent multi-semester research project, often based on original data. The student must also participate in a senior seminar that begins the first week of fall semester and meets as necessary during the rest of the year. The final product must be presented in a written report of 60-100 pages, due either at the end of the Winter Term or the Friday after spring break. (Sociology or Anthropology)

Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Fall 2011, Winter 2012, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014

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WAGS 0500 - Independent Study      

Independent Study
(Approval Required)

Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Spring 2013

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WAGS 0710 - Senior Thesis      

Senior Thesis
(Approval Required)

Spring 2011, Spring 2012, Fall 2012, Spring 2013

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WRPR 0500 - Special Project: Lit      

Special Project: Literature
(Approval Required)

Winter 2011, Spring 2011, Winter 2012, Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Winter 2014

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