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Women’s and Gender Studies Course Listings

WGS 101 – Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies
1 semester, 3 credits 

This course is an interdisciplinary survey of some of the major concepts and theories in the academic field of women’s and gender studies. Using material from the social sciences, literature, and the arts, this course will describe the position of women and gender in contemporary society, examine explanations for the causes and consequences of this position, and discuss approaches to change that have been suggested. Emphasis will be placed on the commonalities and differences among women and gender, with particular attention given to the ways class, culture, race, and ethnicity affect women’s and gender lives and experiences.

WGS 114 — The History of Women’s Art 
1 semester, 3 credits 

An introduction to art by women as seen against a background of shifting social status and mainstream artistic currents. Same as ARH 114.

WGS 224 – Women and Music 
1 semester, 3 credits 

This course will focus on the musical education of women and their involvement in music from the Middle Ages through the present time. The variety of music careers, including composing, performing, and teaching, will be emphasized. Same as MSC 224.

WGS 225 — Women and the American Experience 
1 semester, 3 credits 

This course will explore the contribution of women to the American historical experience from the beginnings of American History to the Civil War and examine the impact of changes in American politics, economics, and society on the lives of women and their families. Same as HIS 225.

WGS 226 — Women and the Modern American Experience
1 semester, 3 credits 

This course will survey the contribution of women to the American historical experience in the period since the Civil War and will examine the impact of changes in American politics, economics, and society on the lives of women and their families. Specific areas of inquiry will include the emergence of the modern American family, the ways in which industrialization and the emergence of a working class culture were conditioned by factors such as race, gender, ethnicity, and region. Students will also examine the impact of the upheavals of the twentieth century, including two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the Cold War. Finally, students will examine the origins of modern feminism and anti-feminism. Same as HIS 226.

WGS 227 – Genes and Gender
1 semester, 3 credits

Explores the role of genes in the construction of gender stereotypes.  A foundation in both classical and molecular genetics will be laid as the basis for consideration of the extent to which gender is determined by genes and environmental influences.  Intended for non-science majors.  Open to science majors as a free elective only, with permission of the instructor.  Same as BIO 227.

WGS 260 – Women in Dance and Sport 
1 semester, 3 credits 

Women have made tremendous strides in both dance and sport over the past century. This course will study the achievements of and challenges to women in dance and sport, with a focus on contemporary artists and athletes. A historical background of dance and sport will provide the foundation for analysis of some contemporary issues in these fields. Same as TDF 260

WGS 280 – Violence Against Women
1 semester, 3 credits

This course is designed to examine violence against women as a major social problem warranting an organized response.  Grounded in an understanding of the cultural/institutional context of this problem, the scope, prevalence, forms, and consequences of violence against women will be examined.  Issues of race, class, age, gender identity, and sexual orientation will be explored as they impact the vulnerability of women.  Primary consideration will be given to domestic violence, intimate partner violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and elder abuse.  Special attention will be given to the dynamics of abuse, and their effects on primary and secondary victims will be examined.  Direct interventions, prevention strategies, public policy initiatives, and legal remedies and the roles of social services, the courts, and law enforcement will be examined.  Same as SWK 280.

WGS 303 – Sociology of the Family
1 semester, 3 credits

Family patterns and processes in selected societies.  Uniformities and variations in structures are considered.  The family is analyzed as a social institution and as a form of intimate behavior.  Various alternatives to the family are explored, and issues related to human sexuality and gender-role behavior are examined.  The course will focus on race, class, and gender.  Same as SOC 303.

WGS 305 – Psychology of Women 
1 semester, 3 credits 

A critical survey of current views in the psychological study of women. Factors related to female development as well as issues of particular relevance to the behavior of women (achievement, materialism, marital roles, etc.) will be discussed. No prerequisite for WGS students. Same as PSY 305.

WGS 318 – Globalization and Social Justice
1 semester, 3 credits

With the fall of socialist states, capitalist markets, economic relations, and consumerism have become truly global.  Examines the political, cultural, and economic origins, consequences, and responses (with specific concern for the prospects for social justice, democracy and equality) in the rich and poor countries of the world; the impacts on workers; the ecological, resource, and environmental implications; and anti-corporate globalization resistance movements.  Same as AMS 318, GST 381, SOC 318.

WGS 320 – Women in the Arts, 1960–Present 
1 semester, 3 credits 

The 20th Century has seen a significant increase in the contribution of women to the arts. This course will examine this contribution through a detailed analysis of the most prominent and influential of these works in a variety of media, including the visual, performing, and literary arts. Each artist’s work will be considered not only in and of itself, but also as representative of its media, and against a backdrop of historical, sociological, and political circumstances surrounding female achievement.  Same as ARH 320 and TDF 320.

WGS 324 – Sociology of Women and Men in Society 
1 semester, 3 credits 

This course analyzes the social, cultural, political, and economic roles of women and men cross-culturally and historically in societies such as the United States, Europe, the former Soviet Union, China, Latin America, the Middle East, and certain small subsistence-level societies. Structural and cultural causes and consequences of different forms of gender stratification are emphasized. Same as SOC 324.

WGS 326 – Contemporary Women Philosophers
1 semester, 3 credits

An in-depth investigation of selected women philosophers and their contributions to contemporary thought.  The course may include the study of philosophers such as Elizabeth Anscombe, Simone de Beauvoir, Simone Weil, Hannah Arendt, and Edith Stein.  Same as PHL 326.

WGS 334 – Men and Women in Medieval Society
1 semester, 3 credits 

This course considers the status, experiences, and opportunities of men and women in the context of marriage, sexuality, and family life influenced from the time of the Roman Republic to the 13th century.  Attention also is given to the major impact of the Catholic Church upon the development of marital and familial institutions. Same as HIS 334.

WGS 336 – Topics in Feminist Ethics
1 semester, 3 credits

An exploration of feminist ethics, which might include its history and relation to other moral theories, intersectionality, and its application to concrete issues.  Same as PHL 336.

WGS 345 – The Consumer Society
1 semester, 3 credits

Consumption and consumerism are driving forces sustaining the expansionist logic of advanced capitalism and globalization.  Consumption of commodities has become the basis for the formation of ever-changing individual and group identities.  Examines the historical development of consumerism, theoretical approaches to understanding the political, social, economic, individual and very importantly, the environmental consequences of consumerism.  Same as AMS 345, GST 345 and SOC 345.

WGS 347 – Women and Crime
1 semester, 3 credits

An in-depth look at a seemingly phenomenon–the participation of women in crime.  First seen only as victims of crime, increased attention has focused on women as criminal offenders and found that their participation in crime both mimics and differs from that of men.  In addition, although the roles and crime offender and crime victim overlap generally, the connection between victimization and offending is particularly strong for women.  This course examines women as criminal offenders AND victims, and examines the complex pathways between these roles.  Same as SOC 347

WGS 352 – Global Feminisms in the Age of Empires and Beyond
1 semester, 3 credits

Addresses the relationship between feminism, colonialism, and postcolonialism. The legacies of the unequal relationship between Western and non-western feminists often weighed heavily on emergent feminisms in postcolonial societies, and feminism took on new forms in response to those legacies. Course incorporates historiography, literary fiction, and film focused on the British and French empires. Not open to freshmen. Same as HIS 352.

WGS 353 – The Victorian Age
1 semester, 3 credits

Social reform, shifting perceptions of religion and science, expanding empires, and aesthetic experimentation defined the Victorians and produced new literary genres.  Thematic emphasis of this course varies but always connects Victorian literature and its social context. Authors combine the canonical (Dickens, Tennyson, the Brownings, Wilde) with pioneers of sci fi, detective fiction, and children’s literature Wells, Conan Doyle, Carroll, etc.) Same as ENG 353.

WGS 354 – Nineteenth-Century British Novel 
1 semester, 3 credits 

This course concentrates on the major novelists of nineteenth century England, paying special attention to the Victorian period. Authors include Austen, Charlotte and Emily Bronte, Thackery, Dickens, Eliot, Hardy. In the past, discussion topics have included variations on the marriage plot, representations of the Victorian family, the formation of and challenges to narrative conventions, and the relationship between author and audience. Same as ENG 354.

WGS 368 – Feminisms, Folktales, and Fairytales:  Telling Stories of Gender, Race and Class
1 semester, 3 credits

Feminist theorists, race theorists and others argue that we understand our individual and social experience by translating it into familiar stories such as traditional and modern fairytales that can unconsciously mold us. This course will investigate these stories’ narrative gravity that shape an individual’s understanding of gender, race, and class, as well as the pursuits of right, wrong, happiness, and heroism.

WGS 369 – Women in Literature 
1 semester, 3 credits 

Women in Literature explores great works of fiction, poetry, and drama to examine images of women in their social-historical and philosophical contexts. A background in classical literature and myth is followed by a careful examination of works by women writers who may include Aphra Behn, Jane Austen, George Eliot, the Brontes, Edith Wharton, Emily Dickinson, Marianne Moore, Lillian Hellman, Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, and various contemporary poets. Same as ENG 369.

WGS 376 – Toni Morrison 
1 semester, 3 credits

This course examines a selection of novels by the 1993 Nobel laureate Toni Morrison. It analyzes her dialogue with African American and American history, with an emphasis on individual and communal trauma, memory, and healing. Selected, accessible Morrison scholarship will be studied as well, with a focus on race, class, and gender and on Morrison’s strategies as a creative writer.  Same as AMS, BLS, and ENG, 376. Fulfills Diversity Proficiency.

WGS 380 – Gender and Politics
1 semester, 3 credits

A study of the political significance of the treatment, roles, and status of women, with emphasis on the United States.  Examination of the meaning of gender, sexism, and feminism.  Same as PSC 380

WGS 413 – The Power of Whiteness
1 semester, 3 credits

Historical development of “whiteness” within the context of colonialism, slavery, imperialism and globalization and their aftermaths as a way of understanding the culture environments and processes of ethno racial and gender-sexual identity formation today.  Hegemonic whiteness is deconstructed and challenged.  Whiteness is examined as an unnamed, unmarked category, “whites are just normal,” that carries powers and privileges.  Same as AMS 413, BLS, 413, GST 413, and SOC 413.

WGS 424 – Globalization, Race, Gender, Class:  A Case Study
1 semester, 3 credits

This course will examine a country as a case study in the origins, evolution and effects of globalization.  We will look at the country’s experience within the global political, economic, social and cultural system, alongside theories of globalization.  Particular attention will be given to the impacts of globalization on race, gender and class relations and their relationship with the U.S.  Same as SOC 424, BLS, GST, APG.


WGS 425 – African-American Women 
1 semester, 3 credits 

Focuses on sociological analyses of the constructions and reconstructions of African American women, examining the interrelationships of gender, race, caste, class, racism, and sexism in the United States, past and present. Topics will include the family, male-female relations, poverty, discrimination, social movements, with particular emphasis on origins, consequences, social and individual changes and resistance to change, sociological, Afro-centric, and feminist theories. Same as BLS 425, SOC 425.

WGS 430 – Gender, Medicine, and Care
1 semester, 3 credits

This class explores how the production of medical knowledge and the provision of health care are gendered through close readings of ethnographic case studies of care delivery, health promotion, reproduction, kinship, and aging.  Theoretical readings in medical anthropology, sociology, public health, and feminist science studies explore how sex and gender are constructed in the biomedical sciences and in the provision of health care.  Drawing on examples from the United States and internationally, students will critically analyze the sources of gender-based inequality in health and health care.  Same as HPM 430.

WGS 446 – Gender, Health, and Technology
1 semester, 3 credits

The contemporary system of commercialized medicine in the United States offers an influential framework of meaning-making and knowledge-building about the body. This course offers an opportunity to critically examine how and in what ways our current system of commercialized medicine in the United States re-inscribes and challenges traditional cultural norms and understandings of health and illness, race and gender, and sexuality. Topics under investigation include: cosmetic surgeries and technologies, reproductive and childbirth technologies, anti-aging procedures, and pharmaceutical drugs.  Same as SOC and HPM 446.

WGS 451 – Women and Family Issues Internship
1 semester, 3 credits

Offers students interested in the Women’s Studies Program an opportunity to use their academic knowledge and skills by working in a local agency/organization.  Students must 1) have an appropriate site location set up 2) obtain approval from the intern faculty advisor.  Same as SOC 451.  Prerequisite:  Junior or senior standing.

WGS 470 – Special Topics in Women’s Studies
1 semester, 3 credits

Special topics courses offer an in-depth analysis of topics of contemporary interest in the interdisciplinary field of Women’s and Gender Studies.  A sampling of special topics courses are routinely offered throughout each academic year.  Some examples of these courses are:

Feminism, History and Popular Culture

Race, Class, Gender in Education

Masculinity, Femininity and Body in Popular Culture

Women and Mass Media

Women in Service

Critical Feminisms

Gender, Race and HIV/AIDS in Global Context

Black Feminist Filmmakers

Gender and Adolescence

Global Food Systems

Beyond the Closet:  LGBTQ Experience

WGS 480 –  Medieval Women On and Off the Page
1 semester, 3 credits

The central purposes of this course are to explore how medieval authors depicted women in their works, how women writers created space for themselves to write, and how we view women within medieval discourse today.  Students will read works by Christine de Pizan, Margery Kempe, Marie de France, Heloise, and other women in conjunction with and contrasted to some works by male authors, including Dante, Abelard, and Jean de Meun.  With women as the central figures of study in this course, students will learn about medieval conceptions of gender, sexuality, and desire through both secular and theological writings.  An understanding of medieval women as both writers wielding the pen and as characters on the page will ultimately be a fruitful and vital addition to the way students think about literature as a whole.  Same as ENG 480.

WGS 481 Seminar: Jane Austen
1 semester, 3 credits

The novels of Jane Austen are a source of continual delight to the reader, as well as considerable profit to British and American filmmakers. We will read her works chronologically, beginning with selections from the juvenilia, and ending with the posthumously-published Persuasion.  The purpose of this course is to allow students to gain a thorough understanding of the achievement of one of the greatest British novelists.  We will examine the novels from a formalist point of view, but also look at how Austen’s works reflect various social, historical, and ethical issues.  Students will also gain a sense of the major critical positions regarding Austen’s works, such as the standard studies by Butler, Poovey and Johnson, as well as contemporary studies by Lynch, Heydt-Stevenson, Byrne, Looser, and others.  We will also look at film adaptations of several of the novels, compare them with each other, and compare them with the novels themselves.

WGS 489: Capstone in Women’s and Gender Studies 
1 semester, 3 credits 

A requirement for the major or the minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, the Capstone Seminar focuses all the theory, research, and reading WGS students have experienced on issues and topics that vary by semester.  Offers a culmination of WGS study, research, writing, and collaborative work and presentations in a seminar setting.  Prerequisite:  WGS 101.

WGS 490: Independent Study in Women’s and Gender Studies 
1 semester, 3 credits 

This course allows highly motivated students to pursue in depth a topic in the interdisciplinary field of Women’s and Gender Studies under the direction of one or more members of the faculty. Proposals for such work, including specific objectives, should be made in writing prior to course registration. Depending on topic and at the discretion of the director of Women’s and Gender Studies, the course may be considered either as an elective Women’s and Gender Studies course in humanities or social science. Prerequisites: WGS 101, 489 and permission of sponsoring faculty member(s).