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Undergraduate Course Information

WGS 165/ A Gendered History of Food

(same as HIS 165 when topics is “Gendered History of Food”)

An introduction to the history of food consumption and preparation in the Western world, and its place in defining gender roles; food as part of religious ceremony; development of table manners; the politics of breast-feeding; the changing of kitchen roles; and the history of eating disorders.

 WGS 200/Women, Culture, and Society

The preliminary course to the interdisciplinary field of Women’s and Gender Studies.  It will provide students with an introduction to the literature and the historical evolution of the discipline, as well as an understanding of how scholars and students in the field analyze women, gender, and feminist theories.  It will use an interdisciplinary approach to do this.  This introductory course encourages students to rethink and reevaluate much of what they have experienced and learned and to gain the critical vocabulary and analytic skills to question the gendered world in which they live.

WGS 210/Women and Health: Power, Politics, and Change

This course concerns the domain of women’s bodies and the on-going struggle for sovereignty therein.  Students will examine how in addition to pathophysiology, women’s health is impacted by social constructs, specifically history, politics, economics, and research.  As a result of this exploration, students will enhance their ability to care for themselves and for others, to use and understand power and empowerment of self and others, and to advocate and to be an activist for themselves and for others.

WGS 211/British and American Women Writers

(same as LIT 211)

A careful exploration of literary and gender studies focusing specifically on British and American women writers from the 17th century to the present. Looking specifically at the intricacies of gendered expression in England and America, this interdisciplinary study delves into the lives and writings of women by looking at the wide spectrum of literary styles and genres they employed.  These include the autobiographical traditions, as evidenced in such primary documents as diaries, Indian captivity narratives, and spiritual memoirs; the ever-expanding corpus of fiction including short stories, novellas, and novels; and the diverse range that is exhibited in women’s essays, drama, and poetry.  Ultimately, this course addresses the historical, literary, and cultural influences that shaped women’s lives and writings in this remarkable body of literature.

WGS 220/Gender and Popular Culture

A critical examination of the messages and “knowledge” that popular culture employs, disseminates and constructs about men and women, masculinity and femininity.  Takes its objects of study from a wide range of sources including advertisements, magazines, television, film, cyberspace, hip hop, and sports. Be ready to watch TV, go to the movies, and listen to music as a scholar of gender.

WGS 225/ Gender and Children’s Literature

In this course, students will develop a critical appreciation of the roles of children’s literature in the social construction of gender–not only how it prescribes or resists normative gender roles, but how it represents the subjective experience of growing up gendered.  With a grounding in gender theory and critical texts, students will explore the early beginnings of children’s literature in collections of folklore and fairy tales, then move on to modern classics and contemporary favorites, limiting our scope to works for young children and pre-teens.

WGS 230/Gendered Technoculture: Feminism, Gender, and Technology

What is the relationship between gender and technology?  How is technology informed by gender?  How is something as difficult to define as “technology” categorized as male and/or female in our minds?  How do our perceptions of technology change by the user of said technology?  Why do we imbue inanimate objects with gendered characteristics?  How do new technologies alter or influence our ideas about gender and about what is “gender appropriate?” These are some of the questions we will explore in this course.  Using feminist theories and methodologies, we will investigate the ways in which our technological world is gendered, and how to apply this theory to analyze and critique our high-tech world.

WGS 235/Gender and Violence

An exploration of the relationship between gender and violence.  The course is comprised of theoretical perspectives as well as the study of specific forms of violence.  Topics include:  domestic and intimate partner violence; sexual violence; child abuse; socially institutionalized forms of violence against women; attitudes and reactions to violence; national and global contexts of violence, and men and violence.

WGS 240/Introduction to Gay and Lesbian Studies

Providing an introduction to a quickly evolving field of study, this course explores gay and lesbian identity, culture, and politics from many disciplinary points of view.  A single course might explore a wide range of subjects, such as Walt Whitman’s poetry, the history of lesbian bar culture, the politics of gay marriage, visibility on TV, and Heather Has Two Mommies.

WGS241/Introduction to Sexuality Studies:

This course serves as an introduction to an examination of sexuality from a social perspective. In this way, we will engage in critical analyses of the existing organization and social meaning of sexuality, sexual identities, and sexual practices (as opposed to discussing merely descriptive accounts of doing sex). Sexuality Studies brings together a variety of intellectual perspectives from the humanities and social sciences; thus, our exploration of “the social construction of sexuality” will draw from scholarly fields as diverse as literature, history, religion, anthropology, law, sociology, psychology, and education, in addition to feminist, queer, and media studies. Topics covered will also be diverse and include: sexual bodies and behaviors; intimacies; sexual identities; sexual institutions and sexual commerce; sexual cultures; sexual regulation and inequality; and global and transnational sexualities, among other topics.

WGS 250/Politics of Sexuality

The political nature of personal life is a central critical concept of Women’s and Gender Studies.  Politics of Sexuality introduces students to implications of this concept through the study of contested topics concerning sexuality, such as gendered sexual socialization, sexual violence, family structures, poverty and welfare, sexual identities, transgenderism, commodification, risky sexual behaviors, AIDS, sexual exploitation, pornography, prostitution, and the traffic in women.  Students learn how social norms, political currents, economic practices, and state policies construct their lived realities, governing choices they may have considered natural, private, and individual. They learn to articulate what is at stake in these issues from a variety of standpoints as preparation for making their own informed judgments.

WGS 260/Women of African Descent in Global Perspective

(same as AAS 280)

A global, cross-cultural survey of the lives and contributions of women of African ancestry.  Emphasis will be placed upon shared elements of African culture that, when impacted by colonialism and/or the Atlantic slave trade, resulted in similar types of resistance to oppression, and analogous cultural expression among the women of four locales-Africa, South America and The Caribbean, North America and Europe.  Theoretical methodologies, historical narrative, literature, demographic data, material culture, representations of self, and representations by others will be explored to illuminate/explain the: history, cultural artifacts, cultural retentions, and self-concept.

WGS 271 Gender and Language

WGS 302/Women in the US to 1900

(same as His 385)

This Course will examine the history of women in the United States from before European contact to the present.  We will explore the diverse ways in which women have lived, worked and contributed to the history of the U. S.  While we will be looking at some of the “great women” of US history, the course will focus more on the aspects of the general experiences of women and their political, social, cultural and familial relationships.

WGS 303/Women in the 20th Century US

(same as His 384)

An examination of the history of women in the United States in the 20th century with special emphasis on their roles in political and social movements.  We will explore the diverse ways in which women have lived, worked and contributed to the history of the US in the 20th century.  While we will be looking at some of the “great women” of U. S. history, the course will focus more on the aspects of the general experiences of women and their political, social, cultural and familial relationships.

WGS 304/Women in Classical Art

This course is designed for undergraduate upper level students.  We will be investigating the representation of women in ancient sculpture, painting, and the minor arts, as well as the architecture and structure of ancient houses and other spaces used by women.  In addition, the roles of women as patrons of the arts will be examined.  Emphasis will be placed on the interpretation of art and architecture in relation to the social and cultural roles that women fulfilled in the Greek and Roman worlds.

WGS 305/Looking at Women: Representation, Feminisms, and Film

(same as AAH 343 and COM 343)

Explores the enormous impact feminism has had on film theory, criticism, and production.  Various feminist approaches to the study and production of “cinematic apparatus” will be explored including structuralism, issues of representation, spectatorship, questions of ethnicity and hybrid sexualities. Screenings and the readings will cover a wide range of positions and strategies as we investigate Hollywood and independent films as well as new media forms.

WGS 306/Sex and Gender in Greco-Roman Antiquity

(same as CLS 325)

This course will examine the topic of ancient sexuality both for its own sake, as historical knowledge, and as it relates to our own attitudes, values, and practices, as a sort of “dialogue” between past and present.  We will consider a variety of sources that highlight ancient ways of thinking about gender and sexuality:  Literary, legal, and medical texts; art including ancient graffiti; architecture; and inscriptions.

WGS 307/Gender, Sexuality, and Pop Music in the 1980’s                       

(same as MUS 355)

The focus of this course is on the ways in which select music artists who were in the popular spotlight in the 1980s constructed, conformed to, problematized, critiqued, and/or subverted traditional categories of gender and sexuality. Major themes include the presentation (and representation) of masculinities, misogyny, compulsory heterosexuality, articulations of feminism(s), queer(ing) strategies, and the intersection of race, gender, and sexuality. Our primary texts will be album releases, music videos, and live performance footage from the 1980s, drawn from an array of artists: Pat Benatar, Bon Jovi, the Eurythmics (featuring Annie Lennox), the Go-Go’s, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, L.L. Cool J, Madonna, the Pet Shop Boys, Poison, Prince, Queen Latifah, Salt ‘N Pepa, Bruce Springsteen, and Tina Turner. These sources will be supported by academic, critical, and popular writings that enrich understanding of the musical, historical, socio-cultural, and political contexts of 80s popular music.

WGS 310/Women in Eastern Europe: 1848–Present

(same as HIS 324 and HON 337)

Focuses on women’s history in Eastern Europe in order to understand how the dual forces of nationalism and communism were largely constructed around gendered concerns such as reproduction, family structure, and access to power.

WGS 314/Women’s Autobiographies, Diaries, and Letters

(same as LIT 319)

An examination of women’s autobiographical literature throughout many different time periods.  Drawing from a wide spectrum of primary and manuscript sources, we will study such representative works as 17th century Puritan women’s Indian captivity narratives, 18th century cross-dressed women’s Revolutionary War memoirs, 19th century slave narratives, Victorian maidservants’ journals, women’s pioneer diaries of westward migration and expansion, and 20th century women’s “fictional autobiographies.” The reading of these sources will be accompanied by rigorous research of secondary texts, incorporating the study of gender, history, and culture in relation to the primary works.  Ultimately, the class will explore the contemporary and rising field of autobiographical literary criticism, applying many theoretical perspectives to this ever-expanding corpus of women’s literature and life-writing across the ages.

WGS 317/The Witch in Literature

(same as LIT 317)

The witch has been a figure in literary history since the beginning of time. Who is she, and what does she embody?  Who creates her, and to what end?  This course will explore the socio-historical constructions of this figure and trace her through a wide spectrum of literary texts, including legal and historical treatises, fairy tales, short stories, drama, film, children’s literature, poetry, and even cartoons.  Ultimately, we will analyze the literary cultures which have persisted in creating, recreating, and reviving this timeless, powerful, and equally feared character throughout the ages.

WGS 318/Women and the Legislative Process Part I

Explores contemporary and historical roles, impacts, and interactions of women as legislators, constituents, and professional or citizen lobbyists in state and national legislative bodies.  Particular emphasis will be placed on analyzing and understanding the unique contributions, issues, and challenges women experience when active in legislative areas.  Students will be provided with opportunities for direct contact with local women legislators, lobbyists, and citizen/community organizers in both classroom and legislative settings.

WGS 319/Women and the Legislative Process Part II

Prerequisite: WGS 318

Provides on-site experience in the ways in which laws are made and the roles citizens can have in the process.  Students will work with state legislators for a minimum of eight hours a week and meet weekly in the classroom with an academic instructor.

WGS 320/Men and Masculinities: Literary Perspectives

(same as LIT 315)

This course focuses on representations of men and masculinities in literary texts. The course texts range across a variety of literary traditions and genres and, depending upon the particular semester, may be organized around a theme such as violence, love, or solitude. Students will be prepared theoretically and methodologically to analyze representations of gender in narrative and poetry.   The overarching goal of the class is to learn about, and reflect upon, the significance of gender in our lives, history and culture.

WGS 325/Feminist Theories

Prerequisite: At least one WGS course

Explores the diverse ways in which feminist theorists conceptualize women’s status in society, systems of inequality and the category of “woman” itself. Students will gain an understanding of evolving ideas and debates in feminist theory, relate those to feminist practices, and develop their own theoretical abilities.  The course will address the social construction of gender, the relation between feminist theory and activism, and how feminists have responded to issues of race, class, gender, and sexuality in current feminist thinking, as well as the classic feminist texts.

WGS 326/Feminist Methodologies

Prerequisite: At least two WGS courses

Feminist Methodologies will provide Women’s and Gender Studies students with an understanding and knowledge of the research methods feminist scholars use and prepare students to apply these methods in their own research projects.  The course focuses on the obligations of feminist researchers, the core issues in various feminist epistemologies and the feminist perspectives on various research methods and how feminist scholars challenge dominant theories of knowledge and the major methodologies employed in the social sciences.

WGS 327/European Social History Since 1789

(same as HIS 327)

An examination of the social changes that have occurred in Europe since the French Revolution. Topics include the history of families, gender roles, class divisions, racial ideologies, religion, work and leisure.

WGS 328/ Gender in 20th Century U.S.

(Same as HIS 365/North American and US History- when title is: Gender in 20th  Century U.S.)

Gender in 20th Century United States examines the lives of Americans as men and women.  It explores the ways in which gender determines and is determined by historical experiences.  It employs feminist and historical theories and methodologies in the examination of the sex/gender/race system of US politics, economics, culture and society and gives students an alternative lens from which to view history.  The focus on gender expands the notion of what is historically significant to include the history of the family, sexuality and friendship, rather than primarily military and political history.  Students are encouraged to discover the important roles gender plays and has played in cultural negotiation and interaction.  Additionally, students will also be challenged to discover how notions of masculinity and femininity have affected women’s and men’s lives, as well as other areas of life, including diplomacy, policies, religion, and the economy.

WGS 330/Gender and Public Policy

Prerequisite: WGS 200 or permission on instructor

This course seeks to clarify the relationship between state power and gender relations through an examination of major policy issues related to gender inequality, including: welfare policy, labor politics, reproductive rights, sexual violence, and domestic violence.

WGS 340/Gay and Lesbian History

(same as HIS 397)

This course looks at the history of gay men and lesbians.  It also considers the unique ways in which gays and lesbians have contributed to the history and culture of their region and national identity while maintaining a diverse subculture.  The course explores the different historical and social roles of gays and lesbians and how they survived under oppressions that ranged from the denial of civic and civil rights to execution.  At the completion of this course, students will have expanded the traditional historical narrative by recognizing the presence and agency of gays and lesbians.

WGS 341/Gay and Lesbian Literature

(same as LIT 313)

Gay and Lesbian Literature primarily reflects on “literary” texts (novels, poems, and plays), considering the aesthetics, politics, and history of gay and lesbian literary production and consumption.  With recent advances in cultural studies and queer studies, this course will also embrace works that are sometimes situated outside of traditional definitions of “literary” (children’s books, movies, and pulp fiction), with an examination of the course theme from a variety of literary methodologies, such as reader response criticism and discourse analysis.

WGS 342/LGBTQ Issues in Education

This course examines LGBTQ issues within the context and concerns of K-12 schooling/education. Specifically, we will focus on several themes: heterosexism in schools; homophobic and transphobic forms of bullying and violence; the history of LGBTQ educational struggles; emerging legal rights of LGBTQ students and teachers; the coming out process in high school; LGBTQ and teacher education; queer pedagogies; the politics of gay-straight alliances; the politics of queer youth (sub)cultures and online media; and LGBTQ activism in schools.

WGS 343/Queer Studies

This course serves as an introduction to the interdisciplinary field of queer studies, a critical approach to thinking about sexuality that emerged in academic and activist contexts in the early 1990’s as a critique of normative models of sex, gender, and sexuality.   This course will survey a cross section of queer thought, ranging from some of its earliest expressions by writers such as Foucault, Sedgwick and Butler to some of its contemporary manifestations and innovations (e.g., J. Jack Halberstam’s Gaga Feminism:  Sex, Gender, and the End of Normal).

WGS 344/Transgender Studies

This course examines the interdisciplinary field of transgender studies. It provides an overview of major concepts, terms, and debates, as well as a cross-section of recent scholarly work and a snapshot of emerging trends, within this rapidly evolving field of study. One general focus of the course is to examine the ongoing development of the concept of transgender as it is situated across historical, social, cultural, legal, biomedical, and political contexts and discussions within the scholarly literature and beyond. Questions raised during the semester include: What is transgender studies and how does it differ from other forms of scholarship within gender and sexuality studies? In what complex ways is the concept of transgender “remapping” the relationship among biological sex, gender, and sexuality, as well as reconstituting the meanings of these categories? How does trans politics relate to feminist politics, to queer politics, and to anti-racist politics? Is the term transgender useful in describing non-Western embodiments?

 

WGS 351/Gender Gap in Science Careers

(same as PSY 351)

This course will increase students’ awareness of the gender gap in science and will highlight how gender influences our biology, cognitions, and how we are socialized (or not) into participating in science and science-based careers. We will start by discussing the state of the gap and historical trends. Then, we will discuss different possible explanations and solutions, and evaluate the strength of each theoretical perspective. For example, we will discuss socio-cultural factors (e.g., peers, family, teachers and classrooms, colleges and universities, stereotypes, beliefs about ability, and gender roles), biological factors (e.g., hormones, including prenatal effects, and brain anatomy  and physiology), cognitive factors (e.g., spatial and mathematical abilities), and evolutionary factors. All of these factors involve gender differences, which may or may not be contributing to preferences, course selections, and career choices.

WGS 360/Literature by Latinas and Latin-American Women

(same as LIT 334)

A comparative study of Latina and Latin-American women’s literature in English.  The course is open to a wide range of literary traditions, nations, time periods, and genres including those specific to non-Western and post-Colonial cultures.  The focus varies by semester.  It may include works by Isabel Allende, Julia Alverez, Gloria Anzaldua, Ana Castillo, Sandra Cisneros, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz, Laura Esquivel, Rosario Ferre, Cristina Garcia, Judith Ortiz Cofer, Elena Poniatowska, and others.

WGS 361/African American Women’s History

(Same as AAS 376/HIS 365 when topic is African American Women’s History)

A study of the experience of African American women in the United States, from both historical and contemporary perspectives.  Through a survey of critical time periods, key social institutions, and crystallizing experiences, the course will explicate the role of African American women in shaping present American society.  Readings, lectures, discussions, recordings and movies will be used to present a comprehensive and cohesive understanding of the historical experiences of African American Women.

WGS 365/Womanist Thought

(same as AAS 375)

Prerequisite: WGS 260/AAS/280, WGS 375, or by permission of the instructor

Traces the evolution of feminist consciousness among Africana women.  Students will trace the thoughts, social and political activism and ideologies generated by women of African ancestry from the early 19th Century free black “feminist abolitionists” to contemporary times.  “Womanist,” “Feminist,” “Critical Race Feminist,” and “Black Feminist” ideologies will be emphasized through course readings and assignments that explore the emergence and perpetuation of an Africana women’s feminist consciousness.

WGS 373/Women and Spirituality:  The Feminine Divine  

(same as REL 373)

This course focuses on the intersections of feminism and spirituality, examines the experiences of women in a variety of spiritual traditions, and examines how worldview is shaped by historical context. The question of how feminists connect to, critique, transform, and remember spiritual experiences will be considered. The course explores several aspects of spirituality including language, ritual, and creativity; it also considers what happens when feminists alter, shape, retell and interpret rituals and traditions.

WGS 374/EcoFeminism

Building on the core precept that the domination of women and the domination of nature are fundamentally connected, ecofeminism offers a distinctive, interdisciplinary lens on the world, drawing on not only feminism and ecology, but also historical analysis, philosophy of science, cultural study, the arts, community development, spirituality, and a commitment to challenging oppression in all its forms.  Through readings in the various disciplinary threads that inform ecofeminism, we will explore ways in which systemic social inequalities shape human relationships to the natural environments; challenge common abuses of the environment and offer alternatives; and study current movements globally.

WGS 375/Transnational Feminisms

“Transnational feminisms” refers to the growing transnational network of movements and organizations working on behalf of women at many levels of civil and state society, from grassroots organizing to global governance, together with a growing body of writing and research on women’s status, gender oppression, and priorities for change around the world.  This course’s purpose is to prepare students, as world citizens, to participate in this network by exposing them not only to issues and movements but also to the conceptual, methodological, and affective challenges of building solidarity across a vast range of differences—differences in identity, locale, worldview, focus, strategy, and standpoint in relation to global systems of power.  This course may be repeated for credit, as topic changes.

WGS 376/Global Women Writers

(same as LIT 316)

Explores various literatures from around the world, encouraging students to examine the politics of gender, culture, and nation as well as the intersections of those systems of power.  The explorations will cover a large range of topics, from arranged marriages to women in war in a variety of geographical areas around the world, particularly focusing on non-Western literatures.  Common themes include feminist politics, post and neo/colonialisms, reproductive rights, translation, globalization, and activism.

WGS 377/Gender Politics of Development    

This course analyzes the changing roles, opportunities and expectations of African women and men as societies undergo social upheavals associated with colonialism, independence, restructuring, conflict, development, globalization, neo-liberalism, climate change and the resultant impact this has on gender relations and power.  Topics include changing gender roles in the global political economy given the ongoing processes of globalization, participation and policy initiatives at the global level, international human rights concerns, and the role of the United Nations in addressing women’s global empowerment.

WGS 380/Gender and Democracy

(same as HON 338)

Scholars and policy makers alike have acknowledged the centrality of gender in debates about the meaning of democracy in our changing world.  Men’s and women’s access to political power and economic opportunity, and the role of reproduction in citizenship, are among the manifold topics that highlight the complexity of what we call “democracy.” The course will take up these issues in several key locations.

WGS 381/Women and Migration

(same as ANT 311)

Prerequisite: SOC 101, ANT 110, or WGS 200

Examines the role of women in migration both past and present.  It takes a global approach, investigating the lives of women from many different societies.  It also takes a comparative approach, exploring the similarities and differences of female international migrants from different cultural and class backgrounds.

WGS 391/Independent Study in Women’s and Gender Studies

Independent study credit is available; see Women’s and Gender Studies Chair for approval.

 WGS 393/Independent Research in Women’s and Gender Studies

See Women’s and Gender Studies Chair for approval.

WGS 398/Feminism in the Workplace: Field Study in Women’s and Gender Studies
Prerequisite: At least two WGS courses

This internship course is a chance for students to consolidate and enrich their undergraduate learning while building the transition to life beyond college. A WGS education trains students to think critically and act strategically on issues of social inequity, particularly relating to gender and sexuality. Graduates enter a wide variety of careers. WGS 398, therefore, focuses not on the nature and demands of particular worksites, but on work itself and organizational practices that arise from feminist theory and scholarship. The course is designed for students of junior or senior standing who are WGS majors or minors, as well as for W.I.L.L. students.

WGS 399/Internship in Women’s and Gender Studies
See Women’s and Gender Studies Chair for approval.

 WGS 404/Women in Classical Art

(same as AAH 404)

This course is designed for undergraduate upper-level students.  We will be investigating the representation of women in ancient sculpture, painting, and the minor arts, as well as the architecture and structure of ancient houses and other spaces used by women.  In addition, the roles of women as patrons of the arts will be examined.  Emphasis will be placed on the interpretation of art and architecture in relation to the social and cultural roles that women fulfilled in the Greek and Roman worlds.

 WGS 470/Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies

Focuses on a special topic in Women’s and Gender Studies. This course may be repeated for credit as topic changes.

WGS 495/Senior Seminar: Methods and Theory

Prerequisite: WGS 325

This course is the capstone course for the Women’s and Gender Studies major. Students are expected to use the expertise gained from their previous WGS courses to research and write their senior theses. Drawing on the methodologies and theories learned in previously taken courses, students work in a small focused seminar that not only emphasizes their own work but also constructively critiques the work of their peers. Students will produce a research paper (25+ pages) applying feminist theories and methodologies. In addition, they will share their work with other students, providing analysis and critiques of one another’s papers in progress.

WGS 496/Women’s Leadership and Social Change

Prerequisites: WGS 200 and 325

In this W.I.L.L. capstone seminar course, students will experience the interfaces between empirical knowledge and social policies through selecting, organizing, and implementing a class activism project. This course is the culmination of the W.I.L.L. program in which students will expand and enhance their leadership skills using acquired strategies and tactics to influence social, political, or economic change.

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