Women‘s and Gender Studies (WS)

WS 101. Introduction to Women's and Gender Studies.3 Credits.

This interdisciplinary course uses lively discussion and compelling readings to consider women's and gender studies and its relevance to people of all genders, sexual identities and expressions. Students discuss the social construction of gender and sexualities; sexuality, economic and political power; issues of embodiment and beauty; the psychology of gender; and the development of feminism and feminist theory through course materials that may include novels, social science research, poetry, historical writings and political manifestos. Please be advised that this course may cover topics that some students may find difficult, such as eating disorders, sexual assault and harassment.

Offered: Every year
UC: Breadth Elective, University Curriculum Ele, Intercultural Understand

WS 200. Special Topics in Women's Studies.3 Credits.

Offered: As needed

WS 202. Gender and Aging (SO/GT 202).3 Credits.

The purpose of this advanced seminar is to study older women's and men's experiences with aging. The focus is on the complex interplay between age and gender as we examine the social, economic and policy issues surrounding the needs of older women and men.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101 or SO 101H.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

WS 210. Human Sexuality (PS 210).3 Credits.

This course focuses on human sexuality, including the physiological, psychological and social aspects of sexuality. Students are encouraged to consider diverse perspectives, e.g., in sexual orientation, experiences, beliefs and behaviors. Additional course topics include: domestic violence, abuse, sexual assault and harassment.

Prerequisites: Take PS 101 or WS 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall and Spring
UC: Social Sciences, University Curriculum Ele, Intercultural Understand

WS 211. Cross Cultural Perspectives on Gender, Sex and Sexuality (AN 210).3 Credits.

This course introduces students to the social and cultural constructions of gender, sex and sexuality around the world. Students discover the way anthropologists approach these topics. They explore the constructions as they relate to notions of biology, family, households, work, migration, inequality/inequity, economics and class status, violence, and race and ethnicity. Discussions focus on what gender, sex and sexuality are, what they mean and how they theoretically and practically matter as categories.

Prerequisites: Take 6 credits; From Subjects AN, SO or WS.
Offered: Every year, Fall

WS 219. Women in Political Thought (PO 219).3 Credits.

Students explore different approaches to explain the status of women. Theoretical perspectives that students consider may include: liberal feminism, radical feminism, Marxist/socialist feminism, feminism of care, conservative feminism and global feminism, among others. Students critically evaluate political concepts such as freedom, equality, rights and oppression, as well as learn about how different thinkers have conceptualized gender, politics, power and the role of the state. The course requires careful reading, intensive class discussion and multiple writing assignments.

Prerequisites: Take PO 101 or PO 131 or PL 101 or PS 101 or SO 101 or WS 101.
Offered: Every other year, Spring
UC: Social Sciences

WS 232. Women in the Criminal Justice System (CJ/SO 232).3 Credits.

This course examines the changing patterns of women's criminality, the experiences of women who are processed as crime victims, and the evolution of women's role in law, law enforcement and corrections.

Prerequisites: Take WS 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall
UC: Social Sciences

WS 235. Literature by Women (EN 235).3 Credits.

Virginia Woolf wrote that, for most of history, "Anonymous" was a woman. The last two centuries have energetically recovered the writings of women and shifted them into equal stature with literature written by men. With the question of what it means to extract a canon of literature defined by gender as its center, this course allows students to consider the ways in which women have contributed a language and form to the literary tradition. In particular, the course explores the process by which this literature, often written from the margins of experience, has shaped how we read today. Varied female authors are discussed, including Woolf, the Brontës, Emily Dickinson, Zora Neal Hurston, Sylvia Plath, Toni Morrison, Sandra Cisneros, Jamaica Kincaid, Leila Abouzeid and Maxine Hong Kingston among others.

Prerequisites: Take WS 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall
UC: Humanities, Intercultural Understand

WS 250. Gender and the Law (LE 250).3 Credits.

This course focuses on legal issues regarding gender, including the differential treatment of women and men in the legal system, and contemporary responses to gender issues in society.

Prerequisites: Take WS 101.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

WS 255. Sociology of Families (SO 255).3 Credits.

In this introductory course, students study families in the U.S. Topics include the ways in which families have evolved over time and the effect of economic and social factors (such as race, class and gender) on family life. Students learn about families in other cultures and current issues facing families.

Prerequisites: Take SO 101 or WS 101.
Offered: Every year, All
UC: Social Sciences, Intercultural Understand

WS 262. Psychology of Women (PS 262).3 Credits.

In this course, students examine the complexity of gendered experiences from a psychological science perspective and explore the research regarding gender differences and gender relations. Many approaches are taken to understand gender, including biological, social, evolutionary, cognitive and cultural points of view. The goal is for students to appreciate the complexities of gender and to challenge one's assumptions and judgments about gender.

Prerequisites: Take PS 101 or WS 101.
Offered: Every year, Fall
UC: Social Sciences, Intercultural Understand

WS 284. Gay and Lesbian Identities and Communities (SO/PS 284).3 Credits.

This course explores the social, socioeconomic, historical, psychological and political factors that have contributed to our understanding of what it means to be gay or lesbian today. Psychological research on gay and lesbian identity development, the social construction of identity, and the psychological, social and political benefits associated with "identifying" as gay or lesbian, are discussed. The course explores historical events that led to the development of gay and lesbian communities and the benefits of being involved in these communities. The course also explores how the gay and lesbian community has become more mainstream, in both positive and negative ways.

Prerequisites: Take WS 101 or PS 101.
Offered: As needed

WS 303. Pop Culture and the Media.3 Credits.

Offered: As needed

WS 304. Sociology of Gender (SO 304).3 Credits.

This course focuses on how society constructs notions/images of femininity and masculinity and how this influences our lives. Students look at cultural views of language, body and the media, as well as theoretical approaches to understanding the complexities of gender distinctions in our society.

Prerequisites: Take two courses from Women's Studies.
Offered: Every year

WS 308. U.S. Women's History (HS 308).3 Credits.

This course covers the experience of women in America before 1900. Women's work in the family and community is stressed. Individual research is required.

Prerequisites: Take WS 101.
Offered: Every year, All

WS 309. Women in America: 1920-Present (HS309).3 Credits.

This course covers the experience of women from the beginnings of the "jazz age" to the end of the century.

Prerequisites: Take WS 101.
Offered: Every year, All

WS 311. Diversity in the Media (MSS 311).3 Credits.

This course examines the role of media in the construction of social categories such as gender, race, class and sexual orientation, focusing primarily on the first two. Students learn about the media as one of a number of social institutions including religion, education and family, which influence our understanding of cultural difference. The course presents a variety of perspectives that address diversity in relation to both print and electronic media, emphasizing popular culture. Media diversity issues are analyzed in relation to ownership, representation, audience reception and the media workforce. Junior standing required.

Prerequisites: Take WS 101; or COM 120 and COM 140.
Offered: Every year, Spring

WS 315. Women Artists (AR 325).3 Credits.

This art history course focuses on the lives and artwork of women such as Hildegard von Bingen, Mary Cassatt, Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe.

Prerequisites: Take AR 102, AR 103, AR 104, AR 105 or WS 101.
Offered: As needed

WS 326. Witches and Werewolves in the Early Modern World (HS 326).3 Credits.

This course explores the general belief in witchcraft and other supernatural creatures in the larger context of religion and culture in the early modern world. Participants examine how belief in the supernatural led to a widespread fear and persecution of individuals deemed witches or other consorts of the devil. Using the groundbreaking work of historians, and the primary documents of the period, this course examines the origins and processes of the witch trials. Since approximately 75 percent of those in Europe accused of witchcraft were women, the course examines how gender, misogyny and scapegoating shaped the persecution and prosecution of the more vulnerable members of premodern society. More broadly, the class examines how Christianity both affirmed and condemned these beliefs and practices and how people used "superstition" to make sense of the world around them.

Prerequisites: Take WS 101.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

WS 330. Philosophy and Gender (PL 330).3 Credits.

Students investigate the notions of sex and gender, along with the debate over social versus biological underpinnings of expressions of masculinity and femininity. The relevance of historical views on sex, gender and relations between the sexes to current patterns and developments are considered. Issues facing men and women, as well as policies and reforms designed to address them are examined. Participants also consider the intersection between sex/gender and race, ethnicity, class and sexual orientation. Finally, students consider the impact of gendered perspectives on contemporary philosophy, especially epistemology, ethics and social and political philosophy. Junior standing (or department approval) required.

Prerequisites: Take WS 101.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

WS 338. American Literature by Women of Color (EN 338).3 Credits.

This course presents a study of the diverse literary traditions, themes and narrative strategies employed by non-traditional American women. The ways race, ethnicity and gender affect form, content, language and style of the literature are examined. Writers include: Silko, Erdrich, Morrison, Walker, Angelou, Giovanni, Tan, Kingston, Yamamoto, Cisneros and Viramontes.

Prerequisites: Take one 200-level WS course.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

WS 345. Media Audiences (MSS 345).3 Credits.

This course examines popular, institutional and academic perspectives on media audiences in the U.S. and abroad. Central topics include how people choose and interpret media content, how marketers and media producers perceive audiences and how media researchers attempt to understand audiences. The course also considers popular assumptions about media effects on audiences and includes an in-depth analysis of fan cultures. Junior standing required.

Prerequisites: Take EN 102 or EN 103H; and COM 120 or WS 101.
Offered: Every other year, Fall

WS 359. Women Studies Elective.3 Credits.

WS 387. Women and Public Policy (PO 387).3 Credits.

Students examine the major public policy issues affecting gender relations in the United States today, including: reproductive rights and abortion, labor policy, welfare policy, sexual and domestic violence. Students discover the process by which issues of importance to gender equality have historically emerged on the public agenda, the ways in which policy debate is shaped once an issue becomes a public problem and the competing policy paradigms surrounding these controversial policy issues. Given the possible trauma associated with the topics of the class, students need to use their discretion in signing up to take this class.

Prerequisites: Take PO 131 or WS 101.
Offered: Every other year, Spring

WS 395. Feminist Theory and the Body.4 Credits.

This course introduces students to various feminist critiques of the body. Students examine how feminism has re-conceptualized the body, and become familiar with the body's linkages to race, class, sexuality and dis/ability. By studying feminist theory, students investigate how the body has been used as a site of cultural, political, social and biomedical meaning as well as a site of performance, commodification and systemic violence. Students gain an understanding of how bodies are influenced and expressed socially; and therefore, are able to conduct and apply scholarly feminist research that is inclusive of theories of the body. This course is for degree completion students only.

Offered: As needed

WS 399. Independent Study.3-6 Credits.

Offered: As needed