General Course Descriptions

As a Women's and Gender Studies major or minor, you will take core courses in the program and also courses that are cross-listed with a range of departments including Anthropology, Sociology, Politics, English, Psychology, Biology, History, and Religious Studies.
Prerequisite Grade

Any course listed in this program with a prerequisite assumes a grade of C– or better in the prerequisite course.

Core Courses

1 Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies
An introduction to the interdisciplinary field of Women’s and Gender Studies. The course provides a broad perspective on research in gender in a variety of disciplines (including sociology, psychology, politics, philosophy, history, and literature). Topics include the historically changing representations of women; the history of the women’s movement in the United States; globalization; contemporary feminism, sexualities, ecology, and the intersection of gender, race and class. A goal of the course is for each student to develop a critical perspective on the meaning of gender in our society. Of the pre-2012 general education requirements, This course fulfills Area C requirement and may fulfill Area A by petition. Satisfies Social, Historical, and Cultural Understanding and Common Good of the Core Curriculum. 

100 Research Seminar on Special Topics in Women’s and Gender Studies
An exploration of a theme or problem area in the field of Women’s and Gender Studies. Past topics have included: women and work; gender and science; gender and popular culture; women in the Third World; cultural representations of gender; women and the media; masculinities; the history of sexuality. The course combines seminar discussions of texts that represent a variety of methodologies and disciplines with research papers. Research topics are designed by individual students in consultation with the instructor. Prerequisite: WGS 1 or permission of instructor.

177 Feminist and Gender Theories
This seminar provides a series of inquiries into the diverse theoretical frameworks of contemporary feminism. Critical race theory, cultural studies, post-structuralism, Marxist and postcolonial theories, gender difference and queer theories,sexualities studies, ecofeminism, and third-wave identity politics are a few of the directions in discussion and research. WGS 1 or permission of instructor.

190 Senior Capstone
Critical examination of theories and issues in contemporary Women’s and Gender Studies methodologies. Directed readings, research, and writing of a final senior paper or project under the supervision and approval of instructor. Prerequisites: Upper-division standing; Women’s and Gender Studies 1; Women’s and Gender Studies 100 and 177. Open to minors upon approval of director and instructor of the course. (In the case of a split or double major, Women’s and Gender Studies 190 may be taken in conjunction with thesis work in the other discipline. In the case of a minor, Women’s and Gender Studies 190 may be taken in conjunction with thesis work in the major.)


Regularly Offered Electives

88 Biology of Women
Biology of women is an introduction to the structure, physiology, and genetics of women across the lifespan. We study physiology and development from conception, through puberty, pregnancy and aging. The first half of the course explores the genetic, hormonal, and developmental basis for one’s gender. The latter part of the course deals with specific health concerns of women and focus on the high frequency or uniquely gender-related illnesses and their physiologic basis. (Cross-listed as Biology 88.)

106 Gender Politics
A study of the social, economic, political, and legal status of women in contemporary America. The course is an introductory survey of the dynamic changes taking place in the relationship between women and men. Topics include the history of women’s liberation movements, the Equal Rights Amendment, abortion, sexism in the workplace, feminist social theory, and women in politics. (Cross-listed as Politics 106.)

111 Kinship, Marriage and Family
For more than a century anthropological research has focused on households, kinship relations, childhood and families across cultures and through time. The anthropological record shows us that concepts such as "marriage," "childhood," and "family have been understood in radically theoretical perspective in the anthropological study of kinship as it relates to different issues connected to the state of marriage, family, and childhood throughout the world (Cross-listed as Anthropolgy 111).

115 Theories of Justice
The course examines different definitions and views of justice: justice and race; justice and gender; justice and welfare; international justice; justice and the law; environmental law; court cases and current debates on euthanasia, abortion, and pornography. (Cross-listed as Politics 115.)

116 New Immigrants and Refugees
Looks at the attitudinal and legal reactions to immigrants and refugees in the United States. Emphasis is placed on the new Americans, why they come, and how they differ from earlier migrants. Special attention is given to the impact of new immigrant groups in California. (Cross-listed as Sociology 116.)

120 Transgression and Defiance in the Texts of Contemporary Latin American Women Writers (in Spanish)
Women’s writing in Latin America has transformed traditional images of women, their societies, and the cultural and political context that they narrate. This course is a survey of Latin American women writers breaking out of the literary tradition. (Cross-listed as Modern Languages 120.)

121 Dance History 1
This course covers the development of dance from its roots in court dancing through the development of ballet to the beginning of the modern era. Students attend professional dance concerts in the Bay Area. (Cross-listed as Performing Arts 121.)

125 Gender and Culture
While sex is biological, gender refers to the set of cultural expectations assigned to males and females. This course takes a four-field anthropological approach to understand gender, investigating such topics as third and fourth gender diversity, gender among non-human primates, gender roles in prehistory and the sociolinguistics of gender usage. Special attention is paid to the ways in which gender articulates with other social practices and institutions such as class, kinship, religions and subsistence patterns (Cross-listed as Anthropology 125).

125 Gender and Society
While sex differences are biological, gender encompasses the traits that society assigns to and inculcates in males and females. This course studies the latter: the interplay between gender and society. It takes an inclusive perspective, with a focus on men and women in different cultural contexts defined by ethnic group membership, sexuality, and socioeconomic status. (Cross-listed as Sociology 125).

139 History of Women in America
A survey of American womens's history from 17th century colonial encounters to the present with an emphasis on ethnic and class diversity, shifting definitions and cultural representations of womanhood, and the efforts of women to define their own roles and extend their spheres of influence. (Cross-listed as History 139.)

147 Psychology of Gender
A critical review of the theory of research on gender from the biological, pychological, and sociological perspectives. This course explores the social construction of gender and how it impacts human development and social behavior. Throughout the course, the interaction between gender and the complexities of race, race, culture, and sexual orientation is considered. Prerequisites: Psych 1 and 2 (Cross-listed as Psych 147.)

153 U.S. Latino/a Literature and the Americas (In English)
An introduction to the literature and cultures of Latinos/as in the United States, with prose and poetry from Chicanos/as, Cuban-Americans, Dominican-Americans, and Puerto Ricans, exploring memory, exile, language, family, and displacement. (Cross-listed as English 153.)

173 Women Writers
Intensive study of some aspect of literature by women. Examples of possible topics are: 19th-century British novelists; contemporary women poets; American and Canadian short story writers. May be repeated for credit as content varies. (Cross-listed as English 173.)

In addition, new courses are approved on a term-to-term basis. Examples of such electives include English 154 (African-American women writers) or 141 (medieval women writers), Art History 194 (history of women artists).