Char Kunkel (program chair)
The Women and Gender Studies (WGST) program is an interdisciplinary academic program devoted to the critical analysis of gender. The program offers courses that investigate the intersections of sex, gender, sexuality, race, age, ability, and class across the disciplines and are taught by faculty in a variety of departments. Women and Gender Studies prepare students to be critical advocates, activists, scholars, and educators for social justice in a variety of professions.
Requirements for a major: 10 courses plus senior project.
The major is comprised of four core courses: WGST 130, 381, 485, and a theory course that is satisfied by WGST 260, 331, or a special topics course designated to fulfill this requirement. Other major requirements include three 4-credit courses (two of which must be at the 300-level or above) and three area courses (one from each of the areas listed below). Writing requirement completed with WGST 260, 331, or 485.
Culture and Society Area: WGST 131, 138, 195, 242, 260, 290, 331, 335, 351, 368, FREN 460, SOC 345, 347.
Global Studies Area: WGST 320, 337, 350, 468, SOC 453, and approved J-term study-abroad courses.
Literature Area: WGST 147, 212, 240, 243, 245, 251, 361.
Requirements for a minor: All students take WGST 130 and 485 as required for introduction and capstone experiences, as well as four other courses from at least two of three designated areas. One of those four courses must number 200 or above. Relevant special topics courses may count.
View program learning goals for an explanation of learning outcomes in Women and Gender Studies.
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.
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, and physical pathways into the floor and air; and focusing attention on the details of sensation. Students will engage in egalitarian practices for building physical skills of trust, receptivity, and responsiveness, as well as physical tolerance for waiting in the unknown. (Same as DAN 130)
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. (Same as AFRS 147 and ENG 147)
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. Not intended for biology majors. (Same as BIO 195)
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. (Same as REL 212)
This course studies various topics in the sciences by looking at great discoveries of female scientists. The class will start by examining scientific methodology, research, and process as well as an introduction to the various field of science. The history of women in science is followed by through daily reading assignments. In addition to the history and science taught by the instructor, students will be responsible for an in-depth project on an individual female scientist, studying both the science and other aspects of her life. The class will include some student-led class discussions and oral presentations, along with class lecture, activities assignments and tests. (Same as SCI 225)
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. (Same as AFRS 240 and ENG 240)
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. (Same as SOC 242)
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 and gender studies, and Russian studies. This course is taught in English and readings are in English. Offered alternate years.(Same as FCUL 243)
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 at 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. (Same as ENG 245)
A survey of African-American literature with special attention to the intersection of race, class, and gender as writers engage with the struggle to achieve the democratic promises of freedom, justice and equality. Primary emphasis will be on literature written since 1920 when the Harlem Renaissance began. Includes authors such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Zola Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison. (Same as AFRS 251 and ENG 251)
A study of contemporary feminist political thought, concentrating on the ways social categories such as race, class, gender and sexuality interact with each other. Attention will be paid to the way power structures contribute to limiting or expanding human freedom and to feminist methodologies. Fufills theory requirement in WGST. Offered alternate years. (Same as PHIL 260)
This course is designed to examine psychological aspects of growing older in the 21st century. Students will be introduced to the current methodologies used to study aging as we explore the physical, cognitive, and psychosocial changes in individuals over the age of 60. The lecture, readings and assignments will address a range of topics that include expected versus abnormal changes in memory, creativity, the shifting roles of the elderly in family and society, and coping with illness and loss. In light of the fact that individuals over the age of 85 are the fastest-growing segment of the global population, and that the majority are women (approximately 2:1), we will also study changes associated with gender roles and sexuality during our later years. A major goal for this course is to foster a clearer understanding of the processes associated with normal aging and to dispel a number of the stereotypes that surround this time of life. (Same as PSYC 270)
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 histories 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)
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. (Same as CLAS 320)
This class will invite students to examine gender and health issues around the globe. We will take an interdisciplinary perspective, which will involve readings in women and gender studies, anthropology, sociology, public health, and related disciplines. The course will focus on 3 major themes: equity and androcentrism in health care and health research, medicalization of bodily experiences, and reproductive health. We will address these issues both in domestic and global contexts. Our goal is to understand how bodies and health are connected to the politics of gender, race, and class, as well as to see how people have made sense of their bodies, desires, identities, suffering, and resistance to the various dimensions of oppression. This course counts as theory requirement for the WGST major. Offered alternate years.
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. (Same as COMS 335)
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. (Same as REL 233)
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.
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. (Same as SOC 351)
This course examines the role of gender in politics and political systems. We will discuss electoral politics, political movements, policies, and policy-makers, all while considering the impact of gender these political phenomenon. We also will explore the rise in the number of women elected to political offices in the US and across the globe. (Same as POLS 354)
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 Tale. Same as ENG 361)
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. (Same as ART 368)
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. Interships will be graded A-F. Contact WGST program chair for information.
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: econmomic, political, and cultural? (Same as SOC 468)
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.