Women and Gender Studies Courses

WGST 130 Introduction to Women and Gender Studies

4 hours

The course combines a cross-cultural survey of gender diversity with a history of gender studies, emphasizing the key theories; case studies; and social, economic, and political climates. Students will explore variations in gender systems, focusing on other cultures to better understand their own. The primary goal is to develop a set of scholarly tools that render gender a useful category of social analysis. Designed as an introduction to women and gender studies; required for the WGST major and minor. No prerequisite. (HB)

WGST 131 Contact Improvisation

4 hours

This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of Contact Improvisation, a dance form that explores elements of physical contact among participants while challenging preconceptions about the gendered body. Emphasis will be placed on finding mindful and physical ways to prepare to be "ready" to dance: cultivating a quiet core amidst the wilderness of physical disorientation; finding the root of levity, contact point, weight sharing, pathways into the floor and air; and focusing attention on the details of sensation. Students will engage in egalitarian practices for building skills of trust, receptivity, and responsiveness, as well as tolerance for waiting in the unknown. (same as DAN 130) (HB, HE)

WGST 138 Human Sexuality

4 hours

A study of the field of human sexuality. The origins of sex roles, myths, stereotypes, and realities of this important aspect of life will be presented. The complexity of the sociological, psychological, biological, and legal components of the sexual being will also be included. The class is open to all students on campus. (Same as NURS 138) (HB)

WGST 139, 239, 339, 439 Special Topics

Credit arr.

WGST 147 Literature of the African Peoples

4 hours

Modern African writers are some of the most dynamic and innovative writers as they draw from and respond to different literary traditions, such as their own oral and written traditions, as well as European models. This course serves as an introduction to the various themes and styles of written literature of the 20th century. Central to discussion will be an analysis of gender within various African cultural contexts. Understanding constructions of masculinity and femininity, dominant female and male roles in society, and the ways in which the works challenge traditional norms of gender will be priorities within applied theoretical approaches. Prerequisite: PAID 111. (Same as AFRS 147 and ENG 147) (HEPT, Hist, Intcl)

WGST 185 First-Year Seminar

4 hours

A variety of seminars for first-year students offered each January Term.

WGST 195 Biology of Race and Sex

4 hours

This course will introduce students to basic concepts of inheritance and expression of genotypes into phenotypes, using the inheritance of sex and race-associated traits as case studies. These complex traits are useful examples of the influence of individual genes, genomes, and the physical environment on phenotypes. Prerequisite: junior/senior standing, or consent of instructor. Not intended for biology majors. (Same as BIO 195) (NWNL)

WGST 212 Sex in Religious Texts

4 hours

This course will explore constructions of gender and sexuality in the texts of two or more religious traditions. Students will be introduced to contemporary theories of gender and sexuality that they will use to analyze primary texts in relation to their sociopolitical and religious contexts. Specific topics may include competing representations of men and women, different constructions of marriage, the use of marriage as a metaphor, the role of sexuality in mystical traditions and spiritual manuals, and representations of homoeroticism and bisexuality in religious texts. Prerequisite: one of REL 101, 111, or 112. (Same as REL 212) (Rel, HEPT)

WGST 240 Africana Women's Writing

4 hours

A study of writing by selected Africana women writers from Africa, the Caribbean, the United States, and elsewhere in the African diaspora. Topics may vary by geographic region or theme. Prerequisite: PAID 111 or transfer equivalent. (Same as AFRS 240 and ENG 240) (HEPT, Inctl)

WGST 242 Sociology of Gender

4 hours

Examines the gendered structure of our everyday lives; makes gendered assumptions and practices explicit; and uncovers the impact of gender in the social world. Emphasis on historical and cross-cultural constructions of gender that provide alternatives to gender inequality and a basis for social change. Prerequisite: SOC 101. (Same as SOC 242.) (HBSSM)

WGST 243 Time of Stalin: Literature and Memoirs

4 hours

This course, through the medium of literature and memoirs, focuses on Russia/Soviet Union in the early years after the Bolshevik Revolution (1917) until Gorbachev's glasnot and perestroika. Students will learn about the rise of Stalin, the time of terror and purges at the height of Stalin's regime (mid 1930s), WWII, the "thaw" after Stalin's death in 1953, and the implications Stalinism has on present-day Russia. We will seek answers to the questions of how Stalin was allowed to rise to power, retain political control, and instigate policies that caused the deaths of approximately 20 million Soviet citizens—many of whom were Bolsheviks and loyal members of the Communist Party. Literary readings include memoirs, poetry, and novels. A significant part of the course concerns the role of women in the Bolshevik Revolution and their fate under Stalinism. This course fulfills requirements of international studies, women's and gender studies, and Russian studies. The course is taught in English and readings are in English. Offered alternate years. No prerequisite. (Same as FCUL 243) (HEPT, Hist, Intcl, W)

WGST 245 Literature by Women

4 hours

A study of how women writers from different historical periods use poems, stories, essays, and plays to address gender issues in the private and the public world. The course looks a how literature both presents and critiques culture and its construction of gender, as well as how it offers new visions and choices for women and men. Readings include such writers as Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Bronte, Emily Dickinson, Toni Morrison, Gloria Anzaldua, and Octavia Butler. Prerequisite: PAID 111 or transfer equivalent. (Same as ENG 245) (HEPT)

WGST 251 African-American Literature

4 hours

A survey of African-American literature. Primary emphasis will be on literature written since 1920 when the Harlem Renaissance began. Includes authors such as Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison and gives attention to theories of race and culture formation. Prerequisite: PAID 111 or transfer equivalent. (Same as AFRS 251 and ENG 251) (HEPT, Intcl, E, W)

WGST 260 Feminist Philosophy

4 hours

Examination of feminist philosophies, including issues in epistemology, ethics, social philosophy, political philosophy, philosophy of religion and historical interpretation. Focus on the challenges which feminist theory presents to traditional philosophical assumptions in the Western tradition. This course counts as theory requirement for the WGST major. Prerequisite: one course in philosophy, or two courses in women and gender studies. Offered alternate fall semesters. (Same as PHIL 260) (HEPT, W)

WGST 285/295 Directed Study

2, 4 hours

An opportunity to pursue individualized or experiential learning with a faculty member, at the sophomore level or above, either within or outside the major. WGST 285 can be taken only during January Term, WGST 295 can be taken during the fall, spring, or summer terms.

WGST 290 Gender and Women’s History

4 hours

Faculty teaching this course will focus on the history of gender within their own period of expertise. The course will examine such gender questions as: Why and how should we study the history of gender? What do gender roles from the past tell us about our own gender experience? How do the historians of men and women as gendered persons intersect? The course will focus on these questions as they are related to the history of work, family, politics, and social behavior for the particular period and nation the instructor selects. (Same as HIST 290) (HBSSM, Hist)

WGST 320 Women and Gender in the Classical World

4 hours

This course explores the constructions and representations of women and gender in ancient Greece and Rome through an examination of textual, art historical, and archaeological evidence. The course also addresses the intersections of women's and gender issues with issues of legal status, class, and ethnicity, and pays close attention to current scholarly methodologies and approaches to the subject. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: PAID 112 or equivalent. (Same as CLAS 320) (HEPT)

WGST 331 Gender and Reproduction

4 hours

This course will delve into interdisciplinary research that looks at society through the lens of biological reproduction. We will explore human reproductive behaviors cross-culturally, which will challenge us to understand tenacious assumptions that underline our reproductive decision-making and gender constructions. Topics will include: beginnings of life and meaningful personhood; "successful" and "failed" reproduction; new reproductive technologies; fertility control and regulation; sexual behaviors; broadened understanding of family and kinship; pregnancy, birth, consumption and authoritative knowledge; parenthood and infant care practices. This course counts as theory requirement for the WGST major. Offered alternate spring semesters. (HB, W)

WGST 335 Masculinity in Film

4 hours

This course takes a feminist perspective to analyze portrayals of sex and gender in film with a particular emphasis on how men and masculinity can be represented. The focus is on how films construct different notions of gender, how films can be read in different ways, and to what social uses film portrayals may be put. The course includes lectures on film criticism, gender theory, and theories of representation, as well as screenings and discussion. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: COMS 133 or WGST 130. (Same as COMS 335) (HE)

WGST 337 God and Gender

4 hours

An investigation of how our understanding and experience of gender are connected to our views of God, human beings, and the natural world. The course explores the works of a variety of thinkers and pays special attention to issues raised by feminist theologians who stand both inside and outside the Christian tradition. Possible topics include: language about God, human sexuality, views of women in the Bible, the nature of biblical authority, the feminist movement, the men's movement, images of nature in Western religious thought, and the ordination of women. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: one of REL 101, 111, or 112. (Same as REL 233) (Rel, HE, Intcl)

WGST 342 Feminist Rhetorical Theories

4 hours

This course is a study of feminist rhetorical theories and expression. The class reads texts by feminist rhetorical theorists and rhetors. Special emphasis is placed on the intersection between social, cultural, and economic contexts, political influences, and rhetorical strategies of women rhetors challenging Western patriarchy. This course counts as theory requirement for the WGST major. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: WGST 130 or COMS 132. (Same as COMS 342) (HBSSM, HE, Hist, W, S)

WGST 350 Gendered Activism in a Global Context

4 hours

This course will explore varied expressions of activism at the community, national, and transnational levels, asking in what ways activism can be gendered and what gendered activism actually means for the lives of men and women around the world. Our understanding of gendered activism is informed by a richly comparative perspective that deals with topics such as war, peace, poverty, and globalization, and draws from ethnographic materials that give voice to activists from diverse regions of the world. (HB, Intcl)

WGST 351 Gender and Crime

4 hours

Examines how gender affects individuals' experiences as both victims and perpetrators of crime and deviance. Analyzes the history and theory of gender and crime in the U.S. and internationally, the social construction of victimization, and the impact of culture, structure, and inequality on criminal behavior. Prerequisite: SOC 101. (Same as SOC 351) (HBSSM)

WGST 361 Chaucer and Medieval Literature

4 hours

From heroes fighting monsters to Arthurian romances, medieval literature is best known for its stories of chivalry. Less well-known but equally wonderful are the comic tales of sex in trees and greedy friars dividing a fart. We will read Beowulf, narrative poems about love and adventure by Marie de France, the tale of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and much more, with in-depth attention to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. Prerequisite: junior standing. (Same as ENG 361) (HEPT)

WGST 368 Gender in Art

4 hours

Taking Linda Nochlin's seminal essay, "Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?" as our starting point, this course will explore the place of gender in the history of art. We will explore both images of men and images of women, as well as the differing roles afforded to male and female artists across time. We will examine assumptions we and others make about women, gender, art, culture, queer theory, and feminism. Prerequisites: ART 252, WGST 130, or consent of instructor. (Same as ART 368) (HEPT, R, S)

WGST 381 Internship

2 hours

Required for the WGST major. Each WGST major will complete a 2-credit-hour internship. Students must have had at least two WGST courses before completing an internship. Internship opportunities will be approved for credit by the WGST Board. Internships will be administered through the Career Center, with each intern having a faculty advisor chosen from the WGST Board or WGST faculty. Summer/Fall internship deadline is April 1. January/Spring internship deadline is November 1. Internships will be graded A–F. Contact WGST program chair for information.

WGST 395 Independent Study

1, 2, or 4 hours

WGST 468 Seminar: Gender, Globalization, and Development

4 hours

In this course we will examine the phenomena of globalization and development from a sociology of gender perspective. We will focus on the global intersections of contemporary societies and cultures, and the gendered dynamics therein. Questions we will raise include: How does globalization affect women's and men's lives? How is power distributed, and how does this impact development processes? What impact do gender dynamics play in the social institutions of development: economic, political, and cultural? Prerequisite: SOC 101. (Same as SOC 468.) (HBSSM, Intcl)

WGST 485 Seminar: Topics in Women and Gender Studies

4 hours

An interdisciplinary seminar on women's social action and social change as it is understood and guided by feminist theories. The conflicts and contradictions among feminisms will be discussed and critically examined in terms of implications for the future of gender relations. Students will develop projects related to course materials. Offered alternate spring semesters. Prerequisites: WGST 130 and junior standing. (W)

WGST 490 Senior Project

1, 2, or 4 hours

WGST 493 Senior Honors Project

4 hours

A yearlong independent research project. Applications are completed on the Honors Program form available at the registrar's office, requiring the signatures of a faculty supervisor, the department head, the honors program director, and the registrar. Interdisciplinary projects require the signatures of two faculty supervisors. The project must be completed by the due date for senior projects. The completed project is evaluated by a review committee consisting of the faculty supervisor, another faculty member from the major department, and a faculty member from outside the major department. All projects must be presented publicly. Only projects awarded an "A-" or "A" qualify for "department honors" designation. The honors project fulfills the all-college senior project requirement.